MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SHARRONNE MCNEIL
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Sharronne McNeil/Urban Christian Fiction and poetry
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My debut novel is named Cora. It is a story that created to show how issues of mental health can be so extreme and difficult to detect. It also a redemption coming of age story
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children books, etc.)?
I started creating Urban stories but I wanted to incorporate into my stories the redeeming power of having faith in God. And I wanted a story that showed that life still happens to believers but they have the power to endure through their belief in Christ.
Additionally, I have a poetry book out on True Vine Press entitled I Dreamt of Love – Poetry collection. It is a compilation of poems by Sandra Mayer (best friend), my nana (M. K. Allen) and me. The theme of the book is love and how it comes in different forms.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
My research for the book was limited. I did do a lot of studying concerning how to overcome mental illness and what God says about suicide.
Can you tell me about your Series?
This book series is about the main character Cora and kids’ (Cora’s brother and sister) journey to Christ through life’s hardships.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
No I’ve only finished the first book, Cora so far. This is probably going to remain my favorite.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I started this novel in NanoWrimo. I just had the high level idea but not outline for the novel or the series. The idea of a series came from a good friend that read the initial book and wondered what happened to the brothers and sisters in the novel. So I had to give him an answer.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Was it always meant to become a series?
No it was not. I got a lot of questions from my beta readers about Cora’s brothers and sisters. I also got questions about what happened to Blanche.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
A typical day is to check my email and Instagram. I try to all questions and all comments on my page and in my email. Then I get ready for work. I work a full time job as an IT Consultant in Software Testing. Once I get home and get my daughter settled into bed. I write for one hour. I don’t have a word goal per day unless it is November. Then I have to hit my NanoWrimo word count for the day.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
My next book coming out is Brotherly Love. It is not the next book in the God’s Kids Series.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I have not been savvy enough to do this yet. But I do plan to do so in most of my future releases.
Where do your ideas come from?
I think many of my ideas are blessings from God. I just come up with book ideas and write them in my notebook. If the notebook is not available. I text the ideas to myself.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I want to do a Psychological Thriller. I have to think it through to make sure I can incorporate it into Christian fiction genre.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part of writing is just having enough to write. I want to become full time writer and publisher.
What do you think of book trailers?
I am a movie and YouTube nerd. So I book love trailers.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own
I do plan to do a trailer for books in the future.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My best accomplishments are building a personal relationship with God, having my daughter, and completing/self-publishing my first novel.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The best thing about being an author is inspiring people through words and leaving a legacy through your work.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself publishing books, offering author services, and best of all still writing and reading all the books I want.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes I always love to write and won a lot of writing contests as a child and young adult.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
My advice is to keep working on your craft and keep writing.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I would work in technology.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I read the reviews of my book. I have not responded to any of them. I have received some constructive criticism and some negative feedback. I am learning to separate the two things and respond to what will improve my writing craft.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
My least favorite part is proofreading and editing.
What are you working on now?
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Yes, here is a brief excerpt. For more please go find me on GoodReads. I am there under my name, Sharronne McNeil.
Here is the excerpt:
By Sharronne McNeil
TeDarian sat at the table and looked out the window. The day was perfect it was such a nice day. He really loved the sun. It had been over ten years since he could look out at the sun in the morning. His outings were no longer limited. He could come and go as he pleased.
Yet, he felt all this could be taken from him again. Dre needed to hurry up and get there. For the first time in his life, he really did not know what to do or where to turn. He was lost without his brother Dre. TeDarian needed him there to complete his plan.
TeDarian reflected on his life. Leslie was the best and the worst thing that ever happened to him. Everyone told him to leave this chic alone. Not really everyone just his brother and he was the most important person in his life.
He had decided against good counsel of his brother to deal with this chic. He could hear her crying softly on the floor. It was taking so long for her to die. He knew he could not call the ambulance nor let her live. She was the only one that could testify to what happened to her. He was the only other witness to her soon to be murder but who tells on themselves.
In his mind, Leslie asked for the abuse and for him to shoot her. Another part of him wanted to grab her and tell her he loved her as she took her last breath. He could hear her gurgling and choking on her own blood. It was starting to unnerve him.
“Close your mouth!” he told her.
He thought he felt her grab for his leg. It could not be he thought. TeDarian looked down and saw that it was her. Her face was contorted. Blood and piece off her body were all over the kitchen. Their home smelled like a butcher shop.
Leslie looked exhausted. She was holding onto life clingy to its force. TeDarian could not believe how stubborn she was. Why wouldn’t she just die?
She kept calling his name. He just wanted her to shut up. Just close her mouth for once. It was crazy how much he loved this chic. Yet he had to kill her. There was nothing else that he could do. What happened between them he thought that would have brought them to this point? How could she hate him enough to be orchestrating robberies with his rival? Yet this was not the worse betrayal she had committed towards him.
Yes, he saw other women. He did his thing but never in her face. He respected her. There was not a thing that he would not have done for her. Why had she crossed him? It did not matter what people were saying on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even in the streets. Leslie was his love and he had forgiven her for not standing by him while he was incarcerated. She forced her hand with these robberies. He hated that it had to end this way for them but he could not let her or the dudes live and keep his street swagger. If he let her live, he would be looked at as a sucker that anyone could play and she could plot another robbery.
He had asked her to leave town. Leslie did not do as he asked. She did not disappear. Instead, he found out that she was flaunting around town with another guy using his money. This was too much for him to let go. He had to shut her down right in her tracks.
She kept crying. He had no choice this was becoming annoying plus he did not want her to see him crying. Yes, he left her body where the only ending would be death whether it was within the next few hours or in a few jaw clenching days in ICU or Trauma unit. TeDarian stood with his legs open and pointed the gun toward the top of her head. Leslie looked up and saw him holding the gun close to the top of her head. She begged for him not to activate the trigger. He held the gun there for a moment as if he had any other choice and then he ended her life. The gun blasted fragments of her brain and skull all over the room.
In an instant she was dead, TeDarian felt emotionally drained and relieved at the same time. He just destroyed the one thing he loved the most, Leslie. What other choice did he have but to kill her? A few minutes after he blasted Leslie, his brother walked into the house and fell back against the wall.
“Man what is going on here? “ Dre quizzed him.
“What does it look like? Stop asking me dumb questions and wasting time!” TeDarian protested to his brother.
Dre shook his head and looked around the room. The blood, skull fragments, and brain matter littered the place. His brother was covered in blood and had tears streaming down his fast. It was another disaster that TeDarian created for them.
Andre was amazed at the scene. He could not believe the degree of violence it had to take for his brother to kill two men and Leslie by himself.
Dre, as he was always called by his big brother TeDarian, started to throw up right in the middle of the floor. He had taken to a simple life of crime. He did not do any robberies or violent crimes. He did not have the stomach for it. Instead, he was the wizard. The mastermind that started laundering money for his brother and his brother turned him onto his connect. Unbeknownst to both of the brothers was the fact that the new connect was a Federal agent.
The agent hung with them for five years building a case and gaining evidence. It was said he had enough put them in prison for life. A few days prior to the trial, the agent received some disturbing pictures that would explosive evidence in a case against him. TeDarian was never trusting so he had done his own investigation. TeDarian’ s private investigator found any evidence that the agent was working for the Federal government. The brothers did not have to plan to kill him because of the agent’s illicit lifestyle.
The situation was a ‘perfect storm’ for the brothers. The agent was investigating them and thought he had all the details. No one would be able really trying to keep much more track on them. And they knew that they agent would never testify against them in court because of two things. Either he would be ashamed of the evidence they had on him or they would kill him. It was simple just hang with the agent even though he had been burned by them.
During the course of the investigation, he was able to acquire numerous pictures of him soliciting and in various acts with young underage prostitutes. Due to the small amount of people that TeDarian trusted to be around him, TeDarian knew he could win the case. He pushed his lawyer and his brother to get him bail money.
TeDarian paid the agent a visit when he got out of jail. The purpose of the visit was to let him know that he had the pictures and was not scared to use them to get what he wanted. The agent acted unfazed and said he was not going to do time for some underage boys. TeDarian was livid that his plan may not work and he could not stand the idea of doing time in prison. He picked up his gun and shot the agent in the head.
TeDarian called Dre panicked on the phone. The boys planted the pictures and staged the scene like it was a suicide. The Feds knew differently but did not want the fact that the agent was having numerous illicit affairs with underage boys to cloud the sanctity of the agency. The office decided to let the brothers get away with doing their dirty work. Most of the agents that supported the case felt the brothers would wind up in jail one way or another so letting this case and murder ride was nothing. It was only a matter of time until they earned themselves another life sentence.
The brothers’ young lives had been rough and full of let downs. Neither of them remembered their parents. The father came just enough to create them. The sight of the boys reminded their mother of him so she gave them to her grandmother at a young age. The grandmother kept them until TeDarian was four. Dre was three when she surrendered the boys to the state because she had terminal cancer. The day she dropped them off at the Child Protective Services was the last day they saw their beloved, Ninny. The social worker that was allotted to care for them told them she died a few days later.
TeDarian always interpreted that Ninny leaving them was because she could not afford them and be sick. From the day she left his life, he planned to be rich by whatever way he could. As a boy he was sent from foster home to foster home, the beatings and abuse numbed him from really connecting or trusting anyone completely. The only person he trusted to some extent was his brother, Dre.
He knew he had other brothers and sisters. His mother had recovered from her severe depression. She even attempted to keep the boys in their teens. Both of them were so filled with bitterness against their mother that it was impossible for them to co-exist with each other. It left her no choice but to give up on them again. This time she put them in a group home.
TeDarian knew that he would never deal with his mother for betraying him again. It was just too much to deal with for him. Why did she not love him? His mother lack of compassion and patience for the boys affected TeDarian adversely. He grew to distrust people more especially women.
It was not long after he left his mother’s house that TeDarian got his opportunity to kill his mother. He came to her home under the guise of visiting her. She was sleeping. He was in the house to steal from her. He came across her stash of heroin. He added some liquid cleaner to the bag.
The next time his mother got high. She died from ingesting the poison into her veins. The police ruled it an overdose. TeDarian saw it as good riddance to an imposter playing the role of a mother.
Dre was upset at the news of her dying. TeDarian could care less not only was he the murderer but it truly despised his mother. He was overjoyed that she was dead and did not hide his feeling from his brother.
Dre took most of life in stride and was generally happy. He was the one that gave people lots of chances. This quality aggravated his brother to no end. He would often called Dre fags and punks for this behavior. Dre would just laugh it off because he knew his brother’s temper was unbelievably quick and violent.
Dre just looked at the two dead guys in the room. One was shot in the back of the head close up and was slumped in the chair with his pants to his ankles. The other guy was face down on the floor with numerous shots to the back of his torso and his head. There were brains, bodily fluids, and blood all over the room. The whole place did not look like the meticulous home that his brother worked hard in the streets to build. It looked like a scene from a bad horror movie.
Dre could not stop regurgitating and gasping. His nerves could not take this. Every death scene his brother created seemed to get more violent and unfathomable. No matter what Dre did the smell of death made him sick to his stomach.
It was not like he had not seen anyone die. In fact, he had witnessed many deaths in the different marginal neighborhoods that he grew up. He had come in the game from a back street boy to top of the game as a money launderer. He had decided to go to school for Finance so he would understand how to take their illegal earnings and make the look legal or incorporate them into legal businesses.
The plan worked well and Dre had a cleaning service now that the brothers beat their case. TeDarian told him that there would be no more murders after the last fiasco that he helped him fix. Dre feared the worse that his brother needed help. How do you tell a madman with a thirst for blood to turn himself into the authorities? How was he going to clean this up? What if something went wrong? An accessory to this mess would definitely face the death penalty. All these thoughts kept flashing through Dre’s head.
“Don’t just look like a loser!” TeDarian insisted.
He had turn to look at his brother. TeDarian was losing patience with his brother. Why did he not have the heart to do what was necessary when needed? Was this dude really his brother?
He wanted to blank on Dre. Yet, he knew he needed him to clean up the condo and dispose of the bodies. He would also need him to set the fire that he planned to create to burn away the rest of the evidence. Where was he going to tell this chic’s family she was? His mind was traveling many miles a minutes and all this dude could do was stand in the corner and throw up.
TeDarian had the urge to shoot Dre at point blank range too. He refrained from doing it because he needed his help. TeDarian knew he had to stay in step with his game if he planned to get away with murdering Leslie and her traitors.
TeDarian had to bring his temper under control. He did not want to kill Dre at least not at this moment. But Dre acting like a punk ass was rubbing him the wrong way. He looked his way and rush over towards him. Dre stepped to the side and TeDarian hit the wall. This made TeDarian fighting mad. He reached for his gun to blast his brother in the face. At the same moment, Dre looked him square in the eyes. TeDarian could not kill his brother in cold blood. He let the gun dropped and grabbed his knees.
The mere fact that Dre saw his short life flash before his eyes, he knew his brother would not let him leave alive without helping him clean. He also knew if they did not clean the house and get rid of the evidence. Their life was over. At that point of realization, Dre wanted to pick up TeDarian’ s weapon and slay him with it. It would be poetic justice. TeDarian’ s temper had him going around town cleaning up bodies, paying off women, and whatever was necessary to keep his brother out of jail. Dre was growing tired of it.
Dre spoke to his brother in an even tone.
“What happened here? And do not say anything because that cannot be the case or three people would not be dead.” Dre quizzed his brother.
“You know this is some real bullshit?!!” Dre asked in a louder tone.
Better yet this shit, TeDarian had him in right now was by far the biggest and worse mess that his brother ever created. He thought to himself.
“Yeah, bruh!” TeDarian exclaimed. He was at a loss of words. He just did not know how to control his anger. Whenever he got mad there was to pay. It often ended in violence even in death. The brothers knew that TeDarian needed help but Dre never snitched or turned his brother into the authorities. His penchant for violence seemed to assuage when he met Leslie about a year ago.
Now Leslie lie on the floor naked dead at the hands of her lover-his brother. Dre and TeDarian were usually not grouped together but one of the foster homes insisted that they could handle the boys together. Both of them were excited that they would be together to protect each other and to look out for one another. Miss Vern seemed like a nice lady to them and the social workers.
It was a different story when they go to Miss Vern’s house. The kids there all looked sad, hungry, and disheveled. The boys went days with not food and none of life’s necessities. There was something always off at the house whether it was the lights, gas, or water. The biggest thing that was off was Miss Vern.
TeDarian and Dre lived with her for three years before they realized that at age sixteen you could be emancipated. TeDarian emancipated himself and then got Dre out but it was too late to repair the damage that living in such a ruthlessly bare environment caused. While there, TeDarian decided the best way to get more food was to get rid of the other foster children. He started a fight with one of the girls and continued hazing her until she cracked. She had to be taken away to mental institute.
To gain control of the other kids, he began raping them. He would sodomize the girls. It was even worse because often times they had no soap or water to remove the hateful stench of degradation. He would make the younger boys have sex with him or his brother who did it unwillingly. Then he would take lighters or whatever he could find and burn them.
TeDarian also killed Miss Vern’s beloved cat one night while she was having a manic fit. While she was out in the neighborhood trying to score drugs to take the voices away, he took the cat stuffed in a pillow case and placed in the bathtub and set the cat on fire. He lined all the kids up to watch the cat scream and burn. Then he opened the window and threw the pillowcase out. He warned all the kids that they would be next if they told anyone or did not comply.
For the first year, none of the other kids resisted TeDarian’ s masochistic abuse. Then a new boy came to the house. He was the same age as TeDarian and slightly rougher. He was like a savior for the other kids. Max, the new foster boy, told the other kids that they had rights and they did not have to take the abuse. This caused some of the girls to get sassy enough to tell Miss Vern. They did not know that Miss Vern was as evil as TeDarian dared to be. In fact, it may have been the voices or Miss Vern’s evil personality.
She told TeDarian what the girls said and which one said it. Then she called each of the girls out to confront their accuser. Miss Vern laughed as she took the girls out with her to help her make money faster for her drugs. Before she left, she let TeDarian chose which one he wanted to keep with him to teach them their lesson. He chooses the youngest one, Sade. Max saw this and was very angry. He confronted TeDarian and reminded him that the girl was only eight years old. TeDarian let him know that he had been having sex with the girl since she was six. The girl was open now and could take him.
Max reached for the lamp and cracked it over TeDarian’ s head. He was not going to sit around like the other boys and be a part of this debauchery. TeDarian stumbled back and grabbed his homemade shank from his pocket. A crazed TeDarian tore up the whole room and continue to stab Max until he was covered in blood. TeDarian sat in the living room waiting for Miss Vern to return.
Miss Vern called the authorities concerning the murder and all the children were removed from her home. The autopsy report for Max indicated that he was stabbed 79 times. TeDarian spent six months in juvenile hall but was released due to perceived mental incapacity and the fact that he lied and said that he was trying to protect Sade from Max. Miss Vern did not care one way or another because all she wanted was the foster kids to get a check. The other kids were terrified to talk against TeDarian. He was let out on his on recognizant.
After that murder and tumultuous time, TeDarian never came back to being himself. He had no remorse for his actions and no respect for anyone but himself. He loved his brother but he was not above killing him either.
Dre was tired of his brother. He started to feel like he did not have to deal with this cleanup. It was not his issue. He had to have a cigar. He told TeDarian to come outside and have a smoke with him. He had to get to the bottom of what happened. What had Leslie said to him?
The brothers went out front to smoke their cigar. Each stood in silence wondering what the other one was thinking. Then it occurred to Dre to ask the one question that scared him the most.
“I thought you loved Leslie?”
“I did, I do, and I always will love her. “ TeDarian stated plainly.
“Why is she on the floor dead?” his brother countered.
TeDarian pulled out his gun and pointed in between his brother’s temples. He looked at him with most diabolical look and stepped back to get in position for the blast.
“Stop it, you know. But now I know that she loved you because the slut called out your name”, TeDarian breathed out slowly as he pulled trigger and watched his brother fall to the cement.
TeDarian cleaned himself up thoroughly, shaved his head, and put on his black linen suit that he bought for the occasion. He took his Dre’s ID and his backpack filled with money to get bus ticket to another city to start over. If there was one thing TeDarian knew was that Dre was going to keep his secrets and clean up his messes even until the end.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I love God and I want to create stories about how God can change your dire circumstances for the good and give you more than you could ever ask for or imagine.
Where did your love of books come from?
My grandmother and mother were educators. My young life was filled with books. So I just love reading new books and writing poetry.
Connect with me here:
Facebook: Sharronne McNeil
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
GoodReads: Sharronne McNeil
THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW