Brilliant! Bold! LeToya S. Watkins Delivers with "In Love With Losers" Debut Novel! A Shocker!
Disilgold: What can you tell the Disilgold community about yourself that will explain why Disilgold has sought you for a perSOULnalized interview?
LaToya: Even though I am new to the writing industry, I have been writing for some time. I offer myself to the craft of writing and sacrifice my experiences in life, imagination, and dreams to words that build stories. I come ready to learn, teach, and give myself for the cause of change.
Disilgold: What is your latest book about?
LaToya: In Love with Losers follows the personal and love lives of three young women, Zora, Donisha, and Chelle. As these women weave in and out of relationships with men whom they become to recognize as losers when all is said and done, they begin to discover characteristics within themselves that aren't so winner like. The book is about recognizing your own loser contributions to relationships from within yourself, but more than that the book is about the change that is created within you after you realize your own loser tendencies.
Disilgold: How long did it take you to complete your book?
LaToya: I took me roughly two and half months to write In Love with Losers. I started it the day (late May) I took my last final exam for my junior year of undergrad. I knew that I had to have it completed by mid August before school started back, and I did.
Disilgold: What were the happiest moments you have experienced while writing your latest book?
LaToya: In everything I write, the most defining and joyous moment is the one when I realize that I have fallen in love with one of my own characters. In this book, it was Emory. When I realized that it was hard for me to get to sleep at night without Emory crossing my mind, I knew that I was in love with a figment of my own imagination.
Disilgold: Describe your writing style?
LaToya: I think that writing what I feel when I feel like it is my writing style.
Disilgold: How did you develop your writing style?
LaToya: I would say that my writing style is a personality flaw if you will. It would be nice to draw out an exact style or formula for my writing, but I don't have one. I just write and if I like what I write, I keep it. If I don't, I chunk it and try again later.
Disilgold: Do you have a favorite author of all time or someone who inspired you to achieve your goals as a writer?
This list is so very long. Do I have to choose one? OK… Lemme see… ummmm…. I'll go with Alice Walker. No, no… how about Zora Neale Hurston, her abilities with dialogue were just so amazing, but no wait, Toni Morrison and her gifts with the supernatural have always been intriguing… Oh, I almost forgot the downright beautiful plays of August Wilson… Yeah, August Wilson…Or Jamaica Kincaid, I love Jamaica Kincaid… But I like Octavia Butler too… She has this way with time that makes me feel…wow.. .so many, just so many.. They are still flooding my mind.. So I'll tell you what… I'm going to close my eyes and just point to the screen… aaaannndddd… Alice Walker it is.
Disilgold: Where do you see yourself as a writer ten years from now?
LaToya: Ten years from now I hope to have evolved into a seasoned writer. I hope that I am more courageous in tackling what is difficult and unpleasant. I hope that in ten years, I am inspiration for someone else.
Disilgold: What marketing tips can you provide to new authors?
LaToya: Research. Writing is a gift, but the knowledge that comes from the research of whatever you are writing is an even bigger one. If you want to be a writer, research everything you touch or come into contact with.
Disilgold: What other projects are you working on?
LaToya: I am currently working on my second novel, Dorothy, as well as my third and fourth.
Disilgold: What are your top ten favorite books right now?
LaToya: Hmmm.. This is a tough one for an avid reader. I guess I'll start with the books that I keep re-reading, Alice Walker's Third Life of Grange Copeland, Tananarive Due's Living Blood, My Soul to Keep, Blood Colony, Bernice McFadden's Sugar and This Bitter Earth, Keith Lee Johnson's Little Black Girl Lost 4, Mary Monroe's The Upper Room, Zora Neale Hurston's short story, "Sweat."
Disilgold:When do you write and for how long?
LaToya: I write every day for however long the spirit of writing is with me. Sometimes I sit in front of my computer for 5 minutes and I'm done, but sometimes I don't emerge from my office for 12 hours. I call the 12 hour days my writing days.
Disilgold: Do you have a favorite location for writing?
LaToya: My home office is my favorite place. There is a modest sized window directly behind my computer, so if I get tired of looking at the screen, I just direct my eyes to the open window and draw inspiration from the tree outside of it.
Disilgold: What method did you use to write or organize your book?
LaToya: I didn't use any method. No outline, no organization. I sat down and asked God to guide me before each writing session and I wrote.
Disilgold:What three words best describe your writing style?
Disilgold: What other hobbies do you pursue when you aren't writing ?
LaToya: My husband and kids are my main hobbies, but I have also developed this bike riding craze. When I get a real moment away from the house, I escape to the bookstore and drown myself in literature created by others.
Disilgold: Are there any hidden jewels or talents that you possess that many of your readers may not know?
LaToya: I am creative in the kitchen.
Disilgold: Where can folks buy your latest book?
LaToya: Right now people can pre-order In Love with Losers through my publisher at peaceinthestormpublising.com. The book is not actually due to release until October 2009.
Disilgold: Where can folks meet you?
LaToya: You can stop by my website at www.latoyaswatkins.com to find out about all of my upcoming events and signings.
Disilgold: What have been some of your toughest obstacles as a writer?
LaToya: Getting past the "is my story good enough" barrier for one. Second, considering what I love to do, my career. I think it's tough as a writer to simply be a writer. Sometimes, I feel like I am cheating by doing what I love to do. I have only recently began to realize that being not only a novelist, but a writer in my day job as well, are gifts that I will forever argue that I don't deserve.
Disilgold: This section of our interview requires brief responses. Are you ready to" Get PerSOULnal" Interview?
LaToya: I am.
The "Get PerSOULnal" Interview Disilgold: What time do you awake normally every morning?
LaToya: I set the alarm for 5:30 AM, but don't stop hitting snooze until 6:15 AM.
Disilgold: What is your writing fuel in the morning?
LaToya: Morning chat with God and a cup of coffee, then the energy that I draw from getting my husband and kids off to work and school.
Disilgold: What early morning rituals have followed for many years?
LaToya: Thanking God for another day to get it right and promising him my best.
Disilgold: What are your favorite foods to snack on while writing?
LaToya: String cheese and croissants.
Disilgold: Do you watch television or listen to the radio when you're writing, and if so, what do you watch or listen too mostly?
LaToya: I do both depending on my mood. Some days I'm in a music state of mind. I listen to everything from gospel to smooth jazz. Some days, I need to catch up on television, but I mainly listen. My characters can always be assured that they will have my undivided attention.
Disilgold: What is your favorite book of all time?
Alice Walker's Third Life of Grange Copeland
Disilgold: What is your favorite magazine of all time?
Disilgold: Do you have an exercise regimen to suggest for busy writers?
LaToya: Biking or cycling of course
Disilgold: What is your everyday outfit?
LaToya: I'd say a tank top and jeans or sweats
Disilgold: What is your pet peeve?
LaToya: Flies buzzing in my ears. Just thinking about it gets to me.
Disilgold: If you could inspire a child, what would you say?
LaToya: You can be anything your little heart desires.
Disilgold: What is your favorite motto?
LaToya: You can only be who you are and if people can't or don't love you for you—they don't deserve you.
Disilgold: What is your favorite time to put your writing pen down and rest?
LaToya: 1:00 AM (CST)
Disilgold: Have you traveled anywhere besides your hometown and if so, where?
LaToya: Florida and California
Disilgold: Where is your dream vacation?
LaToya: Anywhere with beach and sand outside of America (Jamaica). I'd like to say with my husband, kids, and dogs, but I think the husband is all that I would be enough to set the dream off.
Disilgold: What do you particularly like about the literary world today?
LaToya: The diversity that can be found.
Disilgold: If you could leave one word of advice to people in general, what would it be?
LaToya: Love. Love is the greatest commandant and gift that you can ever give.