I could not be more thrilled to have interviewed today’s featured writer! Lisa W. Tetting is a rich blend of wit, intelligence, beauty and fire. Having had the honor of being a contributing poet to her early 2018 release: Love is Color Anthology (Adult Content), it was during that process that I got to witness her genius firsthand.
Intentional in her interactions with others, Lisa’s kindness is only enhanced by her seasoned professionalism. Years of experience and wisdom steadies her as she educates on the level of the hearer. Her ability to meet each person where they are without losing her footing is admirable and impressive.
I can’t wait for you to meet her.
Lisa W. Tetting is the author of the novel, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, and Southern Horror Stories. She is the creator of Rebirthoflisa, her personal blog. Lisa holds a Business Management degree from Mount Olive University. She is a former call center supervisor, who found freedom in books and writing poetry most of her life. After finally embracing her gift in her forties, she decided to live her dream of becoming a full time writer.
She grew up in a small town in North Carolina and loves that she is a Southern Girl. She currently resides in Birmingham, AL with her loving husband and spoiled cat. Lisa’s influences include Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, and Edgar Allan Poe.
I believe there is a shift in the lives of people that propels them towards “aha moments”. What was yours? Perhaps the day you made the leap to becoming a full time writer?
I guess what you could call my ‘aha’ moment was one day when I was working as a call center supervisor. One of my team members’ calls was being reviewed by the client. This was a weekly occurrence and one that was very stressful. The client wanted the calls to be formulated a certain way, but the agent on the phone missed a few of the regimented points. I had no problem correcting the agent and providing feedback, but this was her third infraction. Mind you, this agent was fun, charismatic and the customers loved her.
Regardless, because it was her third strike so to speak, the client insisted I terminate her. The points she missed, in my opinion, were minimal and could be coached, but I was forced to let her go. What really ticked me off was that I knew this woman was in need of her job and the customer gave her a good rating on the survey. I was already unhappy there and this was the nail in the coffin. I went home that night after a very emotional day and discussed it with my husband. The next day I handed in my resignation. I worked the remaining two weeks and then took some time to reflect on what I wanted to do.
I knew I could no longer work in an environment that forced me to take away someone else’s earning potential over something trivial. I knew then that I needed to tap in to my creative side and writing was the best way for me to express myself.
Through your blog, I’ve discovered everything from new writers to music. How did Rebirth of Lisa begin and how did you determine its content?
Rebirthoflisa began after I left my corporate job. I decided to start writing, but was unsure how to even begin. The blog came out of my need to express all of the pent up emotions I had inside. I knew I wanted to infuse the world with more love and understanding. Since I have a variety of interests, I was unable to narrow the topics down to just one, so I decided to just talk about anything that interested me. It eventually developed into a place to showcase my writing.
Though degreed it seems as though the world of self publishing is at the fingertips of those willing to self learn and self promote. What are your thoughts on this route vs. seeking traditional publishing? Pros and cons?
Self publishing has been a godsend to me. I am not the type to sit around and wait for someone to judge my writing skills, only to end up rejected and with nothing to show for it. More times than not, traditional publishing houses tend to be dream crushers instead of dream makers. Self-publishing allowed me to be as creative as I would like in my writing. I get to control everything from the topic, to the formatting to the book cover.
On the flip side, traditional publishers have more reach. This could be the difference between a few hundred people seeing your work and a few thousand. They also have more funding for book events, traveling and marketing. There are pros and cons to both.
At first I didn’t realize you were writing under a pen name. How did you come to this decision and has it worked for or against you? Do you have more than one pen name based on the genre?
I chose to use a pen name when I started writing erotic romance. Those books are written under the name L. Loren. I use my real name for regular fiction novels. Part of the reason I use a pen is out of respect for my husband. He is still a little uncomfortable about my sexy books, but he supports me in everything I do. I also thought it would be fun to have an alter ego who is sexy and writes naughty stories with lots of hot sex. In a sense, my L. Loren persona allows me to live out my fantasies through my writing.
Your book The Mistreatment of Zora Langston appears to be a pivotal work for you. I’d love to hear more about it! Can you share your favorite excerpt?
Sure, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is my first novel. It is about a young girl who endures physical, emotional and sexual abuse, but finds the strength through her faith to continue to grow. It is an emotional tale and may be a trigger for those sensitive about child sexual abuse.
Here’s a little excerpt:
Hi, my name is Zora Langston, and I am 9 years old. I am from a small town in North Carolina called Goldsboro, where life is slow and the people are good. I live on Beech Street with my parents and my older brother and sister. Today is the worst day of my life and I just need it to be over as quickly as possible. I can’t believe my daddy, Barry Langston, left me all alone. He knew my mom hated me and my grandma lives too far away to help. Why would he just abandon me like that? I wanted to go with him, and my heart hurt so much.
I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Daddy! Daddy, come back!” My family was standing at his grave site waiting for the preacher to finish his speech. My mom called it a eulogy, but it seemed like a very long and boring speech from someone who didn’t even know my daddy. Daddy always took me to the Church of Christ on Sundays, but this preacher was from the Baptist church my mom attended with my older sister and brother.
“Somebody shut that girl up,” my mom said. “She’s embarrassing the whole family. Acting so ghetto.”
My sister Queenie chimed in, “Doesn’t she know that dignified people bury people in silence and with pride? Who ever heard of a child asking her daddy to come back from death?”
It seemed like my brother was lost or numb because he never said a word. This was odd for Big Willie because he always had something to say. He was never without a smooth line or a quick comeback. I guess he was mourning like I was. My mom and sister acted like the only thing they cared about was what everyone would say about their dresses, hair, and make-up. My sister could not wait to be seen in the limo, and I overheard mommy talking to her friends about how nice she was burying my daddy.
“Barry is going to be laid out in the finest suit money can buy” she said. “Oh and that casket, it’s the best that they had; mahogany wood with silk lining. He is going out in style, only the best for my husband!”
All of this talk when she knew good and well that daddy would have a fit if he saw the funeral bill. My daddy hated to waste money and he always said, “When I go, just put me in my Sunday suit and a pine box. No need in putting money in the ground. Use it for my baby’s education.” Of course that fell on deaf ears with Mrs. Teresa Jones Langston!’ She was always decked out from head to toe. The baddest lady on our block, according to Mr. Samuels at the corner store. He was always telling people how fine my mom was and what kind of designer clothes she was wearing. I swear he was trying to make a move on Mommy, and now that daddy was gone I wonder how long it will take him to move into our house. Mommy tried to hide it, but she loved the attention he gave her and I saw them holding hands one day. She swore me to secrecy and threatened me within an inch of my life, but I told daddy anyway. He never said a word to her, but I knew it hurt him.
The day my daddy died, I was sitting on the front porch waiting for mommy to unlock the door. I waited for her to pick me up after school, but she never came. Since we walked home the same route every day, I knew my way home. Queenie and Big Willie had afterschool activities and never walked with me. Queenie was a cheerleader and would never be seen with a dork like me. Big Willie was the star of the basketball team, and he was always on the court playing. He would eat and sleep there if Mommy would let him.
My daddy had a heart attack after coming home from work early to let me in the house. A neighbor called him at work to let him know I was sitting outside and couldn’t get in. When he arrived I was so happy to see him because I was starving. As we entered the house there were funny noises coming from upstairs. He told me to make myself a snack and he would be right back. When he went upstairs he caught my mommy and Mr. Samuels in the bed together. I was in the kitchen making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when something told me to go upstairs. As I reached the top stair, I heard Daddy yelling and Mommy was crying, “Please, Barry, don’t hurt him!” “Hurt him!” Daddy said in a low voice, almost a whisper.
His face went pale and he was shaking. The next thing I knew, Mr. Samuels was running past me in his socks with his ding-a-ling swinging everywhere. Then I saw my daddy clutch his chest and fall to the ground. He looked weak as I rushed to his side. He had enough time to say, “I love you, Zora,” before my mommy snatched me up and said, “Get your ass downstairs and you better not say a word to anybody about what you saw.” As she was pulling me away, I saw his eyes go dead and then his body went limp. Daddy died there on the floor, and that bitch never even called for help. I never really liked my mom, but after that day I hated her! She killed the love of my life and then stole his final moments with her selfishness. I could never forgive her, and if she thought I was going to keep her secret, she had another thought coming. I was just waiting for the right moment to expose her!
Powerful! I have learned so much from you. As a matter of fact I was unfamiliar with the acronym BWWM until I met you. For my readers, BWWM books feature romantic love stories between a black woman and a white man. Lisa did your writing find its voice in this genre or did this genre lend credence to your style?
I started writing BWWM under my pen name, L. Loren. I chose this subgenre of erotic romance because it intrigues me. I am married to a white man and it simply felt natural to have the love interest in my books to mirror my life.
Your latest book is a BWWM novella. Describe the difference between a novel and novella and give us a bit of insight into The Opposite of Hew.
As far as I know, the difference between a novella and a novel is the word count. A novella has between 17, 500 to 40, 000 words and a novel has more than 40,000 words, according to the chart I use as reference. The Opposite of Hew started out as a short story (under 7, 500 words) that I was writing for an anthology. However, the curator of the anthology decided to have all stories less than 250 words. Since I was already over 5000 words at the time, I decided to keep writing.
The story derived from a post on social media where a young lady was upset that people kept asking her aunt when she was going to have babies. Her aunt was having difficulty carrying her babies and the ordeal was upsetting. The post awakened some past issues for me where I was constantly being asked when I was going to have a baby. I decided to do a guest blog feature about it and invited other women to express themselves.
However, that wasn’t it for me. I kept thinking about it and developed a character in my mind that was independent, free and didn’t want marriage or children. I decided to keep it pretty clean, meaning limited sex, with the only scenes in the book insinuated, not detailed. It didn’t quite fit in with my LoveRotica brand that I write under my pen name, so I decided to use my real name.
So in this novella, the heroine is Kay McQueen. She is not into romance and she only dates as a means to an end. Her family, however, is determined to see her married and have children. When her favorite aunt passes away, she is sent on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way she meets Heath Novack. She resists his charms as best she could, but then she gives in only to find out he was not the man she thought he was. He was hiding some secrets that caused her to rethink their budding relationship. What she finds in the end was an affirmation of what she already knew. Not all girls dream of a white wedding and Happily Ever After isn’t always what it seems.
Thank you for being here Lisa!! Be sure to support Lisa by visiting the following sites:
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