Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Featuring Author Lutisha Lovely at Marcus Book Store

Lutisha Lovely Book signing Marcus Bookstore, March 5, 2011l

When I walked into Marcus Bookstore on Saturday night, I was greeted by
Cherysse, the proprietor and the author for the evening, Lutisha Lovely. She was wearing skinny jeans and comfy boots, dreadlocks down her back and a big, welcoming smile. I knew very little about Lutisha Lovely. I had heard about her drama-filled church-based books but had not read them. I had however, read her Zuri Day romance books. But more on that later…

All Up in My Business with emphasis with hands on hips and rolling head is the book she is promoting and the first of a new series. She said she didn’t want to be known just for faith-based church drama so she and her editor came up with the idea of a wealthy family series set in Atlanta to branch out into mainstream fiction and relationships. Lutisha loves the city of Atlanta and although she was born and raised in Kansas, and now lives in southern California, she has spent many good times in Hotlanta. Her first release party was held there for her sixth book in the Church series, Heaven Forbid. She likes the idea of the historical and cultural aspects of African Americans when asked why Atlanta? But actually she stressed the story could take place in any large southern city where black folk love good food. The Taste of Soul restaurants run by the Livingston clan serves up more than tasty soul food.

Lutisha feels like her characters talk to her, come through her. It took her about nine months to write AUIMB, but she is always writing two books at one time, promoting another and editing another. Her publisher, Kensington contracted models for the book instead of using stock photos which speaks volumes about their belief in her value. Publishers Weekly named AUIMB as top one of the 10 picks for their spring book releases and used her cover. She highly recommends the trailer:

Lutisha has an acting background, has been a broadcaster for the Kansas City Chiefs and a managing editor for a magazine. She also wrote plays and poetry. She worked in the dot come industry and made a lot of money until it went bust. She sat down and wrote the first 30 pages of Sex in the Sanctuary in one sitting. She is a PK (preacher’s kid) and knows the mega-church community well and though she knows intimate details, her favorite mantra is, “Don’t ask me, don’t try to bribe me, I won’t tell.”

Lutisha self-published SITS in 2004 and inspired by E. Lynn Harris; she sold her books at beauty salons, grocery stores, and gyms. As a new writer she reached out to well-known writers and was rebuffed; by names that we would know-----“Don’t ask me……….” LOL

In 2005, she went to Book Expo in Los Angeles with remaining three books of her first print run of 100. She met the acquisitions editor from Kensington who asked to read SITS. Within a few months she was offered a contract and she had been told that it wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Lutisha feels that her use of a professional editor and graphic artist showcased her professionalism.

Then her editor asked her to write romance which she thought would be a breeze as she grew up reading the genre, but she learned that romance was very formulaic and she needed to master the rules of writing romance. Thus Zuri Day was born; a Caribbean sister, bohemian type sister with attitude. She is a persona/alter ego to the point she gets into character (this is where her acting background comes into play) to the point she has requested two badges when she attends the Romantic Times conference next month. She will release her sixth romance next month. I have read a few of her titles including her first, Lies Lovers Tell. She has written a total of 14 gooks, 13 of those written from 2006 on.

Lutisha read the prologue with attitude and her effervescent personality just flows out to the crowd and we were grinning during the whole signing by her captivating stories of going to Jerusalem as an actor to film Biblical films. She loved interacting with the Israeli’s and Muslims much to the Christian film producers' chagrin. When I asked how her family and parishioners back home feel about her books, she said she received a few letters claiming blasphemy. Her father, who she adores, flipped through one book and told her she appears to write very mature material but her parents don’t read her books but are very supportive of her career and accomplishments. She considers herself a very spiritual person but her views on Christianity have changed from the traditional sense.

Side note: As many of you know Marcus Books is in the community and occasionally we get a “community member” who comes in and disrupts things but Lutisha handled it good and he was soon gone happy. But she had us rolling when she said, “Now if he really wanted to go there, he would get crazy meets crazy.” It was such a treat to be in her presence, she wanted pictures with everyone and just felt at home. A married couple drove two hours from Sacramento to see her. They are avid fans and read her books together. And before I forget, Lutisha gave a shout out to APOOO and especially to Donnica who is a reviewer for our review team and gave it a thumbs up.

I enjoyed reading All Up in My Business and look forward to Mind Your Own Business, the second book she has just finished writing. The third books title is Taking Care of Business. It may be hard times in publishing but this sister proves if you have the right stuff, you can make it happen.