Hi Lorene! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
“To Dance with Ugly People," tells the harrowing story of Dani Ransom's travels down several dark paths. She experiences the ravages of drug abuse, suffers psychological cruelty, and the fanatical abusive love of her husband Dane. Experience Dani Ransom “Living on the Edge.” Understand the narcissist hold of Dane on Dani. Witness the chaos of Dani Ransom’s mind. Troubled by man versus women, she makes many wrong decisions. Exhausted by the collapse of every aspect of her life, can she save herself and overcome the shadows of darkness that follows her? Once divorced, she finally finds the love of her life, her greatest muse, an older man, Chance Wiley, but even when she strives to travel the right path, fate steps in. Haunted by her own personal ghosts she can't live life to its fullest. Is fate everywhere we are, involved in everything we do and not just the end result? What do you think?
What inspired you to write it?
I realized I had experienced a lot in life that had left me strewn and unsettled; writing the book brought about a release of negative energies and the resurgence of a strong feeling of cohesion and belief in myself.
How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
My publisher sent me several ideas and the African American couple holding hands was the one I chose. I found the color of their skin to match the descriptions in my book and the tighter hold of his hand on hers to represent the Angsty Romance that emerges.
If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Ving Rhames – Chancelor Wiley (Chance)
Jordan Sparks – Dani Marie Dobson Ransom
Gavin Houston - Dane Ransom
What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I like to write about womanhood and their life in a prejudicial culture. There is so much advice and information I want to give women to teach caution during different phases of life. I want to talk more about courage, more about depending on one’s own self. Women at times do not value themselves enough.
What made you want to become an author?
In 2007, emerging from homelessness, I lived in an old historic relic of a hotel that was known to be haunted. Many of its residents were “put” there by Social Services or on drugs. Residents paid by the week, so, for many it was a revolving door. I stayed locked up in my apartment raising my one year old Grandson, whose Mom abandoned at birth. He is 8 now. Writing this book was my escape and it made my life rich and rewarding. I felt in touch with a higher power while writing this book. I’d pray for where to go next, having reached writer’s block, and I promise you the answer would pop into my head during the night. This novel brought me to a new divine awareness. I could feel my heart glow with excitement and enthusiasm as I wrote this book, but certain insecurities led me to let it lay on a shelf until 2014. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.”
How do you come up with character names?
Dani – For me Dani means, “Dead Bird,” Filmmaker Robert Gardner began recording the “Dani” people of the Baliem River Valley. In 1965, he created the film, “Dead Birds,” from this experience.
Marie – Dani’s middle name. Nobility. Marie Antoinette had a troubled life.
Dobson – Dani’s maiden name. Founder - Dr. James “Dobson” developed Focus on the Family. Dani’s wish was always to have Family.
Dane – Dani’s husband Dane is a dog. A Great “Dane.”
Chancelor (Chance) – After divorce, Dani took a “chance,” on love.
Ransom – Dane and Dani’s last name. Dane holds Dani’s life “ransom,” (prisoner) to extort her very soul as if he were the devil himself.
Wiley – Chance’s last name. “Wiley” means very clever.
Name one of your all-time favourite books?
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Who, or what, inspires you?
Who: I have a step-sister who is the only person who has always accepted me as who I am, no matter what decisions I made, mistakes I followed or dreams I have. I am 64 years old and since we were teenagers she hasn’t ever stopped encouraging me to WRITE. “You have stories to tell,” she’d say. “You have books to write.”
Where is your favourite place to write?
In a soft comfortable chair with my laptop on my lap, in the middle of the night while everyone sleeps.
What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
THE COLOR PURPLE
Name two of your favourite authors.
TERRY McMILLAN and V. C. ANDREWS
If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
MAYA ANGELOU - Would it not be an exquisite time just to sit back with such an inspirational soul and listen to hear her deep voice lingering in the air as she reads, “Phenomonal Women.”
ALICE WALKER – Image experiencing the deep conversation that would fill the room as we discuss her passionate belief in, “The Color Purple,” and the major emotional toll on her due to the negative fallout of the black community's reaction to the film, but most importantly how she made it through.
NTOZAKE SHANGE – Born Paulette Williams, I’d like to discuss what was the inspiration behind her choosing and taking her African name, Ntozake Shange, which means “she who comes with her own things” and she “who walks like a lion.” I love the way she draws heavily on her experiences of being a black female in America as I do. “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” is my favorite!
TERRY McMILLIAN – I find my ideas for writing books from real life as Terry McMillian does. I’d like to pick her brain. For example, a Jamaican vacation was the inspiration for her best-seller, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.” I believe Terry and I could become best friends.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I had a fear of confrontation and as far back as I can remember - I have avoided expressing my rage face to face with my antagonist. When angry, as a Child, I wrote notes and stuck on doors. As an Employee I placed notes on the desks of co-workers. As a Wife (now divorced) I wrote letters and placed under the dinner plates. Oh, and over the years there have been many letters of protest, love or rage that has been dropped in my nearby mailbox.
Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Kenya Female Actress - Brenda Wairimu
Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
As of 2014, Lake Helen, Florida's population is 2,638 people. Lake Helen was one of the first settlements in Florida.
What are your (writing) plans for the future?
A sequel to my current novel, “To Dance with Ugly People,” Titled, “Ugly People Can’t Dance.”
Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
To go to France.
Who did you want to be when you were a kid?
A Fashion Designer.
To Dance with Ugly People on Amazon