Every so often a rare opportunity presents itself. This opportunity for me, was to interview Angela Benson, the author of Delilah’s Daughters, just one of her amazing novels. I won’t make you wait for the interview by forcing you to read about what a thrill this was for me.
What was your inspiration for Delilah’s Daughters?
My mom was my inspiration. At its heart, Delilah's Daughters is about a mother who tries to hold her family together after the death of her husband. My mom faced similar challenges as the divorced mother of two children. She's the best mom on earth. Though she's not perfect, the love she has for her kids is perfect. There is beauty in the perfect love of imperfect people. I explored that kind of love in Delilah's Daughters from the perspective of the mother and the three daughters.
When did you first become interested in writing?
I began writing in Miss Milazo's sixth grade class. Each week she would have us write stories and read them to the class. I took great pride and joy from my stories because my classmates liked them so much. My stories gave me a place to be special among my peers. I needed that space because I was often teased for being a fat kid.
Are you working on another project now, and if so, can you give us a little hint what it’s about?
I'm working on my next book, which has the working title, The Perfect Man. It's another family story. This time it's a single mother who marries the man of her dreams only to find that he's a man of secrets and intrigue. The story deals with trust on several levels and delves into such questions as 1) Can love exist without trust? 2) When is the price of trust too high? and 3) How is trust earned and cultivated?
Do you think there are enough opportunities for African-American women writers today?
I think there are many more opportunities than there were when my first book was published in 1994. The challenge then was that publishers were not convinced there was audience for fiction that featured African American heroes and heroines. The success of such stories has put to bed those concerns.
The success of African Americans in self-publishing, particularly ebooks, has opened the door to even more publishing opportunities. The issue today is building and maintaining a readership when book buyers have so many options. Social media, as the gateway to readers, is the new frontier for all writers.
What kind of message do you most want to convey with your writing?
I want my stories to give hope. I want readers to see themselves and their life challenges in my characters. I write about flawed people who, through faith, perseverance and a lot of missteps, overcome the curve balls of life that come their way. I want readers to gain confidence in their ability to overcome by going through the experience with my characters.
Do other kinds of writing interest you, or are you only interested in writing fiction?
Recently, I self-published a nonfiction writing book, Telling Your Tale: A Beginner's Guide to Writing Fiction for Print and eBook, that was originally published by Berkeley Books years ago as Telling the Tale: The African-American Fiction Writer's Guide. I have an idea for a relationship book based on my experience becoming a newlywed at age 50. We'll see where that goes.
Would you ever attempt another genre like fantasy or science-fiction?
My husband is a big fan of science fiction. We've tossed around several story ideas but we haven't found one that clicked for both of us. Our dream is to co-author a book so we're still looking for that one special idea.
Thank you to Angela Benson for allowing me the opportunity to visit with her.
A bit about Delilah’s Daughters.
An inspirational story about the allure of fame and the faith that binds a family forever . . .
Delilah Monroe has done everything in her power to keep her three daughters strong since the death of her husband. And a big part of that connection is their singing group, Delilah's Daughters. Veronica, Roxanne, and Alisha each have their own unique sense of self, but they all share the dream of Delilah's Daughters hitting the Billboard charts.
Now, just as they enter the final round of a national talent show, a record producer approaches Veronica with the promise of fame . . . if she goes solo. Then the man Delilah has always leaned on wants more from her than just friendship, and someone from her past comes calling with a shocking secret. Will Delilah be able to hold her family together?