JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
La Toya Hankins, author of K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood
“K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood” chronicles the strength of sorority life for three Copper Road University sophomores. Track star Kiara Michaels didn’t expect to find two lifelong friends at her sorority membership interview. But life had other plans, leading her to meet Donna—a Bible quoting straight talker—and Gloria—a loquacious high achiever.
In the semesters following membership induction, Kiara confesses a festering secret, Donna steers a bumpy course with her unfaithful boyfriend, and Gloria can’t find a love match. When a lustful encounter and brutal assault turn Kiara’s collegiate experience upside down, the two friends are her saving grace.
Fast-forward ten years later and Kiara can’t balance life’s increasing responsibilities, Donna has departed a broken marriage, and Gloria can’t reconcile feelings of attraction for a close friend.
The book’s message is about the power of sorority sisterhood helping to deal with life’s situations, good and bad.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood”?
La Toya Hankins: I was inspired to write “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood” because I didn’t see a piece of fiction that addressed the strength of sisterhood among African American sorority members. I believe sorority memberships have helped thousands of women overcome life’s difficulties and sparked life-long friendships.
I wanted to focus on how those who identify as lesbian are treated within those organizations. I am a lesbian and I’m also a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Too often members face a backlash for being who they are. While I have been fortunate to have never experienced it, the stories I have heard from fellow members and sister-Greeks moved me to put fingers to keyboard to tell the story about three sorority members who refused to let sexual preference intrude on their sisterhood.
JP: What sets “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood” apart from other books in the same genre?
LH: “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood” is different because it highlights lesbian and straight women dealing with the same issues—such as love, career, and family relationships—without minimizing either side’s experience. It also is set in North Carolina, in my opinion a location underrepresented in fiction. Sometimes, it seems the literary universe is limited to six cities, and I know that is not the case.
The book also addresses a different side of sorority life beyond step shows and hazing accusations. While those aspects are minimally represented in “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood”, the book also deals with the community service, the heritage and the support membership brings and inspires.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood” getting out to the public?
LH: Making a connection with a team who believes in the project is priority. My publisher, Resolute Publishing, has been actively involved in shaping “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood”. From securing the perfect book cover to capture the heart of the story to keeping an open line of communication as the work developed, Resolute’s involvement ensured a quality product.
I also draw on the deep belief in the story I created. A story about positive sorority membership had been in my heart for over five years. Perhaps, the biggest key has been the support of my partner. She is my best critic and supporter. Together, my passion, team, publisher, and partner will identify the avenues and spark the creativity needed to push “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood” to targeted communities.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood”?
LH: I start with the character and let her tell her story. I don’t rush the process. Once I sit down to write a scene, I like to have figured out how it should progress.
I am strictly an electronic person. I don’t do long hand. That isn’t to say once I write something, it’s one and done. I like to have flexibility that once the manuscript is finished, I can go back and tweak it to allow for better flow.
From start to finish, it took about a year to finish “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood”.
JP: What’s next for La Toya Hankins?
LH: My next step is formulating ideas for my third book; continuing to work with Shades of Pride—the LGBT pride organization for people of colors in the Triangle— and being the best girlfriend/daughter/sorority member/friend I can be.
“Read the first chapter of “K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood” at the following link: http://www.respublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/k-rho_sample.pdf” ~ La Toya Hankins