JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Dena Tyson, author of Black Beans ‘N Rice
Spooney was old enough to be her father, but he didnâ€˜t care. It made him feel like he still had it, and that made him feel good. Itâ€˜s not all about how you do what you do because Binx was young and didnâ€˜t know any better. She had fallen head over heels for him because he was different.
As Binx applied the finishing touches to her face, her mother walked in and stood next to her, a questioning look in her eyes. She glared from the mirror and said something Binx would never forget: â€œYou too pretty of a girl to be with such a old man. Youâ€˜re young and smartâ€¦ Heâ€˜s just taking away all of your youth.â€ She was quite solemn in the way she spoke.
What her mother didnâ€˜t understand at that time was the damage had already been done. She stayed not because she wanted to but because she had to. She suffered Spooneyâ€˜s abuse both physically and mentally, and walking away wasnâ€˜t easy because she was afraid.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Black Beans â€˜N Rice?
Dena Tyson: It’s actually my story. I suffered an abusive relationship both physically and mentally for a very long time in my life, so I know first-hand the type of impact that has on a person. I wanted to share my story because I survived… I found the strength to walk away and the courage to let go because I am worthy and so is anyone else that’s out there having to go through something like that. “We are worthy!”
JP: What sets Black Beans â€˜N Rice apart from other novels in its genre?
DT: The story is fresh, new, captivating and most entertaining. The characters are real. You walk away from this story feeling like you know each and every one of them because of the strong connection thatâ€™s made from the very first page.
Itâ€™s Old Skool… Chi-townâ€¦ West Side, taking you back to Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, Candies, Afros and freedom, a saucy sultry seductive story about escaping an abusive relationship and finding real love for the very first time. It takes place in 1980s Chicago West Side, Oak Park, and the Hyde Park area of Illinois.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Black Beans â€˜N Rice getting out to the public?
DT: I write both fiction and non-fiction, but all of my stories are real. I’m interested in writing material that everyone can connect to in some way, baring an impact on our lives. Currently I have completed four novels in a little less than a year now. The first book Give Me the Strength was released last May 08, and the second Xceptance was released in July 08.
I started to build a fan base via my website and book signing events as well as the Chicago Black Womens Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. It took off even more after that, and I was contacted by libraries and schools to come out and speak/encourage students and adults as well.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Black Beans â€˜N Rice?
DT: The goal I had in mind was to write two novels a year. It turned out I had actually written four. I’d like to stick with two, so I can take more time to do book signings and lectures, etc.. I started to write Black Beans ‘N Rice in late February 09, and I finished by the end of March 09.
JP: What’s next for Dena Tyson?
DT: In January 2010, I released my fourth title So Said To Be. Emotions run deeply in this suspense thriller taking place in Memphis, Tennessee. Two people finding each other for the first time in the death of their father. The difference was she never knew the man standing next to her was her brotherâ€¦only he did. I’m also working in future developments bringing my novels to film.
In addition to writing books, I am also an Advocate for Stroke survivors and the creator of the Kuckabug Collection of African Dolls. Right now I live in Illinois with my husband and family.