JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Denetra K. Alexander, author of Sad, But True
Sad, But True is a compilation of short stories that carry you on a trip through love, laughter, hurt, pain, dating, confusion and even domestic violence, with a strong dose of empathy and life lessons learned.
Our characters are sure to take you through the entire gauntlet of emotions and have you loving every step of the journey. You’re sure to identify with one or all of the stories. If not, you’re either dead, or you haven’t truly lived yet!
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Sad, But True?
Denetra K. Alexander: I came up with the idea for Sad, But True while I was beginning to get my second novel All’s Fair on paper. The concern was having an overflow of activity while developing the characters in my story. I felt that I would need to go beyond my anticipated two poetry books and two novels that I planned to complete.
Once I changed my mind about keeping All’s Fair intact, I still hadn’t addressed the use of the title Sad, But True until approximately 9:00 AM on September 24, 2007. The God-given idea was to create a book of short stories. However, I wouldn’t be the only author. I would share this life-altering task with my close friends — C. Real and J. Boss.
JP: What sets Sad, But True apart from other books in the same genre?
DKA: Although Sad, But True was a group project with three authors, we were given no constraints. Collectively, we were allowed to create stories as raw as we wanted them. Creativity was the key.
The general theme was the “ups and downs” of relationships for our generation which is common, but no social issue was off-limits to us. The only requirement was that each of us write 3 short stories, but there was no length requirement. I did give an option to write a fourth story ranging from 500-1000 words. The short story served as a public service announcement (PSA) for a cause of our choice.
We created beyond that goal. After group edits were complete, we decided what stories to include in the book and worked on a sensible order. The order of the stories in Sad, But True is as significant as the actual stories.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Sad, But True getting out to the public?
DKA: The release of the book had to come when all authors were prepared to throw our full attention and support to its successful marketing while managing the expectations each other had of what true success actually is for the project. Our day-jobs would continue, so we had to find creative ways to hold book events and keep one another motivated following the initial positive feedback received from family and friends.
We already knew the work was great. We needed to ensure that we made it to the next level with greater exposure.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Sad, But True?
DKA: I personally work much better under pressure. I can’t speak for the other two authors. For this book, I didn’t write only a daily basis. For a long time, I loved journal writing. For stories, I write spontaneously on loose pieces of paper, bill envelopes, or any surface that has an available space to jot down my wildest thoughts.
A timeline was given for this project to give more structure as a group. We met as a crew monthly at a different location to group edit and enjoy each other’s company. It kept the project enjoyable. From start to finish, it took less than 6 months to finish the book.
JP: What’s next for Denetra K. Alexander?
DKA: Sad, But True is the first book in a series of three. We begin working on the second book in July 2012. I’ve written and released If Ever and am working on its continuation in addition to All’s Fair. I have completed a book of poetry and journal entries geared for a teen audience but it has not been released.
J. Boss released The Eighth Day prior to this project and is currently completing the sequel. C. Real is currently serving a military mobilization so has not been afforded the time for individual projects. She’s still preparing to contribute to the short story series once she returns in August or September. We are so excited!
We thank you for this opportunity to revive the enthusiasm we had when we initially released the book, Mr. Pinkney. The work you are doing is amazing!