JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Kendra Dunn, author of The Preacher’s Daughter
(La’ Femme Fatale’ Publishing)
If Shar Reid is guilty of anything, itâ€™s of leading her life with her heart instead of her mind. A preacherâ€™s daughter, she disobeys her fatherâ€™s commandment never to fraternize with â€œthugsâ€ and falls head over heels for big-time hustler Slay.
Young, beautiful and smart, Shar never sets out to ruin her futureâ€”definitely not for the unfaithful and abusive man Slay turns out to be. But, thatâ€™s exactly what she doesâ€”all in the name of love. She goes from being college bound to being swept up into a world of grit, grime and crime where a chain of events conspire in her life that canâ€™t be undone and lands her where she never expected to beâ€¦behind bars.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write The Preacher’s Daughter?
Kendra Dunn: As Iâ€™ve mentioned in previous interviews, a lot of people have made the assumption that the book was inspired because of my life as a preacherâ€™s kid. Iâ€™m not a PK, but Sharâ€”the protagonist in the bookâ€”is the daughter of a stern Baptist minister. And interestingly enough, the book was originally titled Babygirl; however, there were already several books on the shelf with the same title. So, after a few brainstorming sessions, we agreed upon The Preacherâ€™s Daughter.
The story itself was inspired by some of my teenage experiencesâ€”fiction, of course, is only reality embellished to the utmost. I briefly dated a guy who was involved in the â€œgame.â€ His nickname for me was â€œBabygirlâ€; hence, the original title of the book.
If I hadnâ€™t made the right decisions in life Sharâ€™s story could have easily been my reality, which is why I wanted to pen an urban fiction tale that wasnâ€™t just an entertaining street read but one that acted as a wake up call for young girls everywhereâ€”diving into the loss of innocence, abuse and the self degradation that lies beneath the glitz and glamour associated with being a hustlerâ€™s girl. The title does come with itsâ€™ share of consequences and repercussions.
JP: What sets The Preacher’s Daughter apart from other novels in its genre?
KD: In a lot urban fiction novels being released thereâ€™s no sense of redemption amongst the sex, drugs, violence and hood rich lifestyles of the characters being created. The Preacherâ€™s Daughter has its fair share of the essentials that make an entertaining street read; however, my goal was to intertwine some positive messages and learning lessons throughout the story and to create a character that realized and eventually regretted the bad decisions that she had made.
Also, coming out of the gate, I wanted to establish myself as a writer that not only writes to entertain but also to enlighten. I believe thatâ€™s what sets me apart as an urban fiction author and what distinguishes The Preacherâ€™s Daughter from the abundance of urban books hitting the shelves. I believe urban fiction fans are growing tired of mindless street stories. Theyâ€™re coming to the point, in which, they want bothâ€”to be entertained and enlightened.
In addition, The Preacherâ€™s Daughter isnâ€™t your ordinary story of a girl being led astray by a drug dealer. Shar and the cast of characters are candid, witty and smart. There are also several twists and turns in the book and of course, a shocking ending that readers wonâ€™t see coming!
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to The Preacher’s Daughter getting out to the public?
KD: Authorsâ€”especially new authors under smaller publishing housesâ€”have to be the driving force behind marketing and advertising their work. Along with doing book signings to push The Preacherâ€™s Daughter, Iâ€™ve tried to make contact and build relationships with people in the media, book reviewers, book clubs, bookstore owners, etc. Also, social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has played a huge role in my spreading the word about The Preacherâ€™s Daughter.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish The Preacher’s Daughter?
KD: My writing process consists of me going wherever my thoughts take me. Rarely do I create an outline for a book because I never know the direction of the story or the characters until the end is near. Each day I make an effort to devote time to any project that Iâ€™m working on to bring it to completion before jumping on the next idea. However, I never force myself to write when Iâ€™m not in the mood; it only leads to a failed attempt. And, I usually write with music playing in the backgroundâ€¦music is my museâ€”from gospel to R & B to rap and sometimes jazz. Music stimulates the mind.
When writing The Preacherâ€™s Daughter, as I stated above, each day I devoted time to hammering out the story. In my eyes, I wasnâ€™t writing a book but on my way to making one of my dreams come trueâ€”that thought pushed me to finish the manuscript in four months.
JP: What’s next for Kendra Dunn?
Currently, Iâ€™m finishing up my second novel. To the chagrin of those whoâ€™ve read The Preacherâ€™s Daughter, itâ€™s not the sequel. I havenâ€™t nailed down a title for my second release as of yet, but hereâ€™s a quick blurb:
Ramada, Toi and MissyLynn all live in the same housing projectâ€”The Bottomsâ€”where everyone has a hustle, including the three of them. Instead of treasuring whatâ€™s between their thighs, they use what they got to get what they think they need only to lose whatâ€™s most importantâ€”their self-respect and for two of themâ€¦their lives.
Iâ€™ll keep you posted on the release date. In the meantime, Iâ€™m launching a new blog! Readers can check me out at http://sistahgurlfriend.wordpress.com/, where Iâ€™ll be blogging about life, love, lessons learned and everything in between! Thanks. Itâ€™s been a blast.