JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
L. Cherelle, author of Accept the Unexpected
Accept the Unexpected allows readers of all orientations to experience the joys and trials of same gender romance. This novel reinforces an often-ignored truth: all forms of love require genuine affection and sincere emotional connection.
Keleya Smith is a confident Southern woman who finds herself at an inadvertent crossroad, waiting for life to unveil meaning and purpose. She thought she had the ultimate catch with Kris, but their four-year relationship is destroyed with one night of deceit.
The breakup forces Keleya to come to a discomforting realization: she is unfulfilled, often seeking refuge in her hobby, family, and friends. Despite the emotional damage, Keleya remains loyal to love.
When fate drops someone new at her doorstep, she transfers the yearning for intimacy, respect, and friendship to Jordan—an attractive native of Philadelphia. This newfound relationship catches Keleya by surprise and tests her looming desire for Kris.
But when feelings for Jordan transform into more than casual dating, Keleya’s faith in authentic relationships is challenged by an unforeseen circumstance. In the struggle to manage trust and vulnerability, Keleya finds herself caught in a whirlwind of old loves and new possibilities.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Accept the Unexpected?
L. Cherelle: I was inspired to write by unemployment. I simply needed something meaningful to do. I began to craft a story that was an extension of my familial, platonic and romantic relationships, and of course, my imagination.
I was also motivated by the contribution I could make to African/American literature in general.
JP: What sets Accept the Unexpected apart from other books in the same genre?
LC: Accept the Unexpected was written with the specific purpose to normalize same gender love and help diminish the invisibility of Black/southern/same gender loving women in mainstream culture and Black literature.
In the fiction I’ve read/studied (and the movies I’ve seen), Black lesbian and gay characters often exist in isolation. They sometimes don’t have families or aren’t ingrained into the larger community. And sometimes, the characters are tragic and plots melodramatic.
In Accept the Unexpected, the main character (Keleya) isn’t faced with atypical issues. She grows and overcomes shortfalls. Through the events, the reader is bound to find parallels with the everyday characters and relatable themes.
This novel doesn’t just present a gay experience. It conveys just one aspect of Black American culture—a culture with steep richness and vast diversity.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Accept the Unexpected getting out to the public?
LC: Researching (independent) publishing was the key ingredient to launching “Accept the Unexpected.” I tried and still try to inundate myself with as much information as possible on this industry.
As far as expanding readership, I plan to use my business background and sound marketing practices. It’s important to keep my promotion efforts rooted in the community. Therefore, most of what I do is “grassroots” and unconventional.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Accept the Unexpected?
LC: I cannot develop a plot in sequential order. Therefore, I brainstorm (and daydream), forming characters and scenarios from what I envision. And I can only write when I desire to write.
Sometimes, I won’t revisit my writing for weeks at a time. As time progresses, I combine or rearrange as necessary.
In total, it took twelve months to complete Accept the Unexpected. I wasn’t under any deadline pressures, so I wasn’t rushed to complete a solid story.
JP: What’s next for L. Cherelle?
LC: I’m currently helping women publish their work through my collective, Resolute Publishing. I’m also writing my second novel—slated for Summer 2012. I firmly believe that you are a reflection of what you publish. So I’m churning out short stories as a writing exercise, critically reading so I can become a better writer, and continuing to read/study fiction within my genre.
Within the next year, I plan to become a certified HIV/AIDS tester and counselor. I would also like to do more volunteering within the LGBT community. I’d like to integrate these personal goals and activities in my writing and characters.
Win a Book Lover’s Basket ($50 value):
Buy Accept the Unexpected by August 29 for a chance to win a Book Lover’s Basket ($50 value)…
The basket includes:
ONE $25 Barnes and Noble gift card
TWO handcrafted coffee mugs
SIX Organo Gold samples (organic coffee and tea)
THREE coffee sweeteners
ONE 18 oz candle
For more info, visit: