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
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7 thoughts on “5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… L. Cherelle, author of Accept the Unexpected”
Really enjoyed reading the interview, glad to see a black woman putting in work. I will get a copy.
#*^Ms. Sheree D.^*#
Ms. Sheree D. thanks for the comment and support. I’d love your feedback after you’ve read the book. Just email me, or if you have a Facebook account, request me as a friend at: http://www.facebook.com/authorlc
I ordered your book on amazon.com and i have to say it was a great read. not many books are out there with black lesbians from the south that wasn’t simply talking about sex and betrayal and the down low. It was very interesting to read that the purpose was the normalize same gender loving couples.
My question to you ms. cherelle is why do you think it is important to normalize same gender loving couples? isn’t there power behind standing out, being different and unique. i would love to hear your perspective.
also, in the book we get the feeling that kris and keleya are true loves, but we really dont know. do you think there is such thing as true love or is love simply what you make of it??
Thanks for the support and the questions Indigo. First let me clarify. I don’t use normalize to imply that something is abnormal about same gender attraction or relationships. Sadly, too many people hold biases towards same gender loving (SGL) individuals. We’re still seen as aberrations and our love considered deviant. Literature has been and still can be a powerful teaching medium and can set an undertone for change in our communities. So we can use stories to make the lives and experiences of those we deem “different” transform to regular (i.e. normal). It’s time for us to stop seeing our brethren as “other” or “wrong,” and “Accept the Unexpected” is a story that can help do so.
With that said, we don’t do well with the word different in this country. Too often, we hear different and think “wrong, other, or inferior.” Different has become synonymous with deficient. I encourage all individuals to find, embrace, and celebrate what’s unique about him or herself on the individual level. But there’s nothing unique about love between two consenting adults. Love has been around since the dawn of day. When you uncover the facts and reexamine our histories, same sex love has existed in cultures on every continent for centuries. I’m not diminishing my relationship or the commitment that others share, but we can only project power when we stand collectively in the midst of our individual uniqueness and characteristics.
The optimist in me wants to say, “Yes, I believe in true love.” But the realist in me says, “Relationships take work, and without the work it will be void of love.” So Kris and Keleya would have to work to sustain their love. In doing so, the commitment is true. I think there is only “true attraction.” In my experience, love is what you make of it. You “get out” only what you “put in.”
(BTW, that whole thing with Kris and Keleya will be explored…)
I have a copy of your book and I do plan to read it. What I want you to know is that I am very proud of you…..
Thanks, I appreciate it!!!
I ran across this post and became intrigued. I wasnt really into or think about a lesbain or gay novel. I appreciated your responses so Im going to check this book out.
Good luck in your endeavor
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