JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Tracie E. Christian, author of The Black College Sabbatical Series
(Trafford Publishing, Infinity Publishing)
The hotties ofÂ Heritage State University becomes your friends tooâ€¦
In FALL, Cierra â€œCee-Ceeâ€ Folsom is a chocolate angel in disguise who grew up dirt poor with an addict mother and a huge since of loyalty. She uses her Grandmaâ€™s guidance and love to trail-blaze her way to Heritage State University on a partial dance scholarship with the HSU Marching Band family. In WINTER, Cee-Cee works to erase her image as a naÃ¯ve freshman incapable of telling the difference between a down brother and a brother down for much more.
FALL brings Kyla Mansfield, the bourgeois, prim and proper diva attending Heritage in line with her familyâ€™s long-standing tradition. WINTER has Kylaâ€™s integrity on the line as her sorority crusade forces her to face the guilt of choosing her ambitions over love, showing all that she is far more than just the younger sister of the most popular girl on campus.
In FALL, Ananda Harris is academically gifted with natural athletic abilities. Growing up with an overbearing father, this over achiever is no stranger to hard work. However, in WINTER, her parental tantrums persist as she tries juggling another course overload, basketball and a secret addiction that doesnâ€™t stay secret for long. Her Perseverance is put to the test as she works to live up to her fatherâ€™s high expectations, while embracing the freedoms of college.
FALL introduces Tina Hutchins, a home girl full of attitude and quick wit; attending Heritage on a full Journalism scholarship. A loner by nature, her courage is challenged as she works to smoothly blend her fly girl style with her non-African American descent and new surroundings. By WINTER, She labors with the pressures of falling in love and failing to fit in, while discovering where her passions and priorities meet to define who she really is.
I am the Guardian Angel sent here on a quest to protect. I have Courage, Integrity, Loyalty and Perseverance for survival. I also brought bits of Betrayal, Drama, Secretes and Sex just to keep things interesting. Now, all I need is a traveling companion. Someone to help figure out which of our ladies needs me most! Why not YOU? Together, letâ€™s bask in the truthâ€™s light reading The Black College Sabbatical Book Series. School is now in session!
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write The Black College Sabbatical Series?
Tracie E. Chapman: The idea to write this book series came from the junior high school students I was teaching in 2004. The majority of Detroit students in my school at that time didn’t know anything about the black college experience. They didn’t even know which schools were black colleges and which ones were not. The ones that did know of HBCUs only had negative comments, heard via TV, movies or word-of-mouth.
Since I attended a historically black college I found this unacceptable. I decided to tell a story that was fun to read but informative about HBCUs in a way that shined a more positive light on the surroundings and experiences rather than just on the people attending.
JP: What sets the “Fall Quarter” installment from the “Winter Quarter”? What did you learn from writing and publishing your first installment that made the second installment better?
TC: I felt that if I was gonna tell a full story of the first year at a historically black college, I had to approach telling the story in phases. The same way first year students are groomed to understand it themselves. That being said, FALL QUARTER is the orientation to the process of learning about the black college experience. It’s about introducing our characters, describing the environment, making the reader knowledgeable about the importance of the experience from the character’s four separate aspects.
In WINTER QUARTER, it’s about the realness of the process. Students know the rules. They know the expectations and the impending consequences of rebelling. Yet they somehow get all caught up in their still relatively new-found freedom and make choices accordingly, leading to outcomes and situations that cannot be ignored. Writing FALL, I wanted to make sure I covered the basics from the way I wrote the story to the way I promoted the book.
In my world at that time, everything had to be perfect and that left me feeling cornered and rushed. In writing WINTER, I was more comfortable moving the storylines along because I knew the foundation had been set in FALL. I had also learned that everything will never be perfect and that freed my creativity for writing, as well as, promoting. Hence, my making it to you Joey. The entire writing and publishing process flowed better for me the second time around. Less to fear I guess.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to The Black College Sabbatical Series getting out to the public?
TC: As an author my keys to success are Confidence, Consideration, Cooperation and Calm. I have to be CONFIDENT to keep putting my book and myself out there even when I’m scared to death. I need to be CONSIDERATE of others coming after me by sharing my experiences and knowledge thus far with anyone who needs the assistance.
I have to be COOPERATIVE with other professionals to make my ventures happen. I may be self-published but, I know I cannot do everything. I need help to make this dream come true. My most major key, is also my highest hurdle. I have to remain CALM while promoting my books in order to be sure to Knock-It-Out-The-Park every time I get an opportunity. My keys keep me hungry and humble at the same time.
JP: What has been the response from your college-aged readers that have come experienced your books?
TC: The response from my college age readers has been great! They seem to relate well to the material. When I get the emails about who they love and/or who the love to hate in the book, it lets me know I’ve got them and that’s a fantastic feeling.
Better than that however, is the responses I got from readers that are my age (36 and not ashamed) and older. When I hear from this age group in particular, “I couldn’t put your book down!”, that’s euphoric for me because it speaks to the maturity of the story in spite of its setting.
JP: What’s next for Tracie E. Christian?
TC: Next for Tracie E. Christian is the release of The Black College Sabbatical finale – SPRING QUARTER. (Hopefully if God is willing in October 2009.) I’m doing more traveling to offer my interactive youth black college awareness seminar, “SAY IT LOUD…I’M BLACK COLLEGE PROUD!” seminar where I entertain and inform junior and senior high school students of the vast array of historically black institutions of higher learning that should be considered in the college selection process.
Also, the release of a urban Communications/Fine/Performing Arts e-newsletter to offer a venue to aspiring writers to become authors, novelists, editors and much, much more is in the works. The way I see it…the sky’s the limit so I have no problem coasting on a star!
http://www.trafford.com/07-0988 (Fall Quarter)
http://www.buybooksontheweb.com/product.aspx?ISBN=0-7414-5166-2 (Winter Quarter)
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