JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Ladessa, author of I Can’t Live Without My Radio
(What She Say Publications)
Brooklyn “Willow” Waters is a small town girl from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, with big, big dreams. The world beyond her hometown is bigger and badder than she’d ever imagined – a place where souls are traded for fame and fortune as quickly as you can turn the dial on the radio.
I Can’t Live Without My Radio traces a young woman’s journey from her sheltered life as the daughter of a preacher to the lure of the Big City, where it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between glitter and pure gold.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write I Can’t Live Without My Radio?
Ladessa: I have wanted to be on the radio since I was a little girl. It was so amazing to me that one person could speak to so many people yet still have a one on one conversation with an individual. I procrastinated for years with my dream of being on the radio. Finally, I took a broadcasting class and hosted my first show August of 2003 on KBCS 91.3 FM, a public radio station.
After years of hosting my overnight show and getting “Willow” my radio alter ego ready for the next level, I couldn’t break into the commercial radio market to save my life. When the lack of response from commercial stations got to me, I finally said to myself, “LaDessa ‘aka Willow’, you can be on whatever radio station in whatever top rated market you want to be in! You can be the voice everyone tunes into everyday with no one telling you no or ignoring your air check and resume. All you have to do is sit down and make it happen.”
With that being said, I took my freelance writing experience and my God given talent as a writer and brought Willow to life, through this fictional tale. Despite still not being on commercial radio, just as the title of my books says, I Can’t Live Without My Radio and because of this book I won’t ever have to.
JP: What sets I Can’t Live Without My Radio apart from other novels in its genre?
L: I Can’t Live Without My Radio is a hybrid of sorts. There’s the coming of age aspect. There’s the beauty and a thug element to the main character’s romance experiences. Because I grew up in church, there was no way I could leave out the Lord chastising those He Loves.
I could be wrong because the Urban Lit genre is growing by leaps and bounds, but I don’t think a story about the radio business has been told like this before. While the story is being told by a “newbie” and the reader will clearly know I worked hard to set myself apart from other novelists, I made sure not to disrespect the fundamentals of the genre.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to I Can’t Live Without My Radio getting out to the public?
L: Trusting and believing I had a story people would enjoy. Watching, learning and listening to the people who are the best at whatever they are/were the best at. I’ve worked in various facets of the entertainment industry. I have had my taste of its bitterness, but I never let it rob me of my passion and drive.
This book has been the perfect vehicle to use everything I’ve learned about the art of self-promotion. Now that the book is out, I plan on using the “Tech N9ne” blue print. If anyone ever wanted to know how to make “that thing” pop, whatever that thing is for you, research this man’s hustle. One word says it all: “FLAWLESS!”
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish I Can’t Live Without My Radio?
L: The first thing I did to start the process was, I asked my two daughters to believe that my shushing them and isolating myself for hours at a time would turn out to be something they could be proud of. I made notes about everything. I incorporated some of my experiences from the business, and I learned how to see a story in the smallest encounter.
Last but not least, I am a Seventies baby, so I’m from the school of writing out your rough draft on notebook paper before typing it out. (Thanks Sis. Green, my sixth grade teacher at Zion Preparatory Academy; she’s the only teacher I knew that graded your rough drafts.) From start to finish, this book took me about a year.
JP: What’s next for LaDessa?
L: I’m still hoping to land a gig in commercial radio. In the meantime, I will continue to try my hand at writing books. Right now, I am working my on next novel Don’t Touch That Dial.
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