TAMEKA BROWN and My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood!
I am excited to be part of the blog tour for
*and the crowd goes wild!*
Tameka graciously answered some of my questions below. I hope you are as inspired by her responses as I am. Her interview made me want to go out tomorrow and have a lemon-lime, fancy dancing in my mind, kind of day!
1. I had the opportunity to read My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood when it was still in the baby stages. If I remember correctly, it had a different name. I liked the old title, but this one really captures the heart of the story. It’s great! How did you come up with the new title? Did you have a lot of input? Were there other titles for the running? And can you share?
Initially, the title was In a Mood. But the sales and marketing folks at Viking were concerned that In a Mood didn’t give an accurate feel as to what the story was really about, that buyers might think it was the story of a mopey kid or something. Coming up with a new title was a true team effort: myself, my agent, my editor, the art director, sales and marketing all were involved. We finally came up with My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood. Today, I’m really glad we changed it. It’s been very well received.
2. Do you remember where you were when the idea for this book came to you? Did you feel, deep down, that this was going to be publishable?
I thought to myself one challenging day, “Boy, am I in a mood.” My writer’s ear perked up during that moment of introspection and heard something that would make a great title or first line. When I sat down to write, “I’m in a mood/a feeling kind of mood/a being kind of mood is what I’m in” flowed onto the page. After a few minutes of thinking what to write next, I came up with the idea of incorporating the concept of color, and the story took off from there.
Yes, I thought it would be publishable. But, honestly, I always think my stories are publishable, even when they don’t end up being so.
3. When I read Bluesy Mood, I can totally relate to the colors of the moods. Especially the section on running home when the street lights come on!! Did you have that experience growing up? What are some other memories that helped you be able to tap into the emotions in your book?
I was a quite literally a homebody, so no, I was always in the house well before dark. But the image of racing home before the streetlights is such an iconic image of our past—one that many kids might not be familiar with—I felt it would be an interesting, conversation-generating scene to include.
4. Like many other writers, I can get frustrated with the process of submitting. You have a fabulous agent, but I am sure the wait can be just as rough. Do you have any helpful hints for dealing with the wait? How do you handle it?
It has taken a while to get to this point, but when I have something out on submission, I am now able to release it and move on to the next thing, be it writing another story or helping my kids study for a test or a variety of other activities. I’m not sure if it’s a matter of being more professionally mature, or if my life is so crazy hectic these days I don’t have time to obsess over responses from editors. I suspect it’s the latter, but I’m going to claim the former.
5. And what about the big R word? Rejections? Thoughts on that?
I wish we didn’t use the R word. Think about what it connotes: That which you have sincerely offered has been judged to be not good enough. Who can handle that without some level of trauma?
Now honestly, it might be case that a manuscript is terrible, but most often it’s a matter of opinion and not an indisputable fact. In my mind, I no longer think of them as “rejections”. I think of them as “nos”. I seem to be able to handle those pretty well.
(note from Donna: I love this! not “rejections”, but simply “nos”… great advice!)
6. Some writers write everyday. Others when they mood strikes them. And others wake up with a pen and paper as inspiration seeps into their minds in the wee hours of the morning. Do you have a writing regimen? Or do you only write when in the mood? Maybe you use a combination of both?
I write when I’m in the mood. Perhaps one day I’ll be more regimented with my writing schedule, but since I’m balancing writing with parenting three active girls, today is not that day. I have been known to write ideas down on the back of receipts and field trip forms so I don’t lose them forever. And I do believe that some of my best ideas come to me as I’m waking up from a good night’s sleep.
7. Speaking of being in the mood… what color fits your mood best when you see My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood on bookshelves and in the hands of children?
Peach. A sweet, juicy, peachy colored mood is what that sight puts me in.
8. I always ask five questions at the end of my interviews… it’s a lightning round! When you read these choices, which speaks to your mood right now?
Water, cola or sweet tea?
Sweet tea (because I’ve been denying myself for a while).
Cake, cookies or brownies?
Blue, green or orange?
Mountains, beach or home?
Sleep, exercise or lunch?
Normally I’d say sleep, but my waistband of late reveals lunch.
Thank you so much for being with us today!
Thank you for having me, my friend.