INTERVIEW | Iris Celeste

Iris, describe yourself to our visitors.

I am an introvert by nature and am constantly trying to pull myself out of that.  I’m not the life of the party yet, but I am learning to share myself with the people around me.  I do love life and appreciate every aspect of it, even the pitfalls.  I view each as a stepping stone and an opportunity for growth. 

I am the proud mother of two darling young men.  They are the center of my joy.  Being a mother is both the most grueling and most rewarding job ever!

My favorite past time besides EATING would be reading.  Ever since I could decipher words I have loved a good book.  I have them everywhere!  Sadly, neither one of my boys picked that up from me.  But we enjoy road trips together!!!

How do you find time to connect to God?

From the time my eyes open in the morning I connect with God.  He helps me to get out of the bed and my children off to school…cheerfully.  Which is not an easy task.  I used to not be a morning person.  Now I’m learning to enjoy each moment that the Lord allows me.

Who are your favorite authors?  Favorite books?

My favorite authors would be Victoria Christopher Murray, Eric Jerome Dickey and James Patterson just to name a few.  Now with my new library card in hand I am discovering new names that I enjoy such as Valerie Wilson Welsey, Pearl Cleage and Octavia Butler.  I say new, because they are new to me.  I’ve just finished Kindred and it was spectacular!

Tell us about your journey to publication.

Wow!  Let’s see, I finally got up the nerve to write a novel in 2004.  I didn’t know anything or anybody in the literary world.  All I had was a pen and a whole lot of passion.  So I simply began to write.  When I finished with the story I sought out to find a publishing company.  No such luck!  Not to be discouraged, I decided to self publish after running across Mary Morrison’s website detailing steps on self publishing.  I didn’t realize so many African American authors self published.  It wasn’t easy, as I stated earlier, I had absolutely know idea what I was doing.  Only now have I uncovered all the resources available with online writing groups.  So all in all, the process was a huge learning experience for me. 

Tell us about your current book.

Praise Your Way Through is a heart-wrenching, but also comical tale about friendship, love, and forgiveness.  The story unfolds with four diverse characters who all share secrets and a painful past. Tamara Washington is a thirty-something, single sista still haunted by the ghosts of her childhood.  This causes her to look for love in all the wrong places and with all the wrong men.  Convinced that she is unworthy of love, she devotes her time to pursuing her career—that is, until Samuel Roberts comes along.  This supposedly single and available entrepreneur literally bumps into Tamara and turns her whole world upside down.  But what she doesn’t know is that he comes with a skeleton or two of his own.  Is he what Tamara has been missing in her life, or is he just another brotha trying to get one over on her? 

Sheila Wilcox is Tamara’s very unhappily married executive assistant who grows tired of her complacent husband and seeks more from her predictable and boring life.  This search ultimately turns out to be much more than she bargains for.  Leon, Sheila’s hard-working husband, is oblivious to the fact that his marriage and life as he knows them are in danger of ending.  When confronted with life’s challenges, will they have the courage and faith to listen to God’s direction, or will they simply continue to take matters into their own hands?  You have to buy the book to see what’s in store for them…

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

Life experiences of my own and people I know, who shall remain nameless!  No seriously, my intent was to write a story about real situations that the readers could relate to.  I wanted to divulge into what happens after the affair, after a child’s innocence has been stolen, after secrets has been revealed.  What do you do next?  Do you run and hide, do you self-destruct or do you run to the Father?  And most importantly, I wanted to convey that being saved doesn’t mean being perfect.  So this book is for everyone whether you are married, single, young, old, male or female.  Anyone can pick up the book and see themselves or someone they know.

What’s next for you?

That next great novel!  I’m just getting started.

Where can visitors find you online?