Mission Statement for On The Same Page
On The Same Page is written by Maxine E. Thompson. She is the author of 2 novels, The Ebony Tree and No Pockets in a Shroud, 2 ebooks, A Place Called Home and How to Promote, Market and Sell Your Book Via Ebook Marketing. On The Same Page is a column to inspire and to motivate writers to take control of their literary destinies.
M.T.: What inspired your title A Little Piece of Sky?
N.B.W.: I teach fulltime, and I see so many fragmented children coming into my classroom. I simply wanted to create a story of a little girl who starts out with the deck stacked against her, and I wanted to make her soar. The title actually came to me while I was out driving with my brother. I looked through his moon roof, and I saw how limited my view of the sky was. So I leaned over just a little, and looked up at the sky out of the passenger window. Just that slight shift in positioning made all the difference in the world. That holds true for Song, my main character, as well. Her move to a new environment transforms her possibilities.
M.T.: Although your story is told in vignettes, it tells the bittersweet story of the coming of age of Song Byrd? How did you come up with this literary device?
N.B.W.: Song is every one of us. We are allowed in her head to hear her insecurities and fears, and those are things that are present in all of us. We are able to suppress them, or we outgrow them, but sometimes, they creep back in. None of Song's experiences are personal, but I know that we all know what it's like to be lonely and to feel pigeon-holed. I wrote from that despair. In addition, I've always loved the vignettes format.
M.T.: In light of the metaphors and imagery you used in your book, I'd like to know if you're a poet?
N.B.W.: I actually think that my poetry is horrible. I dabbled in it while a students at Hampton University, but for the most part, I stay away from it. The images are simply the way that I think. If it's poetic, I'm happy.
M.T.: Tell us about your self-publishing history and now about your book deal with Double Day.
N.B.W.: For three and a half years I have hosted "The Literary Review" because I've always been drawn to literature. I had been writing for some local publications, and I simply decided to do more creative writing. I had all of these wonder resources in other writers, so I tapped into them, and they guided me on the path toward self-publishing. I released A LITTLE PIECE OF SKY through my company, Sugarene's Press on July 4, 2000. The company is named after my two grandmothers, Sugar and Irene. When I released the book, I tapped into many of my resources and my family's resources. (My mother is a dedicated club-woman.) I visited various meetings, and the members were quite supportive. A lot of our friends are educators, so we really pushed them to get A LITTLE PIECE OF SKY into schools. On weekends, I signed at numerous stores. I was really working 7 days a week for about a year. Then I was in Chicago speaking at the BEA in May of 2001, and I went to a party at E. Lynn's, and there I met the woman who was to be my editor. It was really divine intervention because I had spent a year lugging around the self-published version of SKY, and Janet, my editor, bought the book within three days. It will be re-released on October 2002 on the inaugural line of a new imprint called Harlem Moon. I'm thrilled about the possibilities.
M.T.: Are you at work on another book?
N.B.W.: I have a second book written, but it needs work. In the mean time, I'm working on a third, then I'll go back to book two.
M.T.: Do you plan to write a sequel about Song Byrd?
N.B.W.: We will see Song again, but as of now I'm not planning to make her a primary character in another book. She'll be in the background.
M.T.: What are some of your future plans as a writer and radio talk show host?
N.B.W.: I love doing the radio show! I plan to continue doing it with more frequency. (As of now, it airs on the first Tuesday of each month on WDAS (1480-AM) in the Philadelphia area.) Perhaps I'll expand it when I'm able to retire my chalk and write fulltime. Hopefully that will be in the next few years. As for writing, I have a lot of stories to tell, and I just hope to continue to educate, entertain, and inspire through literature.
M.T.: How can readers get in touch with you?
N.B.W.: My web address is www.sugarenes.8m.com, and my email in SugarenesPress@aol.com
M.T.: No, thank you, Nicole, for this wonderful interview. And thanks for having me on your show on December 4, 2001. We look forward to your new book! Best wishes and continued success in your literary endeavors.