Urban Reviews: Tell our
readers about This Time For Real?
Yahrah St. John: This Time For Real
is the second book in the Orphan Series. The first book in the
series Playing For Keeps came out last year. This book
tells the story of ruggedly handsome, community center
director MALIK WILLIAMS. After having been abused and
abandoned as a child, Malik doesnít believe in love and has
chosen to dedicate his life to helping others. Beautiful
professor and widower Dr. PEYTON SAWYER knows about loss and
the power of love. Can Peyton convince the cynical crusader to
open his heart and let love-in?
Urban Reviews: What
inspired you to want to write this particular story?
Yahrah St. John: I have to admit the
inspiration to do the Orphan Series came from my editor. She
recognized that I was writing really distinct characters in
the first book and suggested I delve deeper. Once I started
researching why children become orphans or are put in foster
care, I came up with the idea for the book.
Urban Reviews: You have
quite a story about how you became a published author. Can you
please share your literary journey?
Yahrah St. John: My journey to becoming a
published author reads like a Cinderella story. After
finishing my first novel, One Magic Moment, I attended
Romance Slam Jam, a romance writerís conference where I
pitched my novel during an editor appointment. The editor
expressed interest and took my synopsis and three sample
chapters with her on the plane. Three days later, I received a
call from the editor. She wanted to read the whole book.
Needless to say, I was thrilled and overnighted the novel.
Three months later, I received the call from BET Books
offering me a two-book contract. The rest as they say is
Urban Reviews: What has
been the most rewarding part about being a published author?
Yahrah St. John: The most rewarding part
of being a published author is getting to interact with my
readers. When I get an email from a reader telling me how much
the love the book, I respond immediately. I especially love
meeting readers in person because I get to sign autographs and
take pictures with them, its real treat. Just this February, I
met a fan whoíd read all my books and traveled over an hour
just to come meet me. I feel truly blessed to do what I love
and have readers appreciate it.
Urban Reviews: Did you
always want to write romance or did your decision to write a
romance evolved from something else initially?
Yahrah St. John: I have always wanted to
write romance because thatís what I read growing up. I started
reading Sweet Valley High type books then progressed to
Harlequin books and Danielle Steele. As a teenager, I began
writing teenage love stories and progressed from to
Urban Reviews: What is
your writing process like? Is there a certain time of day,
location, or mood that you need to have in order to write?
Yahrah St. John: I am very methodical
when it comes to my writing. I start out with an idea. Then I
work my way to a character sketch, where I create each
characterís identity: looks, career, family and love life.
Iíll even cut out photos of models or celebs from magazines so
that I have a visual. Using what Iíve learned from step 2, I
create my chapter outline, which lays out what will happen in
each chapter. Once Iíve fine tuned the outline, I whip out my
three-page synopsis. I can write any time day. Since I work
full-time, during the week, I write in the evening and on
weekends during the day and usually in my office.
Urban Reviews: What
projects can we look forward to from you in the future?
Yahrah St. John: I have completed the
third book in the Orphan Series, Two-To-Tango which
will focus on Sageís story. Iím also finishing up my first
mainstream womenís fiction book about four African-American
women and their dating woes.
Urban Reviews: Do you
have any favorite authors or books?
Yahrah St. John: From a romance
standpoint, I love Brenda Jackson, Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill
and Gwynne Forster. I also love reading Eric Jerome Dickey,
Kimberla Lawson Roby, E Lynn Harris and Carl Weber.
Urban Reviews: If there
was one thing about the romance market that could be changed,
what would you want it to be?
Yahrah St. John: I would like to change
the image that the romances are all bodice-rippers and fluff.
As authors we pride ourselves on not just the sex aspect, but
the love story between a man and a woman. There are also
wonderful subplots such as the child abuse story I tell in
This Time For Real. The romance genre is one of the few genres
that is thriving in these tough economic times. Why? Because
there are so many layers to romance: romantic suspense,
romantic comedy, paranormal and erotica. Readers shouldnít be
afraid to pick up a romance; they may be surprised at what
they might find.
Urban Reviews: Is there
anything else you would like to share about yourself or your
Yahrah St. John: I hope readers continue
to enjoy the romances that I write and that they can email me
my email address. I would
love to hear what they think about This Time For Real.
Itís a great book and they wonít be able to put it down.