Author Suzette D. Harrison is keeping readers on their toes with her latest release. I recently spoke with her about Basketball & Ballet.
Tell me about your latest book.
Basketball & Ballet hits bookshelves on June 2 (yay, my birthday!) and is book #2 in my California Love series. It’s a fun, faith-filled, sexy romance featuring Yazmeen Williams and Tavares Alvarez, a ballerina and NBA point guard. Both have retired from their respective professions and are focused on raising their children. Yazmeen is a divorced mother of three-year-old twin boys, and Tavares is a single father parenting a five-year-old daughter. Both have crazy exes who’re candidates for straitjackets. Neither has much time for love, but hot instant attraction might make them rethink that. Or as the tagline says: He left the game. She left the dance. Can they give love a chance?
Readers will have to read it to see.
Why did you decide to write it?
As the next in series, it was past time for Basketball & Ballet to show up on the scene. Time aside, the storyline follows two born-again Christians hit by mutual physical and sexual attraction. Sounds normal and fine? It is. Except Yazmeen and Tavares are both saved and celibate. For me, their voyage is fascinating. How do they navigate raw attraction and spirituality? I wanted to not merely celebrate their spiritual/sexual decisions, but felt that it was important to show their very real struggles to live a life that they feel is acceptable to them as single Christians. They keep it real. They’re raw, but hopefully they’re also encouraging to other readers who may be undertaking similar journeys.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
No fair, Chandra! That’s like asking a mother who’s her favorite baby. But since you did: I’d have to say both Yazmeen and Tavares! I love them each for different reasons.
Yazmeen is intriguing to me because her demeanor and personality override the “strong Black woman” mystique. She’s tenderhearted, gentle, and at times a tad bit goofy. She’s neither hard nor edgy. As a born-again believer, she doesn’t drink or use profanity. Still, her resilience and strength are undeniable and respect-worthy.
As for Tavares, despite being a former NBA star, he’s humble, approachable, and truly likable. He’s also bullheaded, determined, and perhaps unaccustomed to not getting what he wants and when he wants it. Yazmeen and her resistance will definitely try his patience. Even so, Tavares’ charm and generosity make him lovable, forgivable. And his devotion as a family man and father will pull readers in and show that, despite his headstrong ways, he’s an honorable man.
What was the hardest part about writing the story?
The most difficult part wasn’t so much the story itself, rather the time that lapsed between the release of the first book in the series, My Joy, and Basketball & Ballet. Ideally, I would’ve loved for the two to have been released one year apart, but life got in the way, I had other writing projects, and it didn’t happen. As for the book itself, each chapter alternates P.O.V. (point of view) between Yazmeen and Tavares. So, ensuring that each chapter fully embodied their character, perspective and voice had me hopping back and forth, keeping me on my toes and feet because I always want my characters to have their say. Their space. Authentically.
If you were to write a book about your life, what would be the title and why?
The Cycles & Seasons of Suzette. Simply because that’s one of the hardest yet most beautiful lessons I’ve learned in life. No matter how challenging or hurtful a period in life may be, it doesn’t last always. Neither does a particular victory. Yet, both work together to build and construct me into who and what I am.
What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?
My husband and I were married 11 years before being blessed with our first child.
Tell me about a book that changed your life and why.
Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings literally snatched me from a dark period that I now realize was depression. The testimony is too lengthy to share here, but let’s just say I’d initially read Caged Bird while a teenager. However, when in my early twenties and dealing with deep depression I was so sick of myself that I decided reading might help me escape the pain I was in. When looking for something to occupy my mind, I chose to read Caged Bird again. When I finished reading it that second time, the black blanket of sadness that had been draped over me for months vanished. Literally and instantly! I knew right then and there the power of words and writing, and that I wanted to do for others, through writing, what Dr. Angelou did for me: provide solace, freedom, joy and release.
What’s next for you?
I have a romance featuring an older woman and slightly younger man that will be published this summer with the newly formed Rose Gold Press. Additionally, I was recently approached by a U.K.–based publisher to write a historical project, which they’ve conceptualized and am currently in the contract phase of that offer.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
As a writer, I love connecting with my readers. I’m available for book club and group discussions via Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime so reach out to me and let’s make it happen.
Thank you, Chandra, for sharing your literary space with me. I truly appreciate you!
Use my affiliate link to purchase you copy of Basketball & Ballet.
To learn more about author Suzette D. Harrison, visit her website or connect with her on social media.
NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: https://bit.ly/2Wa65yo