Tuesday 23 July 2013

Yesterday Mourning Review & Author Interview

17884600Yesterday Mourning By Renita Bryant

Book Synopsis

Yvette is a forty-one year old woman struggling to cope with losing both parents during her twenties—one to terminal disease and the other to life’s complications. Over the years, she learned to repress the pain of watching her mother die and the resentment of having her father casually walk out of her life. Now as she packs her bags to return to her Georgia hometown and the house where final goodbyes were never spoken, a growing sense of uneasiness intensifies.

Vera is the kind-hearted stepsister Yvette never imagined nor wanted. She was an innocent teenager when Yvette’s father, the Pastor, entered her life. Although broken from the loss of his beloved wife and daughters, he found a way to give Vera the love and affection she so desperately needed. However, a childhood secret threatens to compromise everything Vera holds dear.

When the Pastor’s health takes a turn for the worse, both daughters must decide if they have the strength and courage to no longer be confined to burdens of the past. Will Yvette overcome feelings of abandonment and forgive her father before it’s too late? Does Vera’s childhood secret hold the key to mending this family’s broken relationship?

Yesterday Mourning is a heartfelt and poignant novella about two women learning invaluable lessons of forgiveness, love, loss and ultimately—peace. It is an impressive début from an author with an authentic voice and a love for storytelling.

Claire's Review 4 of 5 Stars

I have restarted this review a few times now as I seem to be struggling to have the words to do the book justice. This book is a very emotional journey right for the beginning.
Written in a 2 person narrative I did find confusing to read to begin with, As had trouble distinguishing between the two on occasions, but soon I got into the flow of the characters.
this was a great novella and a great début, I do think though the story could have been drawn out into a full length novel and would loved to have read more!

Renita Bryant Interview

What inspired you to write your first book? Being a writer has always been a dream of mine. There’s something magical about using words on a page to emotionally propel someone into another time and place. When I was younger, I mostly wrote poetry and essays. Over time, I toyed with the idea of writing a novel but never truly committed. Then in 2006, my mother lost her battle with cancer and everything changed. I believe writing was a form of therapy and it provided the control I yearned for during a time in my life when I felt powerless.

How did you come up with the title? I always knew Mourning would be somewhere in the title. As I thought about the first book in the series and what I wanted to communicate as well as how the story would unfold, I landed on Yesterday Mourning.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?  Definitely! I’d like readers to understand how two people can go through the same situation, endure devastating pain caused by that very event, and yet have two totally opposing perspectives coming out of it. Forgiveness is such a powerful notion and it often requires us to see someone else’s truth.

How much of the book is realistic?  Yesterday Mourning is loosely based on my reality. While the storyline is fiction, the emotions are honest and real. Not long after my mother died, the relationship with my father became strained and then nonexistent. I was confused, hurt, and felt abandoned. Writing this story helped me come to terms with what had happened as well as determine what I wanted as my ideal outcome. Being able to divulge all of my grief and trauma on paper was therapeutic. My biggest hope is that my words will help someone else find strength in a seemingly hopeless situation.

Are your novels based on someone you know, or events in your own life? There is definitely a mix. People I’ve met during my lifetime inspired me along with my own reality.

What are you reading now? There are a few books on my TBR list, including Qwantu Amaru’s One Blood (I’ve heard great things!) and Maxwell’s Inheritance: Who Do You Think You Are (specifically for an indie-author book review group).

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? I actually identify with the works of Paulo Coelho, specifically The Alchemist and The Zahir.  I read them both multiple times over the years and found so many great life lessons throughout the pages.

What are your current projects? I’m working on a collection of short stories and Stolen Moments, Forgotten Mournings, which is book 2 in the Mourning series.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I think most writers see the imperfections in everything they produce. I’ve consistently received feedback and reviews from readers on Yesterday Mourning’s ability to touch them while reading and long after internalizing the last word. My novel means something to people and that both humbles and inspires me.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? My mother wanted to be a writer. I remember being very young and asking her about clouds and how they were made. Instead of giving me the scientific answer (which of course I later learned) she wrote a short story and then typed it and left it on my bed. She made up an entire story about popcorn clouds that I never forgot. Her creativity moved me and in essence made my passion for writing almost a given.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Because of the subject matter, I have to be in the right frame of mind and emotions to write. At times that means I have to walk away from my laptop because I want real, honest, raw emotion. Those things aren’t shaped overnight.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book? Not as much right now but hopefully that’ll change in the near future!

Who designed the cover? Marie Morrison! She’s amazing!

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Being so vulnerable-not simply during the actual writing but even after publishing it. As a writer you struggle with the fear of releasing something you’ve grown a deep attachment to and not having others respect or appreciate it. I wondered if my friends and family would be able to understand Yesterday Mourning and if strangers would even buy it.

Do you have any advice for other writers? My advice is two-fold. Write what you know because that’s one of the few ways to bring authenticity to your words and evoke powerful emotions. Another way is to write the story you’d most like to read.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? I’d like them to know how much I sincerely appreciate their time, their feedback, and their support. It humbles me to hear them tell me how much my novel moved them to tears or made them reconcile relationships that had been non-existent for decades. My readers inspire me and for that, I thank them.

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