Welcome to another issue of Quill’s Edge!
This week in our Author Spotlight, from the beautiful island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, we have Romance Author, Verna Cyril!
Stephanie: Welcome to Quill’s Edge Verna. Tell us about yourself.
Verna: Thanks for having me. Let’s see, I was born on the beautiful island of Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean. From an early age, I was fascinated by the written word. I devoured anything in print that I could lay my hands on. As I progressed, my knowledge of the world and the intricacies of human behavior increased and fired my imagination. Life fueled my desire to express myself through the written word. Over the years, I sharpened my skills by conjuring stories that were graphic and spellbinding much to the delight of family members and a growing circle of friends and admirers.
Stephanie: So, tell us about your book, Heart of a Slave.
Verna: Heart of a Slave is about, a young woman named Siwhetta who was taken into captivity from her homeland, Africa. Siwhetta was sold into slavery and subsequently arrived in the West Indies via the Atlantic slave trade.
Stephanie: I read your book and I must say, your attention to detail was amazing. From the Door of No Return to crossing the Middle Passage, you were able to bring those images to life.
Verna: Thanks, Stephanie I wanted the first chapter to give a vivid description of her (Siwhetta’s) voyage across the Atlantic.
Stephanie: Siwhetta was an amazing heroine. Can you tell us more about her?
Verna: Sure! Siwhetta is the daughter of a tribal chieftain and warrior so she is not a shrinking violet by any means. Siwhetta is headstrong, independent and a natural- born leader and fighter.
Stephanie: We have all read about life on a plantation and the horrors that slaves endured. You captured it so brilliantly in your story.
Verna: I wanted the reader to imagine what it had to be like for her (Siwhetta) to adjust to this new environment.
Stephanie: And Dimitri, the male lead in the book, what can you tell us about him?
Verna: Dimitri, on the other hand, has an eye for beautiful women and so he finds Siwhetta intriguing. He is a strong male character with a zest for life and he detests slavery.
Stephanie: As an admirer of historical romances, I’m always intrigued at how during some of the darkest times in history, love still manages to find a way. In your book the same thing holds true. That spark… that connection between the characters, not just Dimitri and Siwhetta, but every character really resonated with me.
Verna: Thank you. Whenever I write, I strive to create multi-faceted characters that people can either love or hate. I wanted to tell an exciting story about people that could have existed. Siwhetta and Dimitri’s love spirals into a passionate and steamy love affair.
Stephanie: As I read Heart of a Slave, Verna, I found myself thinking of their Siwhetta and Dimitri’s love like a diamond. The facets of their love shined most brilliantly in adversity… in the darkness if you will.
Verna: Wow, thanks Stephanie. The plot really does weave through exciting conflicts as this forbidden love story unfolds.
Stephanie: What would you like your readers to take away from this book?
Verna: For me, Siwhetta and Dimitri and their forbidden love is a story for the ages. The story shows how two people from vastly different backgrounds can fall in love.
Stephanie: What inspired you to start writing?
Verna: I began writing teenage fiction at the age of thirteen. I have always had a wild imagination from an early age. My family and friends always marveled and encouraged me to write. Becoming a Mom gifted me with a new journey filled with even more adventures, so I stopped writing for a while. At the age of thirty, I picked up my writing mantle once more and I have been writing ever since!
Stephanie: Writing has always been a catharsis/healing instrument for Creatives. During my deepest bouts of depression, I found that writing helped me to get to know myself a little better and to heal. Does writing have that kind of restorative effect on you?
Verna: I totally agree. I went through a bout of depression and writing returned me to my full self again.
Stephanie: Any new work on the horizon?
Verna: I just completed a novella that is supposed to be part of a series and I am working on another historical romance novel.
Stephanie: Outstanding. If it is anything like Heart of a Slave, it is bound to be sensational!
Verna: Thanks, Stephanie.
Stephanie: What puts you in the mood to write?
Verna: Relaxing music and a good romance novel.
Stephanie: Which do you prefer? Writing in a café or bookstore or a home in the quiet?
Verna: I prefer to write at home over 80’s music.
Stephanie: Nice! I’m an 80’s music fan myself!
Stephanie: Who is your favorite author and why?
Verna: I love Julie Garwood’s romance novels. She no longer writes historical romance but my favorite historical romance novel written by her is The Wedding and its because I love history and I love happily ever after! I am also crazy about strong alpha male heroes.
Stephanie: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Verna: Julie Garwood and Johanna Lindsay. I read The Wedding at the age of fifteen, I devoured the entire book in two days and have loved historical romances ever since.
Stephanie: Okay. Here at Quill’s Edge we always ask a couple of fun questions to give fans a feel for their favorite writer’s personality. So here goes:
Stephanie: Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
Verna: I would prefer to be in a room full of spiders instead of snakes. They can both be poisonous, but I would take my chances on spiders
Stephanie: Coffee or Tea/Wine or Beer
Verna: I would take tea over wine or coffee, I don’t drink coffee and I seldom drink wine, unless I am entertaining.
Stephanie: As we draw our interview to a close, I always ask writers for Parting shots, some pearl of wisdom for the aspiring Authors out there. So, what is one bit of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?
Verna: Only one? There is so much I’ve learned throughout my journey to publication it’s hard to narrow it down to only one, but here are some highlights:
I would like to encourage aspiring authors to take time on their craft, spend time polishing your manuscript to the best of your ability.
Do your research. researching what you write about makes your stories come alive. It is all in the details!
Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is the only way we learn.
And lastly, write about what you are passionate about, not what is popular. If you are not passionate about what you write, why should your readers be? The real classics do not follow a trend. They blaze the trail!
Stephanie: How can people purchase Heart of a Slave?
Verna: Currently Heart of a Slave is available through Amazon.
Stephanie: Thanks for joining us today, Verna.
Verna: You’re welcome, Thanks for having me.
Stephanie: Alright Quill’s Edge Tribe, you heard it here first. If you are a Book Dragon/Book Worm who is into Historical Romance, you need to check our Verna Cyril’s Heart of a Slave!
Until next time, this is Stephanie Freeman for Quill’s Edge Author Spotlight!
If you are an author that wishes to be featured in Quill’s Edge, contact Stephanie at the following: