Honesty Price is an author, among other things, who jumped into the world of writing romance with her first project Back to Us in 2019.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
I’m still not sure it’s what I’m “called” to do, since the process is hard for me. What frustrates me most is writing itself; doing the work of developing a compelling story with interesting characters that makes sense outside my head and has an impact on the reader. Whether the story is light-hearted and fun or emotionally challenging, I want my work to be memorable to the reader. Hitting the right beats and notes to get there isn’t as easy as my favorite authors make it look. But even with all the challenges of writing, I love the finished product. I started writing because I wanted to read the stories floating around in my head and being able to do that is really rewarding.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I write Black contemporary romance. My work is on my website www.writehonesty.com. The best place to find out more about me is The Write Honesty Podcast (also on my website). I host that podcast with a friend, and we talk about books and authors we love. I also typically write some of my personality into my characters’ siblings or best friends. Usually, those characters as the reader’s surrogate and at times, I’m as frustrated with the main character as the readers are.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I wish I had a good answer to this, but I have no idea. It could be something really small, like a side comment made in a movie or TV show or a conversation with a friend. The ideas just pop up and I try to see how far I can go with them. Recently I released a story titled Make Me Beg, that was inspired by Facebook Group Readers. They had the idea and me, J. Chary, and Kema B. (all Black romance authors) put together a series based on their idea. It was a lot of fun.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
This year, yes. I want to grow my catalog and get some of the half-finished stories off my computer. Lately I’ve been getting up at 4:30 or 5 to write before work. I’m a lot more productive during that time than I thought I’d be. And I definitely outline. If I just sit down and write, there’s a lot of filler that doesn’t really move the stories. That’s a telltale sign I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. My outlines cover the main character’s actions, ancillary character reactions, the emotional tone of the scene, and how the scene moves the story forward. When I have an outline, I am more efficient in each scene. I’m working on Fixing Us. It’s book 4 of a series and part 2 of the book immediately preceding it in the series. I’m in love with the main characters and I’m excited to write their happily ever after.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
Hmmm. As a teen, the books that moved me emotionally were The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker, Push by Sapphire, Tumbling by Diane McKinney-Whetstone, and Sisters and Lovers by Connie Briscoe. Once I started reading romance, my early favorites were anything by Niobia Bryant, Adrianne Byrd, Zuri Day, and Farrah Rochon.
I took a long break from reading romance and when I came back to it, there was a whole new group. I started with Christina C. Jones and then Alexandra Warren. After that, I got into Alexandria House and Love Belvin. Then Nicole Falls, AshleyNicole, Chencia C. Higgins, Diana W. T. Key, Aja, Monica Waters, and Turtleberry. There really are too many to name, but those are some of my favorites.
When I’m writing, I re-read books I’ve already had a pass at. Currently, I’m re-reading The Black Series by Joan Vassar which is phenomenal. Soon I’ll get into Ladii Nesha’s upcoming novel Emotionally Scarred.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
So far? Finishing my first book. It sounds strange, but in December 2018, I decided to write my first book and I published it in March 2019— I said I was going to do a thing, and I did it. Anything after that is a bonus. That’s why it’s hard for me to set long-term goals for my writing. I just want to finish the stories I start, and I want them to be so good that readers sit still for a minute after reading. I want them to be so full they can’t rest until they tell someone about what they read. If I can do that consistently, no matter the tone or trope, I’d call myself a successful writer.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
The only rejection I’ve received is the occasional low review. It stings, but I also understand my writing style and voice aren’t for everyone. The best way to cope with negative reviews, especially if the negative reviews are in the minority, is not to read them. Reviewers aren’t talking to me. They’re documenting their experience with a story. Once I hit publish, I can’t control how my work is received. It’s a hard posture to take, but it’s working so far.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
YES!! All I want to do is write and talk to the people who read my work. But I want more than my mother to read my work, so I have to promote it. The good thing about it so far is that I’ve chosen to focus on readers who are active on Facebook and Instagram. They talk to each other, recommend books, promote stories that really touched them, and I get to talk to them. I know their names and we email or message over social media. As a result, I feel less like I’m screaming into a void when I promote my work. I’ve developed relationships with some of my readers, which is rewarding.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
I can, but much, much later. If I read it and write after I publish, I’ll think about what I should’ve done differently. After some time has passed, I can enjoy it for what it is.
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Nope, it’s never too late. I think a person can start and reach their definition of success at any age. I do think it’s important to define it for yourself, but once you’re clear on your goals and what success means to you, it’s never too late.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
This is tough. I once said on my podcast that I’ve lived a lot of lives. Maybe having so many experiences and in so many roles help me pin down the emotions of a story, but maybe I just have a vivid imagination and enjoy telling stories.