Laverne Brown is one of the two ladies that I dedicated my latest release, Baby Girl, to. She has read most of my books and provided a review for them and also given me her feedback, which I have always appreciated.
She completed the following Q&A a few months ago, but I got so busy with writing and recording audiobooks that I didn't post it. I just want her to know that I really appreciate all that she has done to help spread the word about my books and for agreeing to this online interview.
1) Tell us about yourself?
I'm the co-founder of Reader’s Paradise Book Club, in Chicago, IL. Our book club started in church. After sermons, a friend and I would talk about the sermon and then move to books. We are a very unique book club with the Lord as our nucleus. I’m also a reviewer for many authors, agents, and publishers. By profession, I am a Human Resources professional and Immigration Specialist.
I’ve worked in Human Resources since 1998 and in the past have tried a career change, but to no avail, so I’m still with it. I’m the middle child of three: one sister and brother. I have two fur babies: one elder cat and a youngster; they keep me laughing daily. I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York. I relocated to Chicago in 1998. I enjoy working out and experimenting with vegetarian dishes. One of my favorite things to do is being still. On any given Saturday, after all my errands are done, you can find me in my recliner chair doing nothing.
2) Tell us about Reader's Paradise. Are you accepting new members?
Reader’ Paradise was founded in October 2006, right here in Chicago. When I think of books and reading, it feels like paradise, which is where the name comes from. We meet the second Saturday of each month from January – October, November and December we break for the holidays. We have two reviewers in our book club, myself being one. I accept most genres to read and review, except urban fiction and memoirs. Here’s a caveat, even though we say we don’t read urban and memoirs that can change depending on the circumstances. At this time we are accepting new members if anyone is interested in reading with us they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) How did you become a book reviewer?
I began my joyous career of reviewing with RAW Sistaz, a Tee C Royal Literary Group and Book club, almost twenty years ago. Tee asked, and I said yes. I wasn’t sure this was something I could do but I knew it was something I wanted to do. It was an amazing place to be while there. The fellowship and learning opportunities were amazing. I met so many authors and readers that it felt like paradise.
4) How many books do you typically read/review in a month? How did you develop your love for reading?
The number of books I read / review varies from month to month. I wish I could give a number but with authors like Cheryl Robinson writing great stories it's challenging. I also don’t always say yes to accept review books because I need to make time for personal reads. Let me share this; in January, I read six personal books and only accepted two review books. My mom started my love of reading. She brought my siblings and I a subscription to Scholastic Highlights Magazine when we were very young (I probably just aged myself but I don’t have an age hang-up). During the summer months, we were either in a math lab, reading lab, or typing clinic. Guess where I was? Tee-hee, you guessed it—reading lab. I loved to read.
5) Do you remember when you first discovered my books and what led you to reach out to me?
Somehow I discovered Sweet Georgia Brown and introduced it to my book club, and we read and discussed it and invited you to the chat, and you graciously said yes. From that book forward, we read all of your titles. But for The One, we actually went into character with that book. What fun.
6) Tell us about your favorite character from the Until Ray trilogy?
There is only one—Ms. Lily King. I ABSOLUTELY enjoyed her candor, humor, and her character. I don’t know how you came up with her, but I’m so glad you did. The Until Ray Trilogy was a very intriguing and interesting read.
7) You sent me a text saying that you were getting sad while reading Lily. Without giving away spoilers, why was the book making you sad?
I have not given up on Lily, I actually picked the book back up this weekend and I was glad to read and listen to Lily and James story so finally she gets some joy. I don’t do well with abuse to elders or children so I had to pause.