Natashia Deon the author of Grace talks to The Articles of Antiquity about how she created her new book and the journey that she took to get there.
What's your name and what do you do?
Natashia Deon, writer, attorney and law professor
How did you come up with the idea for Grace?
The opening sequence came to me in a day dream...or a vision--I don't know what to name it--while I was walking down my hallway holding my newborn son. A slave was running for her life and she was pregnant. It became the opening chapter of GRACE. The rest was pure imagination.
What was the research process like for Grace?
I read a lot of old books that I thought might give me insight into language and culture and the places I'd write about. I studied history and sometimes that just meant Google. Other times, not.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I can't say that I ever knew I wanted to be a writer. I just wrote. It was in me. Sort of like, I can't say when I ever wanted to walk. I just did. It came naturally and made sense. I decided to be serious and intentional about writing a novel after I had the daydream that I described above. But before then, I had always written stories and poems, summarized cases for clients, and made up board games for my family which had stories.
Do you have any advice on writing the query letter?
I'd say it's helpful to have a good longline or pitch. Twenty-five words or less. And if you can, compare your book to one or two other books--preferably popular ones--that might be similar to yours.
I remember you telling me a little bit about the process of getting Grace into a novel could you please tell me a brief story about how the idea started out as a screenplay and grew into the Novel it is today?
When the story came to me, I didn't know how to write a novel. If there is a how. I had written screenplays. A few of them. So when I needed to get the story out, it made sense to me to write it as a screenplay. Really, it became an outline for the novel. But after I wrote the screenplay for GRACE and it began winning awards, I thought that all I had to do was cut and paste the story from screenplay format to Word.doc and take out INT. and EXT. and things like that, and I'd be set. It's totally laughable now. But when I think about all of the times I thought GRACE was "finished," it's all laughable and part of the journey to getting to the best book I could write by the time it was published.
What do you love about writing?
Letting things go.
What writers have influenced you in your work?
Sapphire, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Cormac McCarthy, the Apostle Paul and the writers of the Bible's book of Genesis, poet Romus Simpson, Maya Angelou, and more.
What does your writing space look like?
A converted garage made to look like a library, with books and trinkets and small art that I've been collecting for the last 10 years because I think they're pretty.
What's next for you?
A new book, teaching at the junior college, being a mom and wife, and caregiver to my aging mother.
If you could meet any famous author who would you meet?
If you could travel anywhere in time where would you go?
Rome, 29 AD
Do you like reading physical books or digital more?
What is your mundane super hero power?
What are some books you are reading right now?
A new book by Susan Sherman called "If You Were Here" and Roxane Gay's new book, "Difficult Women." I'm excited about both of them.