Hello fellow bookies (LOL) , this Anjanette Potter the creator of BOOKWORM. As part of my desire to present you with an honest to goodness blog about all things pertaining to books, I will posting Q&A’s with my, and your, favorite authors. My first one is with a lady that I’m honored and privilege to have as a Facebook friend, Mrs. Pat G’Orge-Walker. Before I met Mrs. I was already addicted to her books (I collect them). Her style of Christian fiction renders the Word of God with a huge dose of humor that will have you in stitches. I ordered my first copy of Sister Betty! God is Calling You!, Again through Black Expressions Book Club and like any good bookie, I’ve hooked on her work ever since. At the end of this interview I will post info on how to pre-order her latest creation Don’t Blame the Devil. Enjoy.
- I’ve read your bio and noticed that you’re a veteran of the music industry. What made you decide to enter the world of Christian Fiction and Gospel Comedy?
Answer: I am a recording industry veteran of both the entertainment side; singing with various groups, Arlene Smith & the Chantels being one. And, I’ve worked marketing and promotion for Epic, Columbia and Def Jam records. I was also the President of IMB Records, which was an independent label. As for what made me decide to enter the world of Christian Fiction and Gospel comedy, it is both simple and complicated to a degree.
During the early 1970’s I created the Sister Betty series. It was and still is my intention to shine a light, using humor, on God’s goodness, mercy and grace. It’d started because being a PK (preacher’s kid), I didn’t like going to church, hearing a wondering sermon and then have it snatched away by someone saying or doing something stupid after service. I would go home and write down my observations. I created Sister Betty as God’s Right-hand Gal to thwart the evils of the characters. There were flawed characters such as the Reverend Knott Enuff Money, Deacon Laid Handz, Mother Pray Onn and Sister Ima Hellraiser as the posse of blessing thieves. I also named their place of worship as The Ain’t Nobody Right But Us-All Others Goin’ to Hell church. I always have Sister Betty as the spiritual mirror, yet even she, at times, has a cracked mirror.
Now fast forward to the 1990’s. I’d co-produced an album for Ruffhouse/Columbia Records. The album was for Reggae artist Kulcha don and featured the Fugees. No sooner had a track been released the album was shelved. Wyclef didn’t want to participate in a video and Columbia wanted to release an unknown group named Destiny’s Child. And we all know how that turned out J So after having a pity party with LaJoyce Brookshire (Soul Food), she chided me into putting out one of own stories. I didn’t know that in the literary industry you didn’t release just one short story. I thought it was like the record industry; you have an album and you release a single. I put a twenty-two page short story on the internet and for the purposes of having, enough pages create a book that could withstand a staple in the middle of the cover; I added more content to it and placed it in some stores on consignment. The little booklet was “Sister Betty! God’s Calling You.” It was a hit and a best seller. And, although readers complained that it was too short, they still brought it. Several months later, I released the second short story, “Sister Connie Fuse Makes a Grave Mistake.” Like the first story, the second one took off too. Soon I was in libraries and all over the place. Since it was something new, I also started to again, perform. I went all over the country performing my Sister Betty one-woman show that I’d created back in the 70’s as well. I received a publishing offer from Kensington/Dafina books. They used my Sister Betty series to start their Christian Fiction line. The rest is history.
2.Where do your characters come from? For those that are based on real people, where are they now?
ANSWER: My characters come from an assortment of areas. Some of them I dream, most of them I know and a few are made from whole cloth or a combination of folks and situations. As for where they are now; the ones I know are for the most part still around. For instance, Sister Ima Hellraiser is based upon my first cousin Myra. Myra lives in Greenville, South Carolina. Sister Betty was based upon an old woman named Ms. Lena who lived in Williamston, South Carolina. Ma Cile was based upon my maternal grandmother who was named Ma Cile and was exactly how I portrayed her in the stories with the exception of having one blue eye. Some of the others are scattered here and about. To me the most interesting thing is that the setting for these characters takes place in Pelzer, South Carolina. Some readers thought it was a fictional place. It is not. It is not that far from Williamston, SC. I chose Pelzer because as a pre-teen; every time I tried to run away someone in Pelzer who knew my grandmother would bring me back home. I’d get my butt kicked. I’d promised myself that one day I would get back at Pelzer. The rest is history and now they’re on the map and loving it.
3. After reading several of your books, I like that they contain situations that aren’t always black and white, do you think Christianity has the answer to the grey areas in a person’s life?
ANSWER: Yes, I do. I believe the Bible is the roadmap. Like any road there are all twists and turns and the pavement is never smooth nor easy. When you have a personal relationship with God He will give you the best route.
4. What new projects are you currently working on?
ANSWER: I’m currently on deadline for my 2011 Christmas story. The title has not been selected as yet but it will bring back Sister Betty and her cast of spiritual misfits J I’m also working on promoting my new title which will be released on September 1, 2010, Don’t Blame the Devil which is the sequel to my 2009 release of Somebody’s Sinning in My Bed. And, of course, I’m still traveling and performing as well as preparing to celebrate more than thirty-five years of Sister Betty.
5. What are your future plans?
ANSWER: After battling cancer last year and a more recent thyroid surgery, I don’t have future plans, I have my NOW plans. I believe we make God laugh when we talk about what we will do in the future. I prefer to let what I do now take care of the future.
Thank you much for this opportunity to connect with you and your readers. It’s always humbling to look back at where God has brought me from… and I’m sure I have yet to reach my destination.
I personally thank Mrs. G’Orge-Walker for participating in this Q&A for me. We (I) at BOOKWORM pray for her speedy recovery. Don’t Blame the Devil is available for preorder at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Book-a-Million
(Pssst Amazon.com has the best deal for those of you, like me, that are true bookies)