Mary Honey B Morrison’s new novel, I’d Rather Be With You releases today nationwide. She took the time to stop by The Reading Life with Yolanda to discuss her new book, upcoming projects and much more. Mary, thank you for allowing The Reading Life with Yolanda the opportunity to interview you.
Mary Honey B Morrison is a New York Times bestselling author who believes that women should shape their own destiny. Born in Aurora, IL, and raised in New Orleans, LA, she took a chance and quit her near six-figure government job to self-publish her first book, Soulmates Dissipate, in 2000 and begin her literary career. Mary’s books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists. Mary is also actively involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors, and in 2006 she sponsored the publication of an anthology written by 33 sixth-graders. In 2010, Mary produced a play based on her novel, Single Husbands, which she wrote under her pseudonym, HoneyB. In addition to her novels and play, Mary has a multi-film development deal with director/producer, Leslie Small and CEO of Codeblack Entertainment, Jeff Clanagan for her Soulmates Dissipate series. Mary currently resides in Oakland, CA. Her son, Jesse Byrd, Jr., has completed his first novel and he’s a producer on Mary’s film projects.
Publisher: Dafina Book/An Imprint of Kensington Publishing
I’d Rather Be With You is the second installment of the If I Can’t Have You series. Friends, Madison DuBois and Loretta Lovelace are back. What kind of drama can we expect from them this time?
I have a few words for Loretta. “Bitch you’re a sore loser.” All I can say about Madison is she’s selfish. I’d Rather Be With You is understandable but at what cost? This book shows how deception is deeper than love. Neither Madison nor Loretta understand why they desperately want a man they don’t deserve. If it’s humanly feasible, Granville has got to be the smartest dumbest character I know. Chicago, I’ve got one word for him too, confused. Read between the pages and you’ll find someone you know. I hope it’s not you.
What were your goals and intentions in I’d Rather Be With You, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I don’t establish goals; I develop characters. If I believe I know what the readers want, I can’t be true to the people on my pages. That leaves me with the one thing I have lots of . . . hope. Like each of my readers all of my characters have redeeming qualities. I do my best and pray one word at a time my fans are captivated.
Mama and Disappearing Acts by Terri McMillian inspired me. When I discovered Terri had self-published her first novel, I knew I could (and did) do the same. Eddie Murphy influenced me when he said, “If you want to become successful, you have to let go of something and never look back.” I retired at the age of thirty-five to write full-time.
How many books have you written? Not only under your name but under Honey B as well? How do you balance writing in two genres?
I’m penning novel number twenty. It’s the trilogy and conclusion for my If I Can’t Have You series. If You Don’t Know Me releases April 14, 2014. It’s easy for me to keep my alter ego, HoneyB turned up! She’s sexy but never sleazy. Women have the right to embrace their sexuality without judgement. Mary B. Morrison embraces the same value but couples it with female empowerment. Regardless of the obstacles my female characters encounter they always overcome.
Mary, I love your #Teambhonest post. They’re so uplifting, direct and on point. I look forward to reading them every day. What made you decide to use that hashtag? Why the openness?
I switched my hashtag from #HoneyBhonest to #TeamBhonest to encourage my friends, fans, and followers to join my Team. Collectively and individually we each have a voice. When more people, especially women, are open and honest about what they want in their personal lives we can make the world a better place for all. Through #TeamBhonest I’m turned up on keep it 100!
As an aspiring author, I know that reading daily is as important as writing daily. What are currently reading?
When I’m writing a novel, I read magazines−travel, home design, Essence, etc. I read other books in between writing my mine. When I’m finished with If You Don’t Know Me, I’ll read You’ve Got It Bad by Marissa Monteilh.
What projects (screen & novels) are you currently working on now?
I’m completing If You Don’t Know Me. My novel Soulmates Dissipate is being adapted for film by director/producer Leslie Small, and CEO of Codeblack Entertainment, Jeff Clanagan.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Never censor your first draft. Be true to your characters. Don’t think someone else is going to make you rich. Publishers invest in writers that invest in themselves. If you’re writing and don’t care if you make money, don’t ask me for advice. I don’t like when aspiring writers say, “I’ve been thinking about writing a book. What advice can you give me?” Write the book.
One wacky question: Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning? Or do you say, “What’s the point. I’m getting back in there later tonight?”
Just like no one can tell me what to write, no one can tell me where to sleep. My bed is in my living room. I make my bed every day. I can’t focus on writing if my bed isn’t made.
How can readers reach you?
Mary’s virtual release party is August 1st from 6:00-7:00 pm EST. All you have to do is click the link to RSVP. http://www.shindig.com/event/marybmorrison2
Mary, once again I would like to thank you for this opportunity. May God continue to bless your endeavors.