Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel. Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor.
Welcome to Paperback Writer, Alicia. Why was writing Dark Side of Valor so important to you?
Dark Side of Valor started off being a totally different novel. Initially, I did not choose to write about teen runaways and teen homelessness. The novel was originally about a woman held captive in a foreign country and she needed to escape back to the United States. So, I began to research runaways from foreign lands. Every time I’d type in the search parameters, books, reports and articles popped up about teen runaways and homeless teens. After several hours, I gave up and read one of the articles, then another, then a report, then a life account. After about an hour, I was sitting in front of the library computer blubbering. As I finished reading, I had to write their stories and out of their stories, Lelia Freeman was born.
How did you come up with the title?
There is an old saying, ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ Many times, performing a good deed, being courageous or helping others, may lead to negative outcomes. That is the meaning behind Dark Side of Valor; the dark side or negative side of being courageous. Many times in the novel, Lelia, the main character, must live with the negative consequences of helping others.
Can you tell us more about your main character, Lelia Freeman?
Lelia is a very strong, courageous, street-smart woman. She grew up with an alcoholic mother and by the time she was 18, she’d run away from home and was living homeless on the streets of Los Angeles.
What are her strengths and what are her weaknesses?
Lelia’s heart is both her strength and weakness. Good or bad, life or death, she always allows her heart to lead her, even if the situation could kill her.
What about Elijah Dune? Can you tell us more about him?
Elijah Dune is a mercenary by trade; hunting, combat and staying alive are his specialties. What woman wouldn’t feel safe in his care? Gasp and swoon, ladies. Your dark knight has arrived.
Are there any other supporting characters we need to know about?
My favorite supporting characters in the book are Aunt Lou and Romeo Jones. Aunt Lou grew up in the jungles of Zaire, but traveled the world as well. She’s outrageous. Bright yellow tee-shirts, neon orange basketball earrings, high top sneakers and a kente cloth skirt match her boisterous, outspoken personality.
Romeo Jones is a cab driver who loves himself very, very, very much. Who doesn’t know a brother or sister who spends more time looking at themselves in the mirror then they spend breathing. Both characters were extremely fun to write.
Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?
When one of Lelia’s friends, Angel, is shaken-down by a strong arm, Thero, Lelia risks life and limb to save her friend.
What about page 65?
Lelia is in an abandoned crack house saving one of her kids, but the child doesn’t want to be saved.
Now that Dark Side of Valor has been published, what’s your next project?
The research for my next suspense has taken me to a South Carolina swamp, a rice plantation where one of Mel Gibson’s movies was filmed, on a Civil War naval battle ship, and a graveyard. It was phenomenal! I hope to take readers on a thrill ride they won’t soon forget.
Rebecca is a book coach, editor and publicist. She guides aspiring writers, coaches, entrepreneurs and speakers from idea or manuscript to become self-published authors so they share their expertise, knowledge and passion. Let's Book Together!