Author, Editor, Playwright, Motivational Speaker
Having the uncanny ability to draw a reader in and captivate from any point in a story, author April Alisa Marquette, a native New Yorker, was delighted with the creative writing and literature electives offered in college.
Once a successful tutor for young people whom others had given up on, she is committed to the craft of writing.
It is her endeavour to create beautifully detailed sagas that depict smart, sexy, multi-cultural characters and those who both love and despise them.
You are no stranger to the publishing process. You have published five fiction and two non-fiction books. What has been your publishing experience?
AM: My publishing experience has been vast and varied. When I was a twenty-something, I worked for renowned publishing houses. Then, in my search for an agent, I got scammed by a female New York con artist who was preying on unsuspecting writers—and boy was she good at it. About my experiences alone, I could tell a story! However, through everything, I have learned lessons I will always remember. I believe everything that has happened, or will happen to me simply makes up the script of my life.
How does it feel to have published your eighth book?
AM: I am on top of the world! Sometimes while in the process of researching and writing a book, I wonder if I will ever get it finished. However, someone once said something that I keep in mind. Writers must write until they get it right.
What makes Rebuke different from your previously written books?
AM: Firstly, Rebuke was a labour of love. As many of my readers know, my late father was a Pastor, therefore, some of the scenarios with the Pastor in Rebuke greatly resemble those that I or other PKs (preacher’s kids) whom I know, experienced with our fathers. Rebuke is different again because at points the penning of this novel flew, like I had angel wings. Rebuke is different thirdly because my other novels are told in my usual straight-forward style. This novel chose to become slightly more subtle, yet it will induce emotions in a reader—those like disbelief and anger—among other things. Some people may even laugh out loud at a few scenarios.
Is Rebuke based on a true story?
AM: No, but after reading it you wouldn’t know it. What I tried to do with this story, set in the sleepy town of Tranquility where future novels will also be set, was to take readers back. Yes, to a time before mega churches and worldwide televangelists. I take them into the neighbourhood preacher’s home. I allow them to see the things that most parishioners don’t often get to see—the private life of the preacher, as well as those of his family. I allow the reader to see their actions when the family members believe no one is watching. Readers ‘hear’ the lies—yes, the lies—told. There is lust and betrayal. There are other things, too, that will depict the inner demons that drive the first family. Whereas most authors choose to de-humanize the preacher, I have done the opposite. I have penned the dichotomy between God and Man. I show that, although God sometimes uses the preacher, he is first and foremost a man, one who has faults, needs and desires, just like everyone else. In doing so, it is my hope that readers will come away from this story profoundly moved in some way.
Why do you think people are so fascinated with books about Pastors and their secrets?
AM: Most likely because Pastors have long been enigmatic figures. They’ve been hard to figure out since they have public and private personas. The latter, however, they most often hide. Pastors, especially those in the Black church, have long been akin to mythological figures. By that I mean they’ve traditionally been larger than life and tales of their exploits can wind up the stuff of legend; they fuel the lore that our aunties and grandmas ever refer to and whisper about, even long after the preacher is dead and gone. Pastors are also fascinating because they are supposed to be holy and sent from above but sometimes they can truly be otherwise with some of them even preying on parishioners. All of this can make for great reading!
Who are some people who have deeply influenced your writing style?
AM: Maya Angelou, definitely. While reading her, I noticed that she told the truth, simply. I was moved by the late Bebe Moore Campbell, because she tackled social issues with finesse. Alice Walker’s tales are darker, her characters more complex, thus she drew me in. I adore British author Rosamunde Pilcher for the beauty and scenery she offers. Barbara Taylor Bradford often took me to the world of high fashion and intrigue; whereas Maeve Binchy’s quirky characters made me laugh and feel. While writing, I simply began to incorporate all that I loved about these writers into my own writing.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
AM: I can only tell them what I was once told, and the advice has been invaluable: stay in your lane. By that I mean, if you have a certain style, stick with it. Sure, publishers will ask if you can
write like whoever is hot at the moment, but remain true to yourself. Do you. Hone your craft. Pay attention to detail. Take classes or electives. Read with a discerning eye and definitely put all that you learn into practice. Then one day publishers will ask other budding writers if they can write like you!