Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

Special Guest: James Fant

It is with great pleasure that I introduce my special guest – James Fant! James is the author of The Mended Fence, The Secret Branch, Close the Door, and An Ode for Orchids. But before he tells us about An Ode for Orchids, his  latest title, let’s find out a little about him.

James, why don’t you tell us about youself.

I’m a Kingdom business man, husband, father and friend, striving to fit it all into the God-given 24-hour day.  I’m passionate about helping people to improve their relationships with others and that passion shows up in my writing. I guess you could call me a champion for the “mended fence,” which incidentally is the title of a short story that I published back in November of 2011 – the first work that I ever published.

I was born in the Upstate of South Carolina. And yes, I am a country boy by heart. Every now and again, if I’m not careful or just really relaxed, that deep country twang comes out. People used to ask me all of the time if I was from Atlanta. I laugh about that even today. But no, I’m from Greenville, a city that grows more and more beautiful each time I go back to visit.

Hey! What are you trying to say about those of us who live in Atlanta? Lol! No but seriously, James – I didn’t grow up here, and sometimes it catches me off guard when I hear people talk with that heavy “twang.” Lol!

Okay, but getting back to the questions – your featured book is An Ode for Orchids. Where did you get the idea for this engaging story?

The novel was definitely divinely inspired. I started writing the story in 2006 and nearly shelved the idea after I started graduate school. But the story would not go away. No matter how busy I was with school work, with church, or family life, the story would come back to me. It needed to be told.  I’m sure readers will be able to identify with the story and say, “Yes. I went through something similar.”  I believe God inspired me to write the story to be both entertaining and edifying.

The idea came from my appreciation of the enduring strength and tenacity of all of the women in my life.  My hardworking mother, my loving grandmother, my strong sisters (related and non-related), no-nonsense aunties, and last but definitely not least, my beautiful wife.  A lot of women are holding it down on their own for one reason or another.  They endure many hardships and have become tougher for it.  However, they still have the power to be nurturing and sweet.  So I believe that God gave me this story to edify not only women, but also the men that want them and must have them in their lives.

So, what makes your characters unique? 

The characters of An Ode for Orchids are unique in that they shed light on many misconceptions, not just for women, but for men also. Karen is a gorgeous young woman with fiery red hair and naturally blonde streaks.  Every man she meets is amazed that she’s still single.  Just because she’s attractive, she has to be with someone and if she’s attractive and single then something’s wrong.  That really may not be the case.  Cicely is beautiful as well.  She’s very confident and aware of her sexuality, to put it mildly.  But she’s not happy with herself and it’s not because of the promiscuity. There’s a big misconception that a smiling face is always happy.  Behind the fun times and the free spiritedness there may be hurt.  The twins, Brook and Dawn look just alike but their personalities are so different that just about everyone can tell them apart.  They’re really like night and day.  Brook is two hours older than Dawn, yet she acts like she’s two years her senior.  She’s the entrepreneur that covers every base.  But when it comes to her relationship with her husband Walter, her due-diligence is sorely lacking.  Dawn is interesting because she’s unabashedly down to earth.  It’s all about the dollars with her.  And that doesn’t necessarily make her a gold digger.  She has love and appreciation for hustlers and go-getters.  But she finds out that a hardworking, law-abiding man can be every bit the hustler as a dope dealer.  And there’s no risk of jail time with the law-abiding man.

The novel also has lesser characters that are extremely distinctive.  There’s the barbershop hopping pimp named Calvin Bass that so casually speaks of himself in third person that you’ll really think that he’s talking about someone else.  There’s the busty and voluptuous Tamara and her three-date, “put it on ‘em,” rule.  There’s a mysterious old lady with an effervescent gold tooth and disturbingly sickening smile.  I love putting colorful characters in the story so that people can identify with them or just get a really good laugh.

Lol! These “lesser” characters definitely sound like “characters”! So tell me, how long have you been a writer and what keeps you writing?

I have been writing seriously since 2003.  I released three short stories as ebooks titled The Mended Fence, The Secret Branch, and Close the Door.  But I’ve been writing stories for much longer than that.  I remember winning an award in the third grade for a story. I wrote about three pirates and a witch.  The pirates killed the witch. Then her ghost haunted them for a while.  Eventually, the ghost ate the pirates. What was I thinking at 8 years old?

What keeps me writing? I have to give credit to God for the ideas that He gives me because that keeps me going.  He’s the Master Communicator and everything started with His Words.  So I’m a big student of communication and the art of wordplay. An author can project a certain theme and really draw the reader in just by choosing the right words and putting them in the right place at the right time.  It’s really a beautiful thing.

Also, as a story teller, you have the luxury of creating utter chaos for the reader’s enjoyment.  I recently read One Blood by Qwantu Amaru and the chaos was in full swing.  Powerful storms, heated battles, tragedy and triumph. All without the need of a stunt double.  Knowing that I have the opportunity to write literature that is both endearing and exciting motivates me to want to write forever.

What types of books are on your bookshelf at home?

There’s a wide range of literature on my book shelf. You’ll find books on entrepreneurship, marketing and cost accounting on one shelf (I’m a M.B.A. graduate).  On another shelf you’ll find some religious/motivational books from authors like Cindy Trimm, Joyce Meyer, and John Alsarraf.  I have some love stories on the shelf as well: Adrienne Byrd’s “My Destiny,” and Anne Rice’s “The Feast of All Saints.”

Tell us what An Ode for Orchids is about.

An Ode for Orchids is a story about four young women and the challenges that they face, such as making bad choices in men, dealing with infidelity, struggling with promiscuity, and dealing with rejection. But perhaps the most daunting challenge is dealing with the animosity that one woman can have for another woman. Time will reveal whether or not each of them will be strong enough to face the challenges that life will offer them.”

Here’s an excerpt from An Ode for Orchids:

Heaven.

Cicely was there as she rested next to Vincent Mann on sweat-dampened Egyptian cotton sheets.

Heady.

That was the feeling Cicely felt as Vincent Mann sexed her with animalistic passion.

Harlot.

Cicely’s promiscuity and pilfering of seeds that rightly belonged to Vincent Mann’s wife earned her that moniker. The theft was no accidental occurrence. She gave Vincent Mann the best of her loving because she wanted to own every ounce of him.

Harlot.

Cicely wore that name. She earned that name.

After collecting himself and gathering his strength, Vincent Mann sat up at the edge of the bed. He glanced back at his harlot, the woman that sexed him crazy. He sighed.

“You’re too much, Cicely Shaw. Too much for a man like me.”

“You bring it out of me. When I’m with you, I have no inhibitions. It’s like I become your personal porn star or something.”

Her lover found the strength necessary to pour a glass of wine. He motioned to Cicely to see if she would join him in the nectar of Dionysus. She declined even though it wasn’t her desire to do so. She very much wanted to sip a few glasses, to let the buzz fill her head and make her more receptive for round three. But instinct had taken over. She had to make wiser decisions.

“He couldn’t possibly stay with his wife much longer,” Cicely whispered to herself as she closed her eyes. “Especially not now.”

Vincent Mann, fighting wobbly legs, returned to the bed puffing on a Cuban cigar. The stench from the cigar tickled and annoyed Cicely’s nostrils. She opened her eyes; her instinct kicking in immediately. She faked a cough and placed her hands over her mouth.

“What? The smoke bothering you?” Vincent asked as he looked back at Cicely. His tone implied that it shouldn’t bother her because it never bothered her before.

Cicely sighed and pulled her locks to the side, tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Well, I was going to wait until dinner at The Zebra tomorrow evening, when the ambience would be perfect for my news. But I’ll tell you now.”

Cicely lifted herself so that she sat right behind her lover, her skin sticking to his.

Then she whispered into his ear. “Vincent, I’m pregnant.”

Vincent was frozen.

Whew! I can’t wait to find out how Vincent responds to that!

Well, James, thanks so much for joining me today! How can people get a copy of your e-book?

People can get a copy from the following distributors:

Amazon.com     Barnes and Noble    Smashwords

CHECK OUT THIS GIVEAWAY!

James is giving away a copy of his ebook –An Ode for Orchids – to one lucky winner! Stop by his blog site to enter for a chance to win!  www.jamesfantbooks.wordpress.com

In the meantime, please show James some love by leaving a comment or a question for him in the comment section below.

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September 6, 2012 - Posted by | Special Guest - Interviews | , ,

10 Comments

  1. Sounds like a great story, James. I wish you the best with it!

    Comment by Chicki Brown | September 6, 2012

  2. Thank you so much, Chicki! The journey has been long. However, this is just the beginning.

    Comment by jamesfantbooks | September 6, 2012

  3. What a great cover and a good excerpt. It definitely makes me want to find out what happens next. Lol. Best wishes to you!

    Comment by Delaney Diamond | September 6, 2012

    • Thanks so much, Delaney. I had a lot of fun with Cicely’s character as well as her portion of the story. Likewise, I enjoyed creating Vincent: a man with an interesting definition for love. That definition will play a major part in his reaction/response to Cicely’s news.

      Peace and Blessings to you.

      Comment by jamesfantbooks | September 6, 2012

  4. James

    Infidelity, promiscuity, rejection, and sisterhood, you’re tackling some big issues, in a society that craves Mean Girl Marathons, and Real Housewives fist fights. Sounds like an entertaining and edifying read. Good luck on your journey.

    Comment by Yolanda | September 6, 2012

    • Hi, Yolanda. You’re definitely right about the big issues. Indeed, I could never have written a story like this without God’s hand guiding me. There’s a line in the book where a male character is asked if he is an expert on women. He replies, “By no stretch. But I have a great appreciation for women. My mother’s a woman.” God’s guidance and my love and appreciation for my sisters helped me write the novel so that men and women would be edified. (Oh and by the way, there are some Mean Girl, Fist Fight sections in the novel for all of those folk in society that like a good scrap.) LOL.

      Comment by jamesfantbooks | September 6, 2012

  5. Great interview, James, and sounds like an interesting story.

    Comment by Nancy Goldberg Levine | September 6, 2012

    • Thank you so much, Nancy. Peace and blessings to you.

      Comment by jamesfantbooks | September 6, 2012

  6. Great interview James. Can’t wait to read the entire novel. Oh, the imagination of an 8 year old. 🙂 You were definitely inspired to write!

    Comment by Brenda R. | September 6, 2012

  7. Thanks so much, Brenda R. And definitely LOL regarding my imagination at 8 years old. I have a good mind to contact my elementary school to see if they still have a copy of that story. I would love to read it now.

    Comment by jamesfantbooks | September 6, 2012


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