Jai: Hello, thanks for interviewing us! Well I'm from nowhere in particular. Lol I'm an army brat but I was raised mostly in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And I'm the proud parent of a three year old Chihuahua. He's only four pounds and I adore my little man. I've always been a writer and story teller in some capacity and everybody that knows me know I love to tell stories. When I was 7 years old my mom bought my dad a video camera and I would force my family to act out scripts I written. I would write songs for my cousin to sing in church. She would sing the heck out my songs too. I even written poems as an emotional outlet that I probably won’t ever share- too personal. I chose to become an attorney, because I could use my creative story telling skills by making my clients’ side of the story come to life and use my analytical skills to support that story with law. And now I decided to write novels because it’s something I always wanted and to do. I had a creative void that practicing law just will never fill.
Donisha: First off thank you for this interview. Let’s see I was born, raised and currently live in Indianapolis. I am mother of two wonderful and awesome children, a 9 year old son, and 3 year old daughter. They are my life and motivation for following my dream to become an author. I want them to know they can chase their dreams and never give up on them and they see that I didn't no matter how long it takes to reach. I have always loved writing poems and stories. I wrote my first story when I was 8 years old. As an adult I started off wanting to be a lawyer because I was a good speaker, debater and very persuasive. But after receiving an Associate degree in Paralegal Studies, Bachelor degree in Criminal Justice, a Graduate Certificate in Public Management and working as a Criminal Law Paralegal for over four years I realized I want to write more than anything.
2) Introduce your book to us and tell us a little about it ?
The Hustle: A Means to an End is a tale of two sisters, Beau and Bella Jones, who hustle to survive and are good at it. These sisters are doing illegal things and making good money. However, they also desire to have normal law abiding lives. A brush with death forces the sisters to reevaluate what they are doing and Beau chooses to get out the game while Bella keeps hustling. This book is going to take readers on a journey of two young ladies trying to live and figure out life. When Bella and Beau finally get what they see as their happily ever after they learn the dirt from the past isn't easily buried. This book has partying, good living, love, murder, car chases, stalkers, and faith.
3) I noticed the book was written by two authors how did that come about ?
Jai: Donisha you should answer this one.
Donisha: Jai and I worked together at a legal agency. One day we went to lunch, it was right after I received my graduate certificate. Jai asked me what I wanted to do next. I let her know that I really want to write and that it was a dream of mine to write books. I learned that day that Jai also dreamed of writing. I shared with her the hustle book idea which I’d had for over 8 years and we started writing that day.
4) The story revolves around two females by the names of Bella and Beau which character was created by whom and why did you feel there story needed to be told ?
Donisha: The original book concept was about both sisters but was told solely from Beau’s perspective. I wanted to tell Beau’s story as a cautionary tale of how the bad things we do in our past can have an effect on our future. Readers will see that although Beau was born into a life of crime and embraces crime as a way to make money she really just wants a normal life but needs a way to get there. For Beau hustling is as the book title states “A Means to an End”. This story will show how by faith, family and God a person can change but still must atone for their sins.
Jai: I came up with the idea of writing from Bella’s perspective. I just thought she had a completely different story then Beau. Like Donisha said, Bella was a part of the original story concept, but she didn't initially have a narrative. On the surface Bella comes off as shallow and cold hearted, but I thought Bella was an intriguing tragic character. In the book Beau couldn't understand why Bella would want to continue living a life of crime and it almost destroys their relationship as sisters and friends. So I just wanted to give her a voice to tell her side of what happened and her motivation for doing what she did.
5) Is it hard when your co-writing with someone else ? I mean how did you get the story to blend and sound as if one person was telling it ?
Jai: We wrote The Hustle: A Means to an End from each sister’s perspective which made co-writing the book work. We outlined the book and met often to discuss what was going on with each sister in each chapter. We would often times read each other’s chapter before writing our own. We wanted to make sure that our writing/story flowed well together.
Donisha: I think writing the way we did made each sister’s voice very distinct and different from the other. Don’t get me wrong we did disagree on some things but we were able to talk it out and find a solution we both like. We fed off of each other’s writings. Jai would hit me up and say, “Girl that chapter was giving me everything. You have me hype.” Next thing I know she would send me 1 or 2 chapters she wrote and it would motivate me to write because it was so good and I was excited to see what was going to happen next.
6) I have known Vanna business wise for a while now in fact I even interviewed her a couple of times she's a very sweet person always willing to lend a hand. What was your experience like working with her ?
Jai: She is very easy to work with and professional. For me I loved joking around with her, she has a great sense of humor. It gave us validation when Vanna first called us about the book and said she read the entire manuscript in one weekend because she couldn't put it down. Vanna has many accolades under her belt and we were ecstatic that she loved it and wanted to help us get our story out to readers. I just want to note that the original manuscript was very long, almost 400 pages and well over 100,000 words, so reading our book in one weekend was no small feat.
Donisha: Vanna B liking our work and choosing to work with us is a God send. We are new to this and Vanna is helping us every step of the way. Because she is a published author she has a great deal of knowledge and experience to share with us. Between the three of us we made The Hustle better and better until it was ready to be shared.
7) How do you prepare for a story ?
Donisha: As first time authors Jai and I really just jumped into writing. We sat down and I told her the whole book concept it had been in my head for so long it was like recapping a movie. In the beginning we did an outline more like a timeline of the events that would happen in the book and we just starting writing.
Jai: It’s true what Donisha said. We both expressed to each other that although we had dreams of writing a novel we just couldn't get anything down on paper, so I suggested that we just put all our thoughts on paper just to get the ball rolling then go back and flesh the story out into something readable. However when we started writing it immediately looked readable and not just ideas jotted down so we just went with it and let the magic happen. We did have to stop writing in the middle of the book and re-outline the story just to make sure that everything flowed correctly.
8) Being a writer myself I must say the competition out there is ferocious I mean with e-books dropping everyday how do you manage the competition ?
Donisha: This is our first book and we are continuously learning. But I think for us dropping a good piece of work, telling a story that hasn't been heard is going to set us apart from the competition. We want to give readers something new to read. Doing reconnaissance I saw many readers felt like they kept seeing the same story told over and over again. I don’t think that The Hustle is that same story.
Jai: I don’t even think of it in terms of competition. I tend to focus on my craft and putting the best possible product out there. It’s like shoes, you could already own 100 pairs but if you come across another pair that catches your eye you will purchase them without a doubt. I have never heard anyone say they own too many shoes. And I hope I never hear anyone say they own too many books
9) Let's talk bad reviews how do you think you will react when you get one because let's face it everybody wont like your book ?
Donisha: I have to take the bad with the good and we understand that. A bad review we will take back to the drawing board and figure out how to do better. I want to continue to write and get better at it. In order to grow I need to know what can be done to improve my craft.
Jai: Eh, I don’t hesitate to do a Kanye shrug and keep it moving. I don’t focus on negative energy. I’m always open to constructive criticism and how to improve, but at the same time I don’t think we can please everyone and I don’t strive to do so. We had test readers before releasing the book out to the public and if their criticism made sense we made the necessary changes. So far no one has told us that they didn't like the book. However, I've already come to terms that not everyone will like our novel and I’m ok with that, because I love it and I’m proud of what we created.
10) Give us a HOT snippet from your book a part of the book that even as you were writing it you was like "DAMN" I just killed that paragraph .
Donisha: Real is right though; I am nothing like the average money-hungry chick. I don’t fuck for money and I don’t beg for it. I am a taker. I take what I want and usually I want money. But tonight, I want him. Damn, I want him – like really want him.
Jai: I kick him in the balls with my stilettos and silently vow to myself that nobody is ever going to take anything from me again. I've already been hustled out of my money; I’ll be damned if I let someone hustle me out of my panties, as well.
I would just like to give a special shout- out to the both of you for this wonderful interview I wish you much success and look forward to reading more of your work.....