For those who have yet to have the pleasure, my name is Tyler Hembrook. When I was contacted by a dear friend after what seems like an unspeakable amount of years, I was immediately taken back to our time spent together in Huntsville, AL. We were the “leaders” in our writer’s guild and the “class clowns”. We orchestrated workshops for those who wanted to embrace the writer within and we even handpicked the cities that we’d include on our book tours. So, you can imagine how excited I was to get my hands on, The Red Door. That imagination is just as vivid now as it was over 20 years ago. Vonne and I made a pact that we would interview one another once our first book was published. Well, I never made it to the shelves, but I am so proud of my writer in crime and it is a pleasure to finally be able to cross my legs and peer over my glasses while I wait on the poetry that will bring color to my questions. (insider) Ready? Let’s do it!
TH: Where does your inspiration come from?
VT: Everything gives me inspiration. Every little thing. From sounds to movements. Smells … even darkness.
TH: What inspired you to write The Red Door?
VT: I took a walk in the neighborhood with my girlfriend at the time and we came across a house with a red door. I made the comment that I would love to have a big house with red double doors. One scenario birthed another, the next thing I knew, I had given the people who resided in the house names, lives, and situations.
TH: Do you believe in writer’s block?
VT: I do. Some people beg to differ, but it’s very real.
TH: For the people who aren’t familiar with how to overcome it, what are your best practices for keeping the mind fresh?
VT: Read. Reading is writer food. Grab a book and eat. I also find writing exercises helpful. For example; look around and pick “a thing” and describe it.
TH: Give us an example. I love the way you describe things.
VT: Really Ty lol
TH: 1,2,3 go!
VT: Geez, ok, umm. It got hot when I provoked it, pressing its buttons, spreading heat like a blanket over everything inside of it. The smell made me impatient and I was beyond ready to indulge. Time was cruel. But, I waited, anticipating the sound that would give me the green light. BEEP. Finally, my microwaved popcorn is ready.
TH: WHO DOES THAT?! I love it! I didn’t know if this was about to be a Jacob and Sandra moment or not!
Now, I know that you are very, what’s the word? Careful in how you present yourself. This book is a representation of you. How do you feel about errors in your work?
VT: I’ve read, The Red Door so, so, so many times (over 15). But perhaps the most crucial was the last read that I did not take. I can blame it on the excitement of being on the brink of publication, but the truth is, I was overconfident that the final read wasn’t necessary even though I had changed a few things at the last minute. Those errors have been corrected and resubmitted, but there are still quite a few books out there with errors.
TH: Being able to say hey, lesson learned and still stand behind your work is huge. I’ve read the book, of course, and let me just say, WOW! I love how you tied everything together and not only told a good story, but I could see it all. What drives a good story?
VT: I think real-life situations and things that people can relate to drives a good story. Drama definitely … I like reading books that give me the sense of being in people’s business without being in people’s business. It’s like watching your favorite show, you go to work and talk about it like you know those people. But they’re not real, the writer was successful in driving a good storyline.
TH: How do you create your storylines?
VT: I don’t use rhyme or reason when I create a storyline. My ah-ha moments are never simplistic. My daughter was talking to me one day and she said the word “boogieman” in relation to a teacher, from that I created a storyline and it’ll be book number two (minus the errors)
TH: For those who are aspiring to be in your shoes, what tips do you have?
VT: Focus. And color outside the lines a little bit. Write something that takes you out of your comfort zone like touchy topics. Research, research, and research. Always have a sounding board, someone, you trust and who’ll be honest with you.
TH: What do you want the world to know about you?
VT: I’m just a chick from Cleveland who loves to write. I have lofty goals and I plan on meeting every last one of them at the finish line. Watch out world, this is only the beginning.
There you have it ladies and gents! The next interview will be in person, but let’s not wait another 20 years to make it happen. I love you, Vonne! Blessings to you and I cannot wait on book #2!