An Interview With Fort Worth’s Rare Diamond–Author Amara Russell

Fort Worth native, Amara Russell is the author of the much talked about novel “A Rare Diamond”. Even though this is her first novel to be published she is no stranger to writing.  Her love for writing has been evident to those around her since elementary school when her first article was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was our honor to have a great conversation with her.

Who are some of the authors you enjoy reading today?

Some of the people I enjoy reading are Priscilla Shirer. Her book “A Jewel in His Crown” is one of my favorites; it has brought me through a lot of things that were occurring in my life at the time. Another author that I like is Lysa Terkeurst.  Her book  “The Best Yes” is about making wise decisions when going through certain situations.

Who and what do you read just for fun? Also, what is a book that you have read more than once?

I love romance novels.  There is a book by Eric Jerome Dickey called “Friends and Lovers” about different relationships.  He adds a lot of humor to his books and I enjoy that. It’s a thick little novel, and I have read it several times.

Was “A Rare Diamond” the first manuscript that you finished?

It was the first manuscript that I finished.  It took me a year to write it.  I was laid off my job in 2015, and for the first couple of months, I spent my time trying to find employment. When I didn’t find anything I decided to use the time to do something that I liked–writing.  Writing helped to heal my stress. I put my frustrations into the manuscript.

Writing became my full-time job.  Every day when I woke up, I poured myself into writing.  It was something I loved to do.

Tell us about the inspiration for the novel–was any of it born out of personal experiences?

Actually, there are a lot of bits and pieces of the story that are related to my life, and things around me. I would visit coffee shops, relatives houses and observe activities that I added to the story.

When I found employment, I wasn’t able to put the time I needed into the writing of the book.  When I loss my mom I  was able to relate to Celeste, the main character in the book who loses her mom.  This event inspired me to get back to writing nonstop.

That’s interesting what you said about being able to relate to Celeste after the loss of your mother.  That’s something people tend to think they can relate to but can’t when they have not experienced that loss.  They know what to say, but they can’t relate.

Right, when I would express to people that I was still hurting they couldn’t understand because they had not experienced it, and until they do, they won’t understand.

I understand, and God will get you through it, but you never get over it, and it is never the same.  There is a void that is always going to be there.

Right.

Now Celeste is the main character in your novel.  Tell us a little about her.  I know that you said she loss her mother at 5.  Without giving away the story tell us a little bit more about her.

Celeste is witty, smart and beautiful.  She is courageous, and she doesn’t bite her tongue about anything, but she says what she means in a subtle way.  She takes her characteristics from her mother who was filled with integrity.  Her mother could walk into a room and capture everyone’s attention.  Celeste picked up a lot of those qualities.

The story is about her life from the age of 5 to 25. She is a young woman trying to find her way, her identity without her mom.

What other characters in the novel play a pivotal role?

Derrick is a childhood friend of Celeste who grew up in the neighborhood.  Really he was her brother’s friend first.  As they grew older they were able to relate because he had suffered the loss of his father at an early age, and he had older siblings who were all girls, and her older siblings were boys.

Another main character is her brother Craig. Celeste and Craig have a very close relationship.  She leans on him, and he leans on her in certain situations.  I would say that Derrick and Craig are two of my other main characters.

From some of the comments that we  have read people say that the book kept them on their toes until the very end.  So if we were going to the bookstore what two sections would we find “A Rare Diamond”?

Probably in the Faith-based section and also in the Romance section.

If you were to have “A Rare Diamond” made into a movie, who would you have to play the main characters?

Oh my God, I knew you would ask that, and I have those people written down (laughter).

It’s important because when people read a novel they picture certain people.  I have to read the book before I see the movie.  I remember going to see “Waiting to Exhale”, and none of those people were the people I pictured except Loretta Devine.  She had the sass that was in the book.  I met Walter Mosley and told him that I did not see Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins, and he said he didn’t either.  I told him I pictured a young Laurence Fishburne.  He told me when you sell the rights to your book, then the studio picks the actors.  So who do you have as Celeste?

For Celeste, there were two people. I had in my mind LeToya Luckett could play her or Keisha Knight Pulliam.

Oh, why those two?

The similarities when I envision my character, I see them as her. And then their personalities when I see them in films or on television.  Those personalities fit Celeste.

Ok, what about Derrick?

Derrick, the minute I started writing I don’t know why but I envisioned the actor Lance Gross.

Oh, okay, yes.  That’s a good one.  What about Craig?

Craig because he’s so hilarious–even when I was writing the novel I would crack up from some of the things he would say.  To me, I always said Mike Epps (laughter) .

Oh my God! (laughter).  He would be a wonderful big brother. 

Just to add one more, the mother because she is such an inspiration.  It’s like I didn’t want to kill her off at the beginning so I was kind of going back and forth, but Angela Bassett always came to mind when I was writing the story.

She would be good.  Even in her personal life, she seems to be into her family and her faith. You are going to have a hometown book signing.  Tell us about it.

The book signing will be downtown Fort Worth at the Marie Antoinette Parfumiere and Spa which is located at 101 West 2nd directly across from the Worthington Hotel.  It will be on Saturday, February 10 from 3 to 5.  A pre Valentine event.

Are you working on a sequel or another novel?

I am actually working on a trilogy to “A Rare Diamond”, I’m going to break it up into three parts.

That will be nice.

Well, we thank you for your time.  We’ll see you at your book signing.

Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

 

“A Rare Diamond” can be purchased at Amazon, the Barnes and Noble website or on http://www.nspired2write247.com.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I Look Back And Celebrate My Birthday

Today, October 2, 2017 I have officially done something neither of my parents was able to do.  I was able to celebrate my 65th birthday.  Daddy passed at 49 and mama left us at just a month shy of 65.  So on this birthday in particular I am thinking of them, and that little girl who loved to play in the dirt in East Texas. The little girl who could not wait for the birthday parties held on the front porch with all the friends from Fox Hill.

When I tell friends that I worked on my birthday, they are a little confused since it is a day that I should be celebrating.  My children inform me that they don’t, and will not work on their birthdays. At one time that was my position, but as life would have it circumstances change. Working on my birthday does not upset me since I have decided to celebrate my birthday everyday.  There may not be an official celebration with cake, gifts and such, but nontheless there will be a celebration–a celebration of life for myself and those that did not make it to celebrate their 65th.

2017-10-01 18.07.46

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Happy Birthday–celebrate everyday.

Grandparenting Can Make Everyone Call Jesus!

Our daughter and son-in-law went to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras so Honey’s baby was staying with Paw Paw and Honey. I know he had a wonderful time because I try to make each visit something special. However,  we are empty nesters who have carved out a quiet controlled life.  We do not tell each other to use our inside voice. Picking up and cleaning before bed are just things we do. Occasionally we do re watch some television shows, but never so many times the same day. We rarely if ever repeat ourselves or at least I thought I didn’t. I do repeat the phrase Jesus Christ quite a bit though. This phrase made me know that our little man had listened to me over the days he was with us.

Saying all of that he was a joy to have. I know that he learned to call on Jesus. He informed me of this. I was telling him that he needed to clear his place at the table and get ready for school. I was just about to repeat myself again when he said, ” I know,  clean my place–Jesus  Christ, I know”.

image

Honey’s baby in hot tub that is until I reminded Paw Paw that little boys like to pee in the water.

image

    Ready for bed–didn’t say sleep, just ready for bed.

image

         Being computer savy.

image

    Saying goodnight to mommy and daddy.

Am I tired?  You bet I am. I forgot to tell you they left his roller skates which I hid. There would be no trips to the emergency room on our watch. We loved the time we spent with our little man, but we need to rest up for the next one.  Enjoy grandchildren and remember they are there for a visit so make it fun.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Read in 102 Countries and Counting

Thank you for making 2013 truly a wonderful year. Take a look at the annual report for “thisisyourbestyear”. We were read in over 102 countries!!!!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks for coming with us on this journey, and remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

See you in 2014!!!

In Dark Times

On my way out of the door to do the Toro Dash 5k my mentor, my friend, my sister called and told me her son was gone. He had died. There are no words to express my feelings.  When my sorority sister arrived to go to the race we decided to go instead to my friend. As a woman of a certain age and a Christian, I know that death will come to all, but my heart is full of sorrow for my dear friend in the loss of her first born.  We must praise God even in the dark times. To God Be The Glory!

Black People Do Get/Stay Married

Today, August 4 is our wedding anniversary.  It has been 35 years of fun, tears, laughter, children and now grandchildren kept together by love and faith in God.  My husband and I both come from two parent homes in fact we both had two married sets of grandparents.  I can even remember my married great grandparents on my mother’s side of the family.  Don’t believe the hype–just because it’s in the news does not make it the truth.

 

anniversary

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–35 years and counting.

2012 in review for “thisisyourbestyear”

Thank you for a successful year–“thisisyourbestyear” was read in 75 countries!  I know 2013 will be even better.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  This year don’t make ANY RESOLUTIONS!!! Seriously, just live your life the best you can–“THISISYOURBESTYEAR”!!!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Who Bought the Christmas Gifts?

It was the night before Christmas; in fact it was about 6:45 PM to be exact. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse because everyone was out trying to get a “deal” on Christmas presents at the mall. The stockings were not hung on the chimney; they were still in the box because everyone thought the other one would hang them and besides everyone already knew who bought their gifts.

Christmas stockings in a box

The children were up playing last year’s hot video games while visions of the new games danced in their heads. They’re not babies any more, and they probably already knew who bought their gifts.

Children playing with video game 3

Mama was gone and you guessed it—Daddy was asleep on the sofa with visions of Christmas dinner dancing in his head.  I’m almost sure they both already knew who bought the gifts.

Dad asleep on couch with tv remote

When out on the lawn there was a lot of noise, it was the sound of music coming from the neighbor’s sons’ car. I don’t think he was playing anything to do with Christmas. He loves to play his music loud, but probably knows who bought the gifts.

Tot driving

I didn’t go to the window since I knew who it was; I just started to hang the stockings because it’s what you do for Christmas. I plugged in the lights on the tree and smiled to myself. There weren’t many ornaments because it seems the family just didn’t have time to finish the tree.

Christmas Stockings

As I started to decorate, my phone rang and of course I had to answer it. A half hour later, I decided I needed to do something at the computer so the tree would just have to wait. Besides, I already knew who bought the gifts.

Little girl talking on the phone

Daddy is snoring even louder than usual and Mama has been gone for hours. The younger kids have started to get hungry, and they’ve started to bug me for food. I bundle them up and put them in my car and off we go in search of food. As we go, we look at the houses all bright with decorations for miles and miles. They ask me why we didn’t decorate for Christmas this year, and I try to explain how hard it is for the family to get together and besides we probably already know who bought the gifts. The golden arches are lit up as bright as a Christmas tree as we go through the drive thru for our usual. On the way home I hear them whispering about the reasons we should have decorated our house. They begin to tell me how sad they feel because it doesn’t seem like Christmas, and I have to agree. I take solace in the fact that we all know who bought the gifts.

Christmas house decorations

As we pull into the driveway Mama has arrived and Daddy is finally awake. It’s then I decide that we need to finally finish our tree. As I start to hang more ornaments, the younger ones appear, then Mama comes in and finally Daddy joins us. We put on a little Christmas music and do our best to keep a tune. We talk, we laugh, we sing—we are together. Our big overstuffed Santa in all his finery is put out beside the tree.

Family decorating Christmas tree

As we stand back to see the labors of our work, the younger ones are still rambling though the ornament box. They tell us we have forgotten something. As they gently pick up the last ornament and place it on the tree, they smile and tell us they know who bought the gifts. As we all brace for the answer that we know will come, they put on the last ornament. They smile at us and say, “the baby Jesus bought the gifts and Santa Claus just helps Him give them out.”.

 Merry Christmas and remember “thisisyourbestyear” because “He” bought the gifts.

True meaning of Christmas