Interview with Catherine Adel West, Author of 'Saving Ruby King'

Feb. 24, 2021

I was privileged to invite Author Catherine Adel West for an interview to discuss her latest book Saving Ruby King. Enjoy!


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What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it?
SavingRuby King is about two friends and the lengths one of them will go through when a murder upends their tight knit church community. I originally wrote this as a way to dissect my relationship between my father and I and how the black church played a role, for better or worse within it. 

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
I don't have a target audience as I believe the themes and issues can touch people from all cultures and backgrounds. We all seek a means of redemption for the sometimes bad things that happen to us during our lives.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
I want the beauty of black female friendships to shine through first and foremost. I want people to recognize that forgiveness for themselves and the ability to bestow it on others is a perpetual possibility. 

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Learning how to pace my book, make it a true page turner was something I had to truly learn how to do. I think I had to learn to kill my darlings if in the end they didn't serve my story. 

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
I've learned I'm pretty good and crafting dialogue and it was something I used to dread doing. 

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?
I prefer hardcover/paperback books though my cocktail table is currently straining under the weight of my TBR pile. 

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
I don't have a niche genre. I just tend to tell stories that are true to me and my experience in some part. I'm open to write in other genres and actually am part of a YA anthology (EVERY BODY SHINES, 2021). 

What books and authors have most influenced you?
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens); Kindred (Octavia Butler); A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara)

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?
I love to travel and have a HUGE sweet tooth!

Do you have any more books in the works?
The prequel to Saving Ruby King will be published in 2022. Becoming Sara King follows Ruby's grandmother as she navigates her new life in Memphis, Tennessee and finds a new community and unexpected love. 

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I've learned to stop reading my reviews. The bad ones, I mean people are entitled to their opinions and I can't change them. I'm just happy way more often than not. People love the book and I focus on the fact I was able to accomplish something so creatively frustrating and fulfilling as writing a book and the fact I plan to keep doing it, means I have to learn to embrace the good and the bad that comes with making your dreams come true.

Your favorite quote/saying to live by:
One of my favorite quotes is by James Baldwin. "I can't believe what you say when I see what you do."

Last book read:
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers 

One book that changed your life:
Kindred by Octavia Butler

Any advice to new/aspiring authors:
Write the story you want! Don't write for the market or write what's popular because that constantly changes. Be true to your talents and the book you see in your head.

How can readers get in touch with or follow you?
Twitter: @cawest329
Instagram: @cawest329


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Catherine Adel West was born and raised in Chicago, IL where she currently resides. She graduated with both her Bachelors and Masters of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois - Urbana. Her work is published in Black Fox Literary Magazine, Five2One, Better than Starbucks, Doors Ajar, 805  Lit + Art, The Helix Magazine, Lunch Ticket and Gay Magazine. In between writing and  traveling, Catherine works as an editor.








Oona Out of Order - Book Review

BACK COVER SUMMARY
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.

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This was a really interesting -- and slightly confusing -- book. Quite complicated -- as is with time travel storylines. There were some parts I loved more than others; I loved that Oona became super wealthy😉 and most of her wealth came from investing early in stocks that would eventually skyrocket in value in the future. I thought that was cool.
Some chapters dragged a little for me, like when Oona time-traveled into her 27-year old body with her 20-year-old mind. That period was not interesting at all, but the chapters (and years) that followed were quite intense.

Oona lived a complicated life, but really, who doesn't? We all live complicated lives in one way or the other, but what do we do with it? We make the best out of it and 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘴𝘦 to be happy above all else. Although it left me with a few unanswered questions, it's quite an intriguing read and I enjoyed the author's writing. Nice ending too!

ᴍʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5 ɢᴇɴʀᴇ: ᴅʀᴀᴍᴀ, ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴛʀᴀᴠᴇʟ
ᴍᴀᴛᴜʀɪᴛʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: 16+

Tani's New Home - Book Review


BOOK SYNOPSIS
Tani Adewumi's moving true story of immigrating to America, developing his talent for chess, and finding a new home will inspire families looking for stories of hope and kindness.

Tani was just six years old when he and his family fled persecution in Nigeria and became refugees in New York City. Tani was amazed, and a little overwhelmed, by all the new things in America. But one new experience turned out to be the most wonderful discovery--chess! With joy and determination, Tani studied hard, practicing chess for hours on the floor of his room in the homeless shelter. Less than a year later, he won the New York State Chess Championship, and through one act of kindness after another, found a new home.


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'Tani's New Home' by Tanitoluwa Adewumi, illustrated by Courtney Dawson is a memoir in graphic form, and tells the story of Tani, a 6-year-old Nigerian boy whose family flees Nigeria to New York as a refugee after being threatened by Boko Haram, a jihadist terrorist group. As they settle in a shelter in New York, Tani wants more than anything for life to return to normal so they can all be a family like they once were. He learns about chess in school and is able to join the chess club at no cost, thanks to the club coach who offered him a club scholarship. With his passion and determination, Tani, now 8, wins the state Chess championship, opening doors to more life-changing opportunities for him and his family.

I absolutely loved this little book with its beautiful illustrations (you know I love my graphics)! The book portrays the struggle of adjusting to new surroundings especially as a refugee, fleeing from your home country and attempting to have a semblance of normalcy. It also shows how passion and determination can bring winning results, and it's especially endearing to see these qualities exhibited in a little boy. I'm super proud of Tani and happy to share his story! The book is a must-have for all kids, and adults would enjoy it too🔥

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the free copy via Netgalley! 'Tani's New Home' was published in Nov 2020 and is widely available across bookstores.

ᴍʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5 ɢᴇɴʀᴇ: ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ/ ɢʀᴀᴘʜɪᴄ ᴍᴇᴍᴏɪʀ ᴍᴀᴛᴜʀɪᴛʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: ᴀʟʟ