Today Shauna D. Balfour will be interviewing Lorisa Bates, television executive and author of the “Benita Renee Jenkins” book series. Take a read of her background and her inspirations. Continue on her writer’s life and what will coming next from the popular young adult series starting with the current release “Benita Renee Jenkins: Diva Secret Agent!”
Can you give us a little background on yourself and your life balance as a writer and executive?
I am originally from a small rural town called Brookneal, Virginia where my family grew tobacco, raised cows and eventually had a construction company. I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church where I was taught early on to work hard, help others and give back to the community. I have carried those values with me as an adult. I currently work as an Programming Executive where I am responsible for acquiring and producing content for a major television network.
I can’t actually say that I have a work-life balance. When I am not working as an executive, then I focus on my writing. I can say that I am very disciplined in the sense that I make sure that I write every day, even it if is for 15-30 minutes. I think that it is important to train the brain to know that it has to be responsible. This habit has been engrained in me for a long time, and has become more of a second nature. When I’m not doing something, then I feel like I’m slacking.
Where do you get your ideas? Or, which other authors are your biggest inspirations?
My ideas some from many sources. It may come from a dream that I had in the middle of the night (and yes, I make sure that I write that idea down as soon as I wake up). I observe people on the street, stories that I read about or even watch on television. Due to the fact that my free time is limited, I don’t spend a lot of time reading other author’s work while I am working on my own projects. Sometimes I may garner ideas from past experiences and how I can weave those into a specific storyline.
With regards to some of my favorite authors who continue to inspire me include James Baldwin, Walter Mosley, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, Malcolm Gladwell and Henry Louis Gates. It has always been important to be able to tap into a diverse group of writers who are both fiction and non-fiction in order for me to be a well-rounded writer.
What are your thoughts on e books and audiobooks for the Young Adult reader?
I love the fact that these platforms exist for YA readers. As technology continues to evolve, it provides easier access to existing books. It’s also a way for readers who want to become writers themselves to create and develop content on these platforms. These platforms simply enrich the lives of millions of people every day.
This is another book in the series, what led you to continue writing?
BENITA RENEE JENKINS is a character that I know readers will love to get to know better. She is a crime-fighter who’s agenda is to infiltrate the worlds of criminals in order to take them down. The reader will get to see her in the beginning stages of her career, and I know she has many more crimes to solve.
What are your future plans for writing? Can you give us any preview on your next work of art?
I am currently writing my second book in the Benita Renee Jenkin series about a young boxer who is forced to participate in an underground fighting ring. We get to see Benita continue to follow her gut, even if she doesn’t necessarily follow protocol. I am also a screenwriter and currently developing a few projects for the small screen.
Would you option your series for a feature film or television series! I totally see Benita come to life on the screen.
Is writing therapeutic for you?
Very much. I have journals located everywhere through my apartment. I also use my phone to record ideas that come to me, and I want to make sure that I don’t forget them. With everything that goes on in my head, it is important for me to release the ideas.
Do you have any weird writing habits, rituals, or routines? Has the pandemic change that? If so, what are they?
I don’t have any weird writing habits, but I definitely make sure that I write everyday. It has been a habit that I created a long time ago. The pandemic has actually helped me. I wake super early, and I meditate, post positive posts on my social media accounts, work out and then then write a little before work starts. And then, I will pull out my journal or notebook and continue to write. I’m old school. I still love using the pen. Once I’m done physically writing, then I will type up my changes. Once I’m in a zone, I hyper-focused about deadlines and will make sure no matter what to meet my deadlines.
Anything else you would like to mention to our readers?
As a writer, it is important for me to make sure that I pull my readers into the story as well as the lives of my characters. The characters become real, and I love providing depth to the different storylines and the characteristics of each main person. I hope that when the readers pick up a copy of BENITA RENEE JENKINS: DIVA SECRET AGENT, that they will love her as much as I do.
MY REVIEW – From start to finish, Bates’ narration visualize a storyline to give feeling of watching a television series.
It opens with over zealous musician Carl Johnson who’s lifestyle keeps him on the edge. Next, is then the introduction of Benita, a hair stylist living a double agent life. Bates does a great job by tying any loose ends and several characters together while the story flows naturally.
The plot gets deeper as the book continues, and with every new chapter brings new characters which keeps enthralled with the development of the Benita character. Thus, in order to keep her family safe, the transformation of the hairstylist to the master shall intrigue its readers.Thus, If you are looking for a book that is all gas no brakes, we would definitely recommend a read to young adults.
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