Author Interview – Laila Ibrahim

Image of Laila Ibrahim

Are you a city slicker or a country lover?

City slicker

How did you come up with the title?

I really wrestled with the title.  Then one day when I was re-reading it I realized how important the flower was to the story. It held so many layers of meaning in the story.  And I suddenly knew that was the title.  I love “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker.  It felt resonant and honoring to have a color in the title.

Why does the cover have a purple crocus?

In my mind I pictured something completely for the cover.  The designers at CreateSpace made two mock ups:  the one I suggested and the one that I chose to be the cover.  I immediately loved their idea.  The background is actually a Yellow Crocus.  It is obscure, yet obviously there when pointed out. That is a great metaphor for the novel.  The story of Mattie and Lisbeth was repeated over and over in plain site, yet it is obscured in history.

How do you feel about self-publishing?

I am very grateful for it.  Yellow Crocus would not be in the world without it.  Ironically when I first published I made the Kindle edition as an after thought.  But that has proved to be the best way to get Yellow Crocus into the world.

Do you know your neighbors?

We are very close to many of our neighbors.  We have weekly potlucks in the spring.  I noticed the other day that I have keys to about 6 houses for the folks around me.  I love being connected to the people around me.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences in the plot?

I think you can tell I am a birth doula when you read Yellow Crocus.  As I wrote the birth scenes I realized how rarely we read about child birth and breast feeding in novels, yet they are such an important part of life.  I wanted to capture the intensity of birth and the intimacy of breastfeeding.

When I imagined Lisbeth at different ages, I channelled different children in my life.

Yellow Crocus 

In 1837, Lisbeth Wainwright is born to the white mistress of a sprawling Virginia plantation. Seconds later, she is delivered into the arms of her black wet nurse, Mattie. For a field hand like Mattie, her transfer to the big house is supposed to be considered an honor—except that the move tears Mattie away from her beloved grandfather and her infant son, Samuel. But Mattie is a slave, with no say in the matter, and so she devotes herself to her master’s daughter, though she longs to be raising her own child. Growing up under Mattie’s tender care, little Lisbeth adopts the woman’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring.

As the years pass, Lisbeth is drawn slowly back into her white parents’ world and begins to learn the ins and outs of life for a high-born young lady. Still she retains her connection to Mattie, befriending Samuel and drifting comfortably between the two worlds. She accepts her parents’ assertion that their slaves depend upon them for guidance and protection, yet that notion becomes more and more difficult to believe as she gains awareness of the inequality of life in the big house versus the slave quarters. When, on the threshold of her society wedding to debonair Edward Cunningham, Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Just twenty-one years old, she is forced to choose between what is socially acceptable and what is right, a decision that will change her life forever.

This compelling historical novel chronicles young Lisbeth Wainwright’s coming-of-age during one of the most difficult chapters of American history. Lisbeth’s powerful bond with Mattie makes her loss of innocence in the face of society’s ugly secrets all the more heartbreaking, and yet it is the courage she learns from her stand in mother that enables Lisbeth to blaze a new path for herself. Yellow Crocus offers moving proof of how the greatest social change often blooms forth from small personal acts of love.

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About #Author James D. Shipman @jshipman_author

10 Things You Didn’t Know About James D. Shipman

  1. The day job.  James D. Shipman is a full time family law attorney in Everett, Washington.  He started his practice in 1998.  He also serves as a mediator assisting other attorneys and their clients in resolving their family law cases through settlement rather than trial.
  2. Fantasy novel.  Although James Shipman writes historical novels, he did write a fantasy comedy novel in 1998 titled “Willie-Washer’s Local No. 38.”  WWL follows the adventures of Solomon Khash as he parties with gelatinous cubes, chases the beautiful Princess Jenny, and saves the Irth from the evil Ug Slugs.
  3. Kids.  James Shipman has three kids aged 15, 13, and 10.  They attend school north of Seattle and are involved in soccer, baseball, and generally getting in mild trouble.
  4. Red Cross.  James has been involved for many years volunteering for Red Cross.  In 2006 he was the Chair of the National Committee on Resolutions, one of two national committees for the American Red Cross.
  5. Fish.  James has a saltwater reef tank in his office.  He speaks German randomly to his fish, although they don’t typically respond.
  6. Comicon.  James has appeared at the Rose City Comicon and Emerald City Comicon at an author table for the past two years.
  7. Next book.  James’s next title is “Going Home,” a civil war historical novel based on a true story.  “Going Home” will be released in July, 2014.
  8. Istanbul.  James was able to visit Istanbul this past year as part of the final research for Constantinopolis.  Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world to view from the water, and has a rich Greek and Turkish history.
  9. History.  James has a history degree from the University of Washington.
  10. Gonzaga.  James completed his law degree in 1998 from Gonzaga University.

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://james-shipman.com