Intimate Conversation with Lutishia Lovely

Intimate Conversation with Lutishia Lovely

Lutishia Lovely is the bestselling author of the Hallelujah Love Series, and The Business Trilogy debuting in 2011.  A lover of words in almost any format, she is also an accomplished actor, and former radio DJ and talk show host. When not writing, she herself enjoys a good book, along with traveling to exotic destinations and cooking vegan cuisine. Lutishia enjoys spending time with family and friends in metropolitan Los Angeles. 

Listen to Lutishia read from Heaven Forbid by clicking here.

BPM: What inspired you to pen your first novel?Honestly, Spirit. See this title, Passion In The Pews, dropped in my head years ago. I had just finished writing a stageplay and tried to do the same with this idea. It went nowhere. Fast forward a few years and after finishing yet another project I asked Spirit, "what am I supposed to do now?" Clear as day came the PGW:  "Sex In The Sanctuary...and it's my first book of the series."

BPM: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? I think everyone I've ever met, seen, heard or felt is somehow contributing to my work. Of course, life itself is a wonderful source of information and inspiration. For instance, not only did I literally grow up in church but I'm also a preacher's kid, so the "Hallelujah Love" series is a very easy one for me to write.

BPM: How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing? 
I am blessed to have experienced and continue to enjoy a very rich, culturally, socially and geographically diverse life journey and it allows me to relate to a wide variety of situations. I've travelled extensively, forty states,  over a dozen countries, and even lived in Israel for six months. My work background has been diverse, from radio personality to magazine editor. I've lived in almost all-White towns and in mostly-Black urban communites. So really, I feel more like a global citizen, than I do any label that would tie me into one place or even ethnicity.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?  What makes me powerful both as a person and a writer is the freedom I get from a close relationship with Spirit. The absolute belief that at any given moment I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do, is very liberating. This truth gives me the ability to be myself, and fearlessly write what my characters are telling me about their lives.

BPM: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook on life? I think in the sense that my writing is free-spirited and uninhibited, with storylines that embrace a diverse set of viewpoints from a variety of people-types, my work reflects how I think and live. However, when it comes to some of my beliefs, my more judgmental Hallelujah Love characters might think I need Jesus! :)

BPM: What do you think of the increasingly fortuitous sex in African American literature? I think what we read is a reflection of life. As casual, meaningless sex has increased in our culture and our world, so too has it increased in our novels. It’s true that sex sells, but that doesn’t mean you can just throw together a bunch of body parts, positions, grunts and groans and call it a day!

Readers are becoming more discriminating, and the overcrowded literary playing field calls for authors to step up their imaginary game. I love to write (and read) intimate scenes, but only when they have a purpose in the storyline and are tastefully done. Having said that, “taste” is in the eye of the beholder. Some people view my work as obscene, and what might seem ridiculous to me could be what someone else just tried last night!

In my work, I try and present what is supposed to be a sacred and giving act between two people who love each other in a way that brings beauty to the art of lovemaking…and a tingle or two to the one reading my words!
Heaven Forbid catches readers up on several past characters in the Hallelujah Love series including Stan and Passion Lee, Princess Brook and Kelvin Petersen (all from A Preacher’s Passion), as well as series regular Mama Max and her husband, the Reverend Doctor Pastor Bishop Overseer Mister Stanley Obadiah Meshach Brook, Jr.

BPM: What specific situation prompted you to write Heaven Forbid? Heaven Forbid wasn’t so much prompted by a specific event as it was by readers asking what was going on with so-and-so or such-and-such.  And it was amazing how as I began to type, the characters let me know exactly what had been happening. Believe it or not, we writers don’t always know, and are often just as shocked as you are! ::smile::

BPM: Take us inside Heaven Forbid. What are two major events taking place? Heaven Forbid, book number six in this ongoing series, begins with Gospel Truth Church, a congregation first introduced in Reverend Feelgood, having hired a new pastor, Mama Max’s husband, Reverend Doctor Brook. He’s invited Passion Lee’s husband, Stan, to Palestine, TX, to conduct a revival because the members of GT are not trying to abide by his stringent, Christian philosophy and suffocating rules. What neither the reverend doctor nor Mama Max know, is that something else needs reviving—Stan’s marriage, or more specifically, his libido…

BPM: Who are your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people? I could never pick a favorite among my characters, but I enjoyed this storyline that featured “seasoned” individuals. Seventy-something Mama Max is probably a combination of every older, wise-cracking, wisdom-spouting woman I’ve ever known, including my own mother, aunts and grandmother, and the older women in the church where I grew up.

BPM: What role do you give the "mean-spirited" characters? Do you have such characters? Hmmm, good question, Ella! There were definitely some people whose motives were suspect in my last book,  Reverend Feelgood, but in this one, each person is too absorbed in their own drama to create much for anybody else.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject? Ella, if there are any other books out there like mine, I haven’t read them! I think this series, blatantly combining sex and religion, is a new twist in the literary mix! Yes, there are other books involving drama in the church, but I think my work pushes envelopes that heretofore have not been opened. The storyline in Reverend Feelgood is unique, and if any other novel in this genre has touched upon what Mama Max ultimately discovers about her conservative pastor husband, y’all let me know!

BPM: Do you feel that the explosion  in African-American writers is a fad or another renaissance? Definitely another renaissance. We've re-discovered the Black voice and it is stronger, more vibrant, and more diverse than ever! There is so much talent out here, so many creative storylines and genres to choose from when it comes to Black works. All of my fellow penners make me proud to spell my name w-r-i-t-e-r!!!

BPM: Do you feel more African-Americans are reading? If not, how can we help increase this? While I think the number of African-American readers are increasing, I wish it were more. Reading is such a wonderful, inexpensive yet creative way to be entertained. I think to increase these numbers it has to start early, in the home, with children who are 4, 5, 6 years old and on. The earlier the habit of reading is instilled, the deeper will be the love. And I can tell you from personal experience - that love will last a lifetime!

BPM: What advice would you give someone who wants to write a book? I'd tell them to stop thinking about it and "just do it." Get on a computer and start writing whatever you have: an idea, an outline, an incident, whatever. The more you write, the more that will flow. Then I'd encourage them to join a writer group or take a college course, anything to get you in the atmosphere of your dream. Lastly the internet is a wealth of information. You can just google "write a book" and about a million choices will pop up with folk trying to tell you how to make it do what it do! But bottom line, if you want to be a writer...WRITE!

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.  
I am blessed to have a full plate, and am really excited about The Business Trilogy, a new series that debuts in 2011.  While I plan to write Hallelujah Love as long as people want to read it, it is refreshing to write a totally different storyline. This trilogy deals with the Livingstons, the Atlanta-based owners of a soul food dynasty. The first book, All Up In My Business, has all things Lovely—drama, humor, inspiration, multiple main characters and a layered storyline—happening in the food industry instead of the church. I’m also appearing in my first anthology, along with Cydney Rax and Michele Grant, and that novella was very fun to write.

Lastly, I’m thrilled to be heading to Detroit, Michigan in October for my first panel discussion sponsored by a library. I’m so thankful for these institutions and what they mean to our communities. At various times in my life, libraries have for me been a lifeline. I am honored and humbled that my books are now on their shelves.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? I can be contacted through my website,, or through Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Shelfari and other sites, all via the end tag — Lutishia Lovely.

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