Aspiring author Chudney DeFreitas-Thomas.
Contemporary. Sexy. Paranormal. Romance. If those four adjectives describe the literature you like to read, then aspiring author Chudney DeFreitas-Thomas’s work may be right up your alley!
Not yet published, Mrs DeFreitas-Thomas began writing after the birth of her second daughter. The book was a memoir about her own mother, who sadly passed away before her children were born.
“I realised that neither of my children would know her, so I began writing down my memories.”
Since then, the mother-of-two has fallen into romance writing.
She granted Hairouna ATS access to a slice of her life and career. I wish her all the best of luck on her publication search. Readers, when she makes it big, remember where you read about her first!
Where in St. Vincent are you from? What was it like for you growing up there?
I grew up in Dorsetshire Hill, a suburb of Kingstown. For a long time I was the only girl in a tribe of boys. Dorsetshire Hill’s quiet was often broken by the shouts of said boys and I when I was let out of the house to run around with them. St. Vincent itself is in my blood, it’s home. As an aside, you and Desirée* were the first girls in our little enclave. When you guys arrived I wasn’t alone anymore.
[* referring to the interviewer and her sister]
When did you migrate to the US? Where do you live currently?
I migrated to the US in the fall of 1996. I currently reside in Orlando, Florida.
Is writing your main profession or something done alongside your main job? How did you get into writing? What inspired you to follow this path?
Writing is my passion. I am a part time teacher’s aide – this job allows me the freedom to write. I’ve always had stories in my head; sometimes I would write them down. However, it wasn’t until after the birth of my second child, Alexandra, that I started the process of writing a book. The book was about my mother. I realized that neither of my children would know her so I began the process of writing down my memories. Since then I’ve fallen into genre fiction, Romance in particular.
I am not currently published though I am actively seeking publication. This is a process of querying and submitting partials and fulls of manuscripts, when requested. I am also actively seeking an agent to help with the goal of publication.
What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in the world of writing? How did you overcome them? Are there any challenges you still face?
Writing itself is process. Learning to write is a process within it. Learning to edit with an eye towards moving the story along without boring your reader to tears or confusing them is something that must be learned. Then, there is the terror of submitting your work to those publishing houses that take un-agented submissions, while you also search for an agent, and the waiting that goes along with it. Then comes the rejection letter. That brings the biggest challenge, moving forward and taking a good honest look at your work and if you’ve received advice, editing it with that advice in mind without losing your story. To combat any panic or worry I simply take it step by step, sometimes with a pint of ice cream.
Are you currently working on new material? If yes, can you tell us about it?
I’m working on a memoir about the women in my family. It’s about my mothers. The women who held my world together when it was falling apart. The ones who helped keep the family together while facing their own problems. The women who taught me etiquette, deportment, and how to hold my head up when under fire. In essence, the strength of a Caribbean woman.
What’s your advice for those who have ambitions of publishing their written work?
Stick with it. This business is all subjective. From everyone I’ve spoken to at conferences or read about and experienced myself, perseverance is key. Rejection is a part of life in this business, not just for the writer but for everyone else in this business. Do your research. Know who you’re targeting and what they expect from you.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your written work?
I find inspiration everywhere. I know that sounds cliché but it’s true. I read books, blogs, newspapers, magazines. I go to museums, plays and movies. I also craft with paper and paint, and I pay attention to people around me.
How does the writing process work for you? Do you have an idea of how the story ends before you actually write it or do you only know your beginning and just go where the writing/characters lead you?
My writing process isn’t rigid. I’ve been known to wake in the dark of night and reach for my laptop because I have an idea. I usually get an idea for an opening scene. I know the people in it, and what happens beyond that I’m not sure. I’m a combination panster (someone who writes by the seat of their pants) and plotter. I have a brief outline, but it can change at a moments notice. I write everyday.
Which authors do you admire?
Ismith Khan, Jane Austen, Suzanne Brockmann, Vs Naipaul, Alice Walker, and Jean Rhys, to name a few.
Apart from writing, what else takes up your time?
My family takes up much of my time, but I also have a day to myself on weekends. I love horse back riding, though I haven’t been in a while. I hang out with my critique group, who are some of my best friends. I do Yoga, and create collages and art. Movies are a weakness of mine.
You can follow Chudney DeFreitas-Thomas on Twitter (@CDefThom), subscribe to her blog (Bluechocolate Diaries), and check her out on FaceBookand her official website.