We are happy to host Leiann B Wrytes on the last leg of her blog tour. She stopped by to chat with us about her latest smash hit ‘Virtuous Deception 2: Playing For Keeps.’ Please read the interview below and share with a friend.
Congrats on your new novel ‘Virtuous Deception 2.’ Tell the readers about it?
Leiann B Wrytes: Virtuous Deception 2: Playing for Keeps is a story about a family trying to reconcile in the midst of tragedy. It’s an examination of what could potentially happen when circumstances force people into uncomfortable spaces and the various ways that love may show up in those spaces. This novel constantly challenges the idea of family and what it means to be family.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
Leiann B Wrytes: I fell in love with the characters and completely immersed myself in their world. It was an emotional investment that made this book inevitable. These people are complicated, as we all are, and I saw a chance to humanize some of the things we tend to use against people to justify judging them. I really sought to create something that challenges our tendency to do that and perhaps lessen that instinct. More than anything though, I needed to know what happened to them after their lives were ripped to shreds in Virtuous Deception. Could there be a happily ever after for any of them?
How long did it take you to write it?
Leiann B Wrytes: Goodness, it took the better part of a year to complete it.
Why did it take so long for a follow up?
Leiann B Wrytes: I was emotionally exhausted during much of the time immediately following Virtuous Deception. It was a difficult time for my family and I lacked the creative energy necessary for me to write with any serious measure of consistency. For several months it was really sporadic but as things calmed down…I was able to give more of myself to the writing process. From that point on, the wealth of the story became somewhat of an issue. The characters were all in the midst of some traumatic change in their narrative and each time I felt I was near the finish line, some part of the story would explode into something that required more exploration. I kept writing until this book felt finished. I could have stopped and broke it up but I opted not to do that.
What do you have planned for the future of the series?
Leiann B Wrytes: Definitely one more book, and perhaps another after that. Virtuous Deception 2 is a fairly healthy book and if I feel that the third book is nearing its weight, than it will likely be divided into, two parts. I plan to leave the family in a good space or at least with the possibility of happiness.
Please tell the reader a little bit about yourself as a person and as a writer.
Leiann B Wrytes: I believe that writing is a gift that comes with a tremendous responsibility. Words are powerful and I have learned not to discount the weight of my voice. Reading is a deeply personal act and I recognize that it’s an opportunity for me to impact this world in some way. Love is the thread woven through the spine of every story I tell and my hope is that I inspire the kind of inner dialogue that cultivates empathy through the narratives I create. I hope that, as I have in my personal life, that people find a language to love themselves and each other in a more profound way.
Did you always dream of being an author?
Leiann B Wrytes: I did not dream of being an author. That title had a mystique and an intangible quality that never truly reached me when I was at the age when dreams are planted. I only knew of a handful of black authors in school and they each had a very regal presence and manner that I, as a small country girl, could not relate to. I looked up to them and I was inspired by them but it never occurred to me that I could one day be among them. That happened much, much later.
If you were casting Virtuous series for film, or the small screen who would I cast and why?
Leiann B Wrytes: Lisa: Rochelle Aytes is a phenomenal talent and I cannot think of anyone better than her for Lisa.
Frank: Shemar Moore is Franklin Mason. Shemar can make you believe that he is much tougher than he really is and Frank needs that. I believe that he has the emotional depth to really bring all of who Frank is to the screen.
Sophie: KaDee Strickland would be perfect for this role. Sophie is a very complicated woman and KaDee is a powerhouse.
Peter: There is no question that this role would go to Wentworth Miller. He was my visual inspiration for Peter.
Cory Hardict would definitely be Armand. There is a quiet strength in his eyes that marries him with this character. He has this awesome ability to be strong without erasing the softness we need to see in order to love his characters when they are not making the best decisions.
Twins: Tessa Thompson would be great if I could not find a set of twins. Tia and Tamera of course came to mind. I know that they would definitely be capable of pulling this off.
What am I currently working on?
Leiann B Wrytes: I am of course finishing up the Virtuous Deception series. I am also preparing to release my first novella, Jaya which is essentially a story about a young woman’s journey into herself. I have been fortunate to have been given an opportunity to be a part of an incredible documentary exploring mental health and that goes into production this summer. I am excited about that as well. I am working on several things right now.
What has life taught you?
Leiann B Wrytes: Living is about expecting the unexpected. We cannot avoid pain or failure and still live. Living is having the courage to fail over and over again. Taking the risk and accepting whatever comes from that. I suppose the most important lesson I have learned is that despite what society may teach us: people are life’s most precious commodity and no one should be tossed aside. We each have something invaluable to contribute to humanity.
Thank you for doing this interview!
Please pick up a copy of her latest release ‘Virtuous Deception 2: Playing For Keeps.’
Click link to purchase a copy of ‘Virtuous Deception 2’: (Kindle) or (Paperback)
Click link to purchase a copy of ‘Virtuous Deception 1’: (Kindle) or (Paperback)