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In recent readings, I read Sister Souljah’s The Coldest Winter Ever, and chose to answer the questions she offerered at the close of her novel. Over the coming weeks, I will offer my answers to her questions (some tailored to address my manuscript) in respect to work, Blue Lines. These questions were answered some time ago, earlier this year. I am providing them in that form.

1. Why did you choose to focus on your book subject?
2. Is Blue Lines a true story?
3. How did you write the story so authentically?
4. Did you, and if so, why did you decide to include yourself as a character?
5. Where we’re you when you first started writing Blue Lines?
6. Which character did you create first?
7. How did you write the manuscript, what method?
8. Why aren’t all of your characters Black?
9. What were you trying to achieve with the novel Blue Lines?
10. Will there be a sequel novel?

8. Why aren’t all of your characters Black?


What is Black? Growing up as an Afro-Cuban American in the south, the majority of my history was communicated by my Cuban mother and during our yearly visits to see our family in New York. During the 80’s and 90’s the extent of diversity in Atlanta, and Georgia to a greater extent, was the limited to Black and White. In no way do I ever discount my “Black-ness” as through my Cuban lineage I can easily trace my roots back to Africa far easier than the almalgum of Black Americans who through slavery were mixed and bred that it made sense to create what is the Black American, rather that hook into creating a bridge that spans the continent of Africa, because that direct line has been broken and diluted.
The events and experiences in college, life, and love that spawned Blue Lines dealt with people whom the naked eye would ignorantly only classify as “Black,” but later onyou would learn that when I look at you and notice your eyes and nose, that they were a reflection of Filipino heritage. Or, when I try to grow an afro and the texture of my hair changes with weight/growth, it was a reflection down the ancestry of my own Cuban heritage. I accept all parts that make a man or woman, it does not make us less Black, but as I said as a teen “I’m 100% Black, I’m 100% Cuban,” im not giving up any part of my history to fit some mold. Black comes in all shapes, sizes, colours, textures, etc.
With that said, to stay true to the origins and basis of the influences that gave birth to my characters and novel, I had to keep the integrity of what made these individuals who they were. I also had to maintain the qualities that made them unique and special.

9. What were you trying to achieve with the novel Blue Lines?
Though I think it frivolous to say that there were life events that led to a cathartic release which is where Blue Lines was created, it did play a bit of a role in my works creation. My impetus behind this work was to create the next American novel. I would be wrong to say that I did not want positive review and for my book to be a best seller, however I want a piece of work that stands the test of time with a universal story that speaks to many readers in a way that is intelligent, clear, and insightful. I also want to dually pay homage to the era I grew in to also give my contemporaries a nostalgic piece of Americana that incites memories of our high school and college years, recalling our youthful exhberance, trials, growth, and loves by keying into the music, dress, and descriptions and time I hoped to doubly tell this narrative and offer the time capsule into the 1990’s.
Will everyone like Keypsiia? Not at all. Her language, actions, and stubbornness will lead some to dislike her at points. Hopefully, the reader also identifies with her youth and the errors and triumphs we have at these important formative years. I have a strong connection to Keypsiia’s character, not simply because I created her and molded her or an echo to her inspiration, but simply because there is a part of me in Keypsiia. Many of her traits are shared and I may not like everything about her choices, but that’s what made her real o me in writing her story.

10. Will there be a sequel novel?
No. I plan to allow Keypsiia to have a recurring role as a character that makes appearances in my other unrelated works, but Blue Lines is the only story of Keypsiia Yemaya Walker that I can envision. At the current tme, her story is complete, and the only work that I can see limited to simply a first person view. My other projects encompass more of their characters lives to form the whole perspective of the story.
For those curious with how she fares, The The Eyes of A Man Born to Life (a story about her uncle), and Final Goodbye, will give a very limited view on an older mature Keypsiia Walker. I really feel no need to dilute a character by creating a serial based on her completed public story. Blue Lines is a sufficient glimpse into the life of a special young woman on her journey and I sincerely hope that I have completed my task and desired goal with her and the supporting characters.
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The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of a young California woman Key Yemaya Walker, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.

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