Sistah Girls, author Kema B. is creating her own lane in the world of contemporary romance. With a pinch of reality, a dash of sass, and an ounce of filth, she creates Black love stories that check off every box. Five books in and she’s showing no sign of slowing down.
We recently caught up with Kema B. to talk about her writing and what it takes to keep creating new characters that come to life.
SGBC: When did you fall in love with writing?
Kema B.: I’ve always loved words and creating stories in my head since I was a little girl but the love and passion for writing stories started in elementary school. We would have to make up stories using the vocabulary words from that week’s test.
It was my favorite thing to do and something I looked forward to doing each week. Then I realized I didn’t have to wait for the test and would create stories in my notebook whenever I could. I still handwrite stories from time to time to this day.
SGBC: Why did you choose the indie publishing route instead of traditional publishing?
Kema B.: Being an indie author now is a dream come true. Although I bear the brunt of the cost of everything when it comes to the publishing aspect of this journey I also get to fully realize the rewards too. I have complete control and the freedom to write what I want when I want. Nothing beats that.
SGBC: What are three classic themes that readers can always look forward to when reading your work?
Kema B.: Black Love. I love writing about the different paths to love from the perspective of two Black leads. I also love having the men fall first and highlighting that difficult Black women deserve to be chased and loved too. The Black Family and friendship: I love writing about the family and friends of the main characters.
Those relationships are so important for their growth. It’s very important to me to counteract the stereotypes that Black women can’t be friends or that they don’t need a circle of women friends. Having the right tribe is a blessing. Humor. Laughter is my love language so there will always be laugh-out-loud moments in my books no matter the topics or situations.
SGBC: When you are writing multiple characters how do you keep up with everyone emotionally?
Kema B.: I spend a lot of time on character development. I get to know all my characters inside and out in order to understand what moves and drives them, even the secondary ones.
I need to know why they would react to a situation one way versus another. To keep it all straight I use an outline template doc from author J. Chary that is a godsend. For each book, I create a new doc that I can always refer back to if I need it.
SGBC: Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?
Kema B.: There are two that I relate to the most. Stacia from Heatwaves. As a romance author, she truly is an exaggerated and over-the-top version of me. Nasir from The Goddess of My Heart. Like him, I used to be very black and white and my motto is God forgives I don’t.
I learned a lot about myself writing his character especially that sometimes there is beauty and peace in the different shades of gray and everything doesn’t have to be in a box.
SGBC: If you could date any of your characters, which one would it be?
Kema B.: This is hard because I love all my men and I haven’t written my book bae’s story yet (I don’t care if you can’t claim your own book baes when you read about him one day just know he’s mine lol) But if I had to choose it would be Aeryn from Autumyn’s Kiss. He was big, tall, fine, and nasty and that’s just my type 😉
SGBC: How do you balance your writing career with your personal life?
Kema B.: It’s tough because I have a full-time job, child, and husband. And my creativity is the best at night. I’ve tried writing in the day but the way my brain is set up I get very distracted lol. 8 pm-2 am is my sweet spot so there are some nights where I don’t get much sleep.
The pandemic helped because I work from home so I try to take long naps whenever I can and spend as much time with my family as possible. On my breaks and lunch, I’ll go through edits, promo, and engage with my audience so I can focus on writing in the evenings.
It’s a lot but it’s worth investing time into my passion. My goal is to eventually be a full-time author and hopefully, I can realize that goal in the near future.
SGBC: What are five things you do when preparing to write a new story?
Kema B.: One, name the main characters and find their character visuals. I’m a very visual person so it helps me visualize the story and characters better when I have a visual representation of them in my mind. Two, title the book. I can’t write a book without a title that’s part of my inspiration as well.
Three, connect the characters. Although I write standalone novels, all my characters connect in some way to a previous story. Establishing that connection beforehand makes the story come together easier. Four, character development, like I said I spend a good amount of time doing this before I start writing.
Five, I create the book playlist. Since music inspires every story I write, my playlist is key. I think of each playlist as a soundtrack and if my book were movies, the songs I choose would be what’s playing in the background of each scene.
I try to come up with the playlist before I begin writing so that I can write while listening to it, making whatever tweaks as necessary as I go along.
SGBC: What can you tell us about your next release?
Kema B.: My next release and sixth book is titled Free Game. It’s a story about a hot girl tattoo shop receptionist named Isis and a retired rapper named Freedom.
Neither of them is looking for love but a dare and arrangement shifts things between them. He falls for her instantly but she doesn’t do relationships or rappers which makes it very interesting. Free Game is sexy, slightly more urban, and funny. I had so much fun telling their love story and can’t wait for readers to read it.
SGBC: Fill in the blank. I write because_____.
Kema B.: It’s my gift and my purpose.
Sistah Girls, we had a great time interviewing Kema B., be sure to follow her on these internet streets…