"Contemporary Romance & Women's Fiction with a Afro-Filipina Twist"
Favorite Food: Pancit and lumpia with some sinigang. Also, fried catfish with hot sauce, baked macaroni and cheese, and collard greens! (I can’t pick one!)
Favorite Movie: The Joy Luck Club
Favorite TV Show: Lovecraft Country
Favorite Author: Octavia Butler
Favorite Song: “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey
Favorite Book: Kindred by Octavia Butler
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (AND ACTRESS)
What made you become a writer?
I was always an avid reader. From a young age, I inhaled books! I didn’t seriously consider becoming a writer until I had my first child. At the time, I was a new mother, and I needed a creative outlet. Writing was something I could easily pick up because it didn’t require that I travel to auditions. All I needed was a notebook, a pen, and my imagination.
I am sure you have been asked this before. Why romance?
Romance is all about hope and the happily ever after. I want to show how love is powerful, not only for the love interests, but for every other aspect of their lives. Love makes them better people inside and out. That’s the power of the romance genre (and the power of love).
What is it important that your books feature an ‘Afro-Filipina twist’?
I want to read stories that reflect my African-American and Filipino heritage. I didn’t see many own voices stories with Black & Filipino main characters, and so I decided to write one for myself. It’s my way of paying homage to my heritage and to my ancestors. Their stories deserve to be remembered and told.
Describe a typical day for Preslaysa, the writer?
My days are never the same. They are busy, busy, busy. I used to dream about sitting at a quiet desk and writing for long stretches of time. However, my days do not look like that. I usually start off the day with some quiet writing time, but after my children awaken, I’m in mom-homeschooling mode. I may get some snatches of editing during the day.
I’m also checking social media and my email in the daytime. In the evening, I’m able to return back to focused writing time. And then I go to sleep!
I just discovered you are also Preslaysa Edwards, actress? Give us scoop!
I started acting at a very young age. When I was 8 years old, I was watching Elizabeth Taylor in the film, National Velvet. She was a young girl in the film, and I said to myself: “I want to do that. I want to act.” I looked in the classified ads for a talent agent, called one up, and set up an appointment to see them.
I told my parents after I set up the appointment, LOL. My father took me to see the talent agent, and they agent signed me. I went out on my first audition, and I booked it.
A few years later, I was cast in an Off Broadway play entitled “The Onliest One Who Can’t Go Nowhere.” It was directed by the legendary Black theatre director, Woodie King, Jr. Mr. King once told me that I would land on television one day because I had the personality for the medium. I was about 13 years old at the time.
Interestingly enough, a casting director from Nickelodeon Networks watched me in my performances for that play. They later contacted my talent agent and set me up for auditions. I went on a slew of auditions at Nickelodeon. I would be so close to getting cast for a TV show, but I didn’t make the cut. The casting directors were very nice. They said it was a matter of finding the right role for me.
There was a new TV pilot entitled, “The Mystery Files of Shelby Wink.” I auditioned for the role of Cindi, and I went on several callbacks. It was finally between me and one other actor. The other actor landed the role, and they filmed the pilot in Florida. After they filmed the pilot, the casting directors contacted my agent and said that they want to cast me in the role of Cindi! They also changed the name of the show to “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.” So you never know what can happen. Just keep moving forward!
ABOUT THE BOOKS
Tell us a bit about A LOWCOUNTRY BRIDE.
A LOWCOUNTRY BRIDE is a heartwarming romance about a Manhattan-based, Afro-Filipina wedding gown designer who learns to trust in herself and her ability to love again when she returns home to Charleston, South Carolina, and finds herself helping a widowed single father keep his struggling bridal shop afloat.
What inspired you to write this book?
I lived in the Charleston, South Carolina area for a few years. My spouse was in the Navy, and so we were stationed there. I earned my MPA from the College of Charleston during those years. I also came into my own. I learned a lot about myself and underwent a lot of personal growth.
Also, I attended an African Methodist Episcopal Church when I lived in South Carolina. My husband is A.M.E., and I fell in love with the congregation and the community.
I noticed that many of the published romance novels and women’s fiction that are set in the Lowcountry do not have Black and Brown main characters. This was peculiar to me because HYPERLINK "https://www.bustle.com/articles/91226-what-percentage-of-charleston-is-black-theres-been-a-radical-shift-in-the-citys-racial-demographics" approximately 29% of the community in Charleston is African-American. Charleston, South Carolina was also HYPERLINK "https://walksofcharleston.com/blog/slavery-history-charleston/" the largest slave trading port in America, and so the history of the area and its relation to African-American people runs deep.
I wanted to write about them. I wanted to center their stories and their history while giving them a happily ever after.
How have you changed as a writer since that first book?
A LOWCOUNTRY BRIDE is actually the first book that I ever wrote, even though it wasn’t the first book that was published. I started it about a decade ago, but it underwent a massive evolution over the years.
I have changed a lot as a writer since I started A LOWCOUNTRY BRIDE about a decade ago. I am more comfortable in my skin, and I have grown in self-love. I believe that this shows in the stories I write and in the final version of A LOWCOUNTRY BRIDE.
What’s next for Preslaysa?
Right now, I am working on another love story set in the Lowcountry. This story is a second chance romance between a different couple. They have unique occupations, and the story references the zeitgeist of our current social climate.
That’s all I’ll say about that for now…
ABOUT THE READERS
If there was one thing you could tell your readers about Preslaysa, the person, what would it be?
I’m the rose in the concrete that Tupac wrote about in his poem, The Rose That Grew from Concrete. For all intents and purposes, I wasn’t supposed to become a published author or a television actress, but I persevered.
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Publishing is a tough business, but if you truly love writing, then pursue it with all of your heart. Work on your craft. Discover your unique message and voice. Never rest on your laurels when it comes to your craft. You will eventually achieve your goals if you persevere and hold onto your love for writing.
How can readers reach you?
Thanks, Preslaysa, for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us!