LaKesa Cox is an author and screenwriter from Richmond, Virginia with over 15 years of writing experience. An avid reader of all genres of books, it wasn’t until her teenage years when she read her first Danielle Steele novel that the fire in her began to flicker. Soon after, LaKesa discovered authors like Eric Jerome Dickey and Terry McMillan were beginning to write more and more stories about characters she could relate to. This paved the way for the firestorm that was brewing inside of her and it was then she realized it was time for her to create some drama of her own.
After the Storm was born and Water in My Eyes soon followed. When given the opportunity to contribute to the Nikki Turner Presents: Street Chronicles-Girls in the Game anthology, LaKesa added some spice to her pen to create Power, which became a New York Times Bestseller and Ebony magazine gave a favorable review. After the success of Girls in the Game, , Nikki Turner offered LaKesa another opportunity to put her pen to work and her story, Southern Girls’ Escort Service was chosen for the Nikki Turner Presents: Street Chronicles – A Woman’s Work anthology. Not one to be put in a box, LaKesa released an erotic, psychological thriller titled Fetish for a Blue Skyy soon after her second anthology was released.
LaKesa’s most recent short story Too Old to Marry which was released in March 2016, was her contribution to the National Best Selling anthology, The Ex Chronicles which was published by Brown Girls Publishing and won the 2016 African American Literary Award for best anthology. In 2017 LaKesa released her first Middle Grade novel titled Mulatto Girl Aggie, 13: Name on the Ledger. LaKesa decided to expand her creativity by crossing over into screenwriting. Her first feature-length screenplay, I Love You to Pieces, was selected for the 2017 Urban Media Makers Film Festival and the 2017 Houston Black Film Festival. LaKesa’s comedy pilot script, Wait a Minute Mr. Postman was selected as a quarter-finalist in the 2017 WeScreenplay TV Pilot Screenplay competition, was also selected for the 2017 Atlanta Comedy Film Festival and won 1st place in the Best Spec/TV Script at the 2017 Urban Mediamakers Festival.
LaKesa has completed three feature-length screenplays to date. LaKesa was named one of the top 100 African-American authors of 2017 by UBAWA.org. She graduated from Strayer University with an Associate’s Degree in Marketing and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She is scheduled to release her first children’s book February 2019, is currently working on her fourth full-length adult novel as well as her next feature length screenplay.
STARDOM recently caught up with Lakesa to discuss her recent success and more, read the full interview below:
S101: Hi LaKesa, we are early in 2019, how has the New Year been treating you so far?
LC: So far, the new year has been good to me. I am in the process of releasing my first children’s book this month, I rereleased my very first novel and I finished a thirty-minute screenplay.
S101: Can we ask how many years have you been writing?
LC: I have been writing for close to 20 years but just recently retired from my corporate job so I can focus on my writing career full-time.
S101: What are some future endeavors or big plans that we can anticipate from you in the future?
LC: I will be releasing another adult novel this year as well as a young adult/teen novel. I am also working on my fourth feature length screenplay which I plan to enter into some film festivals this year. My hope is that the audience will see some of my work on the screen in the near future.
S101: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
LC: I’ve been an avid reader from a very young age but when I started reading drama filled novels by Terry McMillan and Eric Jerome Dickey which included characters who looked like me, I knew it was time for me to start telling some of my own stories.
S101: How long does it take you to write a book?
LC: It varies. My first book took several years to write because I wasn’t consistent. However, it only took me three months to write my second novel.
S101: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
LC: I’m a night owl so most of my creativity tends to run rampant at night but I have started to commit to writing at least 2-3 hours during the day.
S101: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
LC: I have to have a title to my book or story before I start writing it.
S101: For those who don’t know can you explain the process on how books get published?
LC: There are several ways to go at it nowadays. I’ve been published via a major publisher, independent publisher and self-published. With the explosion of Amazon Books, a person can become a self-published author in a matter of minutes by downloading your manuscript and cover into Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Most indie publishers will allow a writer to submit their manuscript directly to them for consideration and the publisher will take responsibility of getting the book published. When dealing with a major publishing house (Random House, St. Martin’s Press etc.) an author needs to have a literary agent who will shop the book on their behalf and negotiate a book deal for them.
S101: We see that you’re releasing your first children’s book, can you tell us about it and what inspired you to compose it?
LC: I’ve been writing adult content for the majority of my writing career so writing my first children’s book has been a goal for some time. The title of the book is Shirleen and the Shoes and it’s about a young girl who takes a walk in other people’s shoes which gives her a look into their professions based on the shoes.
S101: Do you have any books on sale now? If so where can they be found and purchased?
LC: Yes, all of my books are available on Amazon.com and on my website www.lakesacox.com.
S101: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
LC: Usually a situation or conversation may spark an idea for a book or a book title. It usually happens very randomly but it can happen in a matter of minutes when I get an idea for a title then I start to build the story idea around that title.
S101: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
LC: I started writing my first book in my twenties but I didn’t finish and release it until I was 32 (in 2002).
S101: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
LC: Reading of course, online shopping, traveling and spending time with my family and close friends.
S101: What does your family think of your writing? My family has always been very supportive of my writing career. They continue to motivate me to continue to tell my stories.
S101: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
LC: How important your book cover is to the sale of the book. An appealing book cover can almost guarantee you a sale as it helps to draw a reader in.
S101: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
LC: I have written (3) full-length, adult novels, (After the Storm, Water in My Eyes and Fetish for a Blue Skyy) (1) young adult/teen novel (Mulatto Girl Aggie, 13: Name on the Ledger) and (3) short stories which appeared in (3) separate anthologies (Nikki Turner Presents: Street Chronicles – Girls In the Game, Street Chronicles – A Woman’s Work and The Ex Chronicles). My favorite is probably my third novel, Fetish for a Blue Skyy about a woman with a fetish for married men. It was a challenge writing about a protagonist that I didn’t like but the reader will come to find out she has some more deeply rooted problems that attribute to her behavior.
S101: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
LC: WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! And I mean write every day. Even if you only right a sentence a day, you should write so that it becomes a habit. Take writing classes and workshops and join a writing group if you can.
S101: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
LC: I get so much great feedback from readers about my stories which motivate me to keep writing. When a complete stranger inboxes you and gets excited about your book it is probably the greatest feeling in the world. I’ve gotten feedback about: how they could relate to the characters, how they felt like they were there because of how the story is told, how they were sneaking to read the book at work because they just couldn’t put it down, how the reader gets so emotional about the fictional characters in the book; it all just makes you feel good as a writer knowing you did what you set out to do.
S101: Do you like to create books for adults only?
LC: I definitely enjoy writing books for adults only because I can relate more to adults. But my goal has always been to create something for the entire family to read.
S101: What do you think makes a good story?
LC: Something that hooks the reader in the first few pages and keeps the reader engaged throughout the story.
S101: How can fans and supporters find you on social media?
LC: I am on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Facebook – www.facebook.com/LaKesaCox; I also have an author page on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/LaKesaCox-Author; for Instagram and Twitter my handle is @IamLaKesa
S101: Any last words you would like to leave for the readers?
LC: Please check out my library of work and I guarantee I will have something you’ll enjoy reading. If you want autographed copies of my books, please feel free to inbox me on Facebook.
For more information on LaKesa Cox and to support her books visit www.lakesacox.com