"There is a purpose-driven-thing within you, and once you figure out what that thing is—you listen to that small still voice, and you walk in it… you’re pretty much unstable at that point."
Latise Howie, a natural and gifted writer, began working on her first book during the ripeness of her twenties.
Unfortunately, Howie never published the work because she felt that the meditative content wasn’t there. So, she shelved the manuscript and focused solely on her education. At the time, Howie was a student at North Carolina Central University, majoring in Political Science.
Although the Concord native furthered her college preparations, that didn’t stop Howie's deep and inaudible passion for writing.
Howie self-published her breakout book in 2013, called “The Chronicles: Elevator Silence," and in January of 2014, she released the sequel entitled “The Chronicles: Sidetracked.” Howie released the third volume in October 2015, completing the high-demand trilogy.
She wrote the series because the characters just wouldn’t go away and they wouldn’t let her sleep. “Literally, the characters would not allow me to rest and the work just didn’t feel finished,” said Howie.
"I looked at what the author of "50 Shades of Grey" did, and when she wrote that series, she came out, bam, bam, bam, with three books.
If you get that reader engrossed with that novel, they just want to know what happens. So, it was really important for me to deliver that work, and deliver it quickly, to my readers,” she said.
The narration of the stories spawn from Howie’s life, her imagination, and things that she’s seen while on her journey. The plot surrounds several women that endure true-to-life events.
“You can’t look at a person on the outside and judge what you think they are cause you don’t know what anybody’s walk is, and you don’t know what their struggles have been.
Just because they are nicely packaged, and put together, you don’t know what got them to that place. So, I used my life, and my characters, to let young women know, ‘You can survive anything. You just have to keep your faith intact. You are important. God put you here for a reason,” Howie spoke adamantly.
Howie recently won for Best Inspirational Author at the “Gospel Image Awards” in Charlotte, NC.
Not fading from the celebratory spotlight, word on the street is that The Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley California, picked up Howie’s book, and they’ve created a stage-play for “The Chronicles: Elevator Silence.”
Howie at the 2015 Gospel Image Awards
Aside from those wonderful honors, Howie is an empowerment speaker. She’s currently involved with “The Living Room Chronicles,” an affirmative focus group that merges music with conversation. She hosts the event at the Blu Notes café in Charlotte, NC.
Who is Latise, right now, in this moment?
Latise is just feeling amazing about who she is and where she is going. Latise is thankful for the experience that has gotten her to this place. I just won my very first award. It was an Image Award for "Best Inspirational Author of the Year." So, I’m still on a high from that. I’m just so thankful and so grateful for the opportunity to be used as the vessel, you know? The work has everything to do with touching as many lives as I’m supposed to, in this life. For me to be able to do it, and for God, to be able to use me in a way such as this, I can’t even put it into words of how humble I am by the whole thing. The experience of it all has just been amazing.
At this moment, I am a mother of two wonderful girls. One is a senior in college, and one is a sophomore in college, and my son is fourteen-years -old. I’m a football mom because he is a huge offensive back and a freshman in high school. I work full-time in property management with about five-hundred units. I wear a bunch of different hats. But, hey, that’s what we do. I’m just blessed, to be able to do it all.
How did you find out about the ceremony, and how did you get your books involved in the first place?
Well, last year, for this award ceremony, I was a presenter. So, it is the Gospel Image Awards, based here, in Charlotte. The Praise Café is here in Charlotte. They feature a lot of different gospel artist and inspirational individuals. I’ve been able to be connected with them for a couple of years, since I was able to come out as a self-published author.
With all the marketing and promotions, I was able to meet people within that network. That’s how the exposure came. They watched my social media and internet presence. The book grew and it became popular. That’s how I became connected with them. I was nominated for “Best Inspirational Author of the Year,” as well as “The People’s Choice” nominee. I ended up winning “The Best Inspirational Author of the Year.”
How was the support for you as an independent author?
When I first came out, it was difficult because all of the marketing comes from you. Everything that happens has to be based on your drive to do it. The support from my community has been amazing, but then the work spoke for itself. The support came, not because my home-girl wrote a book, it came because, ‘My home-girl wrote a really good book, and you should read it.’
I noticed that I became the guru for everything when I wrote my first book. People think you know everything—when I put out the second book, I realized that it was really good. It’s great reading. First, the support was through family and friends, and then the more that people read it, the stories became widespread. I was going to places, and people that I never knew, had read my story. They were contacting me through my website, saying, “Your story changed my life,” and that’s when I knew that this project was really something special.
I will tell you that being an independent author is difficult. It’s a grind. That’s another reason that I’m so proud of that award. I’m an independent author that had to grind this thing out. You know, I don’t have a publishing company behind me. That made it all the sweeter, to be able to say going forward, “I’m an award winning author,” and that feels amazing.
If you could go back and do two things over, as a self-published author, what would those two things be?
I would make sure that my editing was on point the first time. My mom is a technical editor, and once I shared with her, that I wrote a book, my mom became the editor. She is my editor and she edits lots of books in the area because people knew what she did with my book. Are the sessions grueling? Heck, yeah!
The second thing that I would change is that I probably wouldn’t have released them so close together because it felt like there was a lot of pressure to do that. I wouldn’t announce it, I’d just do it because once readers get attached to the characters, O.M.G. Once they put the pressure on, you feel like you have to get it out. Those are the only two things I would change cause the grind of it all, I actually love it. That’s made me appreciate the walk a whole lot more.
How did you combine romance with inspirational?
I think that was easy for me to do because we are human beings, and that is who we are in a nutshell—we are sexual human beings—God made us that way. I think that any part of your life can be an inspiration if you’re transparent enough, because you don’t know who needs to feel, or see what you’ve gone through, so that they can get to the next level of their life. I’m not a writer of erotica. I feel like there’s just enough that you can put out there, that’s descriptive enough. If you’re able to read my work and you feel yourself in the spaces, I’ve done my job as a writer. I don’t think you have to peel back every layer, for people to feel the same thing. It’s almost like the old burlesque strip tease. They didn’t show everything, but it gave the same effect.
You mentioned that Omar Tyree was a mentor. How important is it, to have someone with that knowledge, to push you along?
When I met Omar Tyree, I had written all three books. What happened was that an acquaintance had introduced us. I thought, “Oh, my God! How important would it be, for me to pick his brain?” The reason that Omar even took me seriously is because my work was already finished, and I was already starting to gain a name for myself. So, he was able to say important things to me like, “Don’t get frustrated when everybody doesn’t read your stuff. The whole world isn’t going to, so just get over it.”
He was able to be straight up with me in a way that it would hurt an author who wasn’t finished yet. I’m glad that my work was done cause he was able to go back and look through it, and go, “Alright, she is really serious about what she is doing. Now, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of how to make her better.”
For me, that was extraordinarily important and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it.
What do you enjoy reading?
This is going to sound really funny—I re-read all of my books this past week. I needed to feel what I felt as I was writing. I like Napoleon Hill. I read things that really, truly, make me a better individual. I read things to compare my work to. Believe it or not, for fun, I read the entire J.K Rowlings series of Harry Potter, and even her fables that end the novel. I was blown away by J.K Rowling’s sheer creativity and imagination.
Mostly, I read things that are going to inspire, uplift, and help me become a better person. I just love Mandy Hill—I have some friends that recently wrote some books. I’ve read their work as well.
How much research did it take for you to create your novels with regard to terminology?
I wrote about an experience in a strip club, that two of the guy characters were about to go through in my book. I had never been to a strip club in my entire life, ever. But, I had to go. Me, and some of my male cousins—they came over my house that night. My cousin, Rod, he frequents the strip club, so he was like, “Okay, this is what we are going to do—we’re going to Nikki's, and then we are going to The Gentlemen’s strip club," which is more upscale.
I wrote about Nikki's in my book—so even in that, and even in the strip club, God was moving. My characters were praying. To be able to know that God is everywhere, you just have to listen, and know that He is there in every situation. That’s up to you, the individual, to be connected spiritually. God is at the strip club, He can be at the masque, He can be at the church, He can be at the winery, He can be anywhere, but you have to be open-enough to hear his voice.
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