September 29, 2010

Influences - In Touch with Author Jennifer Coissiere

The Writer

Creativity seems to course through the veins of Jennifer Coissiere. Words has always been a part of her world; from she was young creating worlds for the characters she drew on paper to the poetry she wrote to express her unspoken feelings and emotions. Besides being a writer, Jennifer creates handmade beaded gems. She is also a wife, mother, and a student. Once she’s gotten all those things out of her system, like she really ever could, she does the next best thing, grab a book and read. There’s no telling what other things she will pull out of her bag of tricks, you need to write her name down and be open minded for any and everything.

You can learn more about Jennifer on Twitter, Facebook, and at her official website.

The Book

Rachelle Martin's mother died Mother's Day, when Rachelle was only 15. To make matters worse Rachelle was in church singing her mother's favorite song. Now, at age 30, she still has not gotten over the loss of her mother. She feels it is her job to mother and protect twin brother, Raheem. However, when her dad asks her to sing as a Christmas present to him, she is transformed. She becomes the focus of many as she focuses on the here and now. Her loved ones and the ones she is unsure of witness her transformation. She goes from a perceived ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. Her transformation changes the lives of others, making them realize what they want in life. Slowly but surely, they will all begin, Crossing Over.

Can Rachelle change enough to sing, or will her voice be buried forever?

Click the cover above to order your copy of CROSSING OVER today!

Check out the trailer for Crossing Over!

What three books have inspired you as a writer and why?

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe… I remember when my class read "The Tell-tale Heart"; I was intrigued and afraid all at the same time. Then I realized how twisted Poe was. That’s why I loved his writings. I could write in such an obscured manner and people would turn my poetry and stories into whatever they saw in their mind. The main thing was they are enjoying my works as I enjoy Poe’s masterpieces.

How to Win Friends and Influence Other People by Dale Carnegie… someone told me to read this book because they believed I needed an attitude adjustment. I used the information I learned in that book to better develop my characters. Of course I learned how to interact with others better, but I learned how to develop relatable characters. I still have the copy I bought over 13 years ago.

My last answer will sound so cliché, but it’s the truth. The Bible! Where else can a person come across so many different writing styles and genres? There is poetic prose and stanzas, biographies, gospels (some of my favorite gospel songs are based on Bible verses), prayers, letters, parables, etc. A person can truly learn how to tell a story that will live through the ages by reading the Bible. It’s one book I will never get tried of exploring. I always find something new I missed the last time. The Bible is a book with meaning(s). I want the stories that I write to be of importance, not just words on the page.


Crossing Over by Jennifer Coissiere
Chapter Eight

Dawn looked around, making sure everything was in its place, fluffing the pillows on the couch one more time. “They’ll be here any minute,” she announced. “We promised Raheem we’d give Leigh a better chance than we did before, so let’s do our best.” She would try to fake it as much as she could, but the truth of the matter was, she didn’t want to get to know Leigh any better. Having Leigh in her space was overwhelming.

Dawn had watched how Raheem follow her as she went from table to table doing her job that night at DeMali’s. His eyes didn’t leave her presence much while they were eating and fellowshipping with each other. Even though Dawn hadn’t worked that hard to get him to notice her, with Leigh now taking all his time and attention Raheem would never realize the passion she had growing inside her for him. The desire was at times over bearing and she hadn’t a clue why. He’d never shown her any signs of being interested in her other than being a friend to her through association with Rachelle.

The only other time they came close to having anything, Raheem didn’t seem to remember. However, Dawn still recalled the way she felt when she awoke beside Raheem. She would never forget the night they had shared. She only hoped Raheem would one day recall the connection they had.

A set of quick loud knocks on the door signaled they had arrived. Each person put on a welcoming smile.

Kenyon said, “If no one else is going to open it, I will,” walking over to the door.

“Hey, y’all come on in. I hope you’re hungry,” Kenyon said to the couple. Turning back to everyone already in the apartment, he said, “You remember Leigh right?”

Rachelle was the first to acknowledge Leigh. Draping an arm around both Leigh’s and Raheem’s shoulder, she led them into the apartment.

“Leigh, welcome to our little get together. Make yourself at home. I want to apologize for not giving you a fair chance before.” Rachelle, being her typical self, held a welcoming smile that only she could pull off. Whatever she was thinking, no one could tell because she had kept her face neutral from all emotions except for that dutiful smile.

She looked at Raheem; he didn’t say a word. He let Leigh decide for herself what to believe. Maybe she would be able to let her guard down and make new friends.

“No sweat. I understand.”

“Let’s not dwell anymore than needs be on the past. Let’s eat, I’m starved,” Dawn said.

She and Raheem locked eyes for a quick moment, but they broke it almost immediately.

“Something smells wonderful,” said Leigh.

“Kenyon will have to take all the credit for this. Usually when we all get together like this, we all chip in and cook or bake something, but not tonight.”

If his pride would let him, he would have been blushing, but he just waved his hand at Dawn trying to get her to be quiet.

Rachelle whispered in Dawn’s ears, “Stop embarrassing him in front of company.”

“Girl, please this is what he lives for, attention from a woman.”

“So Leigh, do you have any family here in Georgia?” asked Zion.

“I don’t have any family, anywhere.”

Eyes bore into her from all sides; everyone had family somewhere. Raheem came to her rescue.

“She doesn’t know any of her family. She grew up in a group home.”

“Oh ok. Well what do you do for fun?” Rachelle asked.

“I uh, um…go to the clubs and drink,” she said nonchalantly.

The response she got was not surprising. It was pure silence. Raheem placed a reassuring hand on the center of her back. Turning she smiled at him. The tension he felt drained from his body, slowly. There was a possibility they all could be friends.

The acceptance of Leigh into their friendship circle was not the only thing grating on his nerves. He was still trying to figure out how did he gone from hanging out, drinking with Leigh to ending up in bed with Dawn.

The morning she woke up neither said a word. She got dress and left the hotel room. All he knew was they were both naked and nothing else.

“Ok let’s try something different to stay positive and not dampen a potentially wonderful evening. Maybe you should ask us questions instead,” Rachelle suggested.

“Alright, Kenyon the first question is for you. What did you cook?”

Laughter erupted.

“Amarillo arroz con pollo, y épinards à la crème.”

“Are you Spanish?”

Dawn playfully slapped him in the back of his head.

“What’s that for?” he asked as innocent as he could.

“You know we don’t know what that is. And no he isn’t anything close to a Latino.”

“How you know I’m not a little Latino? You know everyone is always claiming to be one-quarter Cherokee Indian. I went a different route. Any way we are having yellow rice and chicken with creamed spinach.”

“Man, you need to let that go. You going to have Leigh thinking we are all crazy, but that’s an honor you can have all alone,” Zion said.

“Leigh, you get to sit at the head of the table across from Zion. Everyone else pick your seat, they’re our guests, so they get to sit at the heads of the table, to be made to feel honored,” said Kenyon.

“Thanks, I could have sat at one of the other seats,” said Leigh. “I don’t mind really.”

“It’s our way. We do it this way. Anytime anyone comes over especially for the first time, we make sure they feel welcomed and special by the time they leave.”

“Consider it a good deed,” said Dawn.

“Before we take our seats, if we can join hands, and bless the food,” Rachelle said. “Dawn since you’re the hostess, if you don’t mind could you do the honor, please?”

Reluctantly, Leigh placed her hands in Dawn’s and Raheem’s. Raheem squeezed her hand, trying to calm the anxiety she was obviously feeling.

“Almighty father, I say thank you for this day, for the chef, and a time to fellowship with old friends and new friends. I ask for you to allow the food we are about to take part of, to do as they should, in nourishing our bodies, our minds and our spirit, in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen. Now let’s eat.”

“Amen,” said the others, everyone except Leigh.

“How long have you all known each other?” Leigh asked.

“We all met at different times, but for the most part we grew up together,” said Zion.

“So were you all born in Georgia or did you migrate here later on?”

Pointing to his sister and back to himself, Raheem answered, “We were born and grown right here.”

“Yes, I’m a real Southern Belle,” Rachelle said. Everyone else laughed except for Zion. In his eyes she really was a southern bell.

“I’ll go next,” said Dawn. “I’m not from here. I was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. I moved her to live with my aunt Rebecca.”

“Did something happen to your parents?”

“No, heavens no,” she answered startled at the thought. Whenever she prayed, it was always for the safe return of her parents. “My parents are missionaries, and my aunt didn’t think it was wise for me to be growing up in a foreign country. So I ended up here. No we didn’t attend the same school, but we did and still do worship at the same church.”

“Wow, have you gone to visit them? Have they been back?” Leigh asked very curious to know more.

“You know they come back every couple of years, mainly for important occasions. It’s been a while because I didn’t go to college, so I didn’t have another graduation for them to come to. I guess their next big visit it will be when I get married. Now a secret that many don’t know, I am afraid to fly, so no I haven’t gone to see them in the Philippines as yet. ”

“Kenyon, you can go before me,” said Zion.

“Alright, I grew up with the twins. Our parents are related.”

Shock appeared on Dawn’s face. She’d known them for many years and they never disclosed that bit of information.

Kenyon continued. “It’s always been so simple to tell people we’re best friends because even though we’re really cousins, I’ve felt more like their brother. I was born here as well.”

Finally coming out of her shock, Dawn asked the question bubbling within her, “Did you guys forget to tell me this little bit of information? If Mr. Dwight is your uncle, why do you call him Mr. D instead of Uncle D?”

“I don’t know. What does it matter, I’m still respectful when I speak to him. By now you should be calling him Uncle D you’ve been around long enough.”

“We’ll talk about it later, OK,” Rachelle reassured.

“Last but not least, Zion, spill it. Can you top these guys?” asked Raheem.

“I’m a preacher’s son. We didn’t move around a lot as far as our home goes, but it took sometime before my father finally found the location where we’re at now. It had to be right, or else he would not settle for it. I’m from Georgia as well, but a city two hours from here.”

“Well you are an eclectic bunch. I have one other silly question, and it’s for you, Dawn.” Everyone turned to look at Leigh while she in turn focused her attention on Dawn.

“Well go ahead. I have nothing to hide. What do you want to know?”

“Your um, thing that’s on your head is beautiful. I remember at the restaurant seeing you with one on and admiring it at that time as well. Any way my question for you is do you always have your hair covered and what are you hiding underneath it?”

Dawn had been wearing those loc caps for so long, everyone was interested in her answer. She had their undivided attention. She on the other hand was contemplating how she wanted to answer the question. It was moments before she said she had nothing to hide, but Leigh proved her wrong. There she was eating her words, and truly not understanding why. What was there for her to hide; they’d either love it or hate it, but they would have to accept it.

She was hiding the person she’d become from them and it was time to let them in on the rest of her that they were unaware of. Rather than answering with words, Dawn slowly pulled off her loc cap, revealing what she’s been hiding for some time. When the cap came off, completely, hanging from her head was the most beautiful, well-groomed locs touching her shoulders.

“Dawn, you look gorgeous. Why have you hidden this from us all this time?” asked Rachelle.

1 comment:

Shelia said...

Jennifer, your #3 The Bible has been my biggest influences as well.