Preseason Love is a novel that encompasses the life of today’s female. I haven’t read a novel straight through in quite a while, but I found myself up at 3am trying to see what happens next. It’s a story about a young publicist, who left her life in California for New York. Scottie left her old life to start over fresh. She surely did just that, new job, new love, and new drama. This story of career driven women, friendships, relationships and all that comes with it, was amazingly written leaving you wanting more.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Ahyiana Angel, author of Preseason Love. Our conversation was one of the best I’ve had, so easy to talk to and her personality shined bright. Below you’ll find out more about Ahyiana, her transition from NBA Publicist to author, her progress, and Preseason Love.
Miss Jones: For those who don’t know, tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
Ahyiana Angel: I started off in PR. I never intended to be a writer, however, I adored writing because it’s needed in the publicist field. I had a thought about the novel and played with the idea. But I put it on the back burner. I then realized I needed a career change. I started designing jewelry, but I needed something new. So I started the novel. Nine months while I was working as a publicist, I worked on It. I didn’t know anyone who published a book traditionally, so the whole journey was new for me. I didn’t go to school for any of this, but I still did it.
Miss Jones: When did you start the book?
Ahyiana Angel: In 2007 I had the idea. It wasn’t until 2012 that I started the first chapter and sat on it. 2013 was when I got really serious and started researching.
MJ: How did you go about publishing your book?
AA: I did my research first. I knew I wanted to be traditionally published. After I did all of the research, I found out about self publishing. I found company names and knew I needed an agent. Putting a book out is much like putting out music. You have to have a finished product to present. So I had my completed manuscript and took it to an agent. He loved it; but the only problem was, he couldn’t take it to an editor as it was. I thought publishing companies did the editing. That was a wake up call for me, I realized it wasn’t ready.
One day a friend of mine told me about a writers bootcamp in Maryland (it’s important to tell people about what you’re doing.). Sitting at the finals in Miami, I realized I didn’t want to be there. Then I said to myself, “If you’re going do it, you have to do it. Try all avenues to get to where you want to be.” So I decided to go. There were fifty people at the bootcamp. Zane was also there, as well as her publishing director. They gave those in attendance an opportunity to submit their story, but I knew I wasn’t ready. When I finished, I had it edited and sent a query letter with my full manuscript. I made sure I was prepared this time. She then offered to publish my book.
MJ: What were a few steps you had to take to get where you are today?
AA: I figured out my storyline. It sounds simple, but it’s the most important. It’s a lot to write a book. Having the material is most important. When I didn’t feel like writing, I did my research, from publishing companies to finding out everything about the industry. Almost completing the manuscript, I shopped around before signing a deal. I then started promoting to build my name as a writer. I also started by blog, Life According to Her before the book came out as well as writing for other publications. Promotion and marketing was all me. I had to be ready to hustle and move my product. It’s the publishing company’s job to put the book on the shelf, and my job to get them off the shelves. My PR background was able to help me through the marketing phase.
MJ: What was the deciding factor to shifting careers?
AA: I would say the lack of desire for where I was. I was a publicist for the NBA for 6 years. It seems fun to everyone, but it has its ups and downs with the policies and long nights. Many people in the field have transitioned. Being all in as a publicist, you get tired of being on for other people. I started to feel stifled creatively. I loved jewelry and tried jewelry designing. But I felt like there was more. I felt that if I didn’t do something, I’d get stuck. And I didn’t want to lose myself. I wasn’t excited where I was.
When I talk to college students, I always say, “find an avenue that works for you. Pay attention to what interests you, what comes natural, and is effortless.” I was blessed to be able to find the avenue that works for me.
MJ: Would you consider yourself to be a motivational speaker or mentor?
AA: I wouldn’t say that I’m a motivational speaker, but I am a motivator by nature. I like to help and push people in the right direction. I also mentor college students I’ve met through programs I’ve spoken at.
MJ: Did you have a mentor to help you through the process?
AA: No, didn’t have one. I was raised to be independent and know how to seek out information. There was no one consistent person to fulfill that role, but I knew how to push myself.
MJ: Ok, let’s talk Preseason Love. I loved the book! I was up all night reading. I have a few novels in the house and haven’t been able to get through them, but I was able to with this one.
AA: I’m so happy you did. I just wanted to tell a story. I’m glad that people are reading and enjoying it. I was confident in the book, but once it’s out there you get a little nervous. I’ve heard Lauryn Hill say, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my….” I understood her statement more after I wrote this book. (Laughs)
MJ: What inspired the book? Was it your life?
AA: Fiction comes from some idea. The idea was from my reality or someone else’s reality. I never wanted to write an autobiography. I wanted creative rhythm and to keep people guessing.
MJ: Is there going to be a sequel?
AA: Yes there will be. I’m currently working on it. When you rely on yourself for promotion and making sure you book sells, it’s hard to put out another. However, I have the outline so it’s all about completing it.
MJ: What will we find in this one?
AA: Scottie did the right thing by facing her past with Ivan. Going towards it head on, shows the growth in her. New York changed her. Part two, we will see her humble herself more. She didn’t appreciate all that she had, but all of that taught her. We’ll be pleased how she comes into her own and handles herself.
MJ: What do you hope to accomplish through your books and your writing?
AA: It’s twofold. In real life, I’d like to show my family members and women in general, that when you put your mind to something, you can do it. You’re limitless. I want them to see that transition is not impossible, I’ve done it. No one pulled me up, I had faith and was confident in who I was. I took classes and sought out information that I needed. This is a competitive field and I wanted to be the best. I didn’t want to set myself up. I’m not great, but I want to be a source of inspiration and change.
Within the book, I want women to see that they’re not alone. We all go through this. Maybe we didn’t, but someone else went through it. Black women are used to being groomed to be strong and provide, that we can’t open ourselves to be vulnerable. And this is what the book is all about.
In college I read a lot of urban books, and I was tired of the same storyline. When I got older, I realized that wasn’t my life or reality. There are women who have a career and are driven, but still enjoys her life with her friends.
MJ: What advice would you give someone who wishes to be an author like yourself?
AA: Do your research. You may not know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s a lot of work and research to know so that you can always be prepared. You should have an idea of what’s expected, so when you have the opportunity, you’ll be ready.
Keep writing to see if you want to stick with it.
You have to network and get to know people.
Tell people about what you’re trying to do. I’m not saying go broadcast it to everyone, but let those key people in your life know so that they can put you on to things.
Always pay attention.
Lastly, create a platform outside of a publisher. Figure out your name and what works best for you.
MJ: What’s the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
AA: Actually seeing your work and idea come together. Seeing the first book, was like wow it’s really a reality. Also, seeing people read and enjoy it. Hearing people say they loved it shows that your hard work, time, and ideas were all worth it.
MJ: What were/are your biggest struggles?
AA: Through the process, starting was the biggest struggle. Trying to keep myself on track was a little difficult. It was the springtime when I started and I wanted to be out and about. But I had to discipline myself. Now I would say my biggest struggle is putting myself out there. As much personality as I have, I’m still a little hesitant to put myself out there. To share yourself with others is a little nerve wrecking. As a publicist for the NBA, you would never say who you were. It was just something you didn’t do. But now I have to push myself as a writer.
Ahyiana has toured the U.S promoting her newly released book and showing the world who she is. Check out more of Ahyiana Angel by visiting her networks. Website: http://www.ahyianaangel.com. Blog: lifeaccordingtoher.com. Twitter/Instagram: @ahyiana_angel.
Preseason Love is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble, Walmart, amazon.com, and more. I’m telling you from experience, you’re going to want to get your hands on this one!