We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. P. K. Wayne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. P. K., is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“Everything I ever needed, I found in a book.” If there’s one thing most people know about me, it’s that I love to read. As a child, I enjoyed getting lost in an adventure. As a young woman, there was always something attractive to me about being able to put life aside and pick up a book. As an author, I have found great comfort in imagining and delving into different characters and their experiences. Reading has offered so much more to me than a good story. A book is where I go when I need a little pick me up. A book is where I go when I’m thirsty for knowledge. It has been soothing, relaxing, and therapeutic, even.
This quote is very special to me but I believe it can be true for everybody. Books provide people with alternate realities, insight into different perspectives and an opportunity to the see the world from another’s vantage point. When you have the right book, it almost feels like you have been transported to a different time and place. I love to write and to share with readers my take on all the complexities of life. Anything you need, whether it be information, inspiration, or imagination can be found in a good book.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe in the impact of culturally relevant literature. All people can benefit from exposure to diversity. And being able to see yourself in literature is empowering. It opens up a world of possibilities for the reader. How we see ourselves and what we acquire from literature is dependent upon our connection with the text. I purposefully write books that are culturally, conscious and meaningful. My children’s books focus on the importance of family and provide children with stories and characters that look like them and experiences that are relatable. My novels in the Strings series, delve into a lesser-known American history. With these books, I tried to present stories that display a strong image of culture and the power of our people.
I am most proud of the historical fiction novel, Strings Attached. Set in rural Georgia during the slavery era, this book dives into the hidden past as readers explore plantation life and all of its complexities. Strings Attached focuses on the life of a former slave, now plantation owner and his family. This was a story that I wanted to get out there. However, I was terrified to write a novel and didn’t know if I could stand up to the task.
I have always been a writer. It is definitely what I would consider one of my strengths. I wrote poetry and short stories. But at the time that I started Strings Attached, I was a children’s book author. That was my realm and I was comfortable there. I did not know if I could write a novel or to be transparent, if it would be any good.
And then one day, I sat down with my laptop and the story just started to flow out of me. I kept having these bursts of energy and excitement as I wrote. All of a sudden, I was motivated and confident with the story I was telling. But when I was done writing the book and the adrenaline subsided, I began to doubt myself again. My fear crept right back in. I edited it no less than fifteen times. I kept changing little things and then changed them back. I procrastinated to publish it for months. I had to step back and say, “You have to take a chance on yourself.” And I did. It didn’t happen immediately. But eventually, I said, “This book is special and no one will ever know as long as it is on your computer.” I am just really pleased with the end product. Every now and then, I find myself reading the book again and it’s as if I didn’t even write it. I get surprised by the book, I find myself forging relationships with the characters and I get so involved each time. I love how much this book resonates with readers and I am grateful. The feedback I have received has been just so awesome. What has stuck with me most is how many readers have asked about a sequel. I almost felt compelled to write the next part of the story. That was overwhelmingly pressuring. I wondered if I could write another novel or if it could even hold a flame to the first book. I got to work and now I am most excited about the release of the sequel, Broken Strings. It comes out February 2021. I know it is going to live up to readers’ expectations and I am ecstatic to share this saga with the world. As an artist/creative, I had to stop sitting on my work waiting for it to be perfect and second-guessing myself. Throughout all of this, I’ve learned that you have to believe in yourself and be confident in your talent. “Don’t let the fear of falling, keep you from flying.” -Anonymous
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We love going to various festivals around town: Sweet Auburn Festival, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Atlanta Carnival. I love Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market. It is a great way to taste the world and get some healthy foods. Jazzy Juice Cafe in Lithonia is a refreshing refuge for quick bites and smoothies. I really enjoy visiting independent bookstores like The Listening Tree in Decatur, Black Dot Cultural Center in Lithonia and Avant-Garde Books at the West End Mall. Sports and Social at Suntrust Park is wonderful for a night of games and fun with friends. CalaBar and Grill in Stone Mountain has live music and spoken word. It is a sexy, laid-back scene.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Juan Wayne, is my biggest supporter. We really have a great partnership. When we first met, I used to write him poems. I enjoyed writing poetry for him, because it was the best way I could express what I was feeling. I never would have thought that my school girl crush writings, something I felt was so personal, would be on display for the world to read. But that is exactly what happened. One day, he suggested that I publish my poems. The next week he was in FedEx Kinko’s getting copies printed and then he began selling them out of then trunk of his car and the rest, as they say, is history. Since I began this journey as an author, my husband has constantly been a source of encouragement. He is always emboldening me and daring me to dream bigger. I might have an idea and he is right by my side conceptualizing how to make it a reality. Juan does not have a “can-do” attitude, he has a “will-do” attitude. If I’m the creative, he is the logistics and I think we play well together. I appreciate that he has this amazing sense of bravery, this outstanding confidence and belief in me.