Sereniti Hall Interviewed by: NeNe Capri
NC: Tell us, who is Sereniti Hall the author?
SH: Hmm, who is Sereniti Hall? Well, Sereniti Hall is an urban fiction author who pulls her creative juices and characters from everyday life, from the people, places, and things she’s seen and encountered. Sereniti Hall is a person who strives to get better as she dives further into her career.
NC: Where did you get the inspiration to write your books?
SH: As always, my children inspire me and life itself because I needed a change of lifestyle. Something positive to bring to the table. God gave me this gift, and you know what’s said: “If you don’t use it you will lose it.” And I pay homage to all the trailblazers that have paved the way.
NC: What sets your books apart from other books in the same genre?
SH: I just do me and pray that readers are entertained and engaged in my work.
NC: Can you tell us a little about your new project?
SH: My new project, Traces of My Blood is about a family of African American women who are struggling in the trenches of the hood, with drugs, false hopes for a monogamous relationship, and deceitful friendships. When it’s all said and done, each member of the family will wonder if the lies, the deceit, the blind faith, the secrets, and the disloyalty were all worth it.
NC: As an author, what is your writing process? How long does it take you from start to finish?
SH: I get an idea and get to writing, and I would say it takes me about nine months give or take. I was able to meet this goal with my current novel, including the editing process.
NC: As an African American author, do you see your work as being relatable to the general public?
SH: Actually, yes, I do see my work as being relatable to the general public. The reason I say this, NeNe, is because at times African American authors’ work is set aside as being in their own box, their own circle, or lifestyle. Urban fiction is sometimes categorized as different from other genres, but all races are human, and when it’s all said and done, as a human race we all tend to encounter the same thing. For instance, generational curses are in all families.
We all experience death and disease, such as cancer, heart-related illnesses, and aging relatives with dementia or Alzheimer’s. HIV and AIDS also befall a lot of families, regardless of race, color, or class. Drug addiction, physical and mental abuse, childhood molestation, and homosexuality have knocked on every door in one way or another. Every family has had its experience with someone being imprisoned for one reason or another: a speeding ticket, DUI, theft, homicide, or drug charges. The list goes on and on. So yes, I see my work as being very relatable to the general public.
NC: Urban fiction receives a lot of negative press as being a so-called ‘bad influence’ on the youth and perpetuating black stereotypes. What are your thoughts on that?
SH: In my personal opinion, I feel that urban fiction is our creative art. It’s also labeled as fiction, meaning not true. There are mainstream videos and movies that are also fiction that depict the same material, so what’s the difference with urban street literature? These books aren’t a guide to living, but at the same time I feel that a lot of the work urban fiction authors put out sends a message. The message that says life has consequences and people in life will disappoint you. There will be back stabbers and abusers; prison is real, and your life will be cut down if you don’t live right. I don’t think we should be judged or stereotyped.
NC: What do you want readers to get out of your work?
SH: I aim to entertain the readers and try to get a message out at the same time. In the community we live in, some things are overlooked, and before we know it circumstances are at our front door and oftentimes knocking it down. We just have to take heed. But most of all, I aim to entertain. That’s my focus.
NC: What was your journey into the writing industry? Are you an independent author, or are you signed to a major publisher?
SH: My journey into writing swept me off my feet. I was doing prison time in Marianna Federal Prison camp. I didn’t want my time to be wasted, and I needed something to come home to. I wanted to have something to build on. After reading Wahida Clark, the “Queen of Thug Fiction”, I started reading others, and I saw writing as something I could do to build a foundation on.
Sometimes I would write letters to my mother that she couldn’t believe came from me, and in turn she told me that I should be a writer. I took her advice, but there’s something about being in a place where you start to find yourself, but that’s another story in itself. I reached out to Wahida Clark just before she was being released, and she signed me on my first two novels, Feenin’ and Still Feenin’. I was ecstatic! For someone to believe in my work was breathtaking. I think I even shed a tear.
NC: What can we expect from you in the future?
SH: In the future I plan to continue to progress in my craft as I produce each novel. Sereniti Hall will be hanging around for a while, so don’t count me out!
NC: Thank you Sereniti for taking the time to do this interview with me. I wish you continued success.
SH: The pleasure is mine, NeNe Capri, and I’m very thankful that you took the time out of your busy schedule to interview me!