Vivian M. Kelly, 42, always knew she wanted to write. A favorite school teacher in Edwards encouraged her to never give up on her dreams, advice she took to heart. "When Love Ain't Enough" (GNE Books, $16.95), the first of her planned series of novels, deals with realizing that one's sexuality is a treasured asset, not a stereotypical weapon to be wielded by others bent on destroying you.
Why did you pick this particular subject for "When Love Ain't Enough"?
With the book, I'm speaking out about others who've hurt others, about their callous attitude about love. They are selfish—it's all about me. The heroine is not a person without flaws; she's a character people can identify with, whether male, female, black or white. I thought it would be an interesting one because we hear a lot about men, the media portrays men on the down low—well, women are doing the same thing. This book is about love on the down low, only the main character doesn't realize it until it's too late. … She finds herself in a race to hold on to something that never was hers in the first place. She's lost sight of who she is, pretty much lost herself trying to get someone else. The story is indicative of people, not just women, who bend over backward and still find out love wasn't enough. My feeling is that the only time love is not enough is when one of the persons (in the relationship) is not in love. … God wants us to love unconditionally, like the main character does.
How did you first go about finding a publisher for your book?
I had sent it to different publishing houses; one literary agent was interested but wanted to send it to one of his editors. It was my first book; I was protective and didn't want to lose my original thoughts. Then, one of my staunchest supporters, my friend and soulmate for 17 years who read it all for me, became ill. I pushed the book aside. … One of the last things he said to me before he got too ill was: "You can't stop the sun from shining or the rain from falling, so why try.? What will be, will be." A year after he died, I decided to keep our dream alive and to publish the book.
How did you make the decision to self-publish "When Love Ain't Enough"?
I looked at publishing houses and began to get e-mails from self-publishing companies. I had asked Barnes & Noble what I needed to do to get my book in their store. I met a wonderful correspondent, a lady in Memphis, who is printing the book. She's walked me through the printing process.
I'm very meticulous. I've edited the book five or six times, but I've realized you have to be careful. I don't want to lose my original author thoughts because I'm in a different place now than I was when I first wrote it. It was time when my mother said to me, "Vivi, you're gonna have to trust your work."
What do you want your readers to take from your book?
The book looks at stereotypical attitudes that can make people hate themselves. We have to come to terms with living our own lives. Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to live their own lives. … I could hope that kids can come to terms with sexuality, that they shouldn't play a role to deter who they are. We can't choose it any more than we can choose the color of our skin. I live in Mississippi where the seeds of racism are so deep. Wouldn't you think if I could choose the color of my skin, I'd choose to be white? By the same token, choosing to be gay, knowing the stereotypes and stigmas that go along with it—I want our young people to know that you have the same rights, that you aren't categorized or stigmatized by whom you love. … The most important thing about who I am is that I'm a Christian, all else is secondary. I hope that all who read it will see a reflection of themselves and stop dehumanizing a culture they don't know, that they will realize everyone is a human being. This is a strike out toward humanity.
Come to Lemuria Saturday, March 4, 1-4 p.m., for the release party for "When Love Ain't Enough."
I think Vivian used to be a supervisor at SkyTel. Can you confirm that for me?
Very well written. Vivian Kelly expresses herself so well and the words she write can be related to by anyone who has felt any form of love, or jealousy for that matter.
Looking forward to the release.
- c a webb
Sorry, L.W., I don't know. That's personal info and isn't relevant to the piece.
Sorry, Donna. You can remove that last post if you like.