Message From The Author
Sisterhood is Powerful!
Kayla Perrins new mainstream novel, THE SISTERS OF THETA PHI KAPPA
by Laurie Davie
Sisterhoodin the ancient Greek, sororityis at the heart of Kayla Perrins new mainstream romantic suspense novel, THE SISTERS OF THETA PHI KAPPA, and not just because the four heroines of the story met in a sorority while they were at Howard University. Jessica, Yolanda, Ellie and Shereen are each others best girlsI got your back, they tell each othereven though college is long past. Jessica is now married and a popular TV interviewer; Shereen runs a graphic design firm; Ellies a struggling actress; and Yolandas a lawyer. But they still laugh together, cry together, and help each other with all of lifes trials and tribulationsand they all share a dangerous secret, that some unknown person is now threatening to bring to light.
Though SISTERS is both a romance (or rather, romances, pluralall of them red-hot!) and a mystery, the lively, caring friendship between the women is always paramount. Kayla says, I started out with the idea of four friends, but because I knew there was going to be a suspense subplot, I played with the idea of what brought these women together. The suspense element does that, and as a result, four women who may never have gotten to know each other if fate hadnt stepped in, become lifelong best friends.
While the Theta Phi Kappa sorority is fictional, its certainly based in fact. African-American sororities give time and energy to projects that benefit their communities, even as alumnas. Both undergrad and graduate chapters of the various black sororities are very active in their communities, Kayla says. I think this comes out of a desire to make their communities better places, and to provide role models where there havent always been many.
The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, for instance, is very involved with literacy efforts. A friend of mine is a Delta Sigma Theta, and in the DC area where she lives, they go to nursing homes to help out, theyre involved with Habitat for Humanity, and other things. And I believe all the black sororities are involved with educational and mentoring efforts. Yolanda, for instance, is a tough, feisty girl from the projects who was mentored by a Theta, and now that shes successful, continues to give back.
This is a new sort of story for Kayla, whos written 10 romance novelsseveral of them award-winningand one childrens book, The Disappearance of Allison Jones. I absolutely loved writing a mainstream novel! she declares. I was able to show my characters with a few more flaws For example, Ellie has an affair with a married man. Unfortunately, too many women do this, for the same reasons Ellie did. The man lies to you, tells you hes unhappy in his current relationship and is soon leaving, and women stick around waiting! This was an element of real life I wanted to explore in my book, so that hopefully any women in the same situation might see themselves in Ellie, and realize the truth about the men theyre with!
Since Kayla is also an actress (she starred in the 1994 movie Making Change, about a coal miner who dreams of being a musician; Perrin plays his wife, who encourages him to follow his dream), I wondered if this had helped with her writing, perhaps with dialogue. When the four friends get together, their voices ring so true that the reader feels like she, too, is there scarfing pizza, gabbing about men, sharing secrets.
Kayla comments that the two professions, acting and writing,
feed into each other to a degreemy improvisational training probably helped the most with my dialogue: one actor comes up with a line, you come up with a response, and back and forth it goesall off the top of your head. You learn quickly to come up with believable responses, and to dig deep into your characters motivationwhich helps you as an actor figure out where the scene is going.
Whats up next for Kayla? Never fear, shell continue to write romance as well as mainstream, with SAY YOU NEED ME, the sequel to If You Want Me, coming from HarperCollins (Feb. 02), and a novella in the St. Martins anthology, THE BEST MAN (Jun. 02). As she says, Romance novels celebrate love, celebrate relationships, and celebrate family. Whats better than that?
Fans can visit Kaylas website, www.kaylaperrin.com.
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