Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure Author Interview and Review

Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure is about one woman's quest to become join a fictional sorority named Beta Gamma. The main character is named Eva Perkins. Eva's mother, sister, father and brother are all greek so when she goes away to college she basically becomes obsessed with joining Beta Gamma Psi, the sorority her mother and sister belong to. Written in first person, it is easy to become enthralled in Eva's journey. Dorrie Williams-Wheeler is a very detailed writer and she takes her readers along every step of Eva's journey. The book is quick paced and exciting. There are several unexpected twists and turns. Based on the cover, I thought that the book may have involved some paddling, but the pledges don't. Read the authors explanation about the paddle on the cover in my exclusive interview. Although there are several charcters the book is written very clearly and I had no trouble following the storyline. The reader gets to know sevreral of the pledges and the big sisters.

Overall this was a very good read. It reminded me very much of the climate at my college. The only complaints I have are that it seemed to end rather abrubtly and that there was no clear resolution about the main characters family situation. Several times in the book Eva complains that she feels different around her mother and sister because they are both greek and she isn't. However, she does have an epiphany towards the end of the book where she determines that she is going to live for herself and not her family.

This is one of the better greek books on the market. The author details the stress of going to rushes and hoping to hear something. This is a good book, a keeper.

4/5 stars
Reviewer Shemya.

Author Q & A

Interview by Shemya Taylor, for

I was approached by Dorrie Williams-Wheeler when she contacted about featuring our site in a story she was writing for about multicultural sororities. She then sent me an advance copy of her book and I then had a chance to interview her. Enjoy!

Daddy's little girl, Dorrie & her dad Tommie Williams
who is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Christmas 2003

1. What inspired you to write Be My Sorority Sister Under Pressure?
Well, I had an idea to write a series of book that would interest teens and college aged students after the surprise success of Sparkledoll-Always Into Something. Be My is actually part of a 3 book serious. The first book, Almost 18 focuses on one of the supporting characters in Be My named Ashley Weber. Book 2 also is an Ashley book and it is named She's Out There Bad. Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure was intended to be the third book in the series. The main character in Be My is named Eva Perkins. I had so much fun writing Be My and I just felt like it would be a popular book so I decided to release it first.

I have been writing for so very long I just have many manuscripts waiting to see the light of day. I started work on all of these titles in the 90's I guess, at least the preliminary ideas. I am always writing, I think I have written 3 or 4 books since 2001.

2. Some people may feel like you are capitalizing off the sacred tradition of sororities. How do you feel about that?
It's not like I invented the wheel. There was School Daze, MTV has a series named Sorority Life and there are other books about sororities and fraternities. As an African-American woman, in college Greeks were a topic of conversation, even as an adult the Greek system is a part of our culture.

3.Are you Greek?

Those who know me know the answer. If I said, yes, I am Greek people would think it was based on an experience I had. If I said that I am not Greek, people would say, well why the hell is she writing a book about something she doesn't know about. I would rather people to just read the book and not think about me. I am an author, a storyteller. I would like to think I tell good stories. I have a very active imagination, and I always have. I'm sure that someone will put me on blast somewhere.....There is bound to be backlash no matter what you write.

4. Why did you put a woman with a paddle on the cover, especially since no one in the book is paddled? Do you think this is a negative image?

No. I think that paddles are a part of Greek paraphernalia and they are identified with being Greek. I can't take all of the credit for putting a paddle on the cover. I was talking to a good friend of mine brainstorming on how to design a book cover that would make people think "sorority" and she mentioned the paddle idea, I had been thinking it, but since she thought it too I figured it was a cool idea.

5. The made up sorority in the books colors are purple and teal? That looks like purple and turquoise on the book cover, area you color blind? LOL
No, I'm not color blind. When the cover with the teal printed it looked greenish and I went to extreme measures in the book and within the cover to not have anything that would associate the fictional sorority with an actual African-American sorority so for the book I switched the teal to turquoise.

6. Do you and the character Eva have anything in common?
A few things, not much. Both of my parents are Greek but I would like to think they didn't put any pressure on me, but sometimes they inadvertently did. When both of your parents are Greek, you kind of feel obligated to carry on the tradition, you don't want to have a "the buck stops here" thing going on, but it happens sometimes. I have met people in my lifetime who felt pressure from their parents to go Greek. I always had my own bedroom growing up, like Eva. Eva didn't do the roommate thing well, me neither, and Eva likes tall guys, so I guess those are a few things we have in common.

I have never really written a character like Eva. People who are familiar with my writing know that I specialize in drama, debauchery, tragedy and angst, and Eva really doesn't have too many complaints, except wanting to become a member of Beta Gamma Psi. I so much like writing character who have to deal with difficult situations, drugs, gang banger boyfriends, death, illness, just mad crazy stuff, heck even characters who flip out and go crazy, or their friends flip out, Eva was kinda normal. But that's it---after this book, it's back to my old ways. But don't worry, Eva and the cast of Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure have their fare share of drama.

7. What are your writing plans for 2004?

In early 2004, the hardcover version of Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure will be released. I'm thinking March or April. Prior to that, Sparkledoll Always Into Something-2004 Edition will be released on my own publishing imprint Sparkledoll Productions. I will then spend most of the year promoting those titles. Then just maybe I will release She's Out There Bad by the end of the year. I would like to release Almost 18 and another book I wrote named The Edge of Insanity too, but I can't flood the market. I guess those titles will have to wait until 2005.

8. What made you start your own publishing imprint?
For real, I was tired of people making money off of me. It's just sickening and I hate to think about it. I used a POD company for the original release of Sparkledoll. The reporting was way funny. Some months I would sell mega copies and the next month zero? They say the computer system was backlogged and it would show up the next month. Things were just too funny and they were making this money, why can't I just cut them out and do it myself? On top of that I would have to pay almost $14 for my own book. I couldn't even afford to send out review copies.

Then company number 2, they weren't POD but they are some serious scam masters, the publishers of the Unplanned Pregnancy Handbook. They go and price a 108 page book at 16.95!!! That's ridiculous, I would never even buy my book at that price. We just happen to use the same printer, my company and the scam masters who published The Unplanned Pregnancy Handbook. I calculate that it costs them way less than $3 a copy to print up that little bitty book, but they want to charge $16.95 and give me an 8% royalty and all they do for me is send out one pathetic mass mailing on black and white paper??????

As you can see I'm steamed. I can do it myself. I will never sign with a publisher again unless there is major money involved, for real. On top of that I want creative control, editorial control, cover design input, media tie-in's with film and TV and at least low to mid six-figures. So when someone wants me bad enough to give me that, i'll gladly sign on the dotted line once my lawyer looks over the contract. Am I cocky? Maybe. But I know that I have a marketable product and I'm not making any more of these scam masters rich. I will leave the publisher of The Unplanned Book nameless, because my web sites get a lot of hits and when people type in their name, my web sites come up--and I don't want no trouble :)

8. So you are writing and producing your book, will you release books by other authors?
Pretty much. I'm a one woman show, book designer, web designer, marketing, you name it. I have assistance with distribution and the titles are in Ingrams, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, etc. I don't mind though. It will be nice one day when I don't have to do everything, but at least I know things are done the way I want them done.

Although I have my own publishing imprint and the capabilities to release titles for other authors, it's not something I am looking into at this time. I basically only did this to have an avenue to releases my own work without sending queries and getting jerked by the scam master POD's and stuff. I have to write and I need an audience.

9. Do you watch MTV's Sorority Life?
Of course I do. I like all of the MTV reality shows except Punk'd. I hate that show and think it is staged. Did anyone else notice many time people appear on Punk'd just as they have a new project coming out? Usher really seemed like he was acting on his Punk'd episode. I enjoyed Nick & Jessica's show and currently I have been watching Real World/Road Rules Challenge The Gauntlet and Rich Girls. I really like Rich Girls. My favorite season of Sorority Life was the first one with Jordan and Amanda. This past season with the mixed sorority was okay, wish they had a season with an African-American sorority.

10. What advice would you give other writers?
I dunno. I get e-mail a lot from other writers or aspiring writers. I guess one thing I would say is to just write. Get your work out there the best way that you can. Although, I moan and complain about the publishers of my first two books, they did help me to get noticed and somewhat gain a fan base and make a name for myself. With fans, comes encouragement that someone really likes your work. I also got and still get negative feedback, so be prepared to take the bad with the good and don't let any of it go to your head. If you want to write, just stay dedicated to your craft and be prepared to have some nights where you function with very little sleep.

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