I had a chance to talk with Angelia Vernon Menchan, an extremely prolific and noteworthy independent author, about her new book, Fifteen Years Delayed. I think of this book as the love story with a twist because the two people its about have a lot of upheaval in their lives but they don’t fall into any typical patterns or usually expected modes of behavior. That made this book a surprising cool read.
Fifteen Years Delayed is a love story. James Broadnax is sentenced to twenty-five years at age twenty-two, leaving behind his first love, Crea Flournoy. For fifteen years there are no visits or communication, twelve years of James being incarcerated and three years living in another city…
If you need lots of drama and angst, this isn’t for you. Fifteen Years Delayed is about adults who have been through… and are ready to love and be loved… no gaming.
James returns to the scene of the crime, so to speak and Crea is still there…
Fifteen Years Delayed is their story… after reuniting. It is not a story of his incarceration nor is it a story of Crea’s life when they were apart. It’s a love story, not just about them but the people in their lives… it is about what happens when lovers are reunited after fifteen years of delay.
Here’s what Ms. Menchan says about Fifteen Years Delayed when I asked her about it.
What was the catalyst for you writing this book? What was the seed of the idea?
The catalyst was how often we can be mismatched in our love lives or seemingly but the similarities are the draw. No one on the surface would think James was anything more than a bad boy but there were layers and Crea knew them.
Crea is a prime example of an overachiever. Do you think her drive and ambition came from the inside out or the outside in?
Her ambition was both. She was naturally brilliant, graduating college at nineteen but she was expected to achieve by Alicia, her mother. Alicia loved her daughter but her accomplishments were very important and she nurtured that. Also, once James was incarcerated it gave Crea focus.
How do you think James manages to wear the pain and challenges of his incarceration so well?
I think for him it’s innate. I’ve met many former prisoners and who they are either carries them or breaks them. This story was also not about how he survived prison but a love story between him and Crea. I had no interest in writing a man broken by prison story because they all aren’t.
Were this couple getting back together a forgone conclusion in your mind as you were writing their story? What do you think was their biggest obstacle to a HEA?
I knew the end before I started. That was very important to me regardless of the journey. I think maybe James not quite believing how much she still loved him initially. The Alicia and Janice components had the potential to be problematic. Family can be powerful foes.
Last question, there were a lot of really memorable secondary characters in this story. Other than James and Crea who was your favorite character and why?
Janice was a fave with her complexities and past. I truly adore Franklin and though we saw only a glimpse, Maeda.
Excerpt from Fifteen Years Delayed:
When Crea arrived, James was filling mugs with coffee and had blackberry bread and other pastries on a small glass plate with curls of butter. Crea swallowed down nervousness, sliding onto a padded chair. James sat across from her, those damn eyes staring into her.
“Why didn’t you ever write, Crea? I loved you,” He asked and heat flew up her neck.
She felt ambushed and wanted to flee but sat still. Inhaling and exhaling allowed her to control the agitation, filtering through her. Picking up a piece of bread, she buttered it, taking a couple of bites before sipping her perfectly brewed coffee. Only then did she engage his searching look.
“I couldn’t. I knew you were doing something but I had no idea how deeply you were involved. When I saw you in cuffs, something in me died. By the time you were sentenced, my goal was placing one foot in front of the other. I was a nineteen, about to graduate college, and in love with a man who would be in prison for longer than either of us had been alive.” Her voice shook with emotion. “I couldn’t commit myself to that or you, James. Writing would’ve given you false hope and I couldn’t do that to me or you. I grieved you as if you died, and went on trying to live.” Her honesty and shaking voice touched his heart. He knew she did the right thing but it cut like a hot knife through his heart.
“Did your mom advise you?”
“She didn’t know. Our relationship remained private. I told her several years after graduating.” Swallowing the sudden lump filling his throat, James accepted that Crea made her own decisions on not visiting or writing.
“She didn’t seem surprised but she didn’t say anything. I know the image my mother gives off but she understands love. The thing is, I’ve always been her number one priority. James, all I had after you left was school and work and I made it work.”
“I hear you but that shit was like a shiv in my back. I adored you Crea. It was all you. When I was released three years ago with no parole and completely free, I moved to Miami. Then enrolled in school and never planned to return to this place…”
“You’ve been out three years…” she whispered, pain pooling in her belly, at the realization he hadn’t sought her out in all that time. Seeing the puzzled look on her face, he reached for her hand.
“I have and planned to stay in Miami longer, but Janice reached out and I couldn’t refuse. I avoided you. I was no longer hurt or angry but… seeing you at the rec center raised up my feelings again. I had to know.” He said. “Thanks for being straight with me.” Crea nodded, extracting her hand from his.
“Was that your man at Ms. Roberta’s?”
“No, he’s one of my teachers,” she replied, realizing he meant Tony. “We both love her.”
“He was looking at you like a shark…” James said, causing Crea to look up at him. The way he was staring liquified her insides. “I understand, I want to devour you right now on this damn table.”
The room suddenly seemed tilted, Crea stood, gathering her plate.
“James, I can’t do this… right now,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion betraying how affected she was.
“Right now… right now gives me hope.” James smiled and her heart seemed to still. “Get out of here before I change my mind and turn you into a buffet.” Grabbing her things, Crea raced out to her car. Her entire body aflame. Quickly turning they key, she turned up the air conditioning, sitting until her mind recalibrated and her heart rate returned to normal.
Meet the Author:
Angelia Vernon Menchan is wife, mother, nana and mentor. Since January 2006, she has published 34 printed books and an additional 124 ebooks through her small publishing company, MAMM Productions. She is also the Co-founder of Honorable MENCHAN Media, through which she has published books for 15 authors to date.
Her personal motto is, ‘There is abundance through God for all of us; we simply have to be open for our blessings.’
In 2017 she decided to add her hallmark phrase “Just LOVE” to coffee mugs and tee-shirts. This phrase has taken on a life of its own! In addition, Angelia is a prolific public speaker and mentor to women of all ages. She resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and cover designer, Maurice Menchan.
Reach out to Angelia Vernon Menchan online here: