In September 2020 Lisa Bent released her debut novel, Symona’s Still Single, the story of a 37-year old Jamaican British woman looking for Mr. Right while trying not to panic at the loud ticking of her biological clock. Symona’s Still Single was launched by indie publisher, Jacaranda as part of their ground-breaking #Twentyin2020 initiative whereby they would publish 20 Black British authors in one year. It’s a funny, charming romance made richer with stories of female friendship. Lisa’s counselling degree and belief in the power of continuous self-reflection colour her writing and are visible in the experiences and adventures of Symona as she searches for love.
I put 10 questions to Lisa and she provided some fascinating answers.
1. How did you hit upon this idea for a book?
I was a social commentator on Facebook. From politics, bus antics to social issues and dating trials and tribulations, I made my opinion known. My dating posts always created the most interest, but it wasn’t until December 2017 that I realised I was onto something.
My encounter with MR TK Maxx, caused a stir and this was the trigger that pushed me to write the book. The beginnings of this encounter appear in chapter 22. The real life story has been embellished for fiction.
2. Why is it important to see Black women in love in art?
Pain and trauma is part of the human condition, but for some reason it appears firmly attached to our narratives. Joy, empowerment, wealth, happiness and love exists for us too and it is vital these stories are told. Not just for Black women, but for Black men too.
In a prejudiced society, the love we have for ourselves and those who look like us is necessary to continue healthy connections and unions. The term Black love is relevant today and art, in its many mediums, should work to rebalance the negative stereotypes. Who we are, is not what we have been told. Reshaping, retelling, redefining the narrative from our truth, is our responsibility.Read More