Parry "Ebony Satin" Brown

Parry "Ebony Satin" Brown
Sittin' in the Front Pew

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
May 2002

1. Who is Parry Brown?

I'm just a country girl caught up in a big city world. I love life and embrace it daily with thanks and enthusiasm. Prior to my literary calling I was an accountant and programmer. I'm a happily divorced mother of two and grandmother of five--all girls

2. How did you come about the name "Ebony Satin"?

I've been surfing the Internet for almost ten years and I actually started writing under that "screen name". It means the Ebony Lady with the Satin Touch. When I published the book I knew that thousands of people knew EbonySatin, but may not know Parry Brown, so I incorporated it into my name and now it is just a part of who I am.

3. How long have you been writing novels?

The short story "Single Dad" turned into the novel "The Shirt off His Back" in 1997.

4. What inspired you to write the novel "Sittin' in the Front Pew"?

When my daughter returned from her father-in-laws funeral with such horrendous stories, she simply said, "Mama, you need to write a book". We came up with the title that day and I started interviewing friends, recalling family funerals and the rest, as they say, is history.

5. How did you come about the plot for "Sittin' in the Front Pew"?

I knew a family that something very similar had happen to, so I embellished, combined my own experiences and spun a very believable tale.

6. Are people telling you that by reading "Sittin' in the Front Pew" reminds them of personal funeral experiences?

The most common e-mail I receive says "Were you at my mother's, grandmother's, uncle's funeral? One actually said, "Thank you for changing my family's names.

7. How did you come about Aunt Ida Mae's character?

We all have an Aunt Ida Mae. I chose the name from one of my favorite books by the same name by Delores Thornton.

8. How did you come about Uncle Thomas's character?

Uncle Thomas is my Uncle Fred.

9. Among all the four sisters, why did you choose Glynda to be the narrator of "Sitting in the Front Pew"?

Glynda is my best friend's name and in actuality I think Glynda is me. It was easy to have "me" tell the story.

10. Why did you choose the last name Naylor for the family name?

Naylor was my mother's married name.

11. How did you come about Estelle's son Jamaica's character?

Jamaica Carter is a dear friend of mine and has been one of my strongest supporters since day one. I used his name and persona (with his permission, of course). He's an actor and you may remember him from Baby Boy (JaToi, the hairdresser who bought the ugly pink dress) and he's a regular guest on BET's Oh Drama!

12. How did you come about Roberta's character?

Roberta is my sister's friend and much of what Roberta did ACTUALLY happened.

13. Do any of the Naylor sisters have any of your personalities?

I think I'm a combination of Glynda and Dawn.

14. How did you come about the scene at the funeral between Collette and Glynda?

I honestly don't just kinda flowed off my finger tips. After I'd typed it I said out loud, oh no they did NOT!

15. How long did it take you to write "Sittin' in the Front Pew"?

From start to finish was about six months. If the time had been contiguousit would have probably been six weeks.

16. Are you currently working on another novel?

I'm very excited about my new project Fanning the Flames another family drama with strong good black men that happen to be firefighters. The story will enlighten and entertain. Black firefighters in America have had a really hard road and I want to tell their story.

17. What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

Good jazz, an ugly bathrobe and a pot of decaf is all I need.

18. What message would you like your readers to receive from reading "Sittin' in the Front Pew?

There are a few messages in Sittin'. I think the primary one is, when it all comes down to it, nothing else matter besides love and family. The other one is that we all have secrets, many that are tearing us up inside, but they are probably only a big deal to us and won't much matter to anyone else. And thirdly, maybe the next time it's our turn to sit in the front pew we'll be a little more cognizant of our actions.