Author Raqiyah Mays talks inspiration behind her latest novel, The Man Curse, available now as an eBook!
No. The Man Curse is not a “man-bashing” book. It is not about a man.
Of course this is a typical assumption made by guys and some ladies when they read the title of my novel. They ask, “What is The Man Curse?” Eyes stretched wide in amazement. Some males flinch into silent seconds of awe when hearing the title. A few women go completely quiet. Expressionless. Holding no sign of emotion on the face. These moments, coupled with the long journey to the release of this novel, make it one of the most interesting experiences of my life.
The idea for The Man Curse came as a teenager who, like my protagonist Meena Butler, grew up hearing about a “curse” in the family that prevented women from marrying. Now unlike Meena, the women in my family – some who have been married – joked about “the curse.” Sarcastic comments were rare, but often memorable. In my book, Meena’s family is burdened by the “man curse.” The thought brings rooms filled with generations of unmarried Butler women to an uncomfortable, pin-drip silence.
Traveling helped me flush out the idea for The Man Curse. I’d overhear females across the country discuss their love lives and say they were cursed. They’d mention that women in their families weren’t married – not even once. One of my gay friends, upon hearing about my book, said that he too felt this curse was in his family afflicting him and his sister. Church folks even nodded heads with understanding saying things like, “A generational curse. It’s in the Bible.” These are real comments that span among people of all demographics –age, race, and income – some united by the thought of having a “curse” in their love lives.
The 10 years it took to write this first baby of mine were spent taking in life, revising it, and molding fact into fiction with an artful imitation that brings an undeniable reality to any who hop hurdles on the marathon to finding true love. To be clear: I am not a relationship guru. I’ve had my ups and downs in love. And I often wonder how my life may have had less romantic difficulties if I’d simply listened to the advice given in my 20s instead of ignoring it for the know-it-all passions of the heart. So I created Meena. Looked in the rearview mirror. And wrote her experiences through a 20/20 hindsight lens that finds her doing the self-help healing techniques I wish I’d done back then.
I’m not surprised by the film interest that’s come. The Man Curse is a dramatic, raw, sometimes dark, other times funny, R-rated movie in the making. It’s not a mushy, gushy Harlequin romance. Although it is about love. And there is a lot of sex. And there is a happily ever after. The heart of the story is the uphill journey. One which relates to women from 21 to 59. Hardships of the heart don’t discriminate. Romantic drama resonates. Because love turns most into bats. Blind as hell. Flapping erratic. Out of control motions trying to control the wind.