Greetings, today I am interviewing Faith Folau, a native Hawaiian, part-time dominatrix and author of the memoir “Stoned Honor”. It is the story of one transgender woman’s goal to stamp out pain and replace it will happiness. It is a past many of us have shared, and a healing journey we walk daily. Available in hardcover, paperback and electronic file, published 4 January 2011.
What was your first published work? When was it written and/or published?
My first book ever was ‘The beginning to an end of a “Bad girl.’ It was published on December 20 2010, but within a week later, I pulled it from being sold. I revised it because of a privacy violation, and then shortly after the book had a new title and a new cover jacket:“Stoned Honor.”
At what age did you develop an interest in writing? Did you ever ask or let your parents read your work? I ask that because as an eleven year old I read some of my poetry for my parents and received a very negative response. I didn’t let anyone else read my work for almost twenty years.
I started to write when I was 11 years old also. My early work was songs and poems that I kept to myself. I was afraid to show anyone because they might make fun of me. Especially the love songs that I used to write, I did not want anyone to see them. Today I have no idea where all those writings are. So no, my parents didn’t ask or see my writings.
After that, I started a diary and then blogs on the internet. I would watch music awards on TV and later write my thoughts on the awards shows, and post them onto the internet on forums.
What or who were some of the bands and you liked best?
In the 90’s I listened to Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Salt’n’Pepa, Lil’Kim, Foxy Brown and many others who are not around any more.
Do you have a specific genre in which you write? What are some of your themes?
Well, when I write I don’t really think of a genre. I just start writing from my experience, the things that I went and am still going through. I guess you can say I write fiction in the biography genre. This year I am going to push my writing towards erotica. I will for now stick to what I know, and that is memoirs and erotica.
How would you describe your writing style? To whom would you compare your work?
My writing style comes rolling right off the top of my brain. Therefore, if I have a writing style it would be a personal style. A personal style from words of the brains, of me. A style of words everyone can understand. As for comparing my written words to someone, there would be no one. I am the narrator.
Your memoir, Stoned Honor, is available now, would you tell us what it’s about?
Before I was a bad girl. I did what I had to do to survive in the streets of Hawaii. I grew up in church so I knew that there was a higher power out there that I believed in. However, discrimination all over our Island forced me into picking a career, an industry that involved nude modelling. After all that, I chose to hold my self higher than nude modelling and sought God for help.
My goal was stay alive and keep positive in my life. It worked. I found many answers in life that took me so long to find out, just simply by going the spiritual route. In my book, I explain how I kept positive things around me and because of it, I was able to write and publish my book in 30 days.
Please tell us a little more about your background, and what your philosophy of life means.
Growing up in a very strict Hawaiian family that was poor to the bone. Most times hunting on the land for food and fishing in the oceans was necessary in order to keep from starving. Going to school and church was a high demand growing up, and if you did not attend, you would be punished. Punishment from a very abusive grandfather who thought that hard-core beatings was a form of talk.
Everyone has enemies but it’s your job not to acknowledge them with the same feed back they give you, instead show them love and kindness. Because I have dealt with envy and competition all of my life. As TS (transsexual) women there are other transgender out there that feel the need to compete with everyone, and in my case, it almost turned into a violent situation. In addition, I was able to save my self from hurt, harm and danger by praying and being three steps ahead of jealousy.
I was able to save my self from suicide from a very abusive father. My father was a local boxer and taking his fist full force to my face many times since the 3rd grade made me think about suicide. Everyone was afraid of him so they could not help me, not my mother and not my siblings. My mother was much brained washed from my father making her think that it was ok to try to convert me with abuse. He also told her that if I do not change my girly ways he would leave. Therefore, she let him abuse me, so that her children would have a father around.
In addition, all of this had led to alcohol abuse, divorce, adultery, and violence in the family. I talk about this in the chapter “Family Affair”, in Stoned Honor.
Now please understand that I do not go into self-pity, I want to share my stories because I know there are people out there going through the same things. I gave you my stories, and I gave you solutions on what and how to knock out all these negative situations before you do something crazy to yourself. If it has helped me, I hope my words can help other as well, kids and adult.
I thank you for sharing your experiences. I, in no way, feel it is self-pity of any kind, but rather a courageous declaration. As a survivor of many abuses myself, I know how hard it can be to reach the point to speak of it, and how much harder it is to relive it in order to write a memoir and remain strong.
As a person who survived multiple suicide attempts when I was younger, I love your message of speaking about yourself, from your wisdom, in order to help those suffering through similar feelings. Like you, it is a natural feeling for me to say of what helped me, and to hope it might help others.
Do you currently have any writing projects or works in progress?
I feel like stoned honor was an inspirational and positive book. Now I am going to talk about my experiences with a more adult genre. I would say this next book is more than erotica, but at the same time, I want to keep this next book in a positive light. As well as continuing to write articles of everyday life on my blogs.
I wish you good luck with that. I believe erotica, whether fiction or a revealing of personal occurrences can help provide a window into another person’s mind and life which can help others. In particular, understanding that you are a transgender woman, I believe your work would help shed very important light on people who continue to be somewhat misunderstood by others.
You are also an independent publishing author. What made you publish independently versus publishing with a traditional house?
With Stoned Honor I went independent because I do not think you need a book contract to get your words out there for the world to read. In addition, I wanted Stoned Honor to be an e-book mainly because it is a short book, about 60 pages. I could not really go into every topic, as I wanted to, because even though Hawaii is a part of the United States, we still have our own laws. I had to really watch what I was putting in the book because Hawaiian families have their own beliefs, and if I took it far, I would face either death or being abandoned my family. In addition, that is how the story came about, because in some races if a women talks about sexuality or experiences it, she would get stoned to death. In addition, the “honor” part (of the title) came because if stoning happened to me, I would take it in honor.
As for my next book, I want this one to be published with a house. It is going to be 300 to 400 pages long. However, I am not going to wait for a house to pick me up, if I have to than I am going to publish it myself.
Telling one’s own story, as I am working at through my memoir “The Boys Who Died”, can very well bring retribution from one’s tribe or people. In my tribe, stoning to death is still utilized also. Being shunned and abandoned, not able to return to your home on pain of death, is still applicable for some “wrongdoing”, which can include aspects of sexuality which one has no control over.
What good things have you experienced with independent publishing? Have you had any problems?
It is so easy to be able to put your work out there for people to read. In addition, I like the work that I put in it keeps me productive everyday, so that is the good for me. Moreover, I had no problems.
Would you suggest other authors self-publish? Why or why not?
Amanda Hocking, she has sold thousands of e-books, and at the time, she was self-published. Now she has been picked up by a publishing house and has a contract. Therefore, I suggest her because if she can continue to sell, then her books must be worth it. http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/
Would you care to tell us something about yourself personally?
You all must know by now that I am a pre-op transsexual woman. I am not afraid to say that I am. Besides a writer, I am a part time dominatrix. My next book will be experience from that.
What kind of books do you like to read? Do you have any hobbies or past-times?
I love to read documentaries on celebrities or real ghost documentary. I try to read non-fiction, but on the back of my mind, I know it is not real. I want to read a book that has truth.Besides reading as a hobby and past time, I love to cook and bake. I spend time with family very often. I love to have talks with them about life. I love a good conversation or debate.
Thanks for the interview, Faith. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and hope others have as well. Where are some of the places we can find you online?
Like most people, I am on Facebook at Faith Folau. Find me on twitter @ reality_blogs. My website www.faithfolau.webs.com, and my blog spot http://faithfolau.blogspot.com/ where all my articles can be found. I also have my mistress website at www.tskimiko.webs.com .
This interview was originally posted at Swedish website, Queer Magazine Online.