Mega church New Testament Cathedral in Los Angeles, California is considered by many to be the most dangerous church in America. Readers can’t seem to get enough of the ordained Queen of Mean, Pastor Samantha Cleaveland. Come Sunday Morning, When Sunday Comes Again and The Last Sunday (Release Date October 29, 2013) are the latest releases from Terry E. Hill that comprise the novels of the Sunday Morning Trilogy.
The book series chronicles the decadent lives of Pastors Hezekiah and Samantha Cleaveland which includes wealth, fame, jealousy, a gay love triangle and murder. Hezekiah is the charismatic pastor. His wife, Samantha, is beautiful and ruthlessly ambitious and the actual driving force behind their ministry. Her ambition and greed leaves a trail of enemies and dead bodies in her wake. The power couple is building a new 25,000 seat mega-church which Samantha is determined to take over even at the expense of her husband’s life.
Hill is the product of the Los Angeles church scene which makes the books that much more believable. They are filled with juicy insider details and ecclesiastical secrets that leave the reader wondering what parts of the stories are fiction and what parts are true.
What motivated you to write the Sunday Morning Trilogy?
I was raised in the Black church in Los Angeles and love the church. With the trilogy I wanted to show the church from a different perspective. A side we all know exists but rarely discuss. I wanted to show characters that are multidimensional, not perfect, not saintly and not evil, but simply human.
Tell us a little about the main character, Pastor Samantha Cleaveland, the Queen of Mean?
My favorite character is Samantha. She’s manipulative, power-hungry and conniving but there are also hints throughout the three books that she has another side. She’s vulnerable, lonely and afraid. One has to admire, and in this case fear, a woman who believes so passionately in her goals that she is willing to do just about anything to achieve them. I believe she strikes a chord with readers. They feel it correct to hate her but I suspect most secretly relate to and are intrigued by her.
Did you know when you were constructing the stories that Samantha would have the qualities that we discovered about her?
Not completely. Samantha evolved with the story. You know when you first meet her that she is capable of stooping pretty low to get what she wants but as the story progresses you begin to wonder if she even has a conscious. She’s not someone you’d want to run into in a dark alley. She was a fun surprise for me. You either love her or hate her. There’s no in-between.
I made every attempt to construct each character as a multi-dimensional entity. No one is all good or all bad in real life and I tried to do the same in the book. Love and hate on the surface appear paradoxical, but as we all know they can, and often times do, exist in the same person. What we see in the book is the internal struggle between these two very powerful forces.
And Danny St. John? How are we to see him in light of the fact that he became a willing participant in an affair, regardless of whether it was with a man or a woman?
People are complex and Danny, like all characters in the book has his flaws. The good in Danny definitely outweighs the bad. There’s no excuse for what he did and he knew from the beginning that he was involved with a married man. Even though he is a willing participant you can’t help but feel a little sorry for him and hope that everything works out for him.
What advice would you give other aspiring authors?
First I would say to write about what you know. If you live in Michigan, then place your story in Michigan. If you’ve lost a loved one, had a bad break-up, changed career, then write about the experience from your unique perspective. Also, don’t delude yourself into thinking that because you have a good idea or story line that a publisher or agent will overlook poor writing, because they won’t.
Where can our readers find your book?
Come Sunday Morning, When Sunday Comes Again and The Last Sunday are available on Amazon, Barns and Nobles and a number of book sellers on line. You can also get them at local bookstores. If it’s not on the shelf, the bookstore will be happy to order it. You can also visit my website at www.terryehill.com.
Terry E. Hill www.terryehill.com. Facebook: MrTerryEHill