MN- The Mercy Seat is set in Las Vegas. It brings to mind the saying "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", but there is also a lot of symbolism there. Did you have a specific reason for using this particular city for your setting?
AR- I used Las Vegas, because we know it as Sin City. Whenever, someone hears of Las Vegas, they think of someone living in debauchery, and doing something that is far beyond redemption. This symbolized how Sofia felt about herself and her relationship with Julia, and it is also how Xavier and Felecia felt about their marriage. I used this to show that no matter who you are, you are never "too far gone."
MN- Sofia, the main character, gets caught in several social predicaments that are personal to women that I would like to address. The first being prostitution. Women of faith can be very critical when it comes to women of the night, but I have found that they end up doing so not by choice but rather they are pushed into it by necessity. Did your research for the book lead you to the same conclusion?
AR- It did. I have found that most women are cautious. I think one of the misconceptions about prostitutes is that they perform this act because they enjoy sex and the act of being promiscuous. So, although a woman of faith would not want to be cautious she feels because of a man (particularly her man) may now be a target for this woman-she has to be. This caution will lead a woman to thinks she is protecting her marriage and her family. However, the truth of the matter is that these women usually, like Sofia, are recovering from scars from their pasts and/or are forced into this situation and are not promiscuous at all.
MN- Another area women are slow to talk about is in regards to emotional affairs, yet research shows they are as common as the physical affairs that men are tempted to engage in. Do you think women understand what an emotional affair is and more important, how to avoid having one?
AR- That is interesting, because some people say that as long as they have not physically engaged in the act, then they are not cheating. This would mean that people don't even define emotional affairs, as affairs. Felecia didn't think she was doing anything wrong by having dinner with Latimore. And in the beginning it wasn't a problem until she started having problems in her own marriage. I think that women do understand what an emotional affair is, but they don't understand the severity of it. For instance, because of our nurturing nature we may not think its a problem for that male coworker to offer us advice on our relationship, or meet him for an meal. Thus we really don't know how to avoid one because we think there is no harm in doing this. And there is no harm in it as long as we are whole. In order to avoid emotional affairs, however, we must not reach out and engage in this type of conduct when we are going through a struggle, or through a transition in life because 99% of the time it will lead to emotional infidelity.
MN- What can a woman do today to stop the progression of a troubled marriage she may find herself a part of?
AR- I know that this is something that is said a lot, but communicate. I will go even further to say to limit the communication between you and your spouse, and if need be some type of spiritual counsel. I think the problem that most marriages have is that they communicate their issues to their family and their friends,and then finally bring that advice along with their own notions to the table when they are going to talk to their spouse. This means that the communication is not even pure anymore, because its been watered down with the thoughts of outside parties. So to stop a mole hill from growing into a mountain, address it as quickly as possible and limit the access you give others to your marriage.
MN- Every woman needs to have a Ruth Stills in her life. Have you ever had a mentor like Ruth helping you along your faith journey?
AR- Wow! The character of Ruth Linda Stills, was created in honor of the first spiritual mother I ever had, the late Evangelist Linda Ruth McNeill. She was the embodiment of what Ruth stood for. She knew how to love me and chastise me in one sentence, she introduced me to God's love. Today God has blessed me with many strong women in the faith who love, nurture and counsel me.
MN- Why do you believe the message of forgiveness and redemption is crucial for women to hear?
AR- I believe that this message is crucial for women, because many of us struggle to be whole, and self accepting. This aspect makes it hard for us to believe that there is a God who can redeem, forgive, and love us regardless of our past, and even regardless of our present state. When women, and even men can embrace this and even extend this to others, I truly believe that they can step into another realm of freedom. .
MN- The Mercy Seat does have a happy ending. Do you believe with God, no matter where a woman finds herself today, there will always be a happy ending?
AR- Of course! According to Romans 8:28, which states "All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose, and Jeremiah 29:11 states that God's plans for us is to give us an expected hope, and a future. This means that the ultimate and final plan for our lives as long as God is in charge can only end in happiness and fulfillment.
MN- Are there any more writing projects in the near future for your readers to be watching for?
AR- Yes! The Mercy Seat is the first book in the Freedom Baptist Trilogy. It will be followed by Potiphar's Wife which will be released next year, and then finally Go Tell Pharaoh. You will see all of the character's making appearances in each work, with insight on their individual lives. For instance, Potiphar's Wife gives more insight into the life of Trent Watkins, Sofia's emerging love interest.
Author bio- Alvetta Y. Rolle is a poet, author, and above all else a child of God. Born in Dunn, North Carolina, she graduated cum laude from Kaplan University with a Bachelor's of Science in Organizational Communications in 2010. She has been happily married for seven and half years to her husband, Elrod and has four beautiful children ranging in ages from twelve to two. Alvetta currently resides in North Carolina. In her spare time she likes to volunteer with local organizations and persons in needs, as well as working on sequels to her debut novel, The Mercy Seat.
You can order your copy of The Mercy Seat through Ellechor Publishing or Christian Book. Com