There is not a lot of modern-day fiction that centers Black Love and Black college life, something Howard University senior and Greater Love (Ingram Publisher, December 11, 2020) author Devyn Bakewell wants to help change. In the debut of her series, Greater Love, readers get to know aspiring screenwriter Ryan and football player Devyn, both of whom attend the historical Black college, Truth University. Like supporting characters in the novel, Ryan and Devyn face respective trials and tribulations in a way that is authentic, funny, serious, relatable–and rest assured, very romantic. Bakewell says the idea(s) was sparked by her own college journey.
“I was just meeting so many people unlike myself,” the English major details. “People from different countries, and states and cities, people who talk different from me. But we were all so ready to grow up and make our own mistakes and be on our own while going through this incredibly rare thing that is an HBCU experience. And there just aren’t enough books about that.”
When it came to developing Ryan and Devyn, Bakewell admits the process was a blessing and struggle. “…It was a lot of reflection and a lot of reflection on myself and my friends and my college experience, and the mistakes I made, and the things that I thought, that probably weren’t, you know, a hundred percent accurate at the time. Devyn and Ryan, they’re two people who, they’re young and they’re growing. And that is very much me, and it very much was me, so developing them is definitely a self-journey.
“But I think a lot of readers will be able to see themselves in both characters. And I think that they’re gonna be able to relate to them in a way that they need to, a way where they can feel connected and know that it’s okay to be imperfect and it’s okay to learn to grow past, you know, what this world has given you, if it’s hurt or struggle. And just make it better, and learn how to love and be happy through that.”
Watch the interview to learn more about Bakewell and Greater Love including how Howard University has been supportive; when she started writing; who she could see portraying Ryan; the advice she wants to pass on to other fellow writers, especially Black ones; her perspective on describing facial expressions in her writing; and more! For more information, visit Bakewell and Greater Love online.