A longtime Ahwatukee resident has penned her first novella and she’s chosen some heavy topics to explore in it.
Marla-Tiye Vieira, a New Jersey native who has lived here for 17 years, teaches English as a second language and has had students from around the world.
Her novella, “Jasmine Breeze” – which is available at olympiapublishers.com, is about a biracial and bisexual young woman living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, during the 1990’s.
She is conflicted by her sexuality because of her religious roots and the socio-demographics surrounding her.
“She discovers her mother’s diary, which reveals dark secrets of incest, conflicts within Northern Ireland and hardships regarding Irish immigration are just to name a few compelling instances in the book,” said Vieira.
“The chapters are lyrical songs representing the plots. The readership will experience exotic places: Spain, Morocco, Australia, Great Britain and San Diego, California,” she said. “Jasmine finally has to make a vital decision because her life depends on it.”
The book was partially inspired by her past academic career.
Vieira taught French for Teach for America in Southern Louisiana and said she “met some female French teachers who were openly bisexual.”
“These women broke stereotypes about being gay due to their immense beauty and femininity,” she recalled. “The race relations were just as horrific during my term with TFA due to the O.J. Simpson trial, as they are today.”
Lest you think Vieira is a desk-bound academic, however, consider this description on Olympia Publishing’s website:
“I am fascinated with culture, food and foreign travel. In Darwin, Australia, I did the ‘cage of death’ with a giant salt-water crocodile by the name of Leo and relished delectable cuisines. Yet, my favorite vacation was when I cage-dived near Cape Town, South Africa, with two female great white sharks with my mother during the Christmas holiday.”
With a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and French from Howard University and a master’s in second language education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston, Vieira excited about publishing her novella.
She said the pandemic actually helped her complete this “internal and external lyrical journey of self-discovery, secrets, joy and pain with sultry and exotic Jasmine.”
“The positive aspect of the lock downs during COVID-19 was that it allowed me to finally complete my manuscript,” she said.
Her target audience is 18 and older.
“Centenarians will also enjoy my book
due to its historic nuances,” she said, adding:
“My book aims to embrace anyone who feels ostracized and/or oppressed within their respective communities. I hope to create world peace.
“Although my novella took 25 years to complete, I did not face any major obstacles meeting this particular task.
“I love writing because it is very therapeutic for me to give birth to fictional characters making life-altering choices. These vital decisions affect the entire characterization and plot in unpredictable ways for me as the author.”
She also loves to travel and discover exotic cuisines and was even featured with the Valley super chef Mark Tarbell on PBS.
She said “Jasmine Breeze” “saliently delineates the current acrimonious race relations occurring worldwide – the hostility between Northern Ireland and England, racism towards the African-Diaspora, religious intolerance and homophobia.
“My book offers ways to overcome these challenges and begin a trajectory of unification.