Cleveland Heights author serves up mix of recipes and relationships
Maroon & Company, the debut novel of Cleveland Heights resident Vetella A. Camper, is a heartfelt narrative about courage, tenacity and genuine friendship. Published in December 2012, the book tells the story of three women through their own distinctive voices.
Camper said she created the book’s three main characters from the inside looking out. "That's the only way I could separate their personalities and idiosyncrasies,” she said. “Chandler, Lorelei and Stevie Mitchelle were created as complex women whose tumultuous life experiences and tragedies were delicately weaved throughout the novel with their affection for one another and successes."
Camper said she began writing seriously when she was about 10. She said that writing, as well as reading, helped her escape some of the unpleasant events of her childhood.
“I fell in love with a boy once—at least I thought I was in love—and he had broken my heart and I wanted to let him know how I felt, so I wrote him a letter expressing my most inner feelings, and I was very proud of how I told him I felt. That's when I realized that I had a talent for writing.”
Camper has a fondness for Shakespeare. “The first time I read Shakespeare it intrigued me how a string of words—unfamiliar words—were written with perplexity, but once deciphered, had simple meanings. I didn't want to write like Shakespeare, but I wanted to create visual word art within the reader's mind.”
She also admires the work of Mark Twain. “He had a way with storytelling that in modern day literature mimics Shakespeare,” she said. “His wit and satire is like no one else I've ever read.”
In regard to her own novel, Camper said, "I want the reader to make their own assessments as to what the message is. There are several, and if the reader realizes only one, then my work has significance. The importance and meaning of loyalty, friendship and commitment is throughout Maroon & Company. The reader will determine what is important to them."
While her first book took her five years to write and nine more to have published, Camper is working on a sequel, which she promises won’t take as long. “It is written,” she said, “but I am now proofing and fine tuning it. I’m not yet sure of the title.”
The new novel will explore the three main character’s stories before adulthood and before they became friends. Camper said that readers will be able to decipher how each woman's childhood influenced her adult personality and lifestyle, and she promises that it will answer many questions that were left unanswered in the first book.
Maroon & Company is available online and at local bookstores, such as Mac’s Backs on Coventry.
George Witherspoon is a Cleveland Heights resident, training consultant and member of the City of Cleveland Heights's Citizens Advisory Committee.