Introduce yourself to the audience.
I was born and raised in Orangeburg, SC. I love to eat, watch movies, read, and obviously write. I’m married, have two kids and I live in Texas. Oh, and I hate spiders.
Tell us about your title.
Lovely Lies, basically sums up the concept of my novel. Makynzee, the main character, has been lied to and kept in the dark about a lot of things and the preise behind that is that most of the people lying to her are doing it out of love and trying to protect her. In a perfect world, that would be ok, but we all know nothign is perfect…except maybe my father-in-law’s gumbo. It was originally titled Through It All, but with the help of my publisher we came up with Lovely Lies.
What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve always written, books…short stories and stories that literally never ended, so a really close friend basically challenged me and said that I wouldn’t write one that I was willing to try to get published.
Who is the audience for the book? Who do you feel will enjoy book most and why?
The audience and who I think will enjoy my book most is women age 18-35. That’s not to say that most lovers of urban fiction and romance won’t enjoy it, because I think they will. My book falls into the genre of romance, with a twist and it’s an urban fiction, so it can be enjoyed by both genres as an urban fiction.
Who was your favorite character?
Hands down, Kaeden. He has this mysteriousness about him. That characteristic of I know he has that psycho crazy gene, but I know it would only be used to protect what he loves and cares for. Just enough bad boy mixed with perfect gentleman to keep you satisfied and on your toes.
What did you enjoy most about writing the book?
I enjoyed writing about how Makynzee and Kalil fell for each other. You know it’s an instant attraction, but there’s also that “I shouldn’t be doing this” factor as well.
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was being okay with writing things that I didn’t actually agree with. Letting the characters have their own thoughts and make their own decisions instead of using mine.
Describe your writing style.
Hmmmm…grab pencil and paper or MacBook and ready, set, go! I don’t think I have a specific style, I sjust write what I see playing out in my mind and hope that it works.
How is your book different from others in the genre?
Romances are usually based on a love story that survives against all odds and have a generally happy ending…that may not be the case with mine.
Who are some of your writing influences?
I don’t have specifics, I thrive off of really god stories, so it could be a vet and big name, such as Eric Jerome Dickey or a new name, such as one of my label mates, Author Saundra.
Let us know about upcoming events and projects. How can readers contact you?
Lovely Lies 2 – Release Date: TBD
July 3 – Bayou Soul Writers & Readers Conference (New Orleans, LA)
July 4-8 – Essence Music Festival (New Orleans, LA)
Aug 30-31 – South Dallas Book Fair (Dallas, TX)
October 24-26 – National Black Book Festival (Houston, TX)
I look around and see a guy sitting behind the bar. He glances up at me as I walk in, but looks back down at the papers on the bar. Obviously I pose no threat to him because he doesn’t look up again until I’m close enough to say excuse me. What happens next confuses me. My throat feels like sand paper, I forget how to speak, and my stomach is filled with butterflies. He’s beautiful. Wait, I don’t think men can actually be beautiful, so what is he? Handsome would be an understatement.
With a slight frown, he asks, “What you need?”
Damn, his voice only adds to my current struggle to take him all in. He looks dangerous…sexy. I think I should be scared, but he stops frowning. I struggle to find my voice as he gets up and begins to walk to me. He’s very tall. Very athletic looking; his body is amazing. I wanna touch him.
“You look lost, where you trying to go?”
Of course I would turn into a mute right now. Did I expect anything more of myself? I’ve never been this drawn to anyone before. His skin is dark, much darker than mine, but his eyes are a weird mixture of green and something else, maybe brown. Color doesn’t matter though, they’re stunning. I get lost in them and before I know it he’s standing directly in front of me.
His scent assaults my nose. Someone should seriously bottle it up just for me. His voice gives me goose bumps. He’s much taller than I thought. I’m 5’7” and wearing heels and I still have to tilt my head to look at him. I finally manage to croak out, “I’m fine.”
He smiles at me. I feel faint. If it were physically possible, I’d melt.
“Then what you need?”
“I’m looking for Kalil.”
He walks away and asks, “Who sent you here?”
“I need a job. She said to tell him to cash in the favor he owes her.”
“A job doing what?”
He’s frowning again. I’m not sure if I should be offended or not. The obvious answer would be dancing, but he seems to be genuinely curious. I decide to be offended.
“Well this is a strip club isn’t it?”
“How old are you?”
He stares at me in silence then sits on one of the bar stools.
“Bullshit, your real age.”
LaShanta Charles was born and raised in Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Urban/ African American Fiction has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. Through trial and error, she has developed a unique writing style that she fully embraces. She penned her first official novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and is currently working on the sequel.
Currently she lives in Killeen, TX, with her husband and two children. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English at Drury University and also serving on active duty in the US Army. Her hobbies include spending time with family, traveling, eating, and of course, writing. Her motto is “strive to excel, not to equal.”
UM: Introduce yourself to the audience.
Hello, my name is Ni’cola Mitchell, and I am an author and I run an independent publishing house NCM Publishing. Originally from Jamaica, I am a proud mother of two beautiful and talented girls Destani Imani 18 and Diamond Lynn 13. Currently we reside in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
UM: Tell us how your career started as a writer.
My story is actually different from other writers. Unlike most writers, that knew that this was going to be their profession, my dreams were totally opposite. I wanted to be a CEO of a hospital, not my own publishing company. My book career started from a dare. I graduated from college in 2008 and my friends and family dared me to turn my journal entries into a book. That is when I wrote my debut novel, Over and Over Again and then shortly after, The Appetizer, When You’re Not His Main Course. Two months after the release of the Appetizer, my eldest sister (whom raised me) passed away. She was my main cheer leader in my journey as an author. I went through a deep depression and penned out Twisted. Almost three years later from the release of my first novel, my fourth title A Cold Piece will be released March 31, 2012.
UM: Tell us about your upcoming release A Cold Piece.
Well I am really excited about this novel. This one is not like my usual drama filled novel. A Cold Piece is a Suspense Thriller revolving around three main characters: Lisa, Anthony, and Gabrielle. Lisa Oliver was comfortable in her lifestyle. She had everything that one can ask for, anything that money could buy and a husband that treasured her. Everything changed once Anthony found about some horrible secrets that Lisa was hiding and divorced her. Two years go by, and Anthony remarries Gabrielle, they are happy and settled in their life, until everyone around the happy couple either becomes missing, hurt or dead.
UM: How do you balance your writing / publishing with your personal and social life?
It wasn’t until recently that I realized the importance of balance. The only way that I can continue being successful in my career, is if I separate my family life from my career. I have incorporated my team more and began scheduling time for my family. This includes turning my phones off, and not checking my emails.
UM: When you attend an event(book signing/festival), what last impression or message do you want to leave visitors with?
I want the readers to see that I am a real person. Even though I am professional and grind out everyday, that I am also funny and down to earth. I hope that a person can see me pursuing my dreams, and that will in turn motivate them to pursue their own.
UM: Can you give us your contact information:
My websites are as follows: www.nicolacmitchell.com, www.ncmpublishing.com, www.nicolaandtamika.com. You can also find me on facebook and twitter: www.facebook.com/msnicola and www.twitter.com/msnicola
Anna Black is both talented and inspiring. She recently released her third romance page turner Who Do I Run To and had the opportunity to speak to Anna Black about her writing and publishing journey.
UM: What type of stories do you write?
I Romance with a hint of drama and suspense. I write romantic stories that are more realistic than fantasy. What is it about those stories that draws you to that subject? What draws me is the realness. I get feedback all the time with readers saying how they experienced the same situation or they know someon who has.
UM: How did you start your career as a writer?
AB: I started with a Print-On-Demand company initially, then I signed with Delphine Publications.
UM: Tell us a little bit about your current book?
AB: My current release is about a young woman that is involved with a married man and after five years of being his mistress, she decides to move on with a new guy she meets. As soon as she calls it quits, her married lover leaves his wife for her and now she is caught between the two of them and is unsure who she wants to choose. Is it a series? It is part one to the sequel Who Do I Run To Now? Coming summer of 2012.
UM: What was it like trying to get your story published?
AB: This release was easy because I’m signed with a publishing house.
UM: Did you have many rejections from publishers?
I’ve never been rejected because I’ve never submitted my novels to any other publishers.
UM: Did you need an agent?
AB: No I didn’t need an agent.
UM: Is this book inspired by personal experience?
AB: No, purely fiction. Where did the idea come from? A little of it was inspired by a friends situation.
UM: What do you do for promotion?
AB: I promote through on line sites like FaceBook and Twitter. I also hand out post cards almost everywhere I go and my publisher also does a lot of promoting for me. I do several signings a year and attend a lot of book conferences.
UM: Online chats?
AB: No chats.
UM: What is the oddest or most challenging thing you had to do to research this book?
AM: Nothing really, there is nothing in the book that needed a lot of research.
UM: How can readers find you and your books? Twitter? Facebook?
Interview with Fallen Author Quiana
UM: Can you Introduce yourself to readers?
I’m Quiana, a new author from Philadelphia! Writing is a passion of mine that I am eager to share. It’s been a long time goal of mine since age 17 to become a published author by the age of 25, so I am very proud to have met that goal and to deliver a great story to my audience.
UM: How did you get involved in publishing?
Well, I consulted with several authors that I know to decide if self publishing was the best option. I was proud of my completion but had no Idea how to go through the publishing process. I did a lot of research! I decided to go with self publishing due to the amount of freedom it allows, it’s just a lot of work.
UM: What prompted you to write Fallen? Anything based of true events?
The story is not based upon true events, however people can relate, I think that is why my readers love it so much. The plot just came to me one day in my living room after I already started another novel. I felt strongly in my heart that Fallen should be my first novel, and so far it has proven to be a good choice. There aren’t many stories, if any, about this new wave of cougars in the dating world. Fallen explores that type of a relationship with the upsides and downfalls. Throw sex, lies, and adultry in it and you have a very captivating story!
UM: Who is the audience for the book? What do you hope they take away after reading?
I have had young, old, white and black readers so far who all loved the story! I am very proud to say my audience range with this story is wide. Fallen was intended to be a story for mothers. Mothers who like myself, gave up youth in exchange for stability or to raise a family. Ramae, the main character, spends a lot of time reflecting back and wondering if things could have been different. I think for men and women, we have a hard time fighting selfish temptation, and thinking that we missed out on something. I want my readers to take the lesson of thinking before acting from this story. Is lust and youth worth risking for stability? Should we be accepting of the life that we have chosen or is it never to late to live our dreams? These are questions people deal with on the daily bases.
UM: Who was your favorite character? Why?
Well of course I have to say Ramae! As the main character she expereinces several transformations, which always makes a plot great. You see her at her strongest and weakest, you root for her while secretly wishing for her downfall. You will find yourself identifying with her internal conflicts, while wondering what is she thinking! But I also love her friend Porscha because she reminds me of myself! The fun friend who will always tell it how it is! I love her character because she doesn’t sugar coat things with Ramae, she focuses more on being a true friend not a good one.
UM: DId you have any challenges while writing the book?
With Fallen being my first book the greatest challenge was sticking to it! I had to remind myself that this was something that I’ve wanted for a long time and if anytime was the right time it would be 2011! I had prayed for time off from work to write my first novel, and when God blessed me with it I knew it was time to focus! Being a single parent also created challenge. I would feel guilty for giving up hours to writing somedays.
UM: Whats Next?
My next novel will be Uptown’s Princess! I am working on it now and I hope to release it in the spring. There will also be a sequel to Fallen in the future, and I would love to turn it into a stage play! Hopefully 2012 will be a big year there are lots of plots in my head that I am ready to put on paper.
UM: Tell readers how to contact you or attend some of your events.
You can always follow me on twitter @authorquiana, facebook Author Quiana, or my website www.Quianawrites.com which has my email listed! Readers should also checkout my video blog on my about me page to get a better sense of me as a person! My website also has info on my upcoming book party in Philadelphia and will have postings for radio interviews, book signings, and other events.
UM: Introduce Yourself to Readers.
KS: My name is Kai Storm, I am the author of Alani’s Bigger Hustle. It’s my first novel, written in 2008 and published in July 2011.
UM: Tell us about your book Alani’s Bigger Hustle.
KS: Alani’s Bigger Hustle is about a young panamanian girl who grew up in the drug game, came to America and met a pedofile/drug dealer and used him to get/overtake the game in her special way.
UM: How would you describe your writing style?
KS: The best way to describe my writing style is turning a nickle into a dollar. In other words I take a small, insignificant real fact and turn it into a whole fantasy. That’s what makes my stories so real.
UM: What are some of your favorite books?
KS: Coldest Winter Ever and Their Eyes were watching God
UM: What type of reader would enjoy your book most? What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
KS: Any type, there are numerous life lessons written into the fantasy/fictional story of Alani’s Bigger Hustle and the moral of the story is to always follow your dreams because they can come true, that’s what my book represents to me.
UM: Who is your favorite character? Why?
KS: The main characters, Alani and Baker because their love/trust for each other is so real and genuine.
UM: What challenges occurred while writing the book?
KS: No challenges, the story lived within my since I was 12. The real challenge was getting published because I was first signed to a company that did nothing with my novel then I found a reputable company who published me within six months.
UM: What’s next?
KS: The sequel. Everyone that has read ALANI’S BIGGER HUSTLE has asked me for the sequel and I am about 60-80% into it. I also have two book signings in Philadelphia on 12/10/11.
UM: How can readers connect with you for signings etc.?
KS: On Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, Linkedin, just google me and you will find me, lol!
HERE’S THE LINK TO AMAZON AND KINDLE, & KINDLEGRAPH:
UM: Introduce yourself to the readers.
R.J. Champ – I’m the fresh new author and creator of the hot new urban thriller A Beautiful Satan, which is my first release under DC Bookdiva Publications. I’m a newcomer to the urban industry and I’m bringing a fresh new vibe that will enlighten the urban genre with my unique creative style. A Beautiful Satan is my freshman project, which is fire!
UM: Tell us about your book A Beautiful Satan.
Well, A Beautiful Satan is a thugged-out psycho-thriller with a fresh new vibe that’s my signature trademark. The story centers on infidelity and puts a sadistic twist on the subject of cheating. Heartbreak, murder and mayhem come full circle in this sadistic saga where the main character, Angel Rising has a duel personality, a secret alter-ego name Natasha, and Natasha is meticulously stalking and murdering loose women who are involved in some form or fashion with Angel’s husband – Jovan, who is a prolific womanizer, to say the least. Jovan’s antics and his womanizing ways set his wife off, sending her alter-ego on a hellish killing spree within our nation’s capital.
UM: How would you describe your writing style? Who are some of your favorite authors?
My writing style is urban with a dark creative twist that is intriguing and captivating and exciting for my readers. Every time I pick up the pen I challenge myself to bring something fresh and different to my readers…stories they can feel…stories they can identify with…stories that arouse the senses.
My favorite authors; at the top of my urban authors list, I would have to say Donald Goines. His writing introduced me to urban literature, and from there I gravitated to other urban authors such as Dutch, K’wan, and Wahida Clark.
UM: Who is the audience for your book?
Well, A Beautiful Satan is an urban thriller, so my target audience are readers in the urban genre; also readers who enjoy reading thrillers, the kind of story that’s dark, captivating and exciting. I’ve labeled my books Urban Adult/Urban Universal…pretty much anyone who enjoys a good read will enjoy A Beautiful Satan.
UM: What do you want readers to take away after reading the book?
Well, this particular novel A Beautiful Satan, my intention with this story was to highlight the effects of infidelity in a relationship, how it literally destroys the soul of the innocent partner. The story shines the light on psychological abuse, and the adverse consequences which are brought on due by infidelity. This story is meant for entertainment purposes, however, there is a lesson to be learned from this dark and twisted plot, beware, infidelity can transform a woman, literally bring out the darker side you never knew existed.
UM: Who is your favorite character? Why?
Well, from a man’s point of view I’d have to roll with my man Jovan—he really puts it down when it comes to being a playa…He has the look, the dress, the money, the cars, the swag—He’s the quintessential player through and through.
Real Talk by
Dee Derrick and L.A. Matthews
UM: Can you introduce yourself to the audience and give them some background about you.
My name is Dee Derrick, I reside in Atlanta, GA by way of “Sweet Home Alabama”. I attended Auburn University and received my Bachelors in Social Work. I’ve always had a strong desire to help others, even at a young age. I consider myself somewhat of a free spirit because I don’t let society dictate the person that I am. I love life, I love to have fun, I love to laugh…I believe that’s the kind of life that God, while fulfilling his purpose, wants us to have. Oh, and I really love football! War Eagle.
My birth name is Lisa Anne Matthews; however my pen name is L.A. Matthews. I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a Journalism degree. I enjoy traveling, writing, conducting seminars, and teaching college courses. My loved ones call me a ‘social butterfly’ because I enjoy attending social activities and events. I appreciate engaging in thoughtful conversations with others.
Tell us about your book Real Talk.
Real Talk is a compilation of conversations from Black men about their perspectives of Black women. L.A and I made a conscious decision to begin our series of Real Talk books within the Black community because we felt there was an extreme disconnect in how Black men and women view one another. We wanted this book to be positive, yet still cover controversial topics. So you’ll have sections within the book that will make you laugh and others that will definitely trigger some deep thought.
We interviewed 8 Black men from diverse backgrounds (i.e. cities, ages, religious backgrounds, family structures). The interviews were held in a location of our participants’ choice. After we conducted the face to face interviews, we transcribed each interview verbatim. We wanted to keep the voices of the men as honest and as real as possible.
UM: Who is the audience for the book and how will they benefit from reading?
We wanted to reach out to all adult readers. It doesn’t matter what racial/ethnic background, age, or gender you are, because there is something for everyone in this book. We wanted to discuss topics that are sometimes uncomfortable for people to share with one another. Real Talk gives our readers the opportunity to hear the voices of some very opinionated men.
I agree with L.A., it’s a book that everyone can learn from. It’s great for women because it provides answers and a sense of understanding to those questions that we many times over-analyze in our own minds. It’s basically like having Barber Shop talk–in a book. On the other hand, it’s just as great for men because it gives them an opportunity to relate or gain insight from other men.
UM: What is your opinion of the availability of the African American Male perspective?
Unfortunately, oftentimes perceptions of Black men may not be very positive. This is due to the inaccurate and negative stereotyping that we see in the media. Black love does exist. Yet, we are all too familiar with the staggering statistics. Today, nearly 70% of African-American births are to unmarried mothers. In truth however, many Black people experience well-functioning and successful family units, yet very little research exists on positive marriages, satisfaction, happiness, and Black men’s view of love.
There’s not enough. As L.A. stated, there’s an abundance of negative portrayals from the media of Black men but definitely a lack of availability of perspectives from Black men themselves. Honestly, that was one of our main reasons for creating a book from the perspective of Black men. We felt there were several books that catered to and were created for women; so it was important for us to give Black men an open forum to discuss a range of topics such as growing up in fatherless homes or how the really feel about the “Independent” Black woman.
UM: How did you pick the individuals in the book?
D.D.-We chose guys that we knew personally, guys that we felt would give honest and real feedback.
Yes, it was important for us to have men would not hold back and weren’t afraid of telling the truth.
Describe the highlight of your research.
One of the highlights of our research was hearing our participants express their sincere appreciation for the simple gesture of two women that genuinely wanted to hear their voice.
The highlight of our research was very simple in context, yet has a profound meaning for the Black community. It’s as basic as this—Black men do love Black women. Forget what you see or hear on the television. For once, close your ears to staggering and dismal statistics. Black love exists, has always existed, and will continue to exist.
UM: Describe the biggest challenge completing the book.
I don’t know if I’d call it a challenge, but I’d say the editing process because you have so much great information that you would like to include but unfortunately everything can’t be.
UM: You co-wrote the book. What was the writing process like?
The writing process was fun because we worked with a great group of men that allowed us into their worlds. We had fun with the process but it was a lot of hard work because we did everything on our own from transcribing the interviews to publishing the book. There were a lot of late nights, a lot of early mornings, writing retreats, tears of joy, and even a few tears of “will this thing ever be done”…still, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The writing process was an amazing learning experience. This was our first book so we learned the ins and outs about publishing, editing, book formatting, etc. It was very hands on and we learned more than any print or journalism writing college class could teach us.
UM: How can readers learn more about your book and upcoming releases?
They can visit our website, www.realtalklive.com and follow us on twitter @DeeRealTalkLA or become a fan of our Real Talk facebook page.
If there’s one thing I hope people take from this book, it’s that we need to challenge ourselves to dig a little deeper rather than conforming to superficial-driven conversations. Everyone has a story, what sets our stories apart is not the car we drive nor the career we have, it’s the journey. We’re on our journey and our hopes are that we create a platform that encourages more positive dialogue and views between Black men and women. The intent of this book was never about who a person chooses to date, it’s about no longer allowing society to pull us away from each other through misrepresentations of one another. We’re not relationship experts, we’re just two women that have a vision.
If you have a vision, just go for it and make it happen! Remember, for every person who will not help you, there is always someone who will. Dee and I had a dream for writing this book and we spoke it into existence. After we spoke it, we began working and believing in our purpose.
UM: Budgets are tight in the industry and especially for most self published authors. How does the book marketing differ from book publicity?
Publicity/public relations are just one of many “marketing” tools. Marketing overall is reaching out to your audience and customer based using a combination of advertising, market research, product pricing, distribution, community relations, public relations, and sales tactics.
Publicity which consists of media placement across various mediums including, print publications (magazines, newspapers, newsletters), broadcast (television, radio), online( blogs, social media) is just a portion of a marketing plan.
I often explain to self published authors when creating a marketing budget they are to include the cost of everything outside of printing the book–including flyers and bookmarks, travel expenses, online advertisements, book release party and promotional items. If they can afford to, they should consider hiring an experienced publicist with a proven track record of success in the genre in which they are publishing their book. All of the forementioned are part of “marketing” your book.
Can you give authors three or four tips of what they should be doing on their own before they hire a publicist?
I strongly suggest social media should be the first and is the least expensive place to start. Social media sites Twitter, MySpace and Facebook are global. They are all free sites where communities can be located and formed without anyone traveling or spending any money. I encourage authors to take a photo with their book or use their book cover as their profile picture. Increase your numbers on all of these outlets by locating readers of fellow authors in your genre. A reader who loves Teri Woods (True to the Game), will enjoy Danielle Santiago (Little Ghetto Girl); and a one who reads Miasha (Secret Society) will enjoy Kiki Swinson presents (Cheaper to Keep Her).
#2 Website. Authors should really take the time to get an attractive easy to navigate website under their name, publishing company or book title. You need one location online where someone can find out all they need to know about you book including purchasing links, excerpts and contact information. As a publicist this will be the hub that I direct all media to for further information.
#3 Authors should be able to set up their own book signings or have someone on their behalf coordinate at least 5 for them. Publicist should be used more for the large scale events they may involve more pitching for participation ie: Brooklyn Book Festival, Los Angeles Times Book Fair, Essence Book Festival, Congressional Black Caucus Authors Pavillion.
I like to see what ideas and plans authors have for their books. How do they intend to promote? Who can help them promote,? Have they reached out to their local newspaper for a book review? Where can cities can they travel to for signings? I expect authors especially self-published authors to come to me with a plan of action on what they would like to accomplish for their book and how. By having all of these accomplished beforehand, it shows how diligent the author will be when we join forces.
UM: Some authors have a belief that a publicist will make them an overnight celebrity. If an author is looking to hire a publicist, what are some basic things they should expect and in what type of time frame?
First and foremost anyone who hires a publicist must understand that there are NO guarantees to media placement. Media coverage is current and up to the second. Short story, I had a client interviewed and his event photographed for a two-page photo spread in the Daily News. His story was bumped because the Pope came to visit New York City. Breaking news of the Pope’s visit was bigger than our event; therefore our story ran without photos, a month later.
When hiring a publicist you must have a realistic understanding of what they will be doing for you. I share with my clients what angles I will be pitching, we brainstorm on ideas and I allow them to fact check everything that goes out. Dream Relations works to make sure the every clients is placed in some form of media. I believe a publicist is a teammate. Even if you want to consider me the quarterback I need someone to throw the ball too, so the author and I must work together to make things happen.
I can guarantee that as a publicist I will work ensuring that my clients do receive placements that they can use to enhance their profiles, however I can not guarantee a time line for when the articles and interviews will run. Generally within one month of pitching I have garnered interviews
UM: In your opinion, at what point in a writer’s career when should strongly consider hiring a publicist?
In my experience an appropriate time for an author to consider hiring a publicist would be any of the following: author has a hot topic that is unique and special to mainstream readers, has garnered a lucrative publishing deal, option for television or movie, made the New York Times, LA Times or USA Today bestsellers list, or has won a book award. A publicist could leverage the accomplishment and bring it to the attention of readers, publishing industry executives, entertainment tastemakers and the media.
What project do you have going that you are excited about?
Recently Dream Relations signed on as the PR agency of record for national bestselling author Kiki Swinson, ( Wifey series, Playing Dirty, Cheaper to Keep Her) www.kikiswinson.net
UM: If someone needs a publicist, how can they reach you?
Website: www.dreamrelations.com Twitter @dreamrelations
Facebook Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting Agency
Mini bio—In 2004, Dawn Michelle Hardy formed Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting Agency. The agency has planned public relations campaigns for fiction authors signed to Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and Kensington/Dafina, as well as nonfiction self-published titles on career, health and empowerment. Most recently, Dawn Michelle joined Serendipity Literary Agency as an associate agent. She’s actively seeking to represent a broad range of projects including nonfiction self-help, pop culture and women’s fiction. She will be a featured columnist in the upcoming print issue of Urbania. Her column will be titled Power Lunch.
Interview with Author T. Nicole
UM: Can your introduce yourself to readers.
Tiffany Nicole (T. Nicole) hasn’t been writing for long, but has taken every experience in life to create memorable works.
UM: How did you get involved in the industry?
I feel like I stumbled into it. I have always loved writing and the more I honed my skill, the more I wanted to be a part of anything having to do with writing.
UM: Tell us about your latest project?
My latest project is the adaption of my last book, The Diary of the Secret Wife, into a stage play. It debuted August 11th and ran for 6 shows. The response was so overwhelming, that we are doing it again on September 30th and October 1st of this year.
UM: Who is the intended audience and what should they expect when reading?
I don’t have one intended audience for any project I do. I feel like when you write for only one certain audience you trap yourself in a box.
Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
My favorite character in the book, and play, is Sharon. She is the big sister and she is full of wisdom and fight.
UM: Can you talk about any challenges you had completing the book?
his was my third book, novel, so writing this book didn’t present as many challenges as writing my first one. One thing that I had to make sure made since was the diary entries and the actual story. The diary entries are in 1st person and the story is in 3rd person. At first I was concerned that it would be confusing to the reading audience, but after tweeking it, it came out good.
UM: What did you enjoy most about the writing project?
It was something different.
Who are some of your favorite authors or writing influences?
I absolutely love Adrienne Bellamy. She has the ability to write comedically without it meaning to be comedic. I just love that.
What separates your book from others in the genre?
I am not quite sure what separates me, but I have been told my writing style is refreshing.
How would you define your writing style?
UM: What are some of your hobbies?
I love to create things, so anything that includes me creating something I love to do it.
UM: What is the best way for readers to connect with you and find out more about your upcoming projects?
Of course I am on facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/T-Nicole and they can connect with me through my website – www.tnicoleonline.com
Mondell Pope (M.T.Pope), Store Manager, Author of Both Sides of The Fence Series
UM: Let’s talk about your roots in the book industry. When did you
first get started and what influenced you?
MP: I started working at a bookstore, Urban Knowledge, in 2006 to help with paying some bills. I had no intentions of being a reader or a writer, but I became both unexpectedly. I fell in love with reading books and pretty soon I was reading a couple of books a week. I am a person that gets bored easily, so after a about three years of constant reading I decided that I would try to write a book. There was no inkling of me ever getting published at all. I work for Carl Weber, who owns the bookstores and a publishing house. After ‘finishing’ my book I passed it around to a few friends and got some good feedback. A good friend, who also worked for the bookstore, mentioned that I had written a book and he asked to see it. Two short months later I was offered a book deal.
UM: Currently, can you describe the economic climate for African
American bookstores in general? What types of books are performing well
and not so well?
MP: As of late, the trend has been steady with Street-type Fiction and runner up would be Urban Fiction. Authors like, Ashley & Jaquavis, Miss KP, Wahida Clark, Kiki Swinson , to name a few, are dominating the sales right now. Not to say that other categories don’t do well, because I am seeing a small trend in increasing sales of Contemporary fiction and Alternative fiction, which I write.
UM: How has the acceleration of the ebook impacted sales of paperback
and bound books?
MP: One work; greatly. Paperbacks have taken a back seat to the new ebook era. I as an author like the ideas of this new era, but me as a bookstore manager could do without it. It and the economy have hit us hard. We feel it daily. Don’t get me wrong, we are still pushing out a lot of paperback, but the difference can be seen in what is and what used to be. I just don’t want to see the world shift to totally. I am that there can be a middle ground when it comes to reading. A customer who buys paperbacks and ebook are ideal. I guess we all will just have to wait and see what happens.
UM: Book signings helps sell books but not all signings are successful.
What are three or four tasks authors can do to have a better chance
of success at a bookstore book signing?
MP: Yes, Book signings can be a very useful tool for an author. My suggestion to an author would be; never sit down at the signing, dress appropriately, bring any materials that a potential customer can take with them, and know how to summarize your book in a few sentences. All of those tips are key to having a successful signing, even if you don’t sell any books. People remember experience and making theirs’ with you memorable just may make you a sale in the future.
UM: In addition to managing the Urban Knowledge Bookstore, you are also the author of the Both Sides of the Fence Trilogy. What made you decide to start on the creative writing side of the book business?
MP: I loved to read, like I said before. I just thought it would be cool to see if I could do it. I wasn’t trying to change lives or tell my story I just want to see if I could do it. Now , I’m hooked on it…lol
UM: Can you talk about the writing process between the three books?
How was it the same or different?
MP: My writing process was completely different for each one of my books. When I initially wrote the first book, it was a lone book with no intended sequels. That changed when I got a two book deal. It took me five months to write the rough draft of my first book. Writing It went really fast and I honestly can say I don’t remember writing it.
The second book was started immediately after I got the contract for the books. I don’t like deadlines so I thought it would be nice to finish it before it was asked for. I finished the second part within seven months. It was a longer book and a harder one with more character points of view. Part three was totally a book idea I stumbled upon. It was the hardest to write because it had the most character points of view that I had ever written.
My writing process is so sporadic. One day I might write ten pages, the next one. I never write every day, even though some say you should. I don’t want to force anything on to the pages that I write. I want the story to flow so if I don’t write for a week or two, I know that whatever comes for me to write, whenever it comes, is supposed to be there.
UM: Which book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
MP: That is a very good question. I would like to say that I loved the different elements to all of my books. Each have a different message and think that it is important to convey one when you are writing. There are some favorite characters that I have in my books, but a favorite book…no. I like them all. I couldn’t be partial if I wanted to be.
UM: Your writing has been compared to E. Lynn Harris and RM Johnson.
How would you describe your writing style? Who is your favorite
MP: Whew! My writing style can be described as over the top, in your face, no holds barred. I have to say as a reader I like books that have me completely captivated and spell bound. I like stories that are character driven and plot driven and that is the way I write. You will remember the story and at least one of the characters from one of my books after you have read it. I like drama, suspense and leaving your mouth wide open.
I have so many authors that I love. I’ll just name a few that always peak my interest; Carl Weber, R.M. Johnson, Terra Little, Karen Williams, Anna J, Kiki Swinson, J. Tremble. Those are a few and that list grows all the time.
UM: When is the next release and how can readers getting in contact with
you to learn more about your titles?
MP: My new release is Both Sides of the Fence 3:Loose Ends, which releases on Sept 27, 2011. I also have a story in the anthology Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell(Urban Books) to be released March 2012. I am currently finishing up a full length title that a single story to be released in fall 2012.
I can be reached at email@example.com . www.facebook.com/authormtpope . www.wix.com/mtpope/bothsidesofthefence and www.twitter.com/mtpope