Author Spotlight – Nia Forrester & Giveaway
I am honored that author Nia Forrester agreed to let me interview her on my blog today! It’s because of her (and her amazing stories) that I have lost my share of sleep trying to finish her books. If you haven’t read anything by this author, you are truly missing out! BUT, I must warn you, don’t start one of her books if you don’t have time to read it in one sitting! Her characters will pull you in so tough, you’ll lose all track of time – and I’m not kidding!
To show you how much I LOVE this author’s work, I’m gifting a copy of one of her books – from her backlist to one lucky winner (that includes all titles except for her latest release)! But first, let’s meet Nia Forrester.
Nia, I noticed that in many cases, you do stories that are a continuation of a previous story. I love the idea (especially since your characters are so intriguing), but wonder how do you decide when you’re going to do this with certain characters?
My first book, ‘Commitment’ was over 500 pages long and while I felt like I was saying what I wanted to say about Shawn and Riley and their journey, I had to acknowledge that it might be a little on the lengthy side. So I made a concerted effort to write shorter books. But I also wanted to explore different themes with the same characters, themes that could have seemed like too much for one book. In ‘Commitment’, the theme was consistent throughout—it was about love and loyalty, commitment even through adversity. So that was fine to have one book, no matter how long.
But while ‘Unsuitable Men’ featured the same main characters as ‘Maybe Never’, the themes were very different. In ‘Unsuitable Men’, the characters learned to demystify love and being in love, to let go of their “ideal” image of what ‘being in love means’, and break down walls that prevented them from seeing both themselves and the person they loved in a non-idealized way. ‘Maybe Never’ was about the aftermath of that—now that you realize your lover isn’t perfect, how do you come to terms with that? And does love have to be perfect to survive?
And ‘Secret’ and ‘The Art of Endings’ were simply two different sides of the same story—the female journey to love was more prominent in ‘Secret’ and ‘The Art of Endings’ was all about men and how they process the powerlessness that emotional attachments sometimes make them feel. But at the end of the day, I just need to feel like the characters have reached their own personal turning points, and then it’s time for me to leave them alone.
How important have your social media relationships been to your success? How much has it changed your book launch process?
I think social media is almost entirely the reason that I have the moderate success I have. I think the work itself speaks to a certain segment of readers for sure. But apart from that, I think being on Facebook and interacting with readers (some of whom have become friends) and blogging so that people know a little about who I am and what motivates me as a writer have been invaluable. I think it’s changed my book launch process because now I’m very aware that people have expectations—be it about the timing of a release, or the quality of the book—and that becomes a consideration and a source of pressure, no matter how I try to counter it.
I like your book covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
Thank you, Sharon! My book covers are entirely my own process and creation (except for the photos themselves). I like abstract images. No faces, and nothing too explicitly sexual or sensual. I like the idea of using conceptual images, not literal images. So the Band-Aid on the heart on the cover for ‘The Art of Endings’ is a concept everyone can understand without it being too literal. So you know from looking that someone’s got heartache, and you may want to read the book to figure out who, and why. I like that idea—that readers will see the cover and have an idea of the content of the book, but only upon reading it will they have a true understanding of what the images mean. The ‘Commitment’ cover had rings on it, but I wanted them not to be too obvious until you read the book and realize what they are and why they’re there.
Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set writing schedule or do you sort of play it by ear?
Sharon, I manage my time very poorly! Lots of things fall off the plate all the time! That’s in part because I am not an organized writer. I tend to wait for the muse to visit and then I want to write as much and for as long as I can. That’s not a workable way to write, but I am still working through the idea of having a schedule and sticking to it. It’s a challenge. I want to write when inspired, but know that to maintain my writing and other career, that will have to change.
I know you just released, The Art of Endings (the sequel to Secret). Are you working on any new projects that you’d care to tell us about? If so, a little tease would be great!
I’m working on a book called ‘Afterwards’ about Chris Scaife who appeared in ‘Commitment’, ‘Unsuitable Men’ and ‘Maybe Never’. He’s an enigma. A loner who is very ambitious and driven and has no time for emotional attachments. He’s a bit of a misogynist and doesn’t view women as anything other than playthings on the one hand, and annoyances on the other. But he had a soft spot for Riley in ‘Commitment’ and that gave me the spark of an idea to explore what it was about her that made him drawn to her. What was it she had that Chris wanted or needed? In ‘Afterwards’, we find out. I wanted to humanize him, and expose more of who he is and why he is the person he is. I also find him to be a writing challenge because I wasn’t a fan of Chris’ and as a writer, I want to make him not just interesting but appealing, sympathetic and even sexy. I’m as curious as anyone else about whether I can pull that off.
Here’s an excerpt from ‘Afterwards’:
Only two figures remained on the dance floor, and Chris shook his head, wishing that they would pack it in so he could head upstairs and to bed. Then he realized that it was the bride and groom. Tracy’s dress, with the dim light behind it, looked like it was made of the finest gauze, and of course, she looked almost inhumanly beautiful; she always did. Brendan’s arms were wrapped about Tracy’s waist and hers were about his neck. Barely moving, they were looking directly into each other’s eyes, swaying to the strains of Patti Labelle’s ‘If Only You Knew’.
Though the music was loud, it was almost as though they were in a quiet, private space, all alone. Chris tried, but could not take his eyes off them—two people who for all their tempestuousness were in this moment, made one.
For a nanosecond, because that was all he would permit himself, there was a hole in the center of his chest, like a gaping wound. Out of nowhere, someone nudged him and Chris turned. It was Riley, smiling at him. She hugged his arm and leaned in.
“I think we’re going to take off,” she said. “The kids are out, and I think Shawn’s getting there too.”
Chris looked over to the sofa where Shawn was sitting earlier. He was still there but this time he was partially reclining and his son was draped along his thigh, hugging it tightly like a lifeline. He was still at that age where his parents resisted cutting his hair so it was long, curly and fell over his face. The little one, the girl, was asleep on his chest, her head just beneath his chin.
Riley had dressed her in a little yellow and white jumper, and satin soft shoes that were so tiny it seemed almost impossible that there were feet little enough to fit into them. Shawn’s head had fallen back and he was clearly half-asleep himself, but with his arm, he held the baby securely. With his kids draped over him, he looked almost more comfortable than if he had been lying there alone.
For Chris, alone was definitely more comfortable. Or so he told himself.
I LOVED Chris’ character in Committment…and though I vowed never to stalk an author (even if its a favorite author), can I just say…PLEASE don’t make us wait too long for his book. I know you have to work your magic and all, but I’m just sayin’…PLEASE don’t make us wait too long!
Okay, I’m sorry, I just had to get that out. So tell us about your latest release – The Art of Endings
‘The Art of Endings’ is about two men at a crossroads in their emotional lives. Trey is learning to let the women he loves—his younger sister whom he raised, and the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with—spread their wings and grow, even if that growth takes pieces of them away from him. And Darren is a man who thinks he’s got his life figured out, except for one troublesome little piece of it, the woman who has loved him since they were nineteen years old who continues to love him despite his every effort to make her stop. The Art of Endings is my effort to explore how men process strong emotions of love and attachment, and how they sometimes hopelessly bungle it, and in doing so, hurt those they love most.
Is there a scene in this book or one of your other books, that you particularly enjoyed writing? If so, tell us about it.
One of my favorite scenes that I’ve ever written is in ‘Commitment’. Shawn and Riley attend a party. The previous week they’ve had a huge argument, one that exposes how differently they view their marriage. During that argument, Shawn tells her he thinks Riley “belongs to” him and means this in the most romantic way; Riley thinks it means something very different, that he views her as a possession within his control. With that misunderstanding between them, they later go to a party where Shawn purposely keeps his distance from Riley and spends time with a woman who is being flirtatious with him.
Riley, seeing this, becomes enraged, jealous and possessive in a way she’s never experienced before. She feels a profound sense or ownership about Shawn that she didn’t know she had. After the party, they have a passionate screaming fight that results, predictably, in passionate lovemaking. The incident leaves them both shaken because Shawn, who always knew how incredibly strong his feelings were for Riley, sees for the first time how equally strong her feelings are for him. And Riley, who always saw Shawn as the ‘lover’ and herself as the ‘beloved’, understands just how much she, too, loves him. That is one of the few scenes I’ve ever written where I got on paper precisely what I saw in my head and wouldn’t change a single thing.
I LOOOVVVVED that scene!
Nia, thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me! I am truly honored.
Get your copy of Nia’s books!
Now for the giveaway!
Prize: An ebook copy of one of Nia Forrester’s backlist titles -winners choice (1 winner will be chosen)
Enter to win: In the comments section below, answer the following question – What is your favorite Nia Forrester book? OR Which book by Nia Forrester would you like to read, but haven’t yet?
NOTE: anyone who is a subscriber to my blog or has “Liked” my Facebook Fanpage will be entered into the drawing twice!
Deadline: You have until 9:00pm EST -July 16, 2013 to enter for your chance to win. The winner will be announced in the comments section below on July 17, 2013 and will also be contacted via email. ***You do not have to leave your email address in the comments section.
By the way, Nia, how can readers contact you?