Monday, June 22, 2009
FEATURED AUTHOR: Celeste O. Norfleet
National best-selling author, Celeste O. Norfleet, was a late bloomer to romance. But as soon as she picked up her first romance novel, she was hooked. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Celeste is a graduate of Moore College of Art & Design. An art director and graphic designer for many years, Celeste now devotes all of her time to writing and creating romance letting her artistic imagination flow through the computer keys. Her romance novels, realistic with a touch of humor, depict strong sexy characters with unpredictable plots and exciting storylines. Her young adult novels delve into dramatic fiction, reflecting current issues facing African-American teens. Celeste currently writes for Harlequin’s Kimani Arabesque, Kimani Romance and Kimani Press TRU (young adult) lines. Celeste lives in Virginia with her husband and two teenagers.
For more information see her website at www.celesteonorfleet.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 7346, Woodbridge, VA 22195-7346
Mia James will do anything to save her family home—even drive into the eye of a hurricane. But from the moment she comes to the rescue of a rain-soaked stranger, another kind of storm rages.
Stephen Morales thinks he's dreaming when he sees the sultry beauty tending to his wounds by candlelight. And he wants more than shelter from the storm. Soon the sexy deputy sheriff is tempting Mia to throw caution to the gale-force winds and give in to a night of passion neither will forget.
But a new tempest is gathering, swirling around a tumultuous family secret that threatens their future. With the Florida Keys erupting, Mia and Stephen can play it safe—or risk everything for a love that's sweeping them beyond danger, beyond deception…beyond anything they've ever known.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
Sultry Storm is a wonderful book filled with romance, heartache, family drama and the challenge of situations that are beyond anyone’s control. I think the main thing I want readers to take away from reading Sultry Storm is the idea of forgiveness and letting go. It’s sometimes the hardest thing to do, but in the long run it’s often the most rewarding.
Why did you choose to write this book?
Sultry Storm is part of the Mother Nature Matchmaker Continuity and the idea of sending a character into the path of a hurricane was too tempting to pass up. The parameters were set and I had a basic storyline in mind. I wanted high drama and lots and lots of sultry seduction. The result is Mia James and Stephen Morales and a very hot book.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I actually learn a lot while writing books. I try to always insert a larger, deeper emotional message as I write. Sometimes it’s subtle, something it’s very obvious. In Sultry Storm I learned, as my heroine learned, to be more vigilant when it comes to letting go of old drama and holding onto grudges.
What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
My favorite scene is probably when Mia is up in the attic and Stephen gives her the letters from her father. It’s very emotional and a pivotal turning point in the character releasing pain and accepting love into her heart.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Writing is a solitary profession and it isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and forethought to plan out a novel, create believable characters and work their motivations into a 200 page story then do the same for the next fifty books.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
From other writers I’ve learned focus, patience, perseverance, and dedication, but I think the best lesson was to let the book go. End the story, walk away and go on to the next project. It’s a hard lesson and I’m still learning it.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
I think the toughest test I faced as an author was separating myself from things around me. It’s hard not to be affected by family, friends, national and international events. 9/11 was devastating. I couldn’t work for a month, but that didn’t stop my deadline. I had to pull myself together and get the job done.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
When I’m stuck on an idea or I’m having difficulty seeing through a plot point I go downstairs to the family game room and either shoot pool (I’m pretty good) or play video games (Bust-A-Move is my favorite). Also, puzzles and word games help clear my mind and clarify things for me.
How do you reach new readers?
Good question. I don’t really know if I have an answer. I don’t physically go out and stomp the pavement, but I do try to keep an online presence. I have a brilliant online specialist who is constantly getting my name out there. I also have a sizable reader email list and I send out book and information announcements.
If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?
1. Toni Morrison
2. Zora Neale Hurston
3. Jane Austin
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
The one do would be to learn all aspects of writing. Study hard and know the business as well.
The one don’t would be never to give up on yourself or your dream.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
My snail mail address is P.O. Box 7346, Woodbridge, VA, 22195-7346. My email address is – email@example.com. My website address is – www.celesteonorlfeet.com
Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?
I’d say “Just Do It” sums it up nicely. No one is going to know that you have the greatest novel ever if you don’t write it, edit it and send it to an editor. It takes sacrifice, dedication and drive, but the rewards are so worth it. There’s nothing like typing the words, “The End” after six weeks of writing then later opening a box and seeing your printed book. The way to reach your goal is to write and don't stop.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I’d love to. My next release is called, When It Feels So Right and is set in Alaska. It’s a wonderful romance about second chances and moving on. It features a new family, the Buchanans and will be released this September. After that the "Matchmaker Series" featuring Mamma Lou continues as she sets her target on the ever elusive Trey Evans. The book is called, Love Me Now and will be released in November. If you haven't read any of this series yet this is an excellent book to start. I’m currently writing a sequel to Sultry Storm. It’s Natalia’s story and is called Cross My Heart. The scheduled released is May 2010.
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