Friday, August 27, 2010
DEBUT AUTHOR: Chicki Brown
Brown was the Grand Prize winner in the Black Expressions Fiction Writing Contest, and has been published twice in Releasing Times magazine. A New Jersey native, and the mother of two grown daughters, she and her husband live in metro Atlanta, Georgia.
Have You Seen Her?
Marcia Hadley, Santa Barbara, California socialite has been married for seven years to the heir of a family fortune. He sees to it that she has the finest home, cars and clothes. Yet that isn’t enough to keep Marcia from running.
Dani Reynolds, Atlantic City nightclub cocktail waitress works on her feet seven hours a night, five days a week for less than minimum wage in a crowded, smoky nightclub. She lives in an aging, run-down apartment, rides the city bus, and she’s happier than she’s ever been.
Marcia and Dani have more in common than anyone could imagine. They are the same woman.
And only Taylor Villanova, the club’s sexy bouncer can help her reconcile her two distinct personas and help her face her greatest fear.
How did you start out your writing career?
I wrote when I was in middle school, but as life got in the way, I put my writing aside and didn’t return to creative mode until seven years ago.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I did a lot of research into domestic abuse and discovered a wealth of assistance for women who find themselves in life-threatening home situations.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I wanted to let readers know all that glitters isn’t gold. Many of us desire all the material treasures, but there are women who have all those things and are desperate to escape their lives. My character, Dani Reynolds, is one of those women.
What is the toughest test you’ve faced as a writer?
Becoming confident in my writing in spite of the rejections. As the rejections came in from the major houses, I had to keep reminding myself that they were merely the opinion of one person. The fact that I was working with a major literary agent was proof enough to me that I could write, so I decided to enter the e-publishing world and get the readers’ opinions.
If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?
Only three? LOL!
I was fortunate to talk with Eric Jerome Dickey, one of my favorite authors, a couple of years ago. He was browsing in an Atlanta Barnes & Noble and agreed to sit and chat with my writer’s group meeting in the store that night. As he shared, I realized how much his work background and his travels have influenced his work. The advice he gave us was priceless.
The other would be J.R. Ward. I’ve read her Black Dagger Brotherhood series twice, and can’t get over her world-building skills and ability to draw characters that are so urban and unlike herself. She’s amazing.
Beverly Jenkins is my other choice. The way she incorporate true details into her fictional historical books is tremendous. I so appreciate the fact that she includes her sources at the back of her books. Her contemporary books are just as awesome – fast moving and sexy.
What three things do you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
The first would have been to learn more about the publishing industry before I started submitting to agents and editors. It would’ve kept me from looking like an idiot at the beginning. :)
Second, get involved with a writer’s/critique group at the beginning. It would have saved me a lot of frustration and rewriting.
Third, understanding the importance of social networking in person and online. The writing community is full of great people!
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be writers?
DO write every chance you get. Writing is no different than any other craft. You improve from constant practice.
DON’T allow discouragement to swallow you up. This is a craft that takes time and diligence. You might give up just when you’re on the verge of a breakthrough. Do I sound like I’m preaching?
I borrowed this question from author Carleen Brice. What is your author fantasy?
Seeing my name on the New York Times bestseller list and being able to bless people as a result of my financial success. I’d love to visit inner city or rural schools and pass out cases of books to children.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
How much work it takes to write, revise, submit, and market a book. Sometimes I think many non-writers believe it’s a simple process, but if it were then everybody would do it, right?
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
I think the best is to write because you LOVE it. If writing is a chore or a struggle, you should be doing something else. As Russell Simmons says, “The payoff isn’t the deal. The payoff comes from the work itself.”
The worst: “You need to get a real job.”
If you could visit anyplace in the world, where would you travel to?
Fiji and Bali, two of the most beautiful places on earth.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
Love to watch old movies from the 1930-40’s – Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, etc. Great stuff!
Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE. What advice would you give someone to make sure their manuscript stays out of the slush pile?
I’m not so sure there is a way to do that considering the way things are in the industry today. I’d say write the best manuscript you can, seek out a good agent and pray.
Oprah always asks, “What do you know for sure?”
That people will always want to read good stories regardless of the medium. The industry is changing rapidly, and writers need to adapt and flow with those changes.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I’m not sure whether this will be a paper book or an e-book, but here’s the blurb: What happens when seven African-American singles rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer?
For the third year in a row, writer Shontae Nichols plans a quiet summer in Beach Haven sharing a rental house with friends – a drama instructor, an accountant/realtor, a cosmetologist, an aspiring actor, and a hip-hop video-dancer. The friends learn the truth behind two age-old questions: Can men and women ever just be friends? Is it possible for women peacefully co-exist in the same house? Their quiet summer is shaken to the core when one of their housemates ends up in the hospital in critical condition. The hospital vigil acts as a catalyst to the already growing tension in the house and ultimately defines their relationships.
Hot Fun in the Summertime, is a fun, sexy story I would compare to Why Did I Get Married? featuring singles.
How can readers get in contact with you?
Web site: http://www.chicki663.webs.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/chicki.brown
Amazon Author Central page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003U6RT96
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