Thursday, September 09, 2010


Tina Martin was born in Ahoskie, North Carolina and developed a love for writing in high school. She pursued creative writing courses in college and in 2007, self-published her first poetry book, Love Like Yours. She now uses her prolific style of writing to pen fiction novels, the latest being, Secrets On Lake Drive (Xpress Yourself Publishing) available now at and Barnes & Noble online. You can read more about Tina at her website:

Secrets On Lake Drive

Monica’s life is certainly no fairytale. She’s failed at a relationship, at being a mother and at twenty-four, teaching is her only passion. She singles out Sean Beauvais, one of her student’s fathers – at a parent teacher conference, and schools him about taking care of his son. Their exchange gets heated, but later, Sean realizes that he can use Monica’s passion to his advantage; offering her a high-paying summer job being his son’s live-in babysitter.

Monica knows the rumors about Sean and his womanizing ways, but against her better judgment, she accepts his offer. She convinces herself that she has enough willpower to avoid her new, thirty-two year old sexy, summer boss – his chiseled chest, pretty green eyes and charm that just won’t quit. But after only a few weeks in his crib, Monica finds it a struggle to keep her eyes off of Sean. Can she handle staying focused on her babysitting gig for three months without being swept off of her feet by Milwaukee’s finest? Or is Sean’s game too much for the young, conservative teacher to handle?

Having been heartbroken in the past, Monica is reluctant to play this dangerous game with a confirmed heartbreaker. But it’s what she doesn’t know about Sean that she should be concerned about.

How did you start out your writing career?

In 1998, I began writing poetry, using it as a means to extract feelings from my young, confused heart. Back then, my poems were so dark and depressing, I was ashamed to let anyone read them. After I passed that stage of my life, I enrolled in a creative course in college (and was one of the few people in my class who actually enjoyed the challenge of writing essays). That’s when I knew that I could use writing as a way of showcasing my creativity. So writing poems took me to essays, essays took me to novels and here I am today, writing up a storm!

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I have a knack for creating emotions between characters. Fiction romance novels are more enjoyable when readers can connect and/or relate with the characters. Whether you love them or hate them, just the simple face that you’ve felt something after reading my novel means that I’ve done my due diligence as a writer.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Besides finishing it (*wink*)…I just hope to share my creativity with the literary world. I bring a new, fresh voice to fiction romance and my readers will love my writing style as well as character development.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

It’s been tough to hold down a day job while trying to be a full-time writer. Most times, I’m so mentally drained, I can’t focus on writing in the evenings.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Terry McMillian because she wrote How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Need I say more!

Nicholas Sparks is a wonderful writer (and a fellow North Carolinian). Message in a Bottle is one of my all time favorites!

Maya Angelou puts her heart on paper, and that’s what I strive to do when I write. I would love to meet her.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

I wish I knew how much money is involved with creating a good novel. Editing, marketing, tours, events, book fairs – they all cost money and it’s all good to want to be a writer, but there’s a good chance you will go broke in the process.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do expect rejection, especially when seeking a publisher or literary agent. Certain publishing houses are looking for certain types of books. But even after all the rejection, just know that if your work doesn’t fit what they are looking for, it doesn’t mean that you’re not a good writer. Don’t give up if writing is your dream. Always pursue your passion no matter what and you will have no regrets (even if you are tired and broke).

I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?

I can take this question in so many directions, but I’ll keep it simple. My author fantasy would be for people to actually know who I am and recognize me for the talent I bring to African American fiction.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

Great question. I always found it somewhat bazaar how non-writers tend to be overly critical with their book reviews; but they’ve never written a book. So what an author misspelled a word that the editor didn’t catch…I don’t think that’s worth the low one-star death penalty rating. I think more people should ask themselves if they were actually entertained by the story. Judge a book by its content and message – not by how many misspelled words you can find.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

The best advice I received was to expect rejection; especially from a large publishing houses and literary agents. I don’t think I’ve received any bad advice.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

Jamaica – I must be the only person in the U.S. who’s never been to Jamaica. Then again, I’m only three hours away from Myrtle Beach and I’ve never been there. So I’m going to dream small and say Myrtle Beach.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I collect strange/interesting pottery. If it looks weird, I’m going to buy it! I also collect lighthouses.

Our theme this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

Facebook. The event calendar is very convenient, and posting my tour schedule and book signings are great. I just got a Twitter account, but I’m not quite sure about Twitter yet. I hate reading other people’s tweets. And the whole concept of having “followers” makes me feel greater than what I am. I mean, Jesus had followers.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that I’m a great writer and when people read my novels, they will be completely involved. One fan told me that when she started reading Secrets On Lake Drive, she couldn’t put it down. She finished the book in two days!

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

I actually have an excerpt of my next novel, Another Man’s Treasure on my website, Make sure you stop by to read the excerpt. Just to give you a rundown on the novel, it is a romance about a man, Reggie Howard, who has a woman, Tiphani Water, for his best friend. He loves her as his best friend, even though he kinda knows that Tiphani wants more. Reggie (who also has a girlfriend) sort of have feelings for Tiphani as well, but he doesn’t act on his feelings until he sees another man, Derrick Brooks, pushing up on her. Now, all of a sudden, he wants to make a move, but it may be too late. Another Man’s Treasure is an emotionally-charged novel about not appreciating the one you have until you see them in the arms of someone else.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

I have a contact page on my website:, where you can also read all excerpts of my books and find out about tours, book signings, etc. My email address is I personally respond to all emails! Also, find me on Facebook:

Thanks for the interview, SORMAG. It’s been a pleasure.

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Rhonda McKnight said...

Sounds very interesting. I love the cover and the title. Congrats to you Tina.

I'd like to be entered to win.

Rhonda McKnight


I love the premise of the book. Good luck.


bettye griffin said...

This cheesehead is delighted to see a novel set in Milwaukee! Best of luck with it, Tina!

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