Friday, November 25, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Koko Brown
Koko's writing career began at the tender age of nine when she self-published and distributed a newspaper to her fellow classmates. Unfortunately, her grade school principal didn't appreciate the competition and put her out of business after one best-selling issue.
Undaunted, Koko continued to write and read everything she could get her hands on. She honed her writing skills as a staff writer on her college's newspaper, writing obituaries for the local newspaper, and teaching English to high school students.
One day while daydreaming in bed, Koko came up with the idea for her first manuscript. Taking a hiatus from teaching, she had enough time on her hands to flesh out the story in two short weeks. A week later, she cleaned it up, then sent it to Ellora's Cave during the Christmas holiday. By January she heard from one of their editors and by March (and many revisions) she signed a contract for her vampire novel Charmed.
How did you start out your writing career?
I’d dabbled in writing as young as the fourth grade when I self-published a school newspaper. It sold out in less than an hour. Unfortunately, the school principal put me out of business the very next day since the school already had an official newspaper.
I didn’t start writing romance seriously until I found myself taking a six month sabbatical from teaching. Bored and lonely, I started devouring every ebook I could get my hands on especially interracial romance. After shelving over one hundred books and not finding them coming out quick enough, I decided to pen my own. In two short weeks, I wrote my debut novel Charmed.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that when if you set your mind to something you can accomplish it. Too bad many of us don’t realize this until it’s too late.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I just wanted to add something to the subgenre. Interracial romance was and still is dominated by contemporary storylines. So I wanted to bring a different flavor, stretch reality so to speak.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
I always have the most fun writing the male characters. And ironically in all of my stories there are two male characters that seem to dominate for page time. For example, in my upcoming Thanksgiving release, Player’s Ultimatum, I had two great male leads to work with the heroine’s love interest Paolo Saito and her phony fiancé and best friend Robbie Gutierrez.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I think what surprises me the most is the reader’s reaction. Sometimes you think that you really don’t have an audience, but you do. And in truth for me, they are the reason why I keep writing. The majority of us don’t make a ton of money writing books so there has to be some form of gratification other than monetary.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love brainstorming and coming up with the storyline. I also love putting the book to bed and seeing it released because only then I can move onto something else. Like most writer’s, I hate writer’s block.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish someone would’ve told me that in order to stay relevant in this business you have to put out a book on a more frequent basis. One book every two years isn’t going to cut it. We’re living in a digital age and readers tend to forget you with each thirty-day cycle.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Aspiring writers should read other books in the genre they’re trying to break into. However, they should ignore the market trends and write the book of their heart. If you decide to write a book about zombies and you’re not really feeling it the reader will tell and they’ll call you on it.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I wish non-writers would understand that I have a life. And that I’m not chained to a keyboard so that I can satisfy their need for a sequel.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
Well I think I am one of my characters. Chloe, the heroine from my debut novel Charmed, is pretty much all me to the letter. I lived in Atlanta for four years and I was even a licensed realtor at one point. So, you can’t get any closer than that.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Live life. I love to travel and experience new people and places. I would rather step foot on all six continents than write a bestseller.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I use my blog and facebook page to interact with readers. I’m probably a little too familiar with readers than most other authors, but that’s just the kind of person that I am.
Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are you reading?
Right now, none. I’m reading mainly romance to hone my craft. However, I will share the names of two of my favorite male authors: James Baldwin and Tennesee Williams.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know that I don’t regret my journey so far in this life.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next book is Player’s Ultimatum. The planned release date is November 22 just in time for the Thanksgiving season! It’s a cautionary tale of lies, deceit and secret babies.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Readers can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my facebook page at http://facebook.com/authorkokobrown.
Yvonne Floyd’s best friend and gay soccer phenom Robbie Gutierrez proposes the impossible, pose as his fiancée until he can ink a lucrative contract. Hounded day and night over the media’s constant speculation over his sexual orientation, Robbie doesn’t want to run the risk of losing his career over who he sleeps with.
Although Yvonne feels Robbie has lost his marbles, she takes one one for the team. As Yvonne is initiated into the fast-paced world of international soccer, she’s ill-prepared for a mutual attraction to Robbie’s teammate, Paolo Saito. And when Paolo discovers her secret and turns the tables on her, she quickly loses sight of her goal and risks losing more than just her heart.
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