I met Nicole Dunlap over one of my Linked in writing groups. Through sharing, I have learned much from her.
It is, therefore, an honor to feature her book on my book review blog as well as publish a book review on her second book of The Shaw Family Saga, Miss Scandalous.
Nicole is an extremely talented writer and her books research the hidden emotions many people hide behind. Let us listen to what Nicole says about herself:
What inspired you to begin writing?
I’m nosey! I love watching people on vacation, shopping at the mall, or standing in the long lines at Disneyland. I eavesdrop on strangers laughing or arguing. Later on, I put myself into their shoes and complete their stories. My other inspirations are the vivid dreams that I have. I kid-you-not, I dreamed of the film “This Christmas” and a Bruce Willis action flick that I dreamed of before they came out. If only I’d written them down and pursued them. Yes, that phrase, “if only.”
When did you begin your writing journey?
I can remember being in my mom’s busted-up car when I was about five years old. We didn’t have a radio. I started out singing–unfortunately, I was no Alicia Keys. So I dabbled in story telling while my mom drove from Long Beach to do the “kiddy exchange” with my father who lived in San Bernardino. Over the years I’ve always had a few stories going on in my head at one time or another. After I got a Masters in Educational Counseling and couldn’t find a job–eeek! I decided to try my hand at self- publishing.
What are you hoping readers take from your book? Other people’s choices can either make you or break you. None of my characters are perfect, each of them have flaws, and some, so much more than others. With Miss Scandalous, my main character’s mother and daughter are going through different phases of life. Charlene has it perfect; she’s the star of a soap opera and the man of her dreams. Now, all she wants is for her adult daughter, Raven, to fit into this new life she’s made for herself. And, she deserves it right, because she’s been through so many things to get there. That’s what goes through her one-sided mind. While she’s busy trying to persuade Raven to love her, she doesn’t know that Raven has a vendetta against everyone she’s been hurt by.
What inspired you to write this book?
“Miss Scandalous” was the second part of the dysfunctional lives of Raven and Charlene Shaw. I was initially inspired to write about Raven, because I’ve counseled a lot of children who’ve been abandoned by their parents. Sometimes they have foster parents who love them and don’t even know it, and sometimes they don’t. Either way, Raven has bits and pieces of any neglected child’s worldview going through her mind.
How did you decide to publish this book (self publish or traditional)? Why?
I went the self-publishing route. The book is peppered with Christianity, but then again it is salted with is cursing, premarital sex (not explicit, my cheeks would be red while typing), and all kinds of deception. I wanted to make sure I got the story across, how other’s actions can have a detrimental effect on you and have full control of the sprinkles of scripture throughout. I can just imagine a traditional publisher marking up what I’ve written under the pretense that it’s not entirely edgy Christian fiction, but I’d have to say the book is young adult and women lit, too.
What is the best advice you have received about writing?
Gosh, I’ve been a sponge trying to soak it all. One of the pearls of wisdom that stays with me is to “put your characters in conflict”. Yes, my poor characters go through levels of drama that I don’t wish on my worst nightmare. Watching my characters try to climb out of the abyss has kept the pages turning. No writers block for me, at least not yet.
What has been your greatest reward in writing this book?
Simple. Learning about me. There’s nothing better than learning that I can finish something I’ve started. Writing a book is time consuming and knowing when to “chuck it out in to the world” for others to enjoy is just as hard.
Most writers are readers. What books are on your “to-read” list?
To-read, well, anything free on Kindle. I love Amish love stories. There’s nothing like a Beverly Lewis book. I can curl up with a Terry McMillan any day. If my husband is sitting next to me watching football, I don’t mind a scary read. The last book I read was “Don’t let me fall” an African American story that had a good dose of suspense. I’m happy and a bit ashamed to admit that I didn’t predict the ending! Which just means that the author did her job, great book.
Question for fun sake—what was your favorite childhood meal and why?
Homemade macaroni and cheese. There’s something about gooey, oozy cheddar cheese that calms the worst of frowns. Granny/Annette a character in the Shaw Family Saga will attempt to use soul food as a means for bringing family together. In most cases, food that comes from the heart is satisfying.
Thank you, Nicole , and to all the followers of my book review blog, I sincerely hope you enjoyed learning more about Nicole. For more information on Miss Nobody and Miss Scandalous, The Shaw Family Saga, please read my book reviews and especially the one on Miss Scandalous that was published today. Your appetite will increase even more to go out and buy both books.
Have a nice day everyone.
This story is a true gem...
“Children of all ages will be able to relate to monarch’s plight in some way… “This story is a true gem and one that will inspire children for years to come.” Renee Hand, award-winning adult and children’s books author. Hand reviews for the New York Journal of Books.
Matilda becomes discouraged when she is unable to fly during the early stages of her metamorphosis.
Happy New Year Everyone! Happy Ground Hog Day! Yes, I know, my New Year’s greeting is exactly thirty-one days late, and my Ground Hog Day greeting is one day too soon. Having developed a habit of surfing under during the last half of December and the month of January each year, I use this time to take care of me, to reassess the path I travel, to listen intensively to what my inner voice is saying, and like the ground hog, I surface up one day earlier to check out the world on February 1.
According to the myths passed down through my family, if the ground hog sees it shadow we will have six more week of winter if he does not, then, spring is on its way.
I don’t know how much of that is truth, but one fact was clear for me when I surfaced out of my cubbyhole of self-inclusion this morning; the world is at war.
There is a war going on, people! One little tiny country is being threatened by every nation surrounding it. While some countries in another region of the world are being invaded, causing people to leave their homes and find refuge in overcrowded shelters.
Meanwhile, western civilization is securing its borders as suppression and abuse of women and children ravage throughout poverty-stricken countries.
Like the ground hog, I checked out the prognosis for a better 2013. Prognosis: escalation of wars, more intolerance, and the continued violation of human rights.
Back to the ground hog, if he sees his shadow on February 2, he goes back into his cubbyhole and sleeps until spring. Unlike the ground hog, the luxury of sleeping until spring is out of the question for me.
So, have a good year everyone, and let us hope for a better world to come.
Bob Diforio launched D4EO Literary Agency in 1989 after a long career at New American Library. Today D4EO is a full-service, six-agent literary agency representing authors of a very broad range of commercial fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults. Books represented by the agency have topped the The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and agency authors have received awards that include the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and the Nero Award.