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An Interview With Nicole Dunlap, Author Of Miss Nobody And Miss Scandalous, The First And Second Books of The Shaw Family Saga

March 21, 2013

ImageI 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.

Photo on 2-1-13 at 10.44 AM #3









Pat Garcia

From → Books

  1. Pat, I loved your interview with Ms. Dunlap. It was succinct and straight-forward. Since I lived in Long Beach and out toward San Bernardino for a time, I’m betting Ms. Dunlap’s books deal a bit with her life experiences too.

    Your review of her books was excellent too. I have just forwarded the information to people I know within the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium and the county’s Preventative Services Division. Thank you!


    • My Dear Gwynn,

      Thank you Lady. You are a doll. Thank you so much for your support.

      Love you.


  2. Hi gwynnroger it’s nice to hear from people who’ve lived in the Long Beach and San Bernardino areas, they are vastly different from each other. Yes, the saga takes on some of the life experiences that I’ve had, especially from the shock of moving to LB as a child. Miss Nobody begins with the issue of Raven being bullied. Though I did my thesis on this subject, it isn’t the jest of the story, but her teen depression that continues from the beginning to the next, Miss Scandalous


    • Good morning Nicole,

      Thank you for responding to Gwynn. I have also made her aware of it. She is herself a beautiful writer who has a very compassionate story to tell.



    • Hi Nicole,

      When I was 11 we moved from Kirkland, Washington to Upland… in 1960. Talk about culture shock! Then in 1963 we moved to Hermosa Beach where I went to high school. Later when I married I lived in Belmont Shores and later at the Ximeno Apartments before buying our first home in Redondo. My parents were married, but they shouldn’t have been. I too know about family trauma, this is the reason I volunteer for the various organizations that help kids. As I mentioned, I forwarded the information about your book to my friend at our county’s Prevention Services. I now live outside of Poulsbo, WA. across from Seattle. If you ever go on speaking tours and venture up this way, please let me know. Gwynn


      • Hello My Dear,

        Thank you and I will make sure that Nicole gets your email address.



      • ndunlap09 permalink

        Thanks Gwynn I will keep your information and would like to know about your writing to as Pat has made me aware. I haven’t been in the area, but hope to go in the future. I do need to brush up on my coping skills. I find that I’m more effective with small groups but need to be impact full on more people. My email is


  3. Hi Gwynn, I will be sending you a message and thank you so much sending my book to Prevention Services. I love working with children, mostly teens, but I haven’t gotten enough courage to do any speaking engagements. I find that I’m most effective with a few at a time, but that might because I haven’t tried 🙂


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