Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you’re currently working on or promoting.
I’ve honorarily dubbed myself as “the gumbo genre” novelist because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned. I write stories with drama, drizzled with suspense, seasoned with romance, and peppered with a few good laughs and an occasional cry. My stories are real, raw and edgy because they deal with dysfunctional relationships. I have a Masters Degree in Counseling from Azusa Pacific University, and I love to tell a story about the dynamics of others’ relationships. My current family saga is a series about a mother and daughter, Charlene and Raven. These women deal with ups and downs from loving themselves to the men–good or bad–in their lives. In Miss Nobody, the first of the Shaw Family Saga, Raven is a teen and dealing with depression. She also has an awful boyfriend. I chose to highlight this moment in her life because it plagues so many young women who haven’t determined their own self identity.
What genre is your book? Do you write in other genres as well?
Miss Nobody is a drama with elements of romance and suspense. The series evolves while mother and daughter come to terms with themselves and the people they interact with. Raven is a sort of “hot head” which is really depicted in Miss Scandalous, giving it suspense, psychological flair. The third book, Miss Perfect, which will be released in Fall will compound on their issues and develop into more of a mystery, action novel. My brain functions within an array of frames, so even with my family saga the stories will incorporate new genres. I love just about every genre out there–except, horror is specifically for watching. I’m too afraid to simmer in that type of mentality long enough to write a story.
Has a dream every inspired any of your stories?
Oh my God, this is the greatest and worst question. Yes, I’ve had so many dreams that have inspired me. I kid you not, I dreamt one of Bruce Willis’ movies even before he stared in it. I can only shake my head at myself for not writing it down. Different parts of my saga have come from dreams, such as the ending of number two. If I’m indecisive on a scene and a think about it all night, I can dream up a good enough conclusion.
What does your writing space look like?
A laptop and my hairy, sometimes clean shaven, legs. Hehehehe. All I need is my computer, a quiet living room, and I can type the morning away.
What has been your best moment as a writer?
The physical book. There is nothing like touching a fully completed manuscript. It’s your baby, you nurtured– and hopefully molded by way of editing etc–it into the best bits of yourself that you can possibly present to the world. It’s like graduating college. You finally made it.
What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
One, stop being so shy! I have to chant that to myself all the time. Writing is highly a introverted task, where I bask in my invisible dome and interact with cool characters that I will never meet. But, I have to remind myself that this –though the fun part – is only the beginning and networking will be the key to success. Two, take the criticism and run with it. Miss Nobody and Miss Scandalous have an average 4.7 on Amazon, but not all 4s or 5s. I read reviews. I gush over the good ones, and go into a self-induced pity party over the bad ones. I’m cutting down the self depression for the 3 star reviews as of recent and learning that not everyone will love my stories. To me, everything I’ve written is off the rickety scale, but to others…eh. When I get criticism with substance, I take note.
Is there a message in your book(s) that you want readers to grasp?
My stories are riddled with messages. Miss Nobody teaches that others’ can talk about you, hate you, bully you, but only you can determine the path you will take. Another take away is “what are the lengths that you will go for love?” In Miss Scandalous while Raven is taking revenge for being abandoned by Charlene and her child hood best friend/boyfriend, the message is the depth of such vindication. Oftentimes, concentrating on hatred so profoundly is more problematic for the person pulling the trigger.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
I have lots of villains in my stories. Usually it’s fun to be bad–am I right or am I right? I have this one stand alone story where everyone is busting each other up’ side the head, blood and gore, the whole nine yards. But with my family saga, Roy Timmons the truck driving rapist was difficult to write. I channeled him well, but him being a racist and hating black women, I had to really purge myself of all feelings when he appeared in Miss Nobody and Miss Scandalous. On the end of the spectrum, there is Raven who has been through so much; I also had challenges of writing her depression. I’ve dealt with depression myself, so getting into her character is easy, stepping out is the ultimate challenge.
What do you do to stay sane as a writer?
Writing. No joke. It’s marketing the book and reading reviews that take my breath away. Even when I go on Goodreads and see that I have another 5 star. My heart skips a beat as I click on the link and actually read what the person has to say. So writing a good story is my escape from life. I’ve been through a lot, my home caught fire and I lost everything I owned. I had a boyfriend about as awful as Raven’s in Miss Nobody. I was a teen mom and working on a bachelor degree while dealing with an idiot. So I write. If my fingers get tired there’s always Billy Blank’s Taebo, date night with the hubby, or Disney movies with my daughters. And, heck, if I have Macy’s coupons or there are sales going on, you can believe that I’m catching a deal.
A big hug, cheek kisses and a thank you to Blakely for having me! A total pleasure for me. I highly enjoyed reading your responses.
Please find Nicole at the social media links below:
Nicole recommends you check out Beth Winokur, a fellow author.
Click on the covers to buy Nicole’s books!
Miss Perfect: Shaw Family Saga, Book 3
Their desire for perfection will be… shattered
Charlene Shaw embodies perfection as a highly-acclaimed actress. Within her gilded walls of beauty, she is scrambling to save her daughter, Raven, from sins she can’t even fathom. This is her self-imposed curse for abandoning Raven as a child.
Raven Shaw is captivatingly gorgeous but burdened by a closet of skeletons. After a rough childhood, she is finally living life. Jon, her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved, has returned. Yet, a stalker looms just out of reach, blackmailing her for Jon’s fortune. She’d do anything to keep this man–even if it means turning to another… Mysterious, handsome Tyriq may have the key to erase her deepest, darkest secrets forever. Yet, this savior might threaten her mind’s rationale of “happily ever after” with Jon.
In this intense third installment of the Shaw Family Saga there will be blood, murder, and a beloved …will be shattered.
Join the Paperback book Giveaway
1. Add Miss Perfect on your Goodreads list
2. Like facebook.com/authornicoledunlap (if you have already, you’re in the clear)
3. Wait til September 12, book launch day. Winner will be contacted through Goodreads within seven days. Good luck!