About Me

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Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Lawyer | Romantic Suspense Author | Speaker | TV Junkie | Foodie | Sweet Wine Addict | Savvy Shopper You can visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. You can also connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Interview with Loree Lough, Author of THE MAN SHE KNEW

Author’s Bio: Bestselling author Loree Lough once sang for her supper, performing across the U.S. and Canada. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two, but mostly, she writes novels that have earned hundreds of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards, 4- and 5-star reviews, and 7 book-to-movie options. Her 110th book, The Man She Knew, #1 in Harlequin Heartwarming’s “By Way of the Lighthouse” series, releases this June. By year-end 2017, Loree will have a total of 115 books on the shelves…and nearly 7,000,000 copies in print. She loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter personally!

What inspired you to write your book?
LL: Before I respond to your questions, I’d like to take a moment to thank you, Dee, for sharing your blog with me! The invitation is quite an honor!

The inspiration for this book… Hmm… Well, these days, it seems everyone feels obliged to share their opinions on everything from politics to pelicans. Sadly, those opinions often border on hurtful and harmful judgmentalism…and it ticks me off! One often maligned group: Ex-cons. Are some of them deserving of doubt and suspicion? Well, of course. But many return to society 100% changed for the better. Those are the individuals that inspired this novel. Like Ian, the main character, they have spent countless hours improving themselves and, upon their release, hope only to become contributing members of the community. And they deserve a chance to prove themselves!

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
LL: I fell in love with the stories of Jack London, and the music of his words developed in me an appreciation for craft and story. (It didn’t hurt that he was kinda cute, either. )

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
LL: The Man She Knew is my 110th published book. It took me a little longer than usual to complete it thanks to a bout with Multiple Myeloma (incurable bone/marrow cancer) that required a year’s worth of chemo and a stem cell transplant. Understanding and patient editors at Harlequin erased all stress and guilt from the process!

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
LL: From my very first book to the last, I’ve used what I call a “timeline.” It’s more a guide than a ‘carved in stone’ outline, and without it, I could never have written 5 or 6 books a year during my 20+ year career.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
LL: Nope, no music as I write. But if there was a theme song for the book, I’d choose Tennessee Waltz, because as Ian and Maleah danced to this old classic, both are reminded of the love they’d shared before his incarceration put ten years between them.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
LL: I rely heavily on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, etc. Daily interaction with readers—many of whom have become personal friends—is not only enjoyable, but guarantees they will help promote the books. (Because they like me…they really like me! ) I believe in book tours, video book trailers, and giveaways allow me to share tidbits about the stories that, hopefully, generate interest in the books.

What advice would you give to new authors?
LL: Sign up for how-to classes. Read how-to books. Join a critique group. Attend local writers organizations’ workshops, seminars, and conferences. Write every day, even if it’s only a paragraph or two. Read, read, read. And above all, never, ever quit: It’s the only way to guarantee your work won’t see print!

How about sharing an excerpt from The Man She Knew?
It had been a mistake, asking Andy to drop him this far from her grandparents’ drive. Walking on flat ground had been a challenge with crutches, and the cane was hardly an improvement. He took his time, but tromping through the deep snow made him wince with every step. If you put yourself back in the hospital, you’ll only have yourself to—
            “Ian? Ian Sylvestry?”
            He’d hoped for a few minutes to catch his breath, to pull his thoughts together, and find a way to mask his pain. It lessened some when he took stock of the woman who stood before him, snow-dampened blonde curls clinging to her cheeks and forehead, cheeks as rosy as those on the painted cherubic faces of his aunt’s Hummel figurines. If she’d ever looked more beautiful, he couldn’t remember when.
            “What’re you doing out in this mess?” he asked.
            “Trying to stay half a step ahead of this beastly storm.” She followed the narrow path she’d shoveled and met him at the mailbox. “The better question is, what are you doing here? No…” She held up an ice-encrusted mitten. “The better question is, how did you get here?”
            Ian pointed to the plow just up the street, lifting buckets of snow from the road and emptying them onto neighbors’ lawns.
            “Hitched a ride with a friend.”
            “From Fells Point to Ellicott City. In a snowplow.”
            He shrugged. “Uh, yeah.”
            “So I could see for myself that you’re all right.”
            “And put your own life on the line in the process?”
             Ian hadn’t realized until that moment that he’d been massaging his aching thigh. He grinned, trying to make light of it. “I’d hardly call the ride over here life threatening…”
            She snorted. “I wonder if your surgeon would agree.”
            “Good question.” He snickered. “I have a feeling if I show up at next week’s checkup without a reasonable explanation for this insanity, he might just send me straight to Shephard Pratt…with a prescription for a padded cell and a hug-myself jacket.”
            “You look awful,” she said. “Pale, and dark circles under your eyes… You arranged for that plow, didn’t you.”
            He shrugged one shoulder. “I, ah, I might’ve influenced the driver. A little.”
            “You’re shivering.” She jammed the shovel into the slip-sliding mound of crumpled snow she’d piled beside the driveway. “You’re coming inside.”
            She punctuated the order with a smile, and linked her arm through his. His heart beat hard. That oughta warm you up, he thought. “But…your grandparents…”
            “They’re fast asleep. Have been for hours.”
            “So,” he said as she led him to the back steps, “they have no idea you’re out here, alone in the dark, in the middle of a major blizzard.”
            “And if you slipped, clunked your head on something—”
            “It’s snow, Ian. Snow.
            “With a half inch of frozen stuff on top of it.”
            She paused at the bottom of the back steps. “Says the man who traveled miles, on a snowplow, to earn a few brownie points by having my grandparents’ driveway cleared.”
            Ian groaned quietly. “I’m that obvious?”
            She blinked up at him through snowflake-dusted lashes, blue eyes glittering in the golden glow of the porch light. Once upon a time, a look like that might precede a passionate kiss. At the very least, a loving hug. Maleah took a step closer. Licked her lips. Exhaled a sweet sigh. Those minutes on the dance floor, holding her close enough to feel her heart thrumming against his chest, had been wondrous and memorable…and woke a yearning in him as nothing before it had. Would she actually take another step forward, and bridge the gap that had separated them for so long?
            Rattled, hopeful, and more than a little scared, Ian decided to take that step, instead…
            …and lost his balance.
            He landed on his back in a deep drift, taking her with him, a warm and petite, parka’d blanket that covered him from chin to shins. Instinct made him wrap his arms around her. Instinct…and an aching desire to hold onto the moment for as long as he could.
             He’d heard people say “Time froze,” but until now, hadn’t experienced it. What seemed a full minute passed as those incredible eyes bored into his, searched his face, then squeezed shut. When she opened them again, Maleah whispered, “Are you all right?”
             “No. I’m not.”
            Both eyebrows disappeared under wet bangs. “I’ll get your snowplow friend to help get you up.”
            She started to get up, but Ian tightened his arms around her. “The only thing wrong with me,” he grated, “is…is…”
            Where to start? By telling her about the self-loathing he’d experienced every hour since that night at the convenience store? With regrets he’d recited like a litany when sleep eluded him? Or the list of “if onlys” he’d tried so hard to bury in his mind?
            Maleah lay her head on his chest and patted his shoulder.
            “Maybe Shephard Pratt isn’t such a bad idea.”
            “I, ah—”
            “Because you are a little crazy.”
            Her lyrical voice, soft as the falling snow, touched a long-forgotten place in his heart. Ian didn’t trust himself to speak. Last time she’d brought tears to his eyes had been the day her letter arrived, unopened like the others, demanding that he leave her alone, forever. Eyes burning, he struggled for self-control, and the courage to tell her what he’d come here to say.
            “Guess I am a little crazy. Crazy about you,” he ground out. “Still. Always.”
            Hands pressed into the snow on either side of his head, she raised up, repeated the mind-numbing, mesmerizing study of his face. The pale yellow glow of the porch light haloed her head, making it impossible to tell if her lashes were still damp from the snow…or if the dream-like mood had moved her to tears, too.
            “I know.”
            She knew? He held his breath, waiting for her to follow up with “Me, too.” Or “That’s how I feel.” When she didn’t, another old saying came to mind: No one ever died of a broken heart…
            Right here, in this moment, he wasn’t so sure about that. Eyes closed, overwhelming sadness washed over him. He was entitled to that, wasn’t he, now that he’d finally accepted the futility of believing they could ever be us, or we again?
            Her lips touched his, softly, gently, slowly at first.
            But only at first. Where he ended and she began, Ian couldn’t say. Did she realize that as her kisses slid from his mouth to his cheeks, from his forehead to his chin, she’d awakened every hope and dream he’d secreted away, that she’d roused every manly urge he thought had died long ago? It seemed she was reaching into his soul. How would she respond after reading years of unanswered love he’d written there?
            Had he thumped his head hard when he flopped onto his back? Open your eyes; it’s the only way to know for sure. He hesitated, because if this was some sort of weird dream, Ian didn’t want to wake up. Ever.
What’s next for you?
LL: Next up, a novel titled 50 Hours, based on a screenplay by my talented pal Kevin O’Neill. It’s shorter than most of my stories, and it isn’t a romance. It’s a poignant tale that I believe will touch many hearts: A dying woman. A broken man. A friendship that changes them both.

After that, book #2 in Harlequin Heartwarming’s “By Way of the Lighthouse” series, REMEMBERING ROSIE (the story of a married couple that, unable to cope with the kidnapping of their 3-year old daughter, separates. When she’s found, they’re forced together again in the hope of providing her a stable home life…).

And after that, book #3 in the series, THE REFORMATION OF LILLIE ROURKE, doing her best to prove her trustworthiness to family and friends—and the love of her life—that the year she’d been away (including a stint in rehab) had changed her.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?

·         Website: http://www.loreelough.com
·         Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Loree-Lough/e/B000APRS7S
·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoreeLough
·         Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoreeLoughAutho
·         Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/loreelough/
·         Blog: http://theloughdown.blogspot.com/
·         Book buy Links:

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

Monday, June 5, 2017

It’s A Book Thing Presents: An Interview with Danielle Y. C. McClean, Author of Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge

Author’s Bio: Award-winning author Danielle Y. C. McClean was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and grew up in a home where books were valued and plentiful. Creative writing and foreign languages were among her favorite subjects in school, and she spent hours composing poems, short stories, and skits. Danielle went on to earn advanced degrees in French, Spanish translation, and law and currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and two children where she is also a translator, interpreter, and Spanish teacher. In 2016, her debut novel, Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge, won a CODE 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
What inspired you to write your book?
DM:    I wanted to introduce my children and others to various aspects of my cultural heritage in a fun and engaging way. Writing a story that would incorporate all those elements was, for me, the best way to accomplish that.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
DM:    Paul Keens-Douglas has always been one of my favorite Trinidadian authors and performers because he so perfectly captures our language, culture, and humor. I’m also a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling and their ability to so masterfully draw readers into their rich fantasy worlds.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
DM:    Yes, The Protectors’ Pledge is my first book. I started writing it in 2006, put it down, picked it up again, and finally self-published the first version in 2015.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
DM:    I work from a very detailed outline. There are times when I deviate from it because the story evolves as I go along, but it is very helpful for me to have a plan for where I am going before I get started.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
DM:    I prefer to write without music. I frequently read aloud as I write and music would be a distraction because I would want to sing (and dance) along.  

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
DM:    I’m still working on that myself, but making use of social media; identifying the target audience for your book and pursuing/creating opportunities to get it in front of those potential readers; and working with a publicist have all been helpful for me.

What advice would you give to new authors?
DM:    Edit, edit, and edit some more. Learn from constructive criticism and don’t be afraid to share your work and talent.

How about sharing an excerpt from The Protectors’ Pledge?

“Studying the dark skyline, he wondered why he’d never gone exploring on his own. Granny B wouldn’t have minded, and he wasn’t afraid of the ever-shifting shadows or intimidated by the way the Caribbean sun never fully reached the forest floor. And he certainly didn’t believe all those stories about the Oscuros Forest being a haven for the soucouyant—an old crone who shed her skin at night, turned into a ball of fire, and drank human blood—or the shape-shifting lagahoo who prowled during the dark hours always ready to sink his fangs into his next victim. Those tall tales were for babies and JV was twelve, after all.” (Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge, 2017).

What’s next for you?
DM:    I enjoy doing school visits and readings so I’m working on scheduling those. I am also writing the second book in the Secrets of Oscuros series.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: www.daniellemcclean.com
·         Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/danielle_yc_mcclean  
·         Facebook: www.facebook.com/DanielleY.C.McClean/
·         Twitter: ww.twitter.com/Dani_YC_McClean
·         Blog: www.daniellemcclean.com/news-and-events
·         Book buy links: www.caribbeanreads.com/the-protectors-pledge/
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Review of Deadly Delivery by Jeanne Adams

Meet Deirdre Shercroft, real estate executive and the occasional holiday delivery girl for her family’s gift basket business. Having recently had a one night stand with Michael Pennington, commercial real estate magnet, Deirdre is left confused as to why he didn’t call although he promised to. Despite it all, thoughts of that one night still fanned flames inside her.

Now a few months later, while delivering Thanksgiving baskets to the wrong apartment, she is forced at gunpoint into a hidden drug operation. Taken aback, she is thrust into a hostage situation that has brought her face-to-face with Michael Pennington and his young son.

In such a deadly situation where the meth dealers threaten to blow up the building, the two lovers realize that communications were sent but were never received. Furthermore, they share they both felt the same way about each other. Fortunate to see each other again, they must use their wits and cunningness to escape and get a second chance together.

This is the first romantic suspense novella I have read by Jeanne Adams and I must say -- it certainly packed a lot of punch in under 100 pages. It had all the elements of unrequited love, suspense and drama from start to finish. The characters were well developed and the balance between the romance and suspense kept me on the edge of my seat

A must read. Two thumbs up.

Some of my favorite lines:

Bottom line, though, her feelings, her heart mattered. If they were going to die here, she had to know.

            “I waited for a cal. A text. An email.” When he just stared at her, she sighed. “I understand about Henry’s accident, but it’s been almost three months and not a word from you. We may dies here, but it’s not like the movies. You can’t just pick up where we left off. I’ve been used before and left alone. I’ve been lied to. I won’t let that kind of hurt happen again.”

            Michael was shaking his head. “I called your office as soon as we got back to the states, three weeks ago,” he protested. “Left messages.” He took a deep breath. “I know guys say that, but I did. I…I wanted to talk to you, Deirdre. What I felt that night…” His voice trailed off.

            Her heart clenched at his words. He’d felt it too.

Rating: 5 stars

Monday, May 22, 2017

Interview with LaDonna Smith, Author of I Married Satan

Author Bio: Ms. Smith is a native of Fairmont Heights, MD and a graduate of Prince George’s Community College. She also attended Bowie State University. A talented writer, LaDonna has worked with The Dr. Michael Eric Dyson Show (WEAA), The Bernie McCain Show (WOL/WOLB), Justine Love Sex Talk and Slow Jams (WPGC), Community Affairs with David Haynes (WPGC). She is also the former Events Coordinator and Board Member on the Board of Directors for the Black Writer’s Guild of Maryland, Inc., President and Vice President of the Maryland Writer's Association (Baltimore Chapter), and a member of the Maryland Business Roundtable Speaker’s Bureau

Her book, “I Married Satan” has also been listed on Essence Magazine’s www.essence.com. She is also the former Editor and Founder of G.R.A.Y. Magazine,  G.R.A.Y. TV ShowThe Owner's Roundtable Report with LaDonna radio show – returning soon! In 2015 LaDonna released the exciting info-tainment follow up to “I Married Satan” called “Oh! Is That Why I am Still Single?” She also hopes to release her children’s book “Hannah’s Song: A Musical Approach to Potty Training” in 2017 as well. 

However, LaDonna has a life outside of books where she owns Prince George's County's first and only professional sports team - American Basketball Association Expansion Team PG Valor Basketball Team, which played its inaugural season in 2016 ending ranked #2 in their division and #24 in the entire ABA and participated in the playoffs!

What inspired you to write your book?
LS: Life itself because of experiences-both good, bad and indifferent inspired, motivated and forced me to write my books. 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
LS: I look up to several authors and writers including, Terry Woods, and Tyler Perry. I love Terry's writing style and Tyler's life story. I also love reading Shakespeare and Greek Mythology. Although some may argue that they conflict with my religious views if they weren’t dynamic pieces of art. 

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
LS: I have two books completed and one about 95% completed. 

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
LS: I do both. I start with a mental picture of what I am going to write. As the mental concept grows I begin to write out an outline. Then I type up my outline. Before long my typed outline gets inundated with handwritten notes. Then I retype up my notes. I then begin to use that as a guide to motivate me to write. I go for a drive, go sit in a park, library or anywhere else outside of the house. Unless a situation or experience requires a lot of emotion from me, I find it very difficult to write in the house. I can often be found sitting in a library or Starbucks on grind mode. Some people need silence, I need ambiance. I need music, soft noise, a way to be able to stare out a window or ride with the window down. Then my creative juices begin to work and I am able to work. I write in notebooks, on receipts, toilet paper, scrap paper, post-it notes and anything else that I can find. Ironically, I can only type directly when I'm on a desktop. I also tend to write more while I'm editing because for some reason or another my thoughts flow. It's almost as if I get a Spiritual download while I am working on a manuscript several times.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
LS: As I mentioned earlier I do listen to music. But I have been known to have a good movie on or just some type of noise. I didn’t think about it but sometimes there are themes. I may put on a lovey dovey type of movie if I am working on something with relationships or I could put on a children's type of program event etc. If I am writing a good and happy relationship part of the book, I tend to listen to upbeat and/or happy relationship songs about being in love and in a good relationship from people like Kem, Jaheim, Charlie Wilson, Dru Hill, Mint Condition, SHAI, and my all-time favs Boyz II Men. However, if I am in a bad mood and writing about relationship drama I may turn on my girl Fantasia and let her motivate me or Mariah, Tyrese, and others. If I am needing to feel inspired and want to give a "powerful" spiritual nugget then I may turn on gospel. You may be surprised to hear but I may turn on Classical, Jazz, GoGo, Reggae or even Latino music. I am a musician so diversity in music is a must. 

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
LS: Marketing and Promoting are the keys to get your book out to the public. It makes absolutely no sense to write a book. I mean pour your heart and soul into a book, fight to get it published or spend time and money self-publishing and then have your books just sit. You have got to tell the world about your book whether they want to listen or not lol. You won’t know that they don’t want to listen until you try and reach out to them. And marketing and promotion don't begin when you have your book in your hand it begins when you copyright your first draft!

What advice would you give to new authors?
LS: My advice for new authors is to dream big realistically. We all have that dream of writing the next best seller and then get discouraged when copies are barely selling. With all of the books and authors in the world why should anyone care about your story? Why should anyone buy your book? Do not be afraid of the word No! As it can actually help you. It is perfectly fine if every single solitary person in the world is not as passionate and in love with your book as you are. It is not the end of the world. You can do one of two things only focus on those people who would be interested in your type of book or who need it (aka your target audience) or you can motivate people to be interested in your book and need it. It is not impossible but you gotta stay on grind mode. There are going to be sleepless nights as you are up emailing and posting on social media etc. 

Do your research and find out what is best for you. What worked for me and mine may not work for you and yours. It's ok to take a piece of what others are doing. But make sure you are infusing it with what you are doing so that you aren’t cheating yourself out of opportunities. Networking is your friend. Make sure you keep books/cards or some type of information about your books with you at all times. You never know who you are going to run into. If you work your mojo you can sell a book in places you would have never expected. Make sure your website or online presence looks at minimum semi-professional. In this day and age the first thing people do is "look you up". If you are someone who is nasty and inappropriate on social media you may want to make those post private and only for you. 

How about sharing excerpts from your books?

I Married Satan Preface
They had the marriage license, the ceremony and her name changed...but no marriage!

For 4 1⁄2 years author LaDonna M. Smith thought that she was married to the man of her dreams...but the marriage turned out to be a 4 1⁄2 nightmare, which God made disappear in moments.

On August 14, 2003, LaDonna got married to a man she was prepared to spend the rest of her life. However, after days, & months of physical, mental, emotional & spiritual abuse – she found the strength to leave him.

But she would soon return to endure even more hardships – some repetitious – some worse.

Finally, a year later she left for good and 3 1⁄2 years later she filed for a divorce. Only to find out that her spouse had filed for an annulment – a month later. How can he file for an annulment after so many years of marriage?

Because - before, during, and after their marriage, he was still legally married to his first wife.

The book I Married Satan takes you inside the life of a woman who suffered, endured and eventually triumphed through an abusive marriage; swallowed the pain; and forgave her ex ____________ (you fill in the blank) and has since become stronger, wiser, and more spiritual than she could have ever imagined.

Oh! Is That Why I'm Still Single?

One day this metaphoric revelation came to me: years ago I wasn’t truly ready for you because I was allowing little boys to play in the shallow end of my pool. Now I have learned that if I venture out further in the pool that the pool gets deeper and only those who can swim will jump in. Some will be bold enough to jump off the diving board, but many will reach the bottom. The pool discussed here is symbolic of MY HEART!

I didn’t know or understand how deep true love really was until I continued to journey on through life. I had some relationships work (I was able to swim), and some fail (they almost drowned me). Some have tread water (barely made it and the guys had fake motives in dealing with me); some didn’t put forth an effort and just tried to go along for the ride (they drifted and floated through). Some didn’t put their all in it like I did (they got their feet wet but they may, or may not have been dressed/prepared for the trip or the depth of my love that I was ready to give, so they never got completely in or fully committed). But each and every experience brought me to a point where I finally learned what true love from a man, and more importantly God is, and how I should expect to receive it unconditionally.

True love waits – if God designed for you to be together. You will be with him.

What God put together, let no man (or woman) come in between and destroy it.

True love is imitated but never duplicated.

What’s next for you?
LS: Next is more books and more basketball. There are a lot of things that I have in my "lab" right now and will be working on and releasing soon. Not that I have gotten through my first season with the basketball team I am now better prepared to handle my writing and the team. I am truly graduating into working for myself only. I would love to be able to focus primarily on books for half the year and still do basketball secondary. And then during basketball season focus primarily on basketball and books secondary. Notice I never said just one or the other only! I also want to finish the audiobook versions of the books and go ahead and produce the I Married Satan stage play which has been written and copy-written yet sitting for a few years now. So to answer your question I have a lot coming up next lol.

Where can readers
Blog: N/A-Maybe I should do one?

LS: Thank you for taking the opportunity to reach your readers. As always, I look up to you and your accomplishments. So keep doing what you are doing to improve and progress!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Interview with Selena Haskins, Author of Yesterday Was a Long Time Ago

Author’s Bio: Selena Haskins is the author of three best-sellers on Amazon: A River Moves Forward, Riding the Waves, and Just Between Us-Inspiring Stories by Women. As a native Washingtonian, Selena explores the dynamics of urban family life and romance in her books. Selena’s love for reading and writing started at the tender age of nine. Selena’s two greatest loves are God and family, and she uses both as a vehicle to convey the human spirit, and the beauty of the world around her. Her latest project is, Yesterday Was a Long Time Ago.

What inspired you to write your book?
SH: My inspiration to write this book is loosely-based on my college experiences.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
SH: Growing up I loved reading Judy Blume’s books. As an adult, I love contemporary fiction authors who set the perfect example of good storytelling. They include: Connie Briscoe, Terry McMillan, Margaret Johnson-Hodge, Omar Tyree, Carl Weber, and Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
SH: This is my third novel, but fourth book project overall.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
SH: I tried writing with an outline, and it interrupts my creative flow, so I prefer to just write it freestyle.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
SH: I prefer peace and quiet when I write, although I can hear a song playing in my head, it’s distracting for me to actually play music and write because I like to hear what the characters are saying. The theme song for this book would be, P.M. Dawn’s “Die Without You.”

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
SH: Publishing a book these days is fairly easy, but publishing a “good” book takes time. The success is in the story, not the pretty book covers.

What advice would you give to new authors?
SH: Patience is really the key to success. Seize being anxious because you may miss something. I had to learn that the hard way. Once you put something out there in public, it’s there forever, and it has your name on it. If you want to build a good reputation as a respectable writer, you have to hone your craft. You have to love writing more than money. I’m always learning new things, and I love it because it makes me a better writer. Always stay humble. Read twice as much as you write. If you want to write well, read books by people who can actually write, and who are experienced. It will help your growth process.

What’s next for you?
SH: I have a short story comedy that I’ve been working on, and hope to release this winter - 2017. I also plan to write the final part to the Morris family from A River Moves Forward and Riding the Waves so it will be a trilogy.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: http://www.booksbyselena.com/
·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorselena.haskins
·         Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksbySelena
·         Blog: http://www.booksbyselena.com/

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

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