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Interview with Nanette M. Buchanan, Author of eight novels, her latest, The Stranger Within

Author's Bio: Nanette Buchanan is a wife, proud mother, and grandmother. She is currently employed full time in the State of New Jersey as a New Jersey Corrections Sergeant. Her literary journey began when she began putting pen to pad, writing poems and children stories while attending Rutgers University. I Pen Designs became a business, catering to personalized writings for gifts. Nanette's debut novel was released in December 2007 and I Pen Designs began its publishing division with its publication. Since then she has published a total of eight novels and one poetry collaboration. Her novels have a "what if" twist, topics with questions that readers may have about everyday living. Her latest work is The Stranger Within and the beginning of a new series is in the making. Her books are available in Kindle, Nook, and e-reader formats.

What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve always been a writer. Putting my thoughts on paper became a welcomed escaped for me. After being asked to convey others feelings in words for gifts, I then realized that my written expressions helped others escape, heal and use their voice as well. Now, I created stories that relate to the realities we live with the intent to heal and inspire my audience.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
There are many… Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Nikki Giovanni, are a few that I read growing up. I don’t know that I can narrow it down to one book that influenced me. I read all genres and as a writer I don’t limit myself. However, the voice created by the characters in many of Reshonda Tate Billingsley, Victoria Murray and Trice Hickman have intrigued me.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
No this is my eighth book. I try to stick to a “writing schedule,” a tip I learned reading about other authors that publish more than one book a year. So I write, or delve into promoting, branding or something connect to my novels at least two hours a day. Usually within eight months the book, after editing and re-reads is ready to be published.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I start with an outline. I know the storyline and don’t want the characters to take me away from the focus within the storyline. An outline also helps keep the details of the events and character descriptions consistent. It can be added to it for small changes or to assist in not dragging the story on. An outline is beneficial to my writings. Also if I have a new idea for a story. I can put it in an outline and file it until I’m ready to write that story.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
No particular music. I can have the television on or be in silence. I fell into this habit while attending school. Sounds don’t distract my writing and often set a peaceful mode for the words to flow.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
I wish I knew. Readers, like any other audience in entertainment tend to be trendsetters. Genres are constantly entangled which changes who may or may not read my books. Over the years I learned to be where readers are. As a fairly new author, eight years now, people tend to want to know more about me and then buy my books. There are so many authors that have dedicated their lives to their work and then there are others who just appeared and both groups have been embraced by our readers. The trend is now e-books, a change that has affected authors branding and marketing. At this point, I have chosen to be visible and aware of any new techniques. I blog, post on my various internet pages, do signings and chats with book clubs, and literary events. Leaving one out, one may miss a group of readers, so I delve in it all.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Don’t be discouraged. Keep writing and learn the business. Understand your weaknesses and do what is necessary to improve them. You are your best salesperson, know that one line that will captivate the attention of the readers that ask, “What is your book about?” That elevator pitch, as it is called, will get you a new group of curious readers. Be consistent with your work and your appearance on the internet. People follow you without you knowing it. Lastly, enjoy the ride. When it becomes tedious, frustrating, overwhelming, you will not be at your best. Enjoy what you do and you’ll be blessed in it.

How about sharing an excerpt from A Stranger Within (Chapter Four)
Brenda checked over the dates on the calendar. She was right when she told Deacon Pratt that they booked the wedding for Sister Smith’s daughter and the speaking engagement for Pastor Turner on the same day. Now she would have to call and make apologies for the mistake. The Pastor wouldn’t mind changing the date for his sermon during the recital for Chapel Hill Church in Philadelphia. There would be a problem if the Ministerial Staff couldn’t make the change. The recital was more than three months away. She was sure they would accommodate Pastor Turner’s schedule. She would remind Deacon Pratt again that before any scheduling, he should check the calendar kept in the main office. She made herself a note, a reminder to speak with him in the morning. 

She left the main office and pulled the door close, careful to leave it partially open, so she could hear the phone if it rang. Brenda continued with her end of the day ritual. There was mail that hadn’t been picked up scattered on the table in the foyer. She took a moment to sort it again into neat piles. It would soon be time to leave; she knew the mail would still be there in the morning. Brenda checked the other offices ensuring the lights and computers were off. The sound of Pastor Turner’s voice caused her to pause waiting to hear a second voice answer his questions.

“Not a problem, I’ll give the information to Sister Preston. Yes, yes I understand totally. Thank you so much and I’m sorry about the confusion.”

Brenda could tell from the conversation, Pastor had made contact with Chapel Hill. She shook her head, aggravated that he would have to make the call to reschedule his sermon. As quickly as she thought about it, she dismissed it. Pastor handled it. She learned over the years not to dwell long on the problems others created. Pastor Turner helped her through those years when she worried about every problem, both large and small. There was no way to define her relationship with Jacob Turner. They were friends for most of her adult years. She met him at a party given by a mutual friend. Brenda and Dominique’s father, Zeke were introduced to the man who was leaving at the end of the summer for theological studies in Philadelphia.

Brenda walked into the next room. She checked the magazines, putting them back on the tables and paused in deep thought gazing out of the large bay window. The visitor’s sitting room was where she often fell into her memories from a time that was. The party was a surprise for a friend. Neither Brenda nor Jacob could recall her by name. They both were guests of other people. Zeke, as usual, became argumentative and loud. Brenda was ready to leave. His accusations about her and the men who were in attendance had become vulgar. The nods and smiles, as she tried to explain, were all cordial. Jacob’s smile from across the room was the only gesture she wasn’t sure of. 

She prayed Zeke hadn’t seen it. The young couple had been together off and on since high school, and she knew his jealousy would cause a fight. Zeke snapped. He pushed Brenda back on the couch when she tried to leave with him. His harsh words let the young crowd know he thought she, and Jacob had been sleeping together behind his back. Brenda was paralyzed by his words hoping she could disappear without anyone noticing. The silence brought on by Zeke’s outburst broke when the whispers and laughter around the room increased. It was a matter of minutes, but it seemed like eternity.

Brenda waited until she was no longer under an imaginary spotlight to attempt to leave the room. Jacob noticed her as she eased through the crowd heading toward the apartment door. He followed her, and as he often told her later in their friendship, he thought Zeke might have been waiting for her outside. Their friendship started from that night and lasted longer than her marriage to Zeke. Jacob went on to become a minister and never married. Brenda often thought what it would be like to be the minister’s wife. After Zeke’s death, his murder, she couldn’t bring herself to marry or date again. Their friendship would have to be enough.

“Tiny, are you ready to leave?” Jacob called from his office. She didn’t answer, and his entrance into the room startled her. “Are you okay? You’re not worrying about that mistake with the schedule are you?”

“Oh no, I was just reminiscing.” She turned and smiled at her friend. “Good memories.”

“Must be, you’re smiling. Are you done in here?” He scanned the room looking for items she would deem out of place.

“Jacob, Dominique is having trouble sleeping again.”

“Is that what you were thinking about?”

“No, but I guess my thoughts would have led to it. I thought she got over her father’s death. You know those dreams, and her sleepless nights began after the murder.”
“Is she remembering anything?”

“No, but what am I going to say when she does?”

What’s next for you? I just completed my first book in a Detective Series. I love a good mystery and suspense. “The Perfect Side Piece” will be on the market before the end of the year. Also I am pitching my first novel, Family Secrets, Lies & Alibis, as a film. I’ll be putting it out as a web series. My intention is to go to film or stage plays with my work.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website:
·         Amazon Author Page: Nanette M. Buchanan
·         Twitter:
·         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.

Thank you, it’s been a pleasure!


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