Name: Seven Steps
Where are you from: I am originally from Queens, New York. Ten (10) years ago, my friend and I went to a get-together in Manhattan. This was a major turning point in my life. You have to understand, I was a wallflower growing up. My nose was always in a book, and I was socially awkward and hung out with other socially awkward people. So, going to a party was a big leap forward for me, and I was really excited to step out of my book lined shell and meet some new people. About an hour into the party, this guy started teasing me about my glasses (booooo!) Talk about a bad first night. I was on the verge of sprinting back to my book fort when another guy, a fellow glasses wearer no less, stepped in and defended me. About seven months later, I married my spectacled knight. Two years later, we had a beautiful princess together.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am very excited to announce two new books coming out this year. The Civil War, a sequel to my science fiction romance, The Slave Planet, is set to come out towards the end of the summer. In the early fall I am releasing The Last Rock King, a rock star contemporary romance. They will be two releases you don’t want to miss.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was super awkward in school. Writing was my way to escape from that. It was my way to control and explain my own little world, no matter what was happening in the real one.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I released my book, The Slave Planet. I had released two books prior to that, but I was only nineteen and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had no access to any social media or networking tools at that time, so I felt kind of isolated. Now, with things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media networks, it is much easier, in some ways, to make this a career than it was years ago.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was about a honeybee in search of a stolen pot of honey, or something like that. At that time, I was watching a lot of cartoons, and one of my favorites was Mya The Bee. It grew out of that. Oddly enough, my daughter, my first-born, is also named Mya and loves to write. The circle continues.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to keep to a good schedule. Stephen King said he writes six pages a day. I wanted to mimic that in my schedule. Recently, life has been getting in the way of my writing. I do work full-time at a demanding and often stressful job. But when I am on my game, I write from 430-830 every morning. I finish my first draft in about a month that way. It’s just editing after that. I love to outline my work before actually getting into the meat and potatoes of the story. Outlining is like GPS to me. It gives me a sense of direction, an end-point.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It’s pretty descriptive. The setting of the story is a planet where men are slaves. I tried to keep it pretty simple.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes! The message is that you don’t have to conform to what society wants you to be. You can be your own person. In the book, society has enslaved men and expects women to live a cold, calculating life. A life where their sole focus is to get as much money and prestige as they can before they die. Nadira chooses love over titles and fame. It gets her into a lot of trouble, but in the end she breaks free from all of the drama and becomes a better person. That’s what I want readers to come away with. You don’t have to be what other people want you to be. You can be what you choose to be. That will make you happy.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think it’s more about the emotion of the story. We all have challenges. We all have naysayers. We just have to stick to our principals and make it through. Nadira stuck to what she believed in, and she made it through. I try to live my life that way as well.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I had a writing mentor growing up. I send him every book that I publish as my own special thank you to him. I read so much that it’s hard to say what it was that I read that made me say, I want to be like them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Brittinay Cherry. Number 1 and forever. I discovered her a few months ago, so she’s new to me. But I enjoy a book that can emotionally devastate me and she is my number 1 source for them. I also love older books. Stuff by Orson Scott Card, Ken Follett, Octavia Butler, Shakespeare plays. I like classics like the original Wizard of Oz series and Doctor Dolittle. I like whimsical stories.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Are Facebook groups an answer? I found a lot of support in Facebook author groups.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I wish it would be. There are so many stories in my head, that if I could, I would write all day. Unfortunately, that is not possible right now. But I’m hopeful.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Better line editing, maybe. Other than that, nothing.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I loved to read. I think that my writing grew out of that. I remember me and my dad sitting in Waldenbooks and reading together for hours. Those are good memories. Reading formed the basis for my writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. This is from chapter nine (9) of my new book, The Civil War. The scene is between the two main characters, Nadira and Kiln. They are on planet Zenith. Something terrible has happened to someone very close to Nadira, and Kiln is there to help her deal with this difficult time in her life:
He soaked up all of her fears, and her pain, without a word. As her heart shattered, restored, and shattered again, he simply held onto her so that not a piece was lost.
He kissed her hair.
She screamed her mother’s name.
He held her close.
She cursed the fact that Arees was ever born.
He whispered that she was not alone.
She knew she was not alone.
Finally, when her tears had nearly run out, she raised her head to look at him.
“What will we do?” She asked.
“Survive,” Kiln replied, gently kissing her temple. “It’s what we always do.”
“But without my mother? Without Venus?” Her eyes searched his. “We’re just as alien as those ambassadors out there. We’re wanderers without a home.”
“Then we’ll be each other’s home. You can take shelter in me, and I’ll take shelter in you.” He placed her hand over his heart. “As long as we have each other, we’ll always be home.”
His kindness was a light to her soul. She thanked the Mother Goddess Venus for him, even though she knew it was blasphemy. Running her fingers along his nearly smooth head, she traced the words, I love you, in a delicate pattern. She wondered how a man could both set her body on fire and be such a balm to her spirit.
He kept his sharp, blue eyes trained on her brown ones.
She didn’t know when his lips captured hers. It seemed as if his lips had always been there, searching, loving, gentle. His affections rained down on her, making peaceful flowers grow. That’s what she felt with Kiln. Peace.
She was his flower. His to protect, care for, and cherish.
He was making her grow.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing. Especially when it comes to grammar. I should have paid better attention in English class.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, but I hope to start attending book conventions in the future.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A very nice vendor on FIVERR. There are some really talented people on there if you really do your homework.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. I always wonder if I’ve missed something or made some grammatical error. If I do, I hope the readers see past the errors, if they find any, and into the heart of the story.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Always outline. Learn marketing. Make connections in the industry. Be kind, and help others.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.
Wow this is a hard question. I would love for Brock Lesner (yes the wrestler) to play Kiln. Either him or The Mountain from Game of Thrones. For Nadira I would love Sonequa Martin-Green (from the Walking Dead). For Eva, Gabrielle Union. They don’t physically resemble in the book, but I feel like Gabrielle has the sass and the attitude to pull her off. And for Lex I would want Zach Effron. Sure, he’d have to dye his goatee red, but he’ll do.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Make a writing schedule and stick to it. Try to write every day. Learn to market yourself.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please stick with me. I promise that I won’t let you down.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Graceful Hell by Tory Cameron.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No clue. It was probably a board book though.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything these days. Commercials. My daughter. Pixar movies. I cry over everything and I laugh over everything.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Kenneth Branagh because I love his interpretations of Shakespeare.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
She loved. She laughed. She lived.
I want to make sure that I do all three of those things every day. Love, laugh and live.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love reading, styling hair, doing jigsaw puzzles with my family and hanging out with friends. I like outdoor activities most of all.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love cartoons. Any cartoon made in the 1980’s or 90’s I enjoy watching. Gummy Bears, Talespin, Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers, DuckTales. We are huge cartoon geeks in my house.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music.
Favorite food is my mom’s baked macaroni and cheese. Favorite color is blue. Favorite music is 90’s rap and rock.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A contemporary dancer. Growing up, I took classes in ballet, contemporary, African, tap, jazz. You name it, i’ve probably danced in that style. Later on, I taught classes in several dance schools. I love the freedom that comes from dancing. The way that your body interprets the music is beautiful. I would have loved to have danced professionally.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? Yes.