Name Felicia Denise
Where are you from Tucson, AZ
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
My husband and I just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. We have three adult children and a son-in-law. No grandchildren yet. We both had to retire relatively young from the workforce for health reasons.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Family Matters, books 2 of my debut novel, In the Best Interest of the Child, will be published in October 2017.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I entered a poetry contest in elementary school.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After writing my first complete story with chapters. I was twelve.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
A friend I used to write fan-fic with was into NaNoWriMo and challenged me to enter and write a book.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“In the Best Interest of the Child” is a standard line used by courts children’s services and just about any organization charged with the care of children. In the case of my protagonist, things done in her best interest harmed her more helped.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Hiding from what we fear or what hurts us doesn’t make those things go away. We have to choose to be happy and confront our demons head on.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Only a handful of the scenarios in the book actually happened, and the circumstances were not the same.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Honestly – fairytales. Not for the ‘happily ever after’ but the prevailing over adversity. So many simply give up when faced with daunting obstacles.
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?
She’s not “new” but she was new to me—I’ve only discovered her since I published last fall, but the work of hybrid author A.C. Melody keeps my attention. AC writes romance with paranormal, supernatural and erotic twists. Well, not all at the same time…mostly, but what draws me in is her attention to details. AC does her research! Her current paranormal shifter series, The Ùlfrinn, is so tightly woven in Norse mythology I expect to see Loki, Thor, and Odin show up!
My favorite author, Toni Morrison, has such a grasp on the human condition it leaves me speechless sometimes. I’m a fast reader and can easily read two three-hundred-page books in a day if uninterrupted. But a Toni Morrison book always takes more time because I must stop and reflect over her words. Even books like my favorite, The Bluest Eye, which I’m sure I’ve read no less than a dozen times. Jonathan Kellerman is also a favorite for similar reasons. He doesn’t skimp on the details and he shows you the souls—good and bad—of his characters without watering down the suspense.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Joe Bunting’s Becoming Writer.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Tough question! I will always write, but will I always publish? As long as it’s fun and exciting… and I’m learning new things. If any of that stops, what would be the point in continuing?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have gotten outside input sooner and saved a lot of time on revisions.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A poetry contest in second grade.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! This scene is from Family Matters. Protagonist Olivia Chandler is meeting the adult children of new love interest, Bruce Bellamy, for the first time.
Olivia was still smiling at the empty doorway when Bruce walked up behind her and pulled her back against him.
“And you were worried they wouldn’t like you. I think they like you more than me.”
She turned and pulled him into a deep kiss.
Bruce leaned into the kiss, allowing her to lead.
Olivia paused and whispered against his lips.
“Don’t worry, Bellamy. I’ll always like you best.”
Cupping her face in his hands, Bruce continued the kiss.
Leaning his forehead against hers, Bruce sighed.
“We’d better stop before I embarrass us in front of my kids.”
Olivia placed a quick kiss on his lips and backed away with a smirk.
“Can’t have your kids thinking I want you just for your body.”
Bruce considered her remark as Olivia backed away. He loved playful, flirty Olivia. She let her walls down and there was no sadness in her beautiful eyes. She looked at him like he mattered… like he was important to her. Bruce knew their relationship became serious faster than most, but since the day they met, Bruce knew Olivia was the one.
Bruce unbuttoned his jacket.
“Let me take your coat so I can put you to work setting the table. We’ll investigate your obsession with my body later.”
Olivia smirked as she unbuttoned her pea coat. Remembering the black tee underneath, she pulled the coat tighter around her.
“Bellamy… this shirt. Maybe it’s not such-…”
The rest of Olivia’s comment died in her throat as she watched Bruce remove his jacket. He struck a pose, and Olivia got the giggles all over again.
“It’ll be alright, sweetness.”
Olivia ripped off her pea coat and they stood there laughing at each other.
Hearing the laughter and not one to miss out on fun, Shaun Bellamy stuck his head out the kitchen door.
“What’s so funny-…”
Before he could finish, his father pulled Olivia to his side. They continued to laugh like teenagers.
Seeing their shirts, Shaun chuckled, shaking his head.
“I wondered what was up with your shirt, dad. I thought you were re-living the election. Now it makes sense.”
“Just emphasizing the point, son.”
Bruce gestured to his shirt which said, “I’m with HER!” as he slipped an arm around Olivia and grinned at her tee which read, “I’m with HIM!”
Shaun backed into the kitchen, and Bruce and Olivia could hear him say, “Guys, those two are going to be trouble!”
Bruce kissed Olivia’s forehead, then took their coats to the hall closet.
Olivia chided herself for dreading this dinner. Bruce’s children were warm and genuine. Being in Bruce’s home didn’t feel odd. It was comfortable and inviting.
It felt like home.
Olivia wasn’t sure if that was a good thing.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m too wordy!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Nope! I’ve yet to travel for my books, but I hope to in 2018.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jenn Cunningham. We met online several years ago and I had no idea she was a graphic artist until I began my writing journey and she offered to help.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Staying focused on the premise. There are so many social issues involved in the story if felt like a disservice to not explore them all…and I did. And cut thousands of words! LOL!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
All input/advice is relevant…or good. Keep the story the focus, not egos…including my own.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Olivia Chandler is a thirty-eight-year-old African-American child advocate attorney. There are plenty of actresses who fit the description, but none I immediately see as Olivia.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Find what works for you not what worked for the bestselling author or the award-winning author. Following the strategies which led to someone else’s success… and failing doesn’t mean one isn’t a talented writer but that they haven’t found THEIR strategy yet.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m thankful for all their support! I have some readers who started following me even BEFORE I published, and they’re still with me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Nelumbo Nucifera by Cristina Slough, Lightmasters Number 13 by MG Wells, Freeze Frame by Freya Barker and Freddie Entangled by Kiru Taye. Yeah…I read 3-4 books at a time.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I sew, create new recipes in the kitchen, enjoy history, museums and old libraries, and I love to watch old black and white movies. And I do most of it with music playing in the background!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I watch very little TV but when I do it’s old movies or something like Law & Order, NCIS, or Major Crimes. In movies I enjoy Crime/courtroom dramas, science fiction/action, romantic comedies, and anything with Morgan Freeman or Jack Nicholson.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Thai food! Favorite color is purple and my music playlists are wild! I listen to everything and anything except grunge and rap.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My other social links are:
In the Best Interest of the Child (September 30, 2016)
Amazon US http://bit.ly/BestInt
Amazon UK http://bit.ly/BestIntUK
Amazon CA http://bit.ly/BestIntCA
Amazon AU http://bit.ly/BestIntAU
Free, a Novella (May 30, 2017)
Amazon US http://bit.ly/LindenLane
Amazon UK http://bit.ly/LindenLaneUK
Amazon CA http://bit.ly/LindenLaneCA
Amazon AU http://bit.ly/LindenLaneAU
Family Matters (In the Best Interest of the Child #2) (October 2017)