Author Interview: Nicole Dunlap
Today I'm interviewing Nicole Dunlap author of the new book titled Miss Nobody.
Pub date: September 15,2012
How far will you go for fame? Fifteen-year-old Charlene Shaw runs away from her small hometown in North Carolina to become an actress. She meets a truck driver, the gold cross around his neck is a good sign that he will get her closer to her dreams; right? On the self destructive road to stardom, Charlene’s using everything in her path to erase the past and the baby she abandoned—her daughter, Raven. Just thinking about Raven sends chills of fear down Charlene’s spine. Raven Shaw grows up in her mother’s tight-knit town and has been dubbed “Miss Goodie Two Shoes.” Though she is head of the children’s choir, nothing can pacify her rage when someone gossips about her mom—she takes up for a woman she doesn’t even know. The gossip just can’t be true, so Raven decides to learn about her mom. Learning about mom brings her closer to love. Now Raven knows she can’t be entirely devoted to the man that has her heart until she learns why Charlene neglected her. Mother’s and daughter’s path collide, Raven asks her mother two requests—two family secrets that can ruin both of their lives. Leading Charlene and Raven down the shadowy road of feeling like a “Miss Nobody.”
Please tell is a little about bit about yourself?
I was born in Fontana, California. My parents divorced when I was a toddler. My life revolved around the scenic route of traveling back and forth from the Inland Empire to Long Beach. Through my writing that my story has been diversified based on myself, the places I’ve been, and the people that I met while being “tossed back and forth like a sack of potatoes” when my parents did the kiddie-exchange. I’m a wife and a mother of two. I received a MA at Azusa Pacific University, which has helped me give good advice to my friends that are in need. I’ve dubbed myself the “gumbo genre novelist,” because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned. It’s my mantra that stories shouldn’t be one-note-themed. My debut novel, Miss Nobody (Shaw Family Saga, Book 1), is a family saga that is peppered with drama and mother-daughter issues, salted lightly with suspense and mystery, and stirred with love and romance.
What is your favorite part about being a writer?
The first rough draft of a book is the best part of writing. There are no rules, I get lost in a make believe world and experience a plethora of emotions. While writing Miss Nobody, I was able to take out my aggression and day-to-day I issues were dropped at the way side while I wrote. I could relate with Raven’s anger–I won’t give the ending away–, but just putting myself in her emotional stance and using the courage she had, was a personal stress reliever.
Do you ever experience writer's block?
I’m too busy for writer’s block. If one part of a story has me stumped, I’ll work on another part or another book. For example, I started working on Miss Scandalous, which is Book 2 in the series, and found that I was able to weave great plot detail from Miss Nobody into that book. I also write based on mood. If I turn on some Mary J Blige or Coldplay–whatever strikes my mood–I can write for days to that and just switch up the scenes based on my favorite artist.
What is your favorite place to write?
I suppose I don’t really have a favorite place. My writing fits in around my two-year-old daughter’s schedule. Toddlers “rule” when it comes to finding time to write.
Do you write an outline before every book you write? Like what came first the characters or the story/world?
I write a mental outline, the stories are daydreams in my head. I’m a character-loving-type-of-chick. I have to feel them first, before I can even put them in a setting. I love books were you get a sense of who the characters are before plot is thrown at you. If you don’t care about the character, what do you care about their personal predicament? With Miss Nobody, Charlene came first. At the beginning of the story, she was every teenager that I’ve ever met while young or while counseling at high schools, that has a dream.
Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? What book are you reading now?
I interweave myself in all my characters. They all have a piece of me. I have Charlene’s diehard ability to give up a unrealistic goal, I’ve experienced Raven’s depression as a teen–not so strongly, though. As far as books that I’m reading now, I’ve taken a hiatus for Nanowrimo, a annual competition were you write 50k words in November. This will be my first year and I’m writing Miss Perfect, book 3, which is currently swimming around in my head and waiting to be put on paper. When I do read, I love self-published authors. You have to support those with common goals. The last book I read was “Don’t Let Me Fall” it’s a YA mystery and I have to admit–kudos to the author, I didn’t figure out the ending!
What are your current projects?
As I’ve mentioned, Miss Scandalous is my current project. I’m in the dreaded chop-chop stage. The part where my cheeks turn red because some secondary character that was fat and short in the beginning of the story is now tall and bony at the ending and her name may have been Casey and by page 205 it’s Cassidy–big ooops to that! In Miss Scandalous Charlene will have attempted to right her wrongs for abandoning her daughter, Raven, all the while she doesn’t know that Raven is plotting revenge. This story will test that theory if blood is indeed thicker than water… Then there’s Nano in November (I’m cracking my knuckles to that thought.)
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My critique group. I come from a counseling/psychology background. My story would have been filled with technical terms, if they hadn’t been like “uh-huh” to some of my words.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Please let me say three. I have to justify my reasoning with three. First, Terry McMillan, because she started me on this reading and writing thing. Her stories about women’s issues and families really have me engaged. Second, Beverly Lewis’s stories are about love, but their filled with depth and you get to love the character’s and the issues that they have. Not to mention her stories are a compilation of series so I have more time to experience the characters. Last, but not least, James Patterson scares me just enough and his suspense is on-point.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice is to write what makes you happy. I started writing because I couldn’t find a full time school counseling job and I’ve been happy ever since. I don’t plan to push away that goal, but I feel that writing allows me to be creative and helps me cope with the day’s challenges. That said, write for you.
Early Riser or Night Owl?
Early Riser, not by choice. My toddler has me on a set schedule, which doesn’t always make my husband happy, but I’m pooped at ten each night.
Good Boy or Bad boy?
Both. I’m in love with “love triangles” and you gotta love how it’s always a good boy one side and a bad boy on the other. (I giggle, thinking about Vampire Diaries’s Stephen and Damon. Pro-Damon, though). Miss Scandalous will spark a love triangle that will be fully magnified in Miss Perfect and I’m so anxious to do it.
Winter or Summer?
Both. I love the Holiday Season and long nights by fireplace while it rains outside. Winters allow me a chance to delve into the mystery of my stories because rain and gray clouds put me in that type of mood. I’m a Summer baby; born in August. It’s a time to spend with family, enjoy barbeques, and family reunions. Oh and summer love to, that’s the best.
I really enjoyed this interview!! especially the answers to the fun questions
About the Author
I'm a simple girl with an extrodinary imagination, the only problem is knowing when to slow down. I love to write, it puts me in a whole different universe. I can write out my depression or buy some Christian Dior in my make believe world. I like to compare my writing to "gumbo" I don't want to be tied down to just one genre and often have to skim through one note romance books or other types of books that I read for free (I'm a big fan of free books) But back to the gumbo situation--I like to write about drama, love, suspense, mystery. All of which is intwined in my debut novel Miss Nobody available in e-book. I am a very private person about my family, but if you read my stories, then you will see bits and peices of myself and people I've met woven throughout. Lastly, I hate grammar with a passion!
P.S Miss Nobody By Nicole Dunlap will be free from Thursday November 8,2012 through Sunday the 11th