|Photo by Ashley Summer|
Unintentionally or ironically (Big Timing?), several of my questions and Jackie's answers centered around what so many writers experience, whether they're fledgling writers just getting started on the manuscript they've put off for years, under contract with a publisher for their debut novel (pick me!!!!), or working on their second, third, fourth, fifth … and so on, novels! We seem to have a little tiny struggle with FEAR and SELF-DOUBT. Agh, it's a cranky animal. Then, as I was reading a transcript of the Twitter Black Lit Chat (#blacklitchat) from February 26, where Jackie was the guest author, I did a double take when I saw the first question and Jackie's answer.
Question (from Bernadette Davis): @Jackieluckett, would you start by giving us a six-word bio for Nicole, the protagonist in Passing Love? #blacklitchat
Answer (from Jackie): Seeking a life free of fear. #blacklitchat
Seriously? I'm choosing to believe something bigger than I am worked this out. Let's move on with the rest of the interview, and you'll see what I mean.
Something I deal with as a debut author—more than I probably even care to admit—is fear and self-doubt. You can worry about so many things as a writer: how your books will sell; how they will be accepted by the media, by readers, by … ; whether everyone will wonder what the heck you were thinking when you decided to write the book. Have you experienced this, too? How did you deal with these emotions? Any advice for newly minted authors you wish someone had given you?
Readers should expand their personal libraries. Look first for an appealing story, not the race of the person who wrote the book. When that happens, publishers won't put books into categories that limit exposure. By sticking to basic selection criteria—well-written book, holds our interest, takes us to another world or experience—then the author’s ethnicity shouldn’t matter. I challenge readers to buy books that allow them to take new journeys, meet new people and explore a variety of approaches to life and all the problems it can present. Look for stories that capture your attention and allow you to explore traditions, family values, the role of women, love, whatever.
Nicole-Marie Handy has loved all things French since she was a child. After the death of her best friend, determined to get out of her rut, she goes to Paris, leaving behind a marriage proposal. While there, Nicole chances upon an old photo of her father-lovingly inscribed, in his hand, to a woman Nicole has never heard of. What starts as a vacation quickly becomes an investigation into his relationship to this mystery woman. Moving back and forth in time between the sparkling Paris of today and the jazz-fueled city filled with expatriates in the 1950s, Passing Love is the story of two women dealing with lost love, secrets, and betrayal...and how the City of Light may hold all of the answers.
Lena Harrison Spencer is in her mid-fifties, and the time has come for her to face the hard truths of what it means to have it all and still find oneself unfulfilled. When Lena determines that what she needs is the strength to change directions, Tina Turner becomes the icon from whose story she derives strength, even as everyone else tells her she's crazy for giving up her cashmere cocoon.