Monday, August 13, 2012

5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Nicki Monroe and Jessica Barrow-Smith, authors of Desperate Exclusive Interview...

Angelique and Chris have always had enough to get by, and then some. They came out of poverty. Now that they have a plush lifestyle, they swear they’re never going back.
That’s put to the test when they both suddenly get laid off from their high-paying jobs. Money’s tight, but so is Angelique’s bod. Out of desperation, she becomes a stripper.
It pays off: Angelique saves her home from foreclosure, and she’s able to keep her “night job” secret from her husband—for a while. But Chris, working for a pittance as a car detailer, can’t help noticing that his wife is bringing home a lot more bread than he is. Soon enough, the desperate Chris has his own secret job—as a male escort!
But you can only keep a secret for so long…

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Desperate?
Nicki Monroe: I came up with the idea for Desperate after the bottom fell out of the economy and so many people were losing jobs and foreclosing on houses. I wondered, “How far would people be willing to go to keep their homes and maintain their lifestyles?” Hence birthing the storyline for Desperate.
Jessica Barrow-Smith: The idea of Desperate actually came from Nicki, and I backed her immediately because the book is so relevant to the economy that we all are living in. Times are hard, and the average citizen is struggling someway or another.
Chris and Angelique are very relatable characters because they are simply trying to keep their heads above water in the midst of the struggle. So my inspiration for this story comes from my life, and the lives of my friends and relatives, who are all trying to make ends meet despite “just enough” or, in some cases, “not enough”.
JP: What sets Desperate apart from other books in the same genre?
JBS: It would definitely be the supernatural aspect of Desperate. The story begins with Chris holding a face-to-face conversation with his father who has been deceased for over fifteen years. His father is warning him about the looming danger that is to come. Not often do you read a book in this genre that incorporates a supernatural aspect without making the book feel like fantasy or sci-fi.
NM: I would have to say the supernatural element.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Desperate getting out to the public?
NM: I like to travel, and I love being around people. Plus, I’m a talker. I enjoy attending literary events. I welcome any opportunity to talk about my work.
Many authors don’t like to market and promote their work for whatever reasons. As for me, I majored in marketing. I understand the importance and value. I design my marketing plan before the book is written and start promoting as soon as I have a book cover.
JBS: Promotion. Without promotion, you just have a good book that very few people actually know about. Because most authors are working on a tight budget, there are a myriad of free marketing strategies. Book signings at your local bookstore, a spread in your local newspaper, book reviews by respected book reviewers, book clubs, and other authors.
Speaking engagements are also excellent opportunities to push your book as well. Paid advertising is another way to target readers of your genre and get your book placed in the forefront of hundreds and thousands of readers. Of course, it’s not free, but the return on the investment is well worth the price.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Desperate?
JBS: With young kids, a husband, and many students, I don’t get much time to write. I “steal” time at night when my kids and husband are sleeping. Usually, I sit in front of the computer around midnight, play some relaxing sounds—like ocean waves lapping at the shore—put my fingers on the keys, then just start writing.
When I begin writing, I don’t need to know the entire plot line. For me, all I need to know is the beginning, the climatic event, and at least have an idea of the ending. Once I have all this in mind, I let the story write itself. The characters come alive as I write. It took me about two months to start and finish this book.
NM: I don’t really have a writing process, per se. I can write anywhere, any time. When the inspiration hits, I submit. I write until I lose momentum. As for writing Desperate, my energy level and excitement were great. I felt so inspired and the story flowed with ease. The characters took on a life of their own. It took approximately two months to complete the manuscript for Desperate.
JP: What’s next for Nicki Monroe & Jessica Barrow-Smith?
NM: I’ll be on book tour promoting Desperate. We’re also working on the sequel.
JBS: This is the first book of a series, so there will definitely be a Part II coming next year. The ending of Desperate leaves the reader on the edge of his seat wondering what will happen to the characters. So the next book will pick up where this one leaves off and take the reader on a whole new sexy, hot, and dangerous adventure.

Random Thought

I'm feeling so humble and fortunate right now. I just visited with a book club in Jackson, MS to kick off the Desperate book launch. Those ladies showed me so much love! They even gave me a trophy for my literary contributions. One member couldn't stop raving about Desperate. She told me that she enjoyed my book so much. That moved me emotionally. It's such a wonderful feeling to have readers appreciate your work. At least it is for me. I don't take it for granted. To top it off, Desperate became a Black Expressions bestseller. I'm stoked now!