Good morning. Today I’m so pleased to welcome Vogue to my blog. She is a 2007 graduate of Winthrop University, possessing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Diamonds in the Rough is her first published novel, which was released on June 1, 2010. She was named by Angelique The Novelist and BK Walker Books as June Author of the Month. She is also a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
The sun is shining and I am on the patio with Vogue drinking a nice cup of tea whilst eating warmed croissants. So sit back and enjoy the interview.
Can you tell me what drew you to write in your current genre?
I have always had a love for gangsters. It started when I read an article on Al Capone in The Source magazine. For some reason, I became attracted to that kind of lifestyle although I never delved in it. Reading about it and watching movies like New Jack City, Scarface, and Belly to name a few were some of the inspirations that I had to enter into the urban fiction genre.
Wow, you’ve just named all the films my husband loves. He might become one of your avid fans lol So, how many novels have you written to date and are they all in the same genre?
I have written about twenty-one books with the majority of them being in the urban fiction genre. Others can be considered as young adult. Most of these books I wrote in high school. In terms of books that are published, one is published, Diamonds in the Rough, which is available now, while the sequel, Diamonds are Forever is in editing.
Thats a lot of books to be hanging around lol I know authors who plot to death, don’t plot at all and then some, who do a little. How much time do you spent on plotting.
I may spend a week on plotting when I’m outlining the book, but it is just a quick sketch of what I want to happen. When I actually begin writing, I spend maybe months working on the plot. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I still want to provide at least one or two clues.
If your plotting you'd be giving away the ending to yourself lolI take it you'd rather let the story follow its own momentum with no ending in mind then. While the sun is out, I'm at the beach with my laptop. Where do you do most of your writing?
Most of my writing occurs in my living room. I have a notebook filled with ideas that I used as a basis when I am writing. It helps me to remember plot twists as well as the timeframe of the story.
We all have skeletons when it comes to writing. Looking back, what is the worst thing you have ever written?
I think that the original version of The Ace of Diamonds (Book Three) has to be the worst thus far. I think the overall concept is good, but I’m glad that someone told me what was wrong with it instead of it reaching the public. Now that people are reading my debut novel, I know what people want. For example, most people love Jay Santiago who is the main male character. Knowing that’s what my readers want, I know I have to give him a big presence in the series. In the original version of Ace of Diamonds, he really did not have a presence. Now, after completing the rewrite, I have something that my friends will be proud of. He has a very huge presence.
How fabulous that you got such great feed back. So onto the good stuff, tell me about your latest release.
Here’s a quick synopsis of Diamonds in the Rough: Carmen Davenport is living the American dream. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she has anything that a twenty-one year old college student would want. This includes one of the most lucrative clothing companies in New York. The only thing missing is love until she lays eyes on Jay Santiago, a Puerto Rican drug lord.
Almost instantly, Carmen begins to fall for him. After securing the rights to her inheritance, Carmen soon learns that Flame, Inc. is headed towards a downward spiral. Too ambitious to allow her dream to go down the drain, Carmen begins pulling at all lifelines to save her company. Putting aside everything she’s ever believed in, Carmen soon finds herself entangled in a web of lies, betrayal, and crime.
I think that’s going to draw a lot of readers. So how can they keep up with your news?
My readers can keep up with me by regularly visiting my website, www.simplyvogue.net and adding me a friend on Facebook: www.thefacebook.com/SimplyVogue. I update regularly and love to hear feedback and questions on my writing. I actually welcome it!
I’m sure you’ll get a few requests after this interview. Rejection letters can really affect some writers. How do you deal with them.
To be honest, only one of my novels was rejected. It was the third book, The Ace of Diamonds, Book Three in The Diamond Collection series. Although it was rejected, I already had two books accepted to be published. It was not a total letdown. I took it as a learning experience. I got feedback on my work, which I took into consideration. It showed me that my publisher does not accept anything. They are honestly looking for quality work. The experience also allowed me to go back to the drawing board and stretch my imagination. It was like a blessing in disguise.
What do you think about celebrities writing books?
I view celebrities writing a book as a way for them to increase their brand. Once they have mastered one thing, it is only natural for them to try their hands at another. For example, if you’re a singer, the next thing you probably might try is acting. Then, of course, most celebrities try modeling. It gives you more exposure and proves to people that you are versatile.
I know a lot of authors strive to find that perfect agent. Do you have any advice about getting one?
I really do not have any advice to give because I do not have an agent. To me, getting an agent is just another avenue that you can take to becoming published. You are more likely to be picked up a major publisher through an agent because they have contacts with some of the editors at these major publishing houses. However, having an agent does not guarantee you a publishing deal.
Most authors rely on critique partners for an extra eye on when they are writing. Who rely on and why?
One of my sorority sisters is actually my critique partner. She reads everything before I submit it to the publisher. As of right now, she has The Ace of Diamonds. She actually wants to be book reviewer so I am in luck that I have her as a faithful reader. I trust her to give me an honest opinion of my work. However, I still remember that writing is subjective.
The industry seems to be crying out for reviewers, so I don’t think she’ll find it hard to get a job doing it. I love it when I come to the final paragraph of my MS. What’s your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is coming up with twists in the plot. I love to make my readers think that the storyline is going in one direction when it really is going in another.
How do you get past all the frustrations that come with trying to be a successful writer?
I sit back and remember the mindset I had before I was a published author. It is then that I realize how blessed I am. My main goal in life was to be a published author and I completed the goal at the age of twenty-five. Knowing that I achieved my goal makes all of the frustrations go away.
I write paranormal, but read mostly historical. Strange, but true lol so what do you like to read?
Urban fiction, commonly known as “street lit,” is my favorite genre to read. I became a fan of this genre after reading The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Souljah. The characters and plot twists of this genre have always appealed to me, more than others.
It’s been so nice having you here today, but before you go, what actor/actress gets your pulses racing? Well, my favorite actress is Gabrielle Union and my favorite actor is Will Smith. Just imagine how happy I was when they were paired together in Bad Boys II. I’ve seen that movie a million times and still watch some of it on YouTube!
Good choice. I LOVE Will Smith. Thanks again Vogue.
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