Sunday, June 07, 2009

Interview with author, Nicole S. Rouse

Today I'm hosting Nicole S. Rouse. Nicole is one of my label mates at Urban Christian Books.
Welcome Nicole. What is the synopsis for your latest novel.
“What’s done in the dark eventually comes to light.” When delivered by his pastor, those words stir up memories of guilt and shame for Jerome Thomas. In the early years of his marriage, Jerome made several mistakes—neglecting his family, struggling with bouts of alcoholism, and wasting money. But, the one mistake he regrets the most is cheating on his wife.

Every morning before she opens her eyes, Taylor Belle says a quick prayer for forgiveness. The guilt of the affair she had and the lives of the people she hurt weigh heavily on her heart. She knows that she needs to settle things with Jerome before God will lift her burden.

Several years have passed since the affair, but there is still unfinished business between Taylor and Jerome that could destroy their families. What will happen when the repercussions of their last intimate encounter catch up to them? Will God mend old wounds and restore the love and peace they once knew, or are Jerome and Taylor destined to suffer the consequences of their past sins for years to come?

Is there a message in this story that you want readers to grasp? There is a consequence for everything you do. In this story, Jerome and Taylor had an affair. Although the affair ended years ago, the repercussions of their actions have come to light. Instead of being honest from the beginning, they now have to deal the consequences. This story is just one example of what can happen when God is not in control of our lives.

Who was your favorite character in the story and why?
Taylor Belle. Taylor represents women who have made several mistakes in their past. She is now a successful wife, mother and businesswoman, but allows her past to interfere with her future. Taylor is the perfect example of how holding on to the past and keeping secrets can cause a person to lose focus on things that matter most. She is so busy trying to win the love of others, that she looses who Taylor is and who Taylor needs to be. Like Taylor, we must learn to stop pleasing others, and instead let God guide us on how to have healthy relationships and who to be in a relationship with.

What are your other titles? Is this a sequel?
Happily Ever Now is my first novel. Someone to Love Me is the sequel.

Tell us discovered you were a writer?
Although I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school, I don’t think I realized that I was a writer until college. Friends and family would ask me to help them write papers, letters, and other written documents.

Then one day I read Disappearing Acts by Terri McMillan. I think I read that book in one day. The characters felt like people I knew and they dealt with issues that were real to me. I felt like I could write a story about “real” people, too. So, I went home and started writing my first novel.

What was your journey to publication like?
When I made the decision to follow my dream, I had no clue about where to begin or how to start. I had written a love story, but wasn’t sure where to go from there. I did some research in the library and discovered how to send query letters. After a few rejections, I felt God pushing me to do something different. I took several writing classes, became a part of a small writer’s group, became an intern for a local newspaper, and taught teachers how to incorporate writing into all subject areas.

While I was busy with all these activities, a co-worker stopped me one day and told me, “It’s never too late to follow your dream.” She had no idea what my dream was, or that I was becoming discouraged and frustrated in my pursuit of becoming published. Once again I felt God’s presence, and after praying for direction, I was led to Chicago.

I didn’t know what was ahead, but I moved to Chicago and several doors opened. Again, I took classes, organized and taught workshop for parents, and worked for a small magazine. I also met someone who had self-published her first novel. We became very good friends and eventually I became, in a sense, her assistant. Eventually, we started doing workshops together. And, it was at a book fair with my friend, that I met Joylynn Jossell. As I listened to Joylynn talk about shifting from mainstream writing to Christian fiction, my spirit jumped. I was struggling with the same thing at the time. When she was finished speaking, something inside me said, “Go talk to her.” I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I rambled on about my novel while she patiently listened. When I was done, she said, “Send me your first three chapters.” I cannot tell you how excited I was when I left that building.

As I think about my journey, I realize that God was preparing me for what was to come from the very beginning. One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11. I am often reminded that no matter what a situation looks like, or how long something seems to take, God has a plan for me. A plan to prosper me. So, I continue to move forward and wait for the day God brings my dreams into reality.

What’s been the most challenging part of being a published author? The most rewarding? I find that the most challenging aspect of being an author is time management. There are so many hats that an author must wear. I am an educational editor, so I understand the publishing process and business. There are deadlines that have to met, and many times you have to burn the midnight oil to meet them. You have to be a promoter, publicist, and accountant. You have to make time to attend events, visit book clubs, and organize book signings. Writing and planning your next book is only a portion of what needs to happen. If only there were more hours in the day …

Although there are many challenges, having the opportunity to touch so many people is extremely rewarding. When I decided to write Christian fiction, it was because I wanted to create stories that would promote healthy conversations, and in some way inspire others. Many readers have shared how my first novel touched their lives, either because they shared a similar experience, or because it encouraged them to communicate better or reflect on how their lives changed as a result.

The fellowship that occurred at the numerous book clubs I visited, have truly been a blessing. Together, the members of the book clubs and I have laughed, cried, and shared experiences that left us inspired and encouraged. It feels great to be a part of such a wonderful ministry.

What does Nicole enjoy doing when she’s not writing or promoting a book? I am a part of the sports ministry at my church, where I keep score for the basketball leagues. I belong to the Bravehearts ministry as well, and once a month the women in this group plan adventurous trips. I’ve been whitewater rafting, rock climbing, horseback riding … all things I never imagined I could do.

And, when I can, I also enjoy traveling back to my hometown in Philadelphia to visit family and close friends.

How can readers contact you?

It was great having Nicole on, so tell me, what do you think about things done in the dark coming to the light? True or not?


Cecelia Dowdy said...

Wow! This sounds like a good book! It touches upon an edgy issue that I'm sure a lot of couples have to deal with! I look forward to reading this story!

Renee Williams said...

It is definitely true that whatever is done in the dark will come to the light. It may take days, month, and even years, but it will eventually be made known.

Someone to Love Me sounds like a great book and I look forward to reading it.