Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Interview with Chicki Brown

Tonight it is my pleasure to present an interview with Chicki Brown, author of Hot Fun in the Summertime, released on November 26, 2010. Chicki is one of my critique partners and a talented new writer who resides in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Check out her latest release and my interview to follow:

Hot Fun in the Summertime deals with the complexities of friendships between women, between men and women, and friendships that change and grow into something deeper.

Seven very different singles – four women and three men – rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer: author Shontae Nichols, self-employed accountant and realtor, Linda Harris, Linda’s sister, hip-hop video dancer Kinnik Watkins, cosmetologist, Jovita Blassingame, Calculus professor Curtis “Doc” Whetstone, actor and drama instructor, Kip Lee, and new housemate, up and coming film actor, Devon Burke.

During their two month stay, romances bloom friendships are tested and when a tragedy strikes one of the housemates, they all learn the answer to the age-old question: Can men and women ever be just friends?

What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a child, but I had never written anything. My first novel, which fortunately was never published, resulted from utter boredom on a job that was experiencing a slow period back in 2002. I began typing what was supposed to be a short story just to give myself something to do. The story ended up being 400 pages. That’s when I discovered I could write, but I still had years of learning about the craft and the industry ahead of me.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Getting the story to flow without any loose ends, changing details or plot holes at the end. Remembering all of the plot points in a 400-page novel is a major job. It requires keeping copious notes and takes several readings by several people to spot those problems. Thank God for critique partners!

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Honestly, I don’t think so. My problem is that I have too many ideas floating around in my head! There have been times though when I’ve been too tired or too discouraged to write. When that happens, I usually just put the story away for a day or two and immerse myself in reading instead. Reading is my fuel.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?
The 1983 movie, The Big Chill has always been one of my favorites. It dealt with a bunch of people coming together for the funeral of one of their college friends. I loved the ensemble cast with their different issues. More recently, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married 1 & 2 featured a similar theme -- a group of couples going away together for a vacation.
I wanted to do something similar but featuring all singles. The story takes place at the Jersey shore, but is nothing like the television show.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Making each of the characters different. I wanted to be sure each of the housemates had a unique personality and distinct goals. This part of the process was a lot of fun, and I ended up with a New-Agey accountant, a self-centered video dancer, a cerebral college professor, a sex-obsessed player, a big-hearted, jovial cosmetologist, a sensitive creative writer, and a success-driven, ultra-good-looking aspiring actor.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Definitely. It’s that true friendship will overcome differences. The friendships between the women are the focus of the story, and sibling rivalry, jealousy, disappointments and tragedy threaten their relationships.

What are your goals as a writer?
To develop a broad base of loyal readers. If I can determine what my readers like or dislike, I can write better stories that will appeal to them and keep them coming back for more.

Who is your favorite author and why?
I have several favorites, those authors whose books I will buy without hesitation. J.R. Ward, Eric Jerome Dickey, Beverly Jenkins, Suzanne Brockmann and Lisa Kleypas are at the top of the list. Ward writes the best vampire stories with grown and sexy heroes. Her world-building skills are amazing! Dickey is a master at depicting African-American life at all socio-economic levels, Jenkins writes the sexiest historical and contemporary romances featuring African-American characters, Brockmann is the queen of what I call “action romance” with true Alpha males, and I am in awe of Kleypas’ skill at crafting emotional romances that leave me sighing.

Where can we purchase the book?
Hot Fun in the Summertime is available at Amazon.com for Kindle, PC, Mac, iPad and phone. at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004DI7KI0 It’s also available at BN.com for the Nook at: http://su.pr/2CVnhi

Thank you, Chicki! Good luck and continued success!