As a follow-up to my book review of Have You Seen Her? by Chicki Brown, please allow me to present to you an interview with Chicki!
Chicki went into full-time writing after a job layoff. She was a Grand Prize winner in the Black Expressions Book Club Fiction Writing Contest and has two books published. Her third book, Hollywood Swinging, will be released on May 2011.
Why did you choose to write a story involving a character who is a physical abuser?
Domestic abuse spans all socio-economic levels. I decided to write this story because I’ve heard about the struggle that poor and middle class women have escaping from abusive husbands, but I wondered what a wealthy woman would do in this circumstance.
Have You Seen Her? isn’t just a story about a spousal abuse though. The abuser in the story appears in only a few scenes. It’s a story about the love Dani discovers once she leaves a very sick relationship. She learns that there is such a thing as pure, gentle, sacrificial love.
Are there any plans to market Have You Seen Her? in hard copies?
No. I made the choice to publish in electronic format for several reasons. First, I was sick and tired of getting comments from editors like, “We loved the story, but it just doesn’t fit into our current line-up. Or, “The writing was great, but we don’t have a spot for it at this time,” etc., etc.
I also knew that the Big 6 houses were only paying between 6-20% royalties, and authors were lucky if they received anywhere near the high en0 of the royalty scale unless they were New York Times bestsellers.
Direct e-publishing offers authors significantly higher royalties 60-85% of the cover price, which is only right considering they are the creators of the work. Right now I don’t think I would sign a traditional publishing contract if I were offered one.
What do you think of electronic books versus “real” (hard copy) books?
Well, I guess I answered part of that already, but there are other reasons I love e-books. They aren’t the wave of the future. The future is already here. I don’t think paper books will disappear altogether, but e-books will eventually dominate the market. We are living in an electronic age with smart phones, tablet devices like the iPad and e-readers becoming commonplace in most households.
In addition, I love the convenience of being able to take my entire current li8brary with me everywhere I go. If I want to switch from one book to another, all I need to do is press a button.
I have been a book lover since I was a child, but I am also a person who likes change. In my opinion, it is the words that make a story, not what they’re printed on. Readers have the same experience with the words whether they’re on a screen or on dead trees! It’s the words that matters.
Can you please tell us a little-known fact about yourself?
Chicki Brown is my real name. The Chicki is the nickname I was given when I was two days old by my father who said when I was born I had feet that looked like a chicken. J The Brown is my maiden name. I use the pseudonym because I think it’s easy to remember.
What is your favorite book? Why is it a favorite?
I have so many favorites. There are two that stand out among the hundreds on my keeper shelves are Topaz by Beverly Jenkins and Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward.
I loved Topaz because it depicts tender, emotional love and romance between African-American characters. Ms. Jenkins is the premiere author of black romance who often writes in historical settings based on real facts, characters and settings in U.S. history.
Lover Eternal, the second book in Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, was only the second paranormal romance I’d ever read, and it was mind-blowingly sexy. The hero, a vampire warrior named Rhage, is the ultimate damaged alpha male. Her world-building skills and erotic bent are incredible.
I highly recommend both authors to anyone looking for a change of pace in their reading diet.
How has your writing journey been so far?
Tedious, frustrating, challenging and unbelievably rewarding. I’ve been writing for ten years now. My second career began when the first one took an unexpected turn due to a job layoff. I started writing at work out of sheer boredom, just to have something to do. When what started out to be a short story turned into a full-length novel, I asked several people to read it. They all encouraged me to seek publication. It was a great story, but since I knew nothing about the craft of writing, I made the huge mistake of submitting that first manuscript to editors. Of course I was rejected numerous times. That rejection only encouraged me to find out what I was doing wrong. I put that manuscript away and began a second, this time simultaneously studying the craft. Over the next six years, I joined a local writer’s group, participated in online critique groups, signed with an agent, became a member of Romance Writers of America/Georgia Romance Writers, and even led a local writer’s group for three years dumped one agent and signed with another. Eventually I started researching the industry.
Being the gadget girl that I am, the introduction of the Kindle in 2007, grabbed my attention. Author Joe Konrath’s fantastic Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog had become part of my daily reading. When he began his experiment in publishing to Kindle, I followed it closely. His success convinced me to try a Kindle experiment of my own. I figured if I could even sell a few books, I’d make more than I had been making, which was nothing! It has proven to be a very positive experience. My books are developing a following and the reviews have been wonderful.
The best part of the journey has been meeting so many incredible new people – readers, writers, reviewers, and book bloggers like yourself.
Anything else you would like to add?
The publishing industry is changing at breakneck speed, and these changes are in favor of authors. I’d like to encourage writers out there to take advantage of those changes and not allow fear to hinder them.
To the readers, I’d like to encourage them to experiment with the new technology and try a different reading experience. They just might be pleasantly surprised.
Thank you so much for having me, Evangeline. It was a pleasure.
You’re welcome, Chicki. Thank you for doing this email interview with me.
For more information about Chicki and how you can buy her books, please visit her website at www.chicki663.webs.com. Note that you do not need an e-reader device to buy any of her e-books. You can download the free Kindle app for computers. You can read my review of Have You Seen Her? at Review: Have You Seen Her by Chicki Brown.