A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
Contemporary women’s fiction/romance author Chicki Brown has been featured in USAToday. She was the 2014 B.R.A.B. (Building Relationships Around Books) Inspirational Fiction Author and also the 2011 SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) Author of the Year. Chicki was also a contributing author to the Gumbo for the Soul: Men of Honor (Special Cancer Awareness Edition).
Nia Forrester, Beverly Jenkins, Eric Jerome Dickey, Lisa Kleypas, J.R. Ward and Suzanne Brockmann are among her favorite authors.
A transplanted New Jersey native who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, Brown still misses the Jersey shore.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Atlanta, GA? Atlanta, Georgia has one of the largest and most vibrant literary communities in the nation, especially for authors of color, and I am proud to be among their ranks.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I kind of stumbled into it. I wrote a little in middle school and during my early twenties, but in 2001 I started writing a short story that morphed into a 400-page novel. The experience taught me that I had what it takes to complete an entire book.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? My mother was an avid reader. I remember her ordering those Reader’s Digest condensed books and constantly going to the library. As a result, I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. When most of the neighborhood kids were outside playing after school, I was reading.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In 2001, I started writing a short story on the job because it was so slow, and I didn’t have much to do. In a matter of months, that story grew into a 400-page novel. A coworker encouraged me to start submitting it to editors (big, huge mistake). I never published that story, but it proved to me that I had what it took to complete an entire novel.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? I have to say it was when I won the grand prize in the Black Expressions Book Club Fiction Writing Contest in 2004. There were hundreds of entries, and mine was chosen as the best. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement!
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? There have been many. The most recent one was having the third book in my series reviewed in USA Today. Another was when a woman who’d read one of my faith-based novels contacted me. She said she’d grown up in a traditional mainline denomination and hadn’t been involved since she became an adult. The character’s journey in my novel affected her so deeply that she made the decision to return to church, because she wanted to raise her children up knowing the Lord.
How many published books do you have? Eleven.
Please list the titles of all your books:
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing
A Woman's Worth (The Stafford Brothers Book One)
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough (The Stafford Brothers Book Three)
Have You Seen Her?
Hot Fun In The Summertime
I Can't Get Next To You
I'm Losing You (The Stafford Brothers Book Four)
The WG2E All-For-Indies Anthologies: Viva La Valentine Edition
Till You Come Back To Me (The Stafford Brothers Book Two)
You Make Me Feel Brand New
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? Before. All of my book titles come from old school R&B songs, my favorite music.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write contemporary romance, women’s fiction and inspirational/faith-based romance. These are my favorite genres to read, so I guess it’s just natural that I’d want to write them.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? Since Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough is the third book in my Stafford Brothers series, I wanted to make Greg Stafford different from his two brothers that were featured in Books One and Two. I asked myself what could be the worst possible thing to happen to him. He comes from a well-known family with a stellar reputation. The answer that came to me was scandal, so I decided to put Greg into a situation that shames his family and puts his career in jeopardy.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Don’t isolate yourself. Join author/writer groups online or locally. Spending time with other like-minded people makes all the difference. You will learn and be encouraged by what they know.
Who is your favorite author and why? Beverly Jenkins. She is the grand dame of historical African-American fiction. Her books are not only wildly romantic and sexy, but they are also based on factual events/places in history, and she includes her research at the end of each book.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough
If you are a multi-book author please tell me three of YOUR favorite (published) book titles: Don't Stop Till You Get Enough (The Stafford Brothers Book Three), Have You Seen Her, A Woman's Worth (The Stafford Brothers Book One).
New York TV personality Greg Stafford has been hiding a secret for years. When this secret is exposed to the world, he has to fight to restore his image with the public, his family and his belief in himself.
Therapist Rhani Drake spends her days listening to people’s problems and helping them to overcome their challenges. When Greg Stafford shows up at her office, she isn’t ready for the problems he creates in her life.
Featured Book Two: Have You Seen Her? by Chicki Brown
Marcia Hadley, Santa Barbara, California socialite has been married for seven years to the heir of a family fortune. He sees to it that she has the finest home, cars and clothes. Yet that isn’t enough to keep Marcia from running.
Dani Reynolds, Atlantic City nightclub cocktail waitress works on her feet seven hours a night, five days a week for less than minimum wage in a crowded, smoky nightclub. She lives in an aging, run-down apartment, rides the city bus, and she’s happier than she’s ever been.
Marcia and Dani have more in common than anyone could imagine. They are the same woman.
Only Taylor Villanova, the club’s sexy bouncer can help her reconcile her two distinct personas, face her greatest fear and discover a love greater than she’d ever imagined.
Featured Book Three: A Woman's Worth (The Stafford Brothers Book One) by Chicki Brown
Gianne Marvray has been through the worst two years of her life physically and emotionally. After a battle with cancer and all it entails, she is finally ready to start living her life again. She wants to see new places, meet new people and experience new things, but she isn’t ready for the rollercoaster ride she’s about to embark on when she meets Las Vegas personal trainer and raw vegan foods advocate, Marc Stafford.
After a four year absence, Marc comes home to Atlanta to attend a family celebration in one of his brother’s honor. He’s not thrilled about seeing his father, but he has promised his mother that he won’t throw off the family balance by being the only one of their six sons absent. All Marc wants to do is make an appearance at the event and spend a little time with his brothers. Little does he know that this is the night he will meet the woman who will forever change his life.
BONUS MATERIAL INCLUDED: 1st chapter of Chicki Brown’s next novel, TILL YOU COME BACK TO ME, coming Winter 2014.