Not only is MJ my colleague and one of my Pink Diamond Inspirations, but she is also my friend and when I see a friend do well, I'm happy to help them celebrate any and all accomplishments.
I was lucky enough to beta read this story and I absolutely loved it. I know you will too.
Today MJ is my guest blogger. In this post, she answers the question:
“How much of this story is real, and how much is made up?”
Chances are there are a lot more personal experiences weaved into the pages than you know.
The stories I write are a combination of Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, and Interracial Romance. My life experiences have crossed several of these paths…well, except for being in an interracial relationship. I am a firm believer that love can be found where we least expect it, and should be appreciated and cherished. This is the reason why I choose to write characters from various racial backgrounds, mixing themes into a slice of daily life.
I also believe life experiences – even the bad ones – can be the best teacher. These experiences can come from our own lives or they can come from what we’ve observed from those around us. Every event is an opportunity to learn something, which is why I incorporate life lessons into my work; lessons that open readers’ minds. I was asked once during an interview if I had plans to write a self-help book because of the topic presented in one of my stories. The novel she referred to was A Heart Not Easily Broken.
The subject matter deals with the realistic issues faced with interracial dating, but this is the background to the story’s main theme:
Ebony Campbell makes an attempt to recover after being raped. The fact that she was in an interracial relationship added spice to the story, especially when she tries to keep the secret from her boyfriend, family, and friends. In the end, she learns a very important lesson. Was this subject matter one that addressed my past? No, but I know of women who have lived with this type of pain with no one being the wiser. They have managed to become stronger women and not let what happened to them ruin their future, which is exactly the type of message I wanted my readers to receive.
In Jaded, Yasmine Phillips lives up to the story’s name. After years of dealing with bad relationships, she decided “friends-with-benefits” relationships suited her best. But, as most women who secretly want to be in a fulfilling relationship do, she falls in love again with the wrong man. Determined to protect her already damaged heart, she focuses on self-improvement and starting her own business. Little does she know that helping one woman gain her self-esteem again after a bout with breast cancer, will lead her to the man of her dreams.
But a secret she’s forced to keep could destroy their promise of forever.
Sometimes, it’s best to follow your heart instead of your head. As the author, I have been married to my high school sweetheart for nearly twenty years, so I’ve never experienced this type of pain. However, I have lost several family members to breast cancer and can relate closely to what the male character, Zachariah Givens, experiences when dealing with his mother’s illness.
In my latest release, Lonely Heart, Kaitlyn Rodgers is about to face motherhood alone. The man who promised her forever took that dream away, leaving her to raise a child he no longer wants to acknowledge. Now alone, she takes in her wild-child sister, who has issues of her own, and risks her career as an assistant costume designer in Hollywood, in order to provide a comfortable life for her unborn child.
Determined to succeed, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to provide the loving home she didn’t experience when growing up. Does a man have to be part of it? Not in her world. But it’s funny how love finds its way in when you least expect it. Just like secrets from her past.
Have I experienced being a single parent to my four kids? No, but my father died when I was ten, and I watched my mother’s attempts to find love again over the years.
What does this all mean?
Authors don’t have to experience the exact same issues their characters face in order to write a good story. We pull from what experiences we’ve had, learn from those around us, and use our imagination to fill in the rest. When done correctly, we can come up with characters our readers can relate to, even in the minutest way.
So, how much of your favorite author can be found in that book your reading? If written well, you’ll never know… J
After watching his father struggle to raise a family by himself, auto mechanic Antonio Rodriguez refuses to follow his father’s footsteps…even if it means a lifetime of loneliness.
When Kaitlyn’s car breaks down, though, Antonio goes beyond auto repairs to take care of her needs. An unexpected friendship begins, allowing them a glimpse of happiness…until the father of Kaitlyn’s child returns, ready to offer her marriage and a future. But at what cost?
Ms. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men carrying a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.
No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and four pit bulls.
MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.
In addition to writing, MJ is the director of a writer’s group which meets at Barnes & Noble, is the Newsletter Editor for the Romance Novels in Color website, shares writing tips, introduces her readers to new authors, and shares her personal experiences on her blog, This Writer’s Life. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.
MJ can be found online connecting with readers and other authors sharing her writing, and talking about music, life, and family via the links below: