The bold and the beautiful
harness the spotlight
to uncover the drama
in the darkness
of deception & desire.
–by A. C.
Describe what “gumbo genre” is to your readers.
I’ve dubbed myself as “the gumbo genre” novelist because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned. I write stories with drama, drizzled with suspense, seasoned with romance, and peppered with a few good laughs and an occasional cry. I try to be unique, especial with series’ so readers aren’t seeing patterns throughout the installments. For example, the Shaw Family Saga, Miss Nobody was a mixture of drama and touched on suspense. Miss Scandalous added to the fire of emotions. And Miss Perfect, the newest book, will no doubt leave the reader gasping for breath. With gumbo, every bite is new and unique.
What is one experience as a counselor that has impacted you the most? Has it influenced your writing?
I’ve listened to horror story after horror story–that is life for teenagers and little children. A student whose mother was murdered by a Los Angeles serial killer–I’ll never forget his motivation to succeed through it all. A five year old that is left at home alone, a high schooler that comes home to find the apartment empty and parents have moved without telling him, so now he’s a gang member. They believe that being in a gang provides them with family. One girl similar to teenage Raven is in an abusive relationship. These girls lose themselves in guys that are “popular” as Raven did with Chris in Miss Nobody. Their stories work on my emotions slowly, and I can literally feel Raven’s depression in the first two books.
What can fans expect from Miss Perfect?
They can expect Raven to be foolish. If you stuck with me through the long haul, you might even think of her as a distance cousin always getting into trouble…yes, we all have them; family members who never learn. Her actions will continue to impact her ability to heal from abandonment and her relationship with Charlene. Get ready for action because the Shaw Family Saga has evolved. And there will be blood.
How do your characters deal with their abandonment issues?
Charlene redirects her issues into the form of acting. She will overcompensate for not taking care of Raven by going overboard with Trinity and trying to help Raven–even though helping Raven can put her in a state of danger. Raven is very internal, holding in her problems and tries to keep secrets. I do show theme evolving somewhat, because learning to cope is a lifetime process.
Describe your writing process.
I co-weave drama by writing the first draft of a story and making bullet points for some of the plot to be answered in other series. There are issues from Miss Nobody that have traveled over to Miss Perfect. Not big ones where the reader has sat for hours wondering why this occurred or didn’t. I wouldn’t do that. It gets annoying. But when you get to book three, your bottom lip will drop, realizing that a small issue in book one was sooo very important.
What advice can you offer to new writers?
Get a thick skin. Not all stories are for everybody. You will get a review from a reader who thinks the story should have gone left when it went right. Read every review, take some of your fans advice, oftentimes it is useful. I’ve had book clubs invite me to discussions, and they come up with themes in my stories that I didn’t even know I had. It is awesome.
If Raven was a student at your high school when you were a student, how would she interact with your classmates? Would you two be friends?
Raven is generally nice to all until you mess with her family. If you have her total trust and abandon or are disloyal to her she will turn into a beautiful monster. I think we would be friends, not close. She has a best friend already and is comfortable with not being the center of attention.
Miss Perfect: Shaw Family Saga, Book 3
Their desire for perfection will be… shattered
Charlene Shaw embodies perfection as a highly-acclaimed actress. Within her gilded walls of beauty, she is scrambling to save her daughter, Raven, from sins she can’t even fathom. This is her self-imposed curse for abandoning Raven as a child.
Raven Shaw is captivatingly gorgeous but burdened by a closet of skeletons. After a rough childhood, she is finally living life. Jon, her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved, has returned. Yet, a stalker looms just out of reach, blackmailing her for Jon’s fortune. She’d do anything to keep this man–even if it means turning to another… Mysterious, handsome Tyriq may have the key to erase her deepest, darkest secrets forever. Yet, this savior might threaten her mind’s rationale of “happily ever after” with Jon.
In this intense third installment of the Shaw Family Saga there will be blood, murder, and a beloved …will be shattered.
Nicole Dunlap holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Child Development, and a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling from Azusa Pacific University–mantra Jesus first. She counsels in the inner city of San Bernardino; motivating teens dealing with depression, pregnancy, gang membership and abuse. She has been self dubbed the “gumbo genre” novelist, because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned… Her stories revolve around family and relationships, women’s issues, drizzled with drama, peppered with suspense, and finished off with aromatic notes of romance. The Shaw Family Saga pays homage to dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships, with well developed characters that readers can root for; love them, hate them, cry for, and most of all, yearn to flip through the pages to the end of that character’s journey.
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