Our interview today is with Nigeria Lockley. Thanks for being here Nigeria and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question #1 What is the best thing about being an author?
I think one of the best things about being an author is having the opportunity to see and experience life through a different set of eyes, via our characters.
Question #2 What are some of the challenges of being an author?
Striking a balance between writing the story you want to write and writing the story readers want to read can be challenging. Then you have be able to switch between being a creative genius to being business savvy and now that social media has become so essential to establishing a platform, marketing, and interacting with readers that’s a lot for an author to manage.
Question #3 Describe a Typical Day for You.
A typical day for me includes teaching, loving on my children, Boogie an Woogie, laughing at my hilarious husband, and somewhere in between either during my commute home or late in the midnight hour I jotting down my words.
Question #4 What genre(s) do you write? And why or how did you chose them?
I write Contemporary Christian Fiction. I learned about Christian Fiction after having given my life to Christ and abandoning my writing because I didn’t know how I could use my writing to glorify God, but once I found out that writing Christian Fiction didn’t necessarily mean that my characters had to wear bonnets or live in the 19th century I asked the Lord if I could write Christian Fiction. Once He gave me the green light I haven’t looked back.
Question #5 Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
I don’t always read in the same genre I write in. I began my writing career as a poet, so I still indulge in poetry and because I am a teacher I read a variety of things that include plays, short stories, and classic literature.
Question #6 What is something that readers would be surprised to know about you? Even though I have a degree in Creative Writing I never took a fiction writing class, so I am just running of the grace of God and not some set of skills or techniques that I honed in a university.
Question #7 When and how did the writing bug bite you? After my sister taught me how to read she wrote a book for me to make sure I could really read the words out of the context of her lessons. When I finished reading I promised her I would write her a book. Since 1984 I’ve had one true desire and that is to be an author.
Question #8 When you write, do you plot everything out or not? Why does that work for you?
I don’t plot or plan. I just let the characters live their lives on the page. I think it works for me because I am not formally trained, I’m just a writer who loves words, so when I do try to plot it out nothing comes out because language just has to flow.
Question #9 What is the best thing a reader or reviewer has ever said about you?
I think one of my favorite reviews came from a blogger Faith Simone of www.faithsimone.com and in her review she said, “If you want to read a book that will challenge your moral compass and have you feeling some type of way, then you HAVE to read Born at Dawn!” I never really saw the book in that light, so that made me feel really good.
Question #10 What is the worst thing a reader or reviewer ever said about you? How did you handle that?
The worst thing that a reviewer ever said was, ” The last 60 pages were the best and were much too late to make this more than a decent read. This is indeed a tale that needs to be told but the painting was much too drab. I encourage the author to liven up her characters and plot to build a momentum to reel her readers in and keep their attention.” I took it with a grain of salt. First of all, I understand that my work isn’t for everyone. Every book isn’t for everybody–for as many people as there are who love Harry Potter there’s someone who dislikes it. Secondly, I looked at the entire review and this reviewer was very disappointed in the actions of the protagonist and I believe that shaped her ultimate review of the book, because two sentences before the negative statement she stated something positive about the book. I am also very sure of the story and book I wrote. Domestic violence is dark, depressing, and scary. If you tell that story honestly and from the perspective all those involved the only light that can shine is Christ.
Question #11 If you could go to one place and write, where would it be and why?
I’ve always wanted to attend the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, R.I. It’s the quintessential writing retreat for all those who are serious about their craft and they’ve had some legendary teachers there in the past.
Question #12 If you could have one experience back to do over again, what would it be and why?
I don’t think there’s one experience I’d do over. All of my experiences have made me who I am today and I like who I am.
Question #13 Who do you consider a mentor in your life? What did that person teach you?
I consider Michelle Stimpson a mentor. She has taught me to put faith first and sit down and write.
Question #14 Is writing your only job? If not, tell us a little about your “day” job.
Writing is not my only job. I am a teacher as well. I teach English at a transfer school in Brooklyn. I work with students who are under-credited and over-aged. No two days are ever alike and I love that about my job.
Question #15 If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
I’d just be teaching, which I love just as much.
Question #16 What is your favorite verse in the Bible? Why?
I Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” is one of my many favorites. I think it tells me who am, where I came from, and how I got here, because of God calling me, looking for me just because I mattered to him.
Question #18 What is your favorite book? Why?
My favorite book of all time is For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange I love this book because of its lyricism, because of it’s integrity and variety. I love this book because the author’s creativity is evident, and it captures of plight that comes with life when we look for love in the wrong places so deftly.
Question #19 What other hobbies do you have?
I don’t really have any hobbies.
Question #20 What is your workspace like? Clean or chaos?
Chaos. I like to say I have an office, but it’s really a desk and every single day my children put their stuff in my office right after I tell them that nothing belongs in my office.
Question #21 How did you break into writing?
I broke into writing through a pitch session offered at the Faith and Fiction Retreat of 2012. At the retreat I was able to pitch my novel, Born at Dawn and give the publisher the first four chapters of the novel. After she reviewed the first four chapters she requested the whole manuscript and I am now a published author.
Question #22 Where can people find you on the Internet?
I’m all over the place however I’m more successful on some sites than others.
My website and blog can be found at: http://www.nigerialockley.com
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NigeriaLockley/posts/p/pub
Question #23 What advice do you have for other authors?
Don’t write what you believe people want to hear, don’t write what you believe will sell, write the story you want to tell. The rest happens when you edit.
Question #24 Tell us about your book.
Born at Dawn Chronicles what happens when Cynthia Barclay decides she can no longer wait on God to deliver her from her abusive marriage, so she abandons her hope, husband, and two young sons.
Question #25 Tell us about the characters in your book.
Marvin Barclay is Cynthia’s husband. He is emotionally and physically abusive towards Cynthia. Their relationship wasn’t always like that, but as life beat up on Marvin he beat up on his wife. Cynthia is new in her faith and turns to God as a last resort in a sense, but when He doesn’t move at the speed she would like Cynthia takes matters into her own hands. Keith and James are their two beautiful boys (I really love these boys) who are caught in the crossfire of this war.
Question #26 Do you include your own life in your books? Why or why not?
I don’t include my own per se, however I do use insight that I have gained from similar experiences to craft my characters.
Question #27 What is special to you about this book?
It’s my first book. There’s nothing more special than that.
Question #28 What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I hope that readers recognize the importance of waiting on the Lord regardless of what the situation looks like. Even in situations that involve domestic violence if you are a believer every move you make in response should still be directed by the Lord and not a temporary solution that you came up with.
Question #29 What’s your favorite “treat”?
My favorite treat is Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.
Question #30 Morning or night, which is the best and why?
As long as I wake up I don’t care what time of day it is.
Question #31 Favorite season and why?
My favorite season is a toss up between Fall and Spring. Fall is so beautiful, however the temperature and the atmosphere during Spring is comfortable and euphoric.
Question #32 Favorite sport and why?
I love football. I don’t actually play it I just watch it. I love the fact that every person is necessary to get the job done.
Question #33 Least favorite household or yard chore?
My least favorite chore is probably cleaning the bathroom.
Question #34 Least favorite thing to do?
My least favorite thing to do is grade. It’s one aspect of my job I could do without.
Question #35 Favorite thing to do?
Write and when I’m not doing that I love reading and hanging with my family. They are all very comical.
Question #36 You have a whole day to go anywhere and do anything. What would that be and why?
Shopping. I just love trying on different outfits and mixing and matching patterns. I might need to amend my answer to a question you asked me earlier. I wasn’t a writer or a teacher I’d probably pursue a career in fashion. Fashion is fun.
Question #37 Pose a question for our readers to answer.
What’s an issue or a theme that you’d like to see me address in my future work?
About the Author:
Nigeria Lockley possesses two Master’s degrees, one in English Secondary Education, which she utilizes as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second Master’s degree is in Creative Writing. Born at Dawn is Nigeria’s first published novel. Nigeria serves as the Vice President of Bridges Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that assists student parents interested in pursuing a degree in higher education. She is also the deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Church of God. Nigeria is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters. Join her online at NigeriaLockley.com