JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Nicole Dunlap, author of “Miss Scandalous: Shaw Family Saga Book 2”
A Mother’s Love vs. A Daughter’s Revenge.
Charlene Shaw has gone through hell. She was raped and left for dead, yet she continued on her quest for fame. She’s a beautiful, desired actress who has found her Mr. Wright.
According to the magazine headlines, her life is perfect. There’s just one thing her heart cries for…her daughter, Raven. This might be her hardest challenge yet: building the mother-daughter bond she’s prayed so hard for.
Raven Shaw has been abandoned by love. Her mom preferred Hollywood and her childhood best-friend, now ex-lover, disappeared when she became pregnant. Now, she’s adjusted to a “new” kind of love…motherhood. She’s determined that her daughter will have everything she didn’t.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Miss Scandalous: Shaw Family Saga Book 2″?
Nicole Dunlap: “Miss Scandalous” is the second part of the dysfunctional lives of Raven and Charlene Shaw. I was initially inspired to write about Raven because I have counseled a lot of children and teens who’ve been abandoned by their parents.
Some of them have a very tarnished outlook on reality. They grow older and either overcome or give in to the mindset that they’ve created. Raven has bits and pieces of any neglected child’s worldview going through her mind.
JP: What sets “Miss Scandalous: Shaw Family Saga Book 2” apart from other books in the same genre?
ND: I write character driven stories where you can fully relate to and think about the characters long after finishing “Miss Scandalous”. The stories that stay on a reader’s mind after ending have the greatest impact. As humans, I’m only referencing those who strive for the best in themselves. We are neither perfect nor are we imperfect – villain or heroine.
In The Shaw Family Saga, a reader may not like every character all the time. At some point, a reader will grow to love Charlene and Raven. They might even get on your nerves, but you will understand why they react in the way that they do. That’s life. The plot is intensified by interesting characters that don’t follow a simple formula of designated bad person or good person.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few characters that may need to be bonked upside the head by the end of “Miss Scandalous”. But, if readers don’t relate or feel for the characters because the book is solely focus on plot, why would the reader care about his or her issues?
I’ve painted a vivid picture of these characters’ emotions, dark, light, and in between so readers can root for them. Love them. Hate them. Cry for them. Most of all, yearn to flip through the pages to the end of that character’s journey.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Miss Scandalous: Shaw Family Saga Book 2” getting out to the public?
ND: Determination it is the most fundamental mindset to have when being a self-published author. It encompasses faith, motivation, and the resolve that I have while doing the dreaded marketing.
Since I am also a counselor, my stories also deal with the issue of neglect which is a very detrimental problem when it comes to families. Charlene started the turbulence in their tense relationship when she abandoned Raven, as a child, in “Miss Nobody”.
I am showing how a disconnected mother-daughter bond affects all involved from the way that Charlene attempts so desperately to regain Raven’s trust in “Miss Scandalous” to the way Raven has a fear of abandonment that encompasses her relationship with friends, family, and romantic partners.
These problems will continue to arise in “Miss Perfect”, book three, because the issue can last over a lifetime, depending on how it is dealt with. Having that thought in mind, I am motivated to have as many people as possible read my stories.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Miss Scandalous: Shaw Family Saga Book 2”?
ND: I have a sporadic, yet systematic, writing process. It usually takes six months to start and finish a book. During the first round, I write it all out. The scenes might be excessively long, but writing is therapy.
Then I let it sit for a while and work on the next in the series. Once I’ve done that, I go back and add tie-ins from the first book draft to the second.
To me, grammar is evil, so I get to self-medicate by writing a new story at the same time that I readdress the inconsistencies and riddled grammatical errors within the old one.
JP: What’s next for Nicole Dunlap?
ND: “Miss Perfect” will show my constant need to evolve as the “gumbo genre novelist.” The story will have more mystery, action, and suspense but, I will never stray from the drama base.
Right now, I’ve finished the second round of drafts. It’s like completing a puzzle as I weave words and create tension.