JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Kimani Lauren, author of Love, Najae
(Perfectly Polished Words)
Beautiful, cherished, loved, adored – the four things Najae wanted from her parents and step-mother. Instead she was abused, neglected, treated as a burden, and ignored.
One abusive move too many from her step-mother opens everyone’s eyes. Harsh truths are revealed It seems hopeful that someone will finally love Najae. But at what cost, and will it happen too late?
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Love, Najae?
Kimani Lauren: I wrote this book for a girl I knew who was in the essence of Najae who shared Najae’s struggle. Being the child of a broken marriage is never easy. When the parents move on to new love interests, the children tend to get lost in the shuffle.
I knew this girl’s story, and I wanted to open the eyes of parents who were more interested in keeping their spouses happy than their children. I also wanted to be the voice for children/teenagers in this situation.
JP: What sets Love, Najae apart from other books in the same genre?
KL: It’s written for the love of writing rather than the love of money. When I put this book out, it was solely to let people know that Kimani Lauren is a writer who is addicted to the art of language.
At the same time, it isn’t just a story. It’s my heart speaking. As I said before, I wrote this book for a girl I knew who was in the essence of Najae. Well, that girl was me. This is the answer to my lifelong question, “What if I never taught myself to love myself?”
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Love, Najae getting out to the public?
KL: Social media is the biggest blessing ever. Not many people I know in my every day interactions are readers. Through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc., I’m able to connect with people who are interested in my work based solely off of my personality. They want to support me because of the little piece of me that they see online.
There’s also word-of-mouth. There isn’t a person I pass on a daily basis that I don’t let know about my book. I even have my cover as a screen saver on my phone. Since I’m terrible at making small talk, this is a great conversation opener.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Love, Najae?
KL: Usually, it takes upward from a year for me to finish a book, but I have gotten better. With this one, I started it as a series of Facebook notes.
People were hooked. They wanted more, and that prompted me to get it out faster. I believe it took me no more than 3 1/2 weeks to complete my first draft. It’s close to a year later that I finally decided to get serious and put Love, Najae out on the market.
JP: What’s next for Kimani Lauren?
KL: Next I plan to build my circle of readers. Then I’m going to release my first full length novel, Consider Your Ways. After that I’m going to release Why I Shot Him. Then I’m going to sit down and finish the teen series I started working on long ago.
Then, I’m going to start going after awards. I always had winning Newberry and Pulitzer prizes on my lifetime goals. Those need to be accomplished soon.
Love, Najae will be available on Kindle for $0.99 on February 1, 2012.