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Q&A with LaConnie Taylor-Jones

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Marcel Baptiste is a wealthy entrepreneur and philanthropist. He meets Caitlyn Thompson, the head of a struggling youth center, when she appeals to his philanthropic foundation for funding. Marcel is smitten and begins wooing her, but she is a hard sell: she has relocated to Oakland after being beaten and raped by Cole, her controlling ex, and is very gun-shy when it comes to men. As Marcel falls more deeply under her spell, he decides that merely loving her isn’t enough: he must also help her vanquish the ghosts of her past.

Q&A With LaConnie Jones-Taylor, Author of "When I'm With You"

 

 

Q:  When did you decide you wanted to write?

A:  There was a single challenge that led me to become a writer - my husband.  In the spring of ’03, I was in bed reading a novel that was horrible.  It was pass midnight and I think my husband was tired of hearing me whine about the book because he said, “Honey, if you can write a better book do it, but baby, turn out the lights.”  Since I’d spent the last fifteen years of my career as a health educator doing technical writing, I took him up on the dare. I was determined to learn how to write fiction.  Since that night, I’ve never looked back. 

 

Q: How many novels in all have you written?

A: To date, I’ve written two full-length novels.

 

Q:  How long did it take you to write your first novel?

A:  I started writing my first novel, When I’m With You in August 2003 and finally completed it in May 2005.  Four months later, I began working on my second novel, When A Man Loves A Woman and finished it by the end of the year.  So, all-in-all, it was a little over three and a half years from first word to sale.

 

Q:  Where do you get your inspiration for your stories? Are the characters based on real people?

A:  The inspiration for my two full-length novels, When I’m With You and When A Man Loves A Woman came from my experience as a health educator.  For fifteen years, I’ve taught health education primarily to African American women in community-based settings.  Oftentimes, before I can lecture on the risk factors associated with chronic diseases disproportionally impacting African Americans, I have to deal with the soci-economic deterrents women face.  Unfortunately, domestic abuse and the betrayal women suffer in their relationships tops the list.

 

Q:  After writing your first novel, did you self-publish?? If so, how was that experience?

A:  No, I didn’t self-publish.  Instead, I went the traditional publishing route and accepted a contract from Genesis Press.

 

Q:  What feedback have you received from fans?

A:  The feedback from readers has been phenomenal!!  I truly appreciate their support and words of encouragement.

 

Q:  What authors do you admire? Did one of them inspire you?

A:  I particularly love works by authors Beverly Jenkins, Linda Howard, Brenda Jackson, Rochelle Alders and L.A. Banks, Eric Jerome Dickey, and Mary Morrison. Quite honestly, I’m inspired by every author who has the tenacity and perseverance to start and complete a manuscript whether it becomes published or not.   

 

Q:  Is writing your only passion?

A:  Oh, my no!!  By trade, I’m a public health educator and for the last fifteen this has been one of my greatest passions of my life.  Also, I’m actively involved with several social and civic organizations in my community. My passion is driven by the mission statement and contributions these organization make to the community.   

 

Q:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A:  In five years, I plan to be on the NYT Bestsellers List with at least ten books to my credit.

 

Q:  What advice would you give aspiring authors?

A:  The first tip I’d give is to prepare. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:  reading books from authors published in the genre you’re writing in, taking courses or workshops, entering contests, and if possible, speaking with published authors in your targeted genre. Once you have a workable draft of your manuscript, join a critique group and above all, accept constructive feedback.  All of these things will help in the end so that you’re providing a quality product for agents and editors to review.

 

A couple of books I’d highly encourage writers to purchase are: Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen and Writing Novels that Sells by Jack Bickham.

 

Q:  What would you like readers to learn from your stories?

A:  Actually there are three. First, I want readers to understand the beauty and power of love that exists between the right man and woman, Secondly, I want readers to know and cherish the importance of family. Finally, I hope readers can discover some strategies from my stories that they can apply to whatever real-life situation they’re facing to help overcome it.

 

Q:  Are you working on another novel? If so, What is it about?

A:  Yes!!  As a matter of fact, I currently have three Works-In-Progress. All are contemporary romances, which will be completed by the end of 2008.  One has already sold and is the continuation of my first two novels. Hopefully, it will make the 2008 publication schedule.

 

Q:  Where can people purchase your books? Do you have a website?

A:  My books are available for purchase at major bookstores across the country.  Also, it’s available on-line at:  Amazon.com; Barnes & Nobles; Books-A-Million.com; Mosiac.com and CushCity.com, to name a few.

 

Readers can visit my website at: http://www.laconnietaylorjones.com/

 

 

LaConnie Taylor-Jones

WHEN I'M WITH YOU - Genesis Press, Nov '07

www.laconnietaylorjones.com

www.myspace.com/laconnietaylorjones

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