naima simone

I am so pleased to have Naima Simone here at the Writer’s Block. Naima is brand new to Ellora’s Cave and she stopped by today to talk to us about her debut novel, Sweet Ultimatum.

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing
Hi, Nina! A little about myself…Well, my name is Naima Simone, I live in the southern US, but my dream home would be in one of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings! Complete with steepled church, cottage and lighthouse. I’m married and have two kids who-since I’ve received my first sale with Ellora’s Cave-go around the house yelling, we’re going to be rich!! I keep trying to explain, look, mom has to write a lot more books before that happens, but as we speak my son is listing all the PSP games he wants to buy and my daughter is stomping down the toys in her chest to make room for more! LOL!  Like most writers will say, I’ve been writing all my life, but the milestone that set me on the road to romance was the day reality pimp-slapped me and I realized the odds of me playing guitar in a rock band, meeting Ralph Tresvant from New Edition and marrying him were nil to “not gonna happen”. So, I decided to create a world where I it would! It’s been romance ever since.

Hey, I had that same band dream, only I wanted to be Barbra Steisand. Yeah, that is so not gonna happen. How about we not sing and you tell us a little about your book?
My book is titled, Sweet Ultimatum, and it’s a new release with Ellora’s Cave on October 23rd. Whoo-hoo! Ahem. Sorry. I promised my husband I would show some decorum in this interview. So, six years ago Caitlin Madison, my heroine, devastated Selig Richardson by breaking off their relationship and leaving. Now they’ve come face to face again and he plans to exorcise her memory that’s haunted him for all these years. And he intends to do it with her body. What Selig doesn’t know is Caitlin hurt him to save his life. That danger has now reawakened with their reunion and is stalking them again. So Caitlin has another choice to make-a life with the man she’s never stopped loving or break his heart again and save his life. You can read an excerpt HERE under the Books tab for your reading pleasure. A longer excerpt is under the Coming Soon page at Ellora’s Cave. Page 2. Third row. Second from the left. Or there about…

We’ll see if we can find it with those vague directions, Naima. *g* How about telling us a little more about Caitlin and Selig and how you discovered their story?
First, my guilty pleasure is tortured heroes. Whether they’re in historical, contemporary, paranormal or romantic suspense. I love ‘em! Selig is bitter, shipwrecked by a professional and moral crisis, and to top it off, he’s reunited with the woman who betrayed him after he’d given his soul to her. And Caitlin has a quiet strength that made me love her even as I wrote her. She faced a “suck and suckier” situation, as Dianna Love Snell would call it. She could risk Selig’s life by staying with him or save his life by letting him go. No matter which choice she made, she would lose. It took strength to make the decision she did, but it also takes courage to face the consequences of that decision six years later.

Wow, that’s an impossible decision for Caitlin. No right answer. I bet she wishes she could have waved a magic wand to make it all better. What if you had super powers? What would they be and what would you call yourself? 
Definitely the ability to run super fast. I’m going to reveal my age here, but as a kid I loved Thunder Cats! Cheetarah was my girl! So to run at supersonic speed would be my superpower. But, not just to run-run in really sexy knee-high boots with a five-inch heel. ‘Cause my costume would be a red leather catsuit.  And I’d have a weave ponytail swinging against my butt. I’d call myself “Dang, she’s fast and sexy”! You can see I’ve thought about this a while…

I could have sworn I saw you at the grocery store in that costume. Not you? Hmmm … perhaps you could tell us a little bit about your writing space. 
My writing space is wherever and whenever! Of course I have my desk at home, but I also carry my NEO so whenever an idea hits, I whip it out of my purse…hold on just a minute, Nina, because I know my husband is reading this…Yes! It is a purse, not a suitcase!…Okay I’m back. So, as I was saying, I just whip it out and get to writing.

Sounds like you’re prepared anytime you have a minute. Could you tell us a little more about your writing process? 
You know, a couple of years ago, I would’ve been like, what is this process thing you speak of? LOL! But, yes, I definitely have a process. I’m a plotter so I outline the characters, idea, plot, setting, etc. Super Notecard and the templates from Dianna Love and Mary Buckham’s Break into Fiction are the tools of my trade! And a large cup of McDonald’s coffee with seven creams and nine sugars. My father always said I could ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee! LOL! I don’t know about other writers, but the TV must be on, even if it’s muted. Also, I absolutely must have music. For romantic scenes, preferably Chicago-yes! Chicago! (I’m glaring at all those snickers!) And for the sexy scenes? Well, it depends on what kind of sex they’re having. It can swing from Jamie Foxx to Nine Inch Nails to…Chicago. I’m embarrassing myself, aren’t I? LOL!

Yeah, totally strange choice in old music (hides her Chicago albums behind her back). So that’s a little insight into Naima. But what if I asked your friends to name 3 personality traits, what would they say? 
They would say I’m vivacious, fun and charming because I have too much info on them. LOL! Okay, let me see…they would say I’m friendly, good for a laugh and sarcastic…but I don’t get that at all!

The sarcasm thing totally elludes me. Not sure why they would say that. *g* So tell us, what happened to the first novel you ever wrote? 
The first novel I ever wrote was about a cucumber named Fred. I think my mother may still have that in the collection I fondly call the Blackmail Archives. My first romance novel is in a deep dark trunk wrapped in chains and locks. And if anyone opens it they risk letting loose the apocalypse. In other words, I ain’t telling!

LOL! Well, then let’s just change the subject. I just got my royalty check and I’m trying to decide if I should buy these heels or these boots. What do you think?
Boots with heels!! Knee-high, black stiletto boots from Frederick’s of Hollywood that would make me feel like Mistress Naima.

Hey we could be twins, boots it is! Now enough about my footwear. I know you just went through editing. How did you find the process? 
Honestly, I was intimidated at first and afraid to open the email attachment! LOL! But, I just completed my third and final round and it truly wasn’t as bad as I imagined-and I promise you my imagination is active and in Technicolor…and it TIVOs! I’ll admit though, I did learn a very valuable lesson during my editing. Apparently I kept…uh…erroneously describing a certain aspect of the male anatomy. Finally, my editor had to “sit me down” and explain the correct…uh…placement. She was very nice about it, but I’m sure she was thinking, isn’t this chick married?? I called my husband and told him what I had discovered, and as head of Research and Development, he called a mandatory conference and what do you know? She was right! LOL! I’ll never make that mistake again!! See how valuable the editing process is? We never stop learning!

Oh, you so know I want to know more details about what you described. *g* But we’ll move on. Which would you prefer a hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with friends? 
Food wins every time!! BBQ. And as long as the friends bring their own, they can eat, too!

A woman after my own heart, urrr, my dinner. LOL! If you were sick in bed which movie would you watch and why? 
Hands down Mystic Pizza and Dirty Dancing! Mystic Pizza is the prototype chick flick. You have girlfriends and romance. Each character and relationship is unique but has its own happy ending, just in different ways. Dirty Dancing! I mean what woman didn’t wish she was Baby and had Johnny as a lover and dance partner? “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” That was the corniest line in the move, but one of my favorites!! I love that movie…It’s sexy, funny and triumphant. It’s a classic!

Oh, Patrick Swayze and Dirty Dancing! Be still my heart. I totally agree with you! Those are some great movies. Now that you have your first book on its way, what advice would you give aspiring authors? 
Join RWA. Join your local chapter of RWA. The knowledge, experience and support there is priceless. Find a good, supportive critique partner and guard her/him like gold. They’re that precious. And most of all press and have faith. My father shared something with me that continues to lift me up to this day. “Faith is hope standing on tiptoes”. As long as you have faith and hope that what you can’t see right now will come to pass, you’ll always press toward it. Even when it seems like every response is a rejection. Take it, learn from it and continue to move forward. I’m still doing it.

I love that saying of your father’s. Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers? 
Yes…Those PSP games are expensive so please buy the book! LOL! First and foremost, I’m a reader. Before I could pick up a pen, I read about Cinderella and Snow White. My goal is to make you feel how I did when the prince slipped the glass slipper on Cinderella. If my books accomplish that, I’m thrilled. I’m so excited that I have the opportunity to share Sweet Ultimatum with you. I hope you fall in love with Selig and Caitlin like I have. It’s available from Ellora’s Cave on October 23rd. I’m going to have a contest with give-a-ways the week leading up to the 23rd, so visit me at my website, for news and details. Also, when you go to the website, go under the Links tab and drool-I mean, view the Art Gallery. If you join my Yahoo Announcement group, I’ll keep you updated on my release date, debut of my cover, where I’m blogging at and whatever else I’m up to. Also, comment on my Hawtie of the Month. I blog on the newest Hawtie every 5th of the month. Hey! That’s today. Email and tell me who you think should appear as Hawtie of the Month! Please, feel free to drop me an email about Sweet Ultimatum, writing, this blog…I would love to hear from you. My email address is nsimone books @ aol.com (without the spaces).

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