I'm proud to announce my second ever guest blogger, this time it's my friend Farrah Rochon who's first book, Deliver Me comes out today. It's also the first African American romantic fiction novel to openly discuss post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. The very sensitive subject was inspired by Farrah's own local observations of the aftermath of Katrina. Deliver Me is a story though of love and rebirth rather than tragedy and is the third book in Dorchester's new African American romance line. You better not have rolled your eyes to the romance part. Romantic fiction accounts for 54.9% of all popular mass-market fiction sold and $1.2 billion in sales each year. Yes, I'm being defensive!
The coolest thing though about Farrah is that she's truly a super sweet person and I've been inspired by her journey to get this book published. Last year, Farrah bravely left her safe job in order to pursue her dreams of becoming a published author despite the risk and her friends encouraging her to leave New Orleans like many others. OK, I'll let her tell the rest in the following Q&A.
How did you begin writing?
Farrah Rochon: The pat answer to this question is usually “I’ve always loved to write”, right? Yeah, well, that doesn’t really apply to me. Writing isn’t something I’ve always had a burning desire to do; however, it is something I’ve always been able to do really well. Writing was always easy for me. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I seriously considered writing a romance novel. By that time, I had rediscovered my love for reading fiction after being sidetracked for a few years by the introduction of Super Mario Brothers during junior high and my early high school years. While studying Psychology during my undergrad years, I thought it would be an exciting challenge to take a few of those voices in my head and give them life. All it took was a pen, notebook, and a professor who believed in my writing ability. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tell me a little about Deliver Me.
Even though it's my first published work of fiction, Deliver Me was actually the fifth manuscript I completed. It is centered around two doctors, Elijah Holmes, a handsome, sexy Ob-gyn who is known as ‘Super Doc’ to his colleagues, and Monica Gardner, a new ER physician who relocates to New Orleans from St. Louis. Monica and Eli butt heads at their first meeting, but soon find themselves working together to save the hospital’s beloved Parenting Center. Deliver Me was originally written pre-Hurricane Katrina, but at the urging of my editor, I changed the book’s setting to post-Katrina New Orleans. The city is almost its own character in the book. I am really pleased with the way it turned out.
What role has the internet played in your writing success?
Was there a world before the internet? I’d hate to go back to those days. The internet has been instrumental to my writing. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that none of this would be happening if not for the internet. Years ago, I started posting on the message board of one of my favorite authors. At the time, I read very little romance authors, but due to all the wonderful recommendations from the other ladies who posted to the board, reading and buying romance novels soon became an obsession. That was over six years ago, and over those years, those ladies have become some of my closest friends, and staunches supporters. They have traveled on this road to publication with me, and there’s just no way I would have a book on the store shelves today without their encouragement. I owe them all so much.
The internet has also been essential in connecting with readers. By posting on my blog and on friendship communities such as MySpace I’ve met a number of exciting new fans from all walks of life. Establishing a strong internet presence has been paramount to my writing. Like I said, I wouldn’t want to live in a world without the internet.
Have your friends and family supported you as a first time author?
Are leaves green? Is the sky blue? Seriously, I don't know what I would have done without my family and friends stepping up to the plate and showering me with tons of love and support. My photographer happens to be one of my best friends who started taking pictures as a hobby when she had her first baby five years ago. When it was time for me to get a website up and running, I called on my uncle, whom I knew would have some kind of connection (he's an NFL coach, who always knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone...) And, when it came to promoting Deliver Me, I was lucky enough to land the most kick-ass publicist on the face of the planet! She has a great mind for marketing and promotion, and more tenacity in her little finger than most people have in their entire body. She also has this really cool blog (hint: you're reading it right now)!