Author bio: Selena Haskins is a native Washingtonian who enjoys music, reading, spirituality, and spending quality time with her family. Besides writing, she loves watching an intense game of NBA Basketball. You can find her in front of the TV cheering for her Boston Celtics!
Drink – iced coffee with a shot of mocha
Food – seafood
Vacation – anyplace where there is beautiful quiet beach and palm trees
TV show – Scandal
Movie – Saturday Night Fever
Animal – Dolphins
Sport – Basketball
Book – Big Girls Don’t Cry
Book title: A River Moves Forward
Brief synopsis of your book: A coming-of-age story that travels through the time periods of the 60’s and 70’s, where Connie Morris grows up in Chicago’s tough Cabrini Green. Tragedy strikes her family and Connie must prove she can survive on her own. She meets Dean, a police officer and they fall in love. But when they discover their paths have crossed before, it sends them on an emotional ride that could prove to be too much. With the odds against them, they must decide if they will forgive and move forward together or move on without each other.
Current book or project you’re working on: I am working on the sequel to A River Moves Forward, titled, Riding the Waves.
What was the inspiration for your novel? The inspiration came from the everyday struggles of women. Sometimes many obstacles are thrown our way all at once, and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, there is always hope. Every problem has a solution.
Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) Connie becomes the first African American woman to host her own radio show.
2) Dean was once a track star, but he quit college when his girlfriend became pregnant.
3) Originally, A River Moves Forward was just a short story about three sisters living in the south.
Who is the most complex character from your current novel? Connie’s sister, Peaches.
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Both Connie and Peaches remind me of myself. I can be as calm, cool, and collected as Connie, but when I’m provoked I can be as feisty as Peaches.
If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why? Terry McMillan because I know she will be honest and encouraging at the same time.
What, who, and when were you first inspired you to write? When I look back on my life growing up, I was always a writer, but I never knew it until high school. When I was a little girl, my mother would buy activity books, and composition books and all I would do was write stories. If I was grounded and sent to my room, my escape was to write. Perhaps my mother didn’t realize she was helping me to hone my craft. LOL!
What genre does your book fall into? Fiction/Urban Fiction/African American Literature. I enjoy writing stories about the African American family life. My stories are always family-based, dramatic, suspenseful, funny, high-energy, but will always have a positive message in threaded into it.
What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something? Judy Blume’s, Forever. That book pulled on my every emotion in ways that I can still remember today. It is a classic YA book that all youths today should read.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Terry McMillan- she creates wild and crazy characters, but they speak the truth!
2) Margaret Johnson-Hodge- because she uses simple descriptions and simple sentences that paints a gigantic picture, and you “get it!”
3) Omar Tyree- because he was the first to talk about urban life from a middle-class perspective. His stories are never one-dimensional, but packed with realism. He’s also a great entrepreneur.
Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading? Yes, but I shall plead the fifth on listing names. LOL. Put it this way, stories with too many details and not enough dialogue bore me to tears. I hate staying inside a character’s head for too long, it makes me think they’re crazy or just mute. LOL.
Do you read a book, while you are writing a book? I have, but not when I’m just starting out. I don’t like for my ideas to clash with someone else’s. Usually I wait until I’m pretty much finished my book first, and then I will read someone else’s.
How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why? I have many “unpublished” manuscripts that I hope to get out in the near future. However, A River Moves Forward is my “firstborn” published book, so it’s my favourite for now.
Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write? Talking with my author friends about writing puts me in the mood. Also, when I receive messages from readers telling me how they enjoyed my book, it inspires me to hurry up and finish the sequel so I can put out my other stories afterwards.
What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) My challenge was not to be so edgy that my fellow Christians would become stumbled.
2) I also found it hard not to think about whether the book would sell or receive good reviews.
3) Publishing is always a challenge when you’re an independent author, like me because if you’re not careful, your book project can become expensive.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer? Patience! I’m still learning that actually. That’s a broad answer I know, but it covers many things with writing books and publishing them. You have to be patient with telling your stories, and not rush them. You also have to be patient with publishing your stories and make sure you’re putting a good product out there as well.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’? I do, but I find that taking a brain-break usually helps me to get going again.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route? With self-publishing, I learned to select the people I work with carefully, and make sure I chose people who will not only do a good job, but not break the bank in the process.
How long does it usually take for you to complete a book? I don’t write full-time so it takes me a while. If I don’t take any breaks, I can finish a book within a year. A River Moves Forward only took awhile because I had stopped writing and nearly given up. When I came across it years later, I decided to finish it. I just felt it was worth it, and I’m glad I finally did it!
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music. All the time! My ultimate goal is to turn one of my novels into a screenplay. It doesn’t matter who I work with as long as they know what they’re doing, and the actors can act. The important thing would be to keep my vision and the theme of my book.
Which book to movie conversion is your favourite? The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book?
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-river-moves-forward-selena-haskins/1114591561?ean=2940016227955