So, much so that even though I posted a book review earlier (on this blog: see the side bar) I thought that I would do a BLOG interview with Reyna Hawks to introduce her to you so that you might better understand her and her new found desire to write books.
You will find my book review out on Amazon.Com or her on this Blog under an earlier posting date.
Here is the publishers book description: All Janie and Daniel wanted was a better life and growing up in small town Louisiana did not give them that opportunity. So the sister and brother headed to Los Angeles, California to make the most of their lives. However, their hopes begin to diminish when Daniel's work in organized crime lead them down dangerous and deadly roads. After Daniel's mysterious disappearance and death, Janie plunges headlong into grief and love for the assistant to the "boss". The couple seems to have everything going for them except for Rico's job that takes him away for days on end sometimes. Janie's suspicions and worries over Rico's possible infidelity reveals information she never imagined would come to light. Her undying love for this man leads to secrets, lies, and murder. Soon Janie finds herself on the wrong side of the gun hanging off a cliff deep in the woods of North Carolina.
You can find the book at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Looking-Through-Blind-Eyes-Reyna/dp/1432793608/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1339679144&sr=8-4&keywords=Through+Blind+Eyes
The following is the interview with Reyna Hawk:
1. Tell us about yourself and your new book.
First I’ll start with me. I’m a 44 yr old mother of one son and proud grandmother to one beautiful 3 yr old little girl. I’m the youngest of 5 kids. My family comes from the TN and NC area; however I was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. I love to travel and to take photographs of nature.
As for my book, this idea came to me actually back in about 1996. But due to work schedules and life in general it got put on the back burner. Also, back then the internet and methods of self-publishing were not what they are today. One thing that hasn’t changed is how hard it is to get a good agent. This more or less discouraged me and I figured these stories of mine would forever be in my head. Anyway, about a year ago I decided after doing a Google search on book publishing that self-publishing was the way for me.
Looking Through Blind Eyes is about Janie Valentine and her attempts of living a simple normal life. However, after a family tragedy and falling in love with a Mob Boss’s Assistant, her life is anything but simple and normal. This book follows her through the chaos, secrets, lies, and murders of being connected to the Mob.
I got the name due to an old saying I use to hear my mother say; turn a blind eye. Essentially that is what Janie does; she ignores all the warning signs and knowledge she has, in the hopes of a better life.
2. When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I would have to say I knew in high school I wanted to be an author. I loved to tell and make up stories for my friends. Many times I would make them up on the spot. I remember telling my mother years later and she persuaded to pursue writing on a deeper level.
3. Do you have a favorite character you have written so far or in this particular book?
Well I am kind of partial to Janie, just because she has been running around in my head for years. However, I also like Daniel, Rico, and Malachi. There is something about each one that I am fond of. Janie is my favorite and then next comes Rico. I feel connected to them more than any of the other characters.
4. Are there any minor characters you have written that you would like to flesh out more in perhaps another novel?
I really would like to touch more on Scott. He had such a small yet major part in this book. I actually have a bit of a twist concerning him in the third book of this series (tentatively titled Shattered Visions Haunted Memories). I am thinking of possibly discussing him more due to this twist.
Pastor Dan asks, "my favorite sub-character is Malachi, do you have future plans for him in your other books?
Thank you for your question and actually quite a few people's favorite character is Malachi; and yes I do have future plans for him. In books two and three he will have a significant part. Of course, there will be more revealed about him personally and I think many will be surprised by the information that is brought forth about him.
5. Have you discovered some interesting information in research that influenced the direction of a novel?
Wow, the number of hours I did research online and watching documentaries is incredible. I did discover the level of secretiveness and violence that is attributed to those in organized crime. Many movies and books do not do it justice. It really is a scary world and way of living.
I did get an idea for another book on some of the research information. I discovered back in the 30’s to the 60’s there was quite a bit of Mob activity in the Cincinnati, Newport KY and Covington KY area; with connections to Mob men such as Lucky Luciano. Many Cincinnatians don’t realize just how heavy it was in that time.
6. What authors or types of books do you like to read when you're not writing?
I like to read books of a variety of genres. I am not one to rush to the store to buy the latest book that is being raved about. I will read books that grab my interest from the cover image and description on the back. I do like many of Stephen King’s books, along with Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson, and Patricia Cornwell. The genres I seemed to gravitate toward are suspense, crime, drama, and romance. I do not like books that are nothing but romance though. I like for there to be twists, turns, and action to the storyline. I’m not one that gets into the Sci-Fi or Westerns either. There have been a few I read, but usually I steer clear of them.
7. What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?
Well I actually have three little tidbits of advice. The first is proofread, proofread, and then proofread some more. I went over this book numerous times and even had others proofread; and yet I still found a couple of minor mistakes in the final product.
When there are numerous errors or if the sentences don’t flow very well then it makes for a difficult reading experience. The second would be to do research on the area, culture, and activities involved in the storyline. If an author is writing about the Rocky Mountains, it needs to be realistic. Those living or that have visited that area know it well. I research every town, people in the area, housing, etc. for each book. Research is very important; one cannot simply go off what they have seen on TV or heard by word of mouth.
The third bit of advice is NEVER give up. Even if the first book doesn’t do so well, what is to say the next book won’t skyrocket to the top of the Best Seller’s List? I know a couple of authors that because their first book flopped, they hung their hats up. It’s sad because it is such a tough world to get into and see results. There are many great Indie authors out there if the bigger publishing houses would just give us a chance.
This thought is from Pastor Dan. I agree with Reyna, NEVER give up. My wife was discouraged after her first book and had to fight through the disappointment of not doing well. Now, seven books later her sales continue to climb. She has five self-published books and two books that were picked up by Sourcebooks and published for her.
8. Where do you do most of your writing and under what conditions do you prefer? (music, silence, being alone, etc.)
I generally do my best writing late at night while it’s quiet. I have done some writing in the busiest part of the day; however it’s not quite the same. I prefer writing when I am alone and when it is quiet. I get many of my ideas for plots or books while I am listening to music. I will begin by a thought and then daydream a whole creation of a book idea. Music has always helped me to bring about some great story lines and twists to the books.
9. Tell us something most people would not know about you.
Ok this is a hard one because I’m so open and upfront. I recently did a Top Ten Random List of Facts about myself for a blog site, so I’m trying to think of one not on that list. I’d have to say most people do not realize I have an obsession with tanning and an addiction toward Diet Pepsi. I know tanning is not good for my skin but I really enjoy it and it makes me feel good. I have tried the spray tans, but it’s just not the same. In my opinion spray tans gave me the unnatural dark and orange or dirty looking tans. I’m not as bad as I use to be, but I still go quite frequently. Beings I have a natural olive skin tone my skin tans very easy. So I don’t need to be in the tanning bed every day.
As for the Diet Pepsi, I drink a large quantity of it. Instead of coffee in the morning I drink Diet Pepsi. If I go to a store and they are out, oh look out. I will drive for miles in order to get one. My mother use to say she could always tell what part of town I was living in because the sales of Diet Pepsi went up dramatically.
10. What are you working on for your next novel?
The novel I am currently working on is the second book of the Valentine series. This one is called The Reflection of Secrets. It follows Janie into what has happened since the ending of Looking Through Blind Eyes. I got the name for the book because the life she is now living is a reflection of secrets that have and will be brought into the forefront.
I want to thank Reyna Hawk for granting this interview for my BLOG site. I trust that you the reader have found this informative. Earlier in the post we gave you the link for purchasing her book on Amazon. It would be well worth your time to read, it is an enjoyable diversion for the summer time blues.
You can also visit Reyna at her web site at http://www.reynahawk.com