In LIVE & LEARN, the third book in the Miss Independent series, Vanessa attempts to erase the past, while Maurice comes to grips with a long ago decision that he fears may damage his future with her. Nikki grows closer to William, as Melanie and Oscar continue to grow further and further apart. And Sheila begins to question her decision to marry Nathan as he contends with the possible consequence of his most recent, and reckless actions.
Now, a little background info as previously promised, and perhaps a little more insight as to why the books are written as they are and why L&L might be my favorite one to have written in the series thus far (you may understand that part more after you read the book):
I have yet to mention this, but I'm a big fan of soap operas. Started when I was a kid with my grandmother watching The Young and the Restless and my first love was Shemar Moore.
It may sound crazy, but it gives me a huge chuckle to see that nearly everyone wants to slap Vanessa silly. I never thought of that as I was writing her because I was just telling a story. She was essentially chosen as my MC because none of these people would give a damn about or have a single thing to do with each other without her. Having said that, it gives me strange joy to see such strong reactions to her because it means that in some way, she matters to you. Even if you want to knock her block off, she made you feel something, rage, anger, whatever it was, she made you feel. That's what soap opera characters have done for me my entire life; they make me love them, hate them, and love to hate them. Over the years, my daytime soap watching in particular waned a little, but has recently started to pick back up. Between primetime soaps like Empire (one of the best shows on television IMO) and the game changing daytime soap The Bold and Beautiful on CBS, I'm so happy to see that character driven stories are once again at the forefront on these networks. It's like the exec's are finally taking the pages from the novels we love reading and seeing what makes people care so much about them.
The inspiration behind Miss Independent came from my love for the original Beverly Hills 90210, the show that basically fathered every teen drama that came after it. And make no mistake, I watched every single one of those shows too. But regarding 90210 in particular, I was a fan of the character Brenda Walsh (and if I can recall, a lot of people wanted to slap her as well from time to time, including me), but more than that, I loved her relationship with bad boy Dylan McKay. When Dylan cheated on Brenda with her best friend Kelly, I was flabbergasted. I started writing Miss Independent after seeing this particular scene in a rerun:
I was around seventeen when I first saw it because at the time, 90210 aired old seasons on the weekends on FOX. What I hadn't seen when I was a child, I got to see then. As soon as I saw Brenda walk away from those two people in that park, I went straight to my computer and started writing a form of fan fiction. But as I continued going, I realized that as much as I loved the characters, I was more interested in creating my own that I could personally identify with. So I made the core 3 characters African-American and put them on the east coast instead of on the beach in California. As time went on and I continued writing, every character began fleshing out in my head, becoming their own identities. But it would take years before they blossomed into what they are now.
I stopped writing the story when I felt I couldn't get it right on paper and started penning other stories instead. But the characters in MI were so strong in my head that I could never really forget them. After turning 29 last December, the story suddenly started knocking on my head louder than before and I knew that if I didn't get it right by 'fixing' what was wrong with the original story and putting it out there for people to read, I would never get it done. And so I sat down, and wrote, and wrote, and wrote for two and a half weeks straight. I already had the characters and the story, it was just a matter of making it feel more complete. It felt like I was sitting at a table with these five people and they were telling me what was going on in their lives. Writing it this time around felt very natural to me and everything completely fell into place.
So that's a little backstory as to how it all originally came about. I feel like Live & Learn has set the official tone for the rest of the books and hope you like it. I'm glad that people are reacting to this story, whether it be good or bad. It's just enough that you FEEL something while reading. That will always be my ultimate goal as a writer.
Pre Orders for the digital version are available HERE on AMAZON for $2.99. If you're seeing less than the desired pages at the moment, do not worry. More pages will be added as I continue to edit the final copy, but you WILL receive the book in its entirety to your Kindle ON TIME!
Once it becomes available on SMASHWORDS and other places, I will inform you ASAP!
Paperbacks will be available soon after and announced in a following post.
Official release date will be May 5th, 2015!
Part One reveal on this blog April 1st!
So many dates to remember, but I hope you do! Don't worry, I will help. As always, Happy Reading!