Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Farrah Rochon. I have to say that I'm a even bigger fan now than I was before. She is such a talented, down to earth, and sweet woman.
I was introduced to Farrah while reading with a book club that featured Kimani Romance novels. After that first book, I was hooked.
Farrah is very inspiring and a great addition to my mission to encourage my friends to go after their dreams. She loves to write, took that leap, and now is an author that name is included with some of the best romance writers around.
After you read and enjoy this interview like I did, please leave a comment for Farrah. I am sure that she would love hearing from you. Not only that, your name will be entered in a giveaway for a autographed copy of one of her wonderful books. Exciting, right! So, don't forget to leave your email address when commenting. Enjoy!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure. I hail from a small town on the Louisiana bayou, about an hour’s drive west of New Orleans. I’m a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and the Graduate School at Southeastern Louisiana University. And, if anyone had asked me ten years ago if I could imagine myself writing romance novels, I would have laughed in their face. Actually, I still laugh at the thought. But I have never been happier.
I currently write for Harlequin’s Kimani Romance line. My Sabers series, which follows a fictional football team based in my second favorite city-New York-is soon to be four books strong, and I am loving every minute of writing it. I hope to write many more Sabers books in the future.
Please tell us about your writing style.
My writing style has gone through several evolutions since I first began writing. I wrote my very first novel totally by the seat of my pants, letting it grow organically. It was a fun way to write, but also extremely uncomfortable. I spent the entire time wondering if I’d be able to pull it off.
These days, my books are completely plotted out before I start writing (though I do leave lots of room for veering off). I feel so much more in control.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing my first novel back as a sophomore at Xavier. I wrote the entire novel longhand, in a 3-subject notebook tablet. It took three years, and has the most convoluted plot you can imagine, but I’m still so very proud of it.
What was/is your motivation in writing your books?
Well, it definitely isn’t money. Ha! Seriously, it’s just something I have to do. The books play out in my head like a movie reel. I just have to get them out.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Being disciplined enough to keep at it when the writing gets hard. As much as I enjoy it, writing is not easy, and when the words are just not coming to me, it’s so easy to hop online or find something else to do. Sticking it out when the writing gets tough; that’s a huge, huge challenge.
What is most challenging about being an African-American author?
Convincing non-Black readers that my stories are just as relatable as any other romance novel is, by far, the biggest challenge. At one time, I would have said that the practice of shelving African American authors together, regardless of genre, deserved the top spot, but I think it goes deeper than shelving. I think that just seeing an African American couple on a cover makes people of non-African American descent shy away and think “this isn’t the book for me.” Actually, it is. If you enjoy rich, engaging stories about people falling in love, then you’ve found the right author.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your book? Hobbies and so forth?
I love to read, of course. If there was one complaint I could make about being an author it’s that I don’t get to read other writers’ work as much as I’d like. I also love, love, love sports. Some would say it is an obsession. I will watch a game over a chick flick any day of the week. And, when it comes to travel, it definitely is an obsession. Whenever I can I’m on a plane to New York to catch a Broadway Show, or driving to Orlando to spend time in my second home--Disney World!
Is there another book in the horizon?
There is always another book on the horizon. The fourth book in my New York Sabers football series , PLEASURE RUSH, will hit store shelves in late March, and the first book in my new small town, Louisiana “Bayou Dreams” series, A FOREVER KIND OF LOVE, comes out in September. I also have a Valentine’s Day novella entitled IN HER WILDEST DREAMS that will be available via ebook in early February.
What networking do you do that you feel helps your writing in business?
I’m always on Facebook and Twitter, conversing with both fellow writers and fans. I guess you can call that networking, but it’s so much fun that it doesn’t seem like “work.” I also belong to several writing organizations.
What’s your strategy with your writings, in general?
Getting my butt in the chair and getting the words on the pages. That’s the most important thing when it comes to writing. I can find 100 things to do in a day to distract me from work, but I know that writing is what I was meant to do, and at the end of the day, all I can do is make sure that I’ve written something to further the book along.
What’s the best thing a writer can give to his/her readers?
Their absolute best work. You know, my first drafts are pretty well written, and could probably get published “as is.” But, after I’ve finished that first draft, I go back and rethink each and every scene, laboring over the sentences to make sure they are the absolute best that I can write. And, then, I do it again. My books are not perfect--far from it. But I can promise my readers that they are the very best that I can write at that moment in time.
Say if one of my readers want to write a book but don't know where to start, what advice do you have to offer them?
There are SO many resources out there these days that if a person is serious about writing a book there is nothing that can hold them back. My biggest piece of advice, though, is to learn the craft of writing. There are a lot of people who can tell a story, but not necessarily write. Learn the mechanics of writing.
What has been your strategy for marketing your books?
I would say it is engaging readers, but not necessarily shoving my books down their throats. I’m very active (okay, maybe a bit *too* active) on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. One thing I see way too often is authors who basically shout “Buy My Book” all day long. Like everyone else, I’m in the business to sell books, but that’s just not the way to do it. If you are personable and take the time to actually talk with readers and engage them in meaningful conversation, they will eventually look at your work. And, eventually, they may buy a few books.
Name some of the writers whom you look up to and why?
My favorite writer is Judith McNaught. It is because of her books that I started reading romance and started writing. I also deeply admire Brenda Jackson for the way she has propelled African American romance into the spotlight. I often say that I want to be Brenda Jackson when I grow up. Ha! Maureen Smith is another author whom I adore because she just writes the sexiest, most wonderful stories (can I possibly be both Brenda Jackson and Maureen Smith when I grow up?).
Where can we find your book for sale?
Paperback copies of my more recent Kimani romances are available in book stores and mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target. All of my books are also available through the online outlets, such as Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, independent bookstores, and others. They are also available via ebook.
I have several books that are available via ebook only, including my very first single-title series about the Holmes Brothers. Check out my website for information, links, and excerpts of the books: www.farrahrochon.com.
Lastly, what's next for you in the writing world?
As I mentioned previously, I have my Sabers series, which is still going strong. I also have a three-book series set in a small, fictional Louisiana town called the Bayou Dreams series. Additionally, I plan to release a few ebook-only titles in the next year. I have much, much writing ahead of me. I’m looking forward to bringing more stories to my readers.
I love hearing from readers and talking about books. Please look me up on Twitter using the Twitter handle @FarrahRochon and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/farrah.rochon.
Thank you Farrah for this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to reading ALL your upcoming books. I, also, have to hurry up and get my e-reader. :)