Join us in welcoming, Ava Bleu, author of Glorious Sunset to the site as she answers our interview questions and introduces us to her novel.
What is your greatest accomplishment as an author so far?
I don’t think people realize the impact of their positive comments to a writer’s self-esteem. Writers are not like athletes or professionals with quantifiable success. Writers are in the business of hope-and-a-prayer. You do your best and hope it connects with the reader on some level. My greatest accomplishment is when I connect with my readers. Now, whether they connect good or connect bad, that’s another story J.
How do you celebrate each book release?
I haven’t had enough releases to have an established routine for that. But I celebrate finishing each manuscript with a glass or two of wine. Preferably, sweet. And I may force my two dogs to happy dance with me, depends on how much wine I’ve had. No, I don’t dress them up in dancing outfits. That would be crazy. Right?
What writing rituals help to get your mojo flowing so you can write?
The wine helps. Music that fits the tone is very helpful.
What does the area where you write look like?
I’m a writing vagabond. My office has become the dogs’ room and they chew on my toes when I try to write there, so I go wherever they’re not. They find me, eventually, but when I look like I’m going to force them to dance they run away. Lightweights.
Why should readers consider buying your books?
One thing I can guarantee about my books, they are all different. You’ve never read anything like them. Once again, that may be a good or bad thing, depending on the amount of wine you’re consuming while you’re reading them.
What inspired you to write your latest release?
I had never read a time-travel romance with African American characters, but Africa is the oldest civilization. There’s history we don’t know, and where history lives so does love and life and laughter. I wanted to connect the dots a little so maybe somebody will want to look further. The history lessons are important but I’m a romantic, I want to read about the endless love. Hopefully, that’s what I provided here, along with a little magic and happily-ever-after.
Is there a scene in the book you particularly enjoy? Tell us about it and why.
But it would be a spoiler! I’ll just say, there is one scene that makes me cry every time. Every friggin’ time. Not a bad cry, a heartfelt cry. That’s pretty bad considering I wrote it. But don’t worry, happy ending. Happy ending!
Do you have a single book or character that’s dear to your heart, and why?
My first book, a crazy kind of romance, suspense, has not been finished and is still in a cupboard at home but it is my favorite. It is the first time I realized I can write some really crazy sh—stuff. It kind of freed me up to continue writing the strange books we see today.
Which of your books has sold the best so far and why do you think that is?
My first published book was self–published and, unlike the savvy authors today, I had no idea what I was doing. It still got great reviews. My second book sold more because I had a publishing company to work with. My third book will do better because I’ve been begging people to read it harder than I’ve ever begged before J. I’m a poor, starving writer just trying to get a nut. I’m not ashamed of playing the sympathy card.
Which heroine from your books do you most closely identify with and why?
I identify with Taylor Beir from The Diva of Peddler’s Creek the most. She is woefully ignorant as to why she is misunderstood. She likes the alpha male but will not be bossed around by him. She has a good heart but is tired of having to prove it. She is labeled a “diva” when all she really wants is to be appreciated for the funny, beautiful genius that she is. It’s the story of my life.
Blurb for Glorious Sunset
African King Taka Olufemi has traveled over four hundred years to find the woman who holds the soul of his murdered queen and he’s a little cranky. With a ruby brooch as his vessel, the former king is forced to grant wishes to ungrateful mortals hoping to one day find, and win, the heart of his lost love.
But it will take more than good looks, superior intelligence and an impressive pedigree to earn the love of Violet Jackson. The ambitious interior designer doesn’t remember Taka or their history. Love—with its inevitable heartbreak chaser—has no place in Violet’s immediate life plan. All the handsome “genie” can do for her is pony up on the three wishes he’s promised and try not to be a pain while he’s at it.
While the arrogant king is praying for his submissive queen and the faithless object of his affection isn’t praying at all, guardian angel, Aniweto, is praying for them both. With Ani’s help, Taka and Violet’s epic love will be rekindled and this royal couple-behaving-badly will finally earn their happily-ever-after through the grace of the Almighty.
1600 AD:Jaha, West Africa
The acrid smell of a burning village brought King Taka Olufemi awake, sputtering, coughing, and wincing in pain as he did so.Slowly memory returned and with it the horror.He cracked his eyelids open, his eyes immediately burning with the pebbly smoke that floated in a low-hanging cloud.Pushing himself upright from where he lay causing sharp pain to streak through his torso and the agony brought his gaze down as he sucked in his breath and jerked his hands to the source.Seeing the jagged, torn flesh of the wound in his side, the rest of his memory came and with the memory:
“Oh no. No, no, no . . .”
He forgot his pain.He fought off the sway of the world as he stood, struggling to focus and see through eyes watering with smoke and something else he didn’t dare identify.He didn’t need to see when he could smell.He was a king and warrior; battle was in his bones and death always a close companion.He smelled both here.
He looked around.Men, women, children; the massacre was complete.Beyond the hall huts and houses of his village were blackened ash.The air still burned with the stench of fire.He couldn’t understand this.In all his life he’d never seen such brutality, never known such dishonor.Still, he firmed his jaw and kept looking, turning in a wide circle until his feet staggered to a stop before his brain could even register.
His body knew how to find its heart.
He stumbled like a drunkard.When, finally, he was upon her he could only drop to his knees.Agony slammed him like lion strike in the wild.And much like a lion strike, the blow from the magnificent body was the stunner, but then the massive teeth would rip a man’s flesh from his bones as a second course.He felt the teeth ripping his beating heart from his chest and groaned with the searing pain as he admitted to the horror before him.
“Zahara.”He gathered his murdered queen in his arms and breathed into her fragrant hair, tears welling in his eyes.The wrenching that tore through him was brutal; already his body ached, keenly, from lack of her.The panic began, at that moment, threatening to strip away what was left of his sanity.With the madness came the screaming, purging to the only one who could hear him now.
“I am King Taka Olufemi!” he shouted to the universe, with all the power of his soul. “You may take my kingdom, you may take my loved ones and friends, but you may not have her!Do you hear me?”
The room crackled with audible air bubbles.The sound grew in crescendo and the hall lit with a light unseen by most people.Taka had felt this sensation many times throughout his life.It was always followed by the appearance of Aniweto.Ani was his gentle-voiced friend and confidant but he was more commonly known as his guardian angel.The legend of Taka’s easy communication with heaven had always been a blessed thing to him, but the blessings hadn’t helped him today.Knowing the power that brought Ani into his life, he knew his words went straight on high.Right or wrong, today he would use his friend to get his point to the one who had wronged him.
“I’ve given our Father my allegiance and my faith, and this is how He repays me?” he said, his voice hoarse. “My tribe, my people: all gone.And all I would have asked was that you leave one person.Just one person!”
He fumbled for his sword, his mind automatically preparing for battle with an enemy, as if this enemy could be bested by a sword.He looked at it and realized the futility.He glared at Ani, and though his ego demanded it, his soul could not mask the pain. “I have nothing left to live for.In one afternoon you’ve taken everything from me.I’ll give you the rest to complete the package!” Quickly he moved the sword around, its tip at his own stomach, the blade slicing through the skin of his damaged hands.
“Taka!” Ani exclaimed.It was his friend’s voice but it was different today.It didn’t happen often, but occasionally his familiar guardian would change slightly.Ani’s voice would deepen in timbre and his eyes would shine with a light that told him he was visited by the Almighty through his dear Aniweto’s body.As Ani had always told him, he was merely a messenger and a vessel, a tool of the Father.But Taka sometimes forgot exactly what that meant, how close and special was his relationship and his gift to reach the Almighty so easily.Today, apparently his request was beyond Ani.Through his friend he listened to a voice felt to the depths of his soul.He knew he was not only with his guardian this day, and the Father’s next words confirmed that.
“I did not take them from you, son; evil did that.My pain is greater than you could know.But even still, even with this tragedy, you know better than to take what I have made.You are still here, Taka.All is not lost if you still have the will of a warrior.”
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prize: Two autographed print copies.
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to the RNIC newsletter.
How to enter: Answer a question: If someone offered you three wishes, what would you wish for?
Deadline: Thursday, September 25th, 2014, 11:59pm EST
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prize open to U.S. entrants only
About the Author
Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. She is the author of the contemporary romantic comedy, The Diva of Peddler’s Creek, and Glorious Sunset, an edgy inspirational romance with a time-traveling king, an angel and a love for the ages.
Ava can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material.
Connect with Ava Bleu online:
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”