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Monday, March 19, 2012

AAMBC Blog Tours with Kimberly Ranee Hicks

Kimberly Ranee Hicks (pronounced Ronnie) is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the Hill District. She currently resides in the city of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, where she shares a home with her husband, Wesley, and stepdaughter, Nicole. Hicks has done it again by incorporating the zest and appeal that her fans came to love in Mello and June, but with a whole new twist. She is currently in the process of writing her third novel.

Get to Know the author:

Describe for our readers who Kimberly Ranee (pronounced Ronnie) Hicks is?

I’m a kind-hearted, charming, witty, genuine, sincere, energetic and animated soul who wants to share my gift of word usage with the world. There isn’t a better form of communication than the use of words to tell a great story. My creation was no mistake. I was placed here for the soul purpose of sharing my experiences with others. Gifts are meant to be given, and when readers enjoy what I have to say, it’s the highest paid honor one may receive.

What inspires you to write?

Life inspires me to write. When I look at the trials and tribulations I’ve been through, I now realize I was placed in those situations for a reason—to share what I feel with others who may be going through a similar thing. But the biggest thing that drives me to write is pain. Whenever I go through something difficult, my soul becomes full, and when it becomes overloaded, I have to write to release its pain. Some of my best work written has been through my personal pain, and being a sensitive soul, more so than others, I also can write from the pain of others and come up with great storylines to spin.

What do you want your readers to come away with from the stories you write?

I want my readers to come away with a valuable lesson—for I truly believe there isn’t a person too old to learn. I don’t just write stories for the sake of doing it or just because it’s the only thing that truly makes my soul at peace, but I want to teach someone something. I want a person to pick up one of my books and see there is more to it than just good old-fashioned entertainment. I want a person to be able to identify with a character or characters and think how it relays to his/her own life, or possibly how it relates to someone they know. Many of my readers tell me one of the greatest things they love about my stories are they appear so real and they can truly relate to what is happening, and more importantly, receive the strong message behind what they are reading. When readers are still talking about my novels, long after they have read them, I know I have accomplished my goal as an author. It’s the most gratifying feeling an author can feel. I am forever humbled by the experience.

What avenues did you explore for publishing your novels?

Before I published my first novel, Mello & June, I researched for an entire year before the outline of my first novel was complete. I spoke with agents, authors and publishers to get their views and opinions on what worked best for them and why. After trying for many years to get into a traditional publishing house and receiving rejection letters, not because my writing wasn’t strong necessarily, but because what I was writing wasn’t what they were looking for at that time. I’ve had a couple agents review my work and tell me that it’s good, but many of the publishers they dealt with wouldn’t want to put money into my type of novels. So, after compiling my information for a year, I decided to self-publish. I was warned of the pros and cons into doing this, but for me, in order for me to write what I enjoyed, I had to do what was best for me. Many of your big named authors started out self-publishing, Stephen King and John Grisham. I waited twenty years before I began writing Mello and June because that love story had to wait to be told. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone, not so one could tell by the millions being published yearly, but it is worth investigating and seeing how it works out for you.

What makes you different from other authors?

I pride myself on being different. I don’t want to do what everyone else has done, and I don’t want to get stuck in a particular genre because that happens to be what is selling now. Some have criticized me for being that way, and I say to those, so be it. I will never sell myself short nor compromise my artistry for the sake of a dollar. Sure, do I want to make money off of writing, I most certainly do, but I will not ever write stories that I don’t feel have any substance behind them. As a woman of color, I find that many writers of my same race write basically the same things, and for me, that gets old. The urban experience doesn’t always have to be the hard-knock life, thugs, drug dealers, sex, etc., there are so many stories that need to be told showing African-Americans in a positive light, which can be shared through drama, but leaving the reader saying, “hey, I got something from this story.” As I stated before, I want my readers to come away with a powerful message, one that will give them pause. I want to see more positive characters being written about people of color, instead of the same ole same. This is what sets me apart from other authors. It may be the reason my success is slow crawling, but moving forward nonetheless. I want people to feel my words, not just read them, and I want people to think about what my characters are doing and why. I’m changing the literary world one word at a time, and I’m finally gaining ground.

Why did you decide to write your current novel, Silent Knight, in the 70s era?

Simply put, I loved the 70s and it was a great era. When I think of the 70s, I am immediately thrown back into Afros, Disco, belle-bottom jeans, halter tops, platform shoes, (which are back in style again), Soul Train, TV shows such as What’s Happenin’, The Jeffersons, Saturday Morning Cartoons, The Six Million Dollar Man, etc. When I think of those things, why not write about it? Silent Knight, the novel, is a tribute to my childhood—a time of better days gone by. It’s something you don’t see in many self-published novels, so why not write a good story based in that time period? What better way to mix the past with the present, and put a spin on it while you’re at it? Again, I don’t write stories like other authors write, and as I mentioned before, I pride myself on that. I am my own person. I hold my own artistry that I’m proud of. I use my gift to educate others, and no one said you can’t have fun while doing it. I couldn’t think of a better way to pay homage to my childhood than by displaying that era in print. I had an awesome time reliving it, going through old family albums, and talking with people who lived in that time. The 70s rocked, and will forever live on in Silent Knight. Right on with the Right on!

What are your favorite genres to write?

Being that there are only 250 plots an author has at his discretion to write from, whatever way I may twist a plot, I will do it. Many of my fans were surprised to learn that I am not a huge fan of romance, but my first novel was just that. Believe me, it came as a total shock that I would choose to write such a novel, but it was meant to be—plus, romance is the largest read genre in all categories. If you’re going to put yourself out there, why not go with something that will grab the masses’ attention? There isn’t a genre I will not tackle. I believe in writing about any and everything I can. I do not like to get stuck in one spot too long, so immediately I will begin my research into topics that I feel my readers will be interested in. I do tend to like the suspense genre more so than any others, but I have several other books in mind that will be challenging, but told in the true fashion as many of my readers have come to know. I enjoy writing drama, but I most definitely do not want to live it.

From award-winning writer Kimberly Ranee Hicks comes another gripping work that is sure to stir the literary world. Published through Xlibris, Silent Knight tells how a supposedly informative documentary turns into a series of perplexing revelations.

Clarence Knight, a filmmaker who is making it big out in Hollywood, is suddenly uprooted from his city life when his best friend, Reggie Dunn, summons him to come back home because Reggie’s father is dying. After all, Mr. Dunn played an intricate part in Clarence’s upbringing. He unwillingly returns to his old stomping grounds of Woodland Heights, the Projects. Once he arrives, he discovers that his old hood isn’t quite the way it used to be when he and his family moved there twenty years ago. While visiting with his best friend and catching up on old times, Clarence figured he could make the best of the trip by surprising his friend with a camera crew that is in the process of making a documentary about their lives in Woodland Heights, the way it was in the 70s. But he also has another motive for this documentary; he longs to know what has happened to a kid named Marcus Paige whom they used to hang with.

As the camera starts rolling, secrets—dark and shocking ones—also begin to unravel. Clarence discovers that his old neighborhood has some extremely harsh realities he will have to face. After all is revealed, will Clarence still remain friends with his old crew? Or better yet, will what Clarence learns keep him silent forever? Readers will find out in this fast-paced, breathtaking mystery-suspense thriller. For more information on Silent Knight, interested parties may log on to www.Xlibris.com, go to www.70silentknight.com, www.amazon.com or any major bookstore (order desk) to get a copy.

Find the author:

Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang Blog: http://mellojune.blogspot.com

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Kiwes

Facebook Fanpage of Mello & June: http://www.facebook.com/#!/MelloJune2009

Email Address: mellojune@kimberlyraneehicks.com

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