So Sydney Tarr’s back on my blog today with the second in her series of interviews with the team bringing you Because My Heart Said So, A Friends-To-Lovers Collection being released in June. This time she’s speaking with USA Today Must-Read author Jacinta Howard.
Take it away Sydney!
Sydney: Hello Ms. Howard, it’s so wonderful to meet you. Well the reviews are in, Finding Kennedy, Book 2 from The Prototype series is a hit! Lily says it’s so awesome she read it in a day and a half. She also threatened to sit on me holding the kindle up to my face if I didn’t read it soon. Now if I have this correctly this is your fifth book in two or three years and your second series. How does it feel being a productive and successful published author? Was it part of the original plan?
Jacinta: Nice to meet you too, Sydney! Cute braids. Thanks! Yes, it’s my fifth book in two years. I think “productive” and “successful” might be relative—but thanks for the compliment. I’m thankful to be able to write. I say that at the end of all of my books because it’s true. But yes, writing and publishing books was always a goal of mine. I’ve been a journalist for years (message me if you want some crazy stories about some of your favorite rappers and celebrities. I’m kidding, please don’t do that), so writing has been a part of my life forever, but writing a book is an entirely other thing. Entirely other. People who know me as mostly a hip-hop writer still stop me and give me the Quizzical Eyebrow about why I write romance books. Never, ever in a million years would they have guessed this side of me existed. But I’m a Gemini so… yeah. Writing books has opened up an entirely new version of me, I think. That probably doesn’t make sense, I’m having wine, Sydney, would you like a glass? But anyway, I’m just glad the indie publishing game allows for folks like me to have my voice heard beyond traditional publishing.
Sydney: So tell me about #4Writers4Love and this collaborative effort you’ve joined in the making of Because My Heart Said So. Nia hinted that there was a sense of obligation to ‘get it right’ when teaming up with people you respect; she also made it seem like it was mostly chocolate and roses between you four. What would you say was the most challenging aspect of working with others on a writing project? Has anything happened that you weren’t expecting?
Jacinta: Nia is totally right. You don’t ever want to be the weak link—and it was especially true with this book. I have lots of respect for the writers I’m collaborating with—the first time Nia Forrester inboxed me and told me she liked my work I swear I read it aloud to my husband, and promptly got the blank stare for fangirl’ing. And Lily and Rae have respectively written some of my absolute favorite works in a long, long while. The prose in Sticky Moon is lyrical and beautiful and Rae occupies such a unique space in black romance with her Aris series—quirky, relatable, real. I love these authors. No bullshit. Can I curse? Anyway, I have real respect for all of them, and not that phony, smile in your face (or in your Facebook) kind but true respect for their pens. They upped my game because I knew I had to bring it and I didn’t want to let them down. And of course, one of my biggest worries is always not letting readers down. I damn near hyperventilate every time a book releases because I don’t want readers to be disappointed. So that’s definitely the case here. As far as the chocolate and roses— it’s been more like chocolate and wine because roses really smell like boo-boo and wine does not. The most challenging aspect of working on the project was just probably the long-ass four hour meetings we had trying to iron out the details. Kidding. Really, even that was fun and let us get to know each other. I feel like I’ve genuinely made a connection with these writers and that’s a big deal because I’m introverted and probably more than a little weird and awkward. I’m the kid that literally hid behind the tree the first day of kindergarten during recess. No, really. I honestly did. Anyway, I’m not really surprised by how well everyone has connected because I could tell Nia, Lily and Rae were cool just by the books they wrote. Unpretentious and really real. But I’m super happy with how well and easily everyone has connected. No egos. No tripping. No subliminal, passive aggressive crap. Everyone is just really cool.
Sydney: The name of your story in the Friends-To-Lovers Collection is Blind Expectations. That’s an interesting title. It evokes all kinds of mixed messages. What can you tell us about it?
Jacinta: I get a lot of my romantic writing inspiration from music and God, mostly because music is a spiritual thing for me—anything that can so directly affect your energy is spiritual, in my opinion. And God is love so I look there for reference. Anyway, my mom was telling me about a sermon she’d heard and the preacher said, “when people get married, their desires turn to expectation.” And I thought that was so profound and summed up Leah and Trevor’s relationship, minus the marriage part. Just the idea of desires turning to expectation stuck with me. The crazy thing is, I’d already finished the book when she told me that. So it was more like confirmation.
Sydney: Your books are read by a wide-range of people but they also seem to reflect the New Adult romance market for people of color. I’m wondering what’s on the horizon for you in the coming years? Another series? A different genre? Share with us please.
Jacinta: Well, so far pretty much all of my books have been new adult because there’s such a huge, huge void there. Think of all of the new adult authors you know writing books about black people. Still holding up those two fingers? Seriously though, I write the kind of books I wish were around when I was in my late teens and early 20s. I’m not feeling like I’ve accomplished enough in that genre and it still is of interest me, so I’ll linger there for a while. But I do have more traditionally adult romance books coming. Actually, Blind Expectations is not new adult. My characters are 27 and 31. I’d also like to branch out from romance totally—maybe do some YA dystopian stuff. But we’ll see.
Sydney: Thanks for stopping by to talk.
Jacinta: Thank for having me, Sydney! You’re adorable. I see why Elliot is head over heels.
About Jacinta Howard:
I live in Atlanta where I spend most of my day staring at my computer trying to write or interviewing cool, local visual artists, musicians and other celebrities who are hot and happening, or are trying to be. You can catch me off of Headland & Delowe, or out and about during the sporadic times I feel like being social—but my most favorite place in the world is a beach, with live music, hanging with my family. I write new adult romance and women’s fiction because as cynical as I can often be, I love love.
Amazon Author Page here
Join Nia, Jacinta, Lily, and Rae in the Because My Heart Said So… Facebook group about the book here and get exclusive content, excerpts, giveaways, and secret writer’s tales about the collaboration and how each story came to be, #4Writers4Love.