You know I think Mika Jolie is such a cool name…Like she should be acting instead of writing lol, but we’re keeping her! We need good writers to tell our stories, so Mika, make acting your side gig if you ever switch professions…Now, on to the interview!
MIRJ: The first question I ask all authors who write IR romance is why do you write IR romance?
MJ: I didn’t want to make my books about race. I’ve read many Multicultural/Interracial books where the difference between the two characters is so stressed upon. I didn’t want to go there. That’s not my style. I’ve also read other mainstream romance novels where there is not even one ethnic character and I find myself thinking, really? How unrealistic is that?
I wanted to explore love in a diverse world. You see, my world is a mixed bag, I have in laws who are Asian, German, African-American, and my husband is white. Yes, racism exists but to me love transcends hate, discrimination, etc.
MIRJ: Do you write full-time?
MJ: (Laughs) Well, I tease I have three full time jobs. A full time mother, a full time wife, full time author and graduate student.
MIRJ: What made you want to become a writer? Was it always a calling or did you read something that just resonated with you on some level and inspired you to write?
MJ: I’ve always been a storyteller. I think I wrote my first novel at the age of 13.
MIRJ: Describe your writing process. Do you come up with a concept or plot, outline, research, write, then edit, or is it more of a stream of consciousness where you just let the ideas and thoughts flow and you edit as you go along?
MJ: In general, I’m a linear writer, but at times, I do write scenes as they come and put them to the side and return to them later. Ah the dreaded outline question. (Grimaces). I admit I do, but really very little. I did outline the first three chapters of the third book of the series, only because the first three chapters are so crucial to the rest of the story and I don’t want to lose sight of any of the details. Other than that, my outline consists of three things. What should happen, what must happen and what could happen. While writing The Scale, I deviated from those and I had to go back and rewrite a good part of the story because I wasn’t happy with the way the story ended.
MIRJ: Where did the idea for The Scale come from? Was it always your intention to make it a series or did fan reaction dictate a 2nd story?
MJ: I get my ideas from everything around me. For example, The Scale came to me from a conversation I heard between two ladies at the gym. It was maybe a two seconds conversation between them. It went something like this:
Woman 1: “Wow, you’re so skinny. You look great!”
Woman 2: (Pinched the flesh by her waist and grimaced) I’m so fat
I remember sitting there thinking, wow, this woman is skin and bones, but when she sees herself in the mirror, she sees an overweight person. So I decided to explore our on-going battle with the scale.
I always knew it was going to be a series, it started with just two books. Jason and Adam, then during my re-write, fourth one of The Scale, I introduced Claire and Forrest, and I knew I had three books in my hands. I didn’t realize I had to tell Blake and Keely’s story after I finished writing The Scale. There are many unanswered questions between Minka and Keely that will be addressed in book 4.
MIRJ: Have you ever suffered from writer’s block, and if so, how do you get over the hump?
MJ: All the time. I don’t stress over it. When that happens I walk away from the scene, catch up on my reading or knit.
MIRJ: How important do you think social media is for a new author to get their work not only seen but read?
MJ: I think social media is the most important tool we have. I know some writers are hesitant to embrace it. Fear of losing their privacy, or overexposure but it’s all about balance.
MIRJ: Who would be your dream cast for Minka and Jason and the rest of the gang?
MJ: (Smiles) I definitely do have a dream cast because in my mind one day these books will be turned into movies. Let’s start with the ladies.
Minka – Aryn Drake-Lee (Musing: This is actor Jessie Williams’ wife y’all)
Lily – Frankie Sandford
Claire – Cassie Ventura
Keely – Meta Golding
The cast for the men are of course four of the most hottest men around.
Jason – Charlie Hunnam (Musing: SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON. I got it bad for this man y’all)
Adam – Francis Cura
Forrest – David Gandy
Blake – Rob Evans
MIRJ: Any more releases planned for 2014, and what’s on tap for the new year?
MJ: Need You Now, book 2 of the series was released on November 19th. I think I took a week break just to breathe. Book 3 and 4 are scheduled to be released in 2015.
MIRJ: Being a new writer, are there any authors whose work you admire or have inspired you to pursue your dream of writing?
MJ: There are some authors I can always go back to something they’ve written and find myself smiling over how magically they’ve weaved words together. Authors like Nora Roberts, Brenda Jackson, Maya Angelou, Truman Capote, Philip Roth, Anna Shreve, they all have a book on my nightstand that I can pick up anytime and enjoy.