Author Interview-Author Nicole Saunders, When Legal Meets Literature
Welcome to Untamed Publishing's Author Interviews! As a company that caters to the self-published author, we want to highlight and support indie authors. There is a vast array of talent amongst us, and here's the opportunity to connect the readers to their next favorite author! This year we have an all new round of writers from all genres so let's saddle in and have an Untamable 2018!
This interview features, Author Nicole Saunders. Attorney turned Author turned Untamable! She's coming for all of her dreams and we get a sneak peek into her world as an author, when legal meets literature!
Hi Nicole! Let me first say it is an honor to have you interview with UP. Welcome to the UP HOT SEAT! Before we begin, please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an attorney from Florida. I am the youngest of two children in my family. My family is very close. We are very supportive of each other. My family's encouragement has truly inspired me to follow all of my dreams--in law and in literature. I've always had an active imagination. I started writing my first novel when I was 10. It was a young adult fiction series. I started writing Disposable, my latest completed work, in college. I finished it while I was finishing up law school, hence the heavy emphasis on legal concepts in the book.
Awesome! That is a wonderful feeling when your family earnestly supports your dreams. Legal to Literature, with the demands of your profession, why did you decide to become a published author?
Honestly, it was the most logical step for me. I've been writing for many years. I felt it was time to get my work out there. I also didn't have the patience to query dozens of publishers. Additionally, I wanted to retain creative control of my work, so I decided to publish it myself. I founded the company Advocate & Entertain Media, LLC as a publishing company for my work as well as the work of other authors.
I love that! So empowering and I love to see our ladies out here making all of their dreams happen! And authors take note, she has a publishing company (hint, hint). I can probably take a wild guess, but what genres do you write?
Legal fiction and psychological fiction. I also prefer strong female leads in books, so I believe I still stick to the area of women's fiction for now.
I guessed it! We can fully understand your writing style because it reflects who you are. While we are discussing you as an author, let's dive into some more tidbits about you, as an author. When it comes to writing, are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl! My creative juices just flow when the sun goes down.
Tell us a unique writing habit that you have.
Incorporating characteristics of the people I know into my stories. I find inspiration from people's names, faces, gestures, etc. I try to incorporate these things into my writing in subtle ways. This practice helps keeps the characters authentic.
You may end up in one of Nicole's books, so play nice. (just joking) lol. Since we are on the subject of incorporating people into books, if you were to write a book about yourself what would you name it? Why?
The Upside would be my book title. It's a double entendre. On the one hand, I am a wheelchair-user. I have never walked without assistance. That has shaped the way I see the world. When I speak to people, I usually have to look up, because pretty much everyone is taller than me, because they are standing and I am not. Hence, the upside is my point-of-view.
On the other hand, the describes my view of life: I like to be positive, to look on the upside. That mindset has carried me through many challenges. I know God has a plan for my life. That gives me an upside.
Wow! That touched my spirit. I sincerely hope you release that book one day because I would absolutely love to read it. Thank you for sharing that with us. Now, let's dive into your work. Tell us about your current book project?
Disposable is a provocative tale that raises crucial moral issues about the lengths to which one will go to create "the perfect family".
It centers on the lives of three characters: Annalyn Winston, a troubled college student who is desperate for money to finish school and starving for the love she never received from her alcoholic mother; Gerline Caslon, a bewildered and abused wife who is determined to save her dysfunctional and childless marriage at all costs; and Akon Tahiri, an ambitious attorney and devoted family man who is clawing for success in a heartless legal market.
These three lives collide when Abington, Gerline's husband, hires Annalyn to be the couple's surrogate and enlists Akon to handle the legal aspects of the arrangement. All goes well until a medical test reveals that the unborn baby has a potentially devastating birth defect. A revelation that forces this unlikely troupe on a journey through the earth-shattering secrets and psychological tortures that threaten to destroy them.
I'm sold! Whew, that reeled me in. Readers, go get this book. I'm excited to hear about what's next. What is your upcoming project about? When will it be released?
I am still working on a title. I don't want to give too much away, but it's another legal novel about a hot-button issue in today's political environment. I hope to release it in fall 2018.
I'm on edge, but I guess I can leave through the wait, lol. Besides writing, What are some of your other aspirations for your writing career?
Honestly, I aspire to change the world and how people think about issues. Entertainment has a tremendous ability to change the dialogue on controversial topics. Some readers of have come to me and told me that reading the book completely changed their understanding of topics, such as relationships and the value of human life. That is my main goal as an author: to change the conversation. Secondly, like most authors, I want to be commercially successful. To me, that doesn't mean selling millions of books. It simply means that I would like writing to be profitable for me. I would still write, even if it never became profitable. But, that is certainly a goal.
What makes your writing stand apart from other authors?
I write movies, not novels. What I mean by that is my goal is to create a picture for the reader. When I am writing, I am creating a movie in my mind. I use words to convey the scenes that my mind creates. That is why my work is so visual. My goal is to help the reader see what I see. Sometimes the reader's imagination will create different pictures from my words than the pictures my mind creates. That's awesome. But, I definitely aim to create a picture.
Also, I call myself a hybrid grammarian. On the one hand, I am a stickler for grammar. On the other hand, I like to use words in fun and interesting ways. Again, my goal is to create a picture and convey a thought. To me, that matters more than having perfect grammar.
Hybrid grammarian, very creative! With your creative style, would you like to collaborate with other authors on a book project?
Absolutely! I love combining writing styles. When I was in high school, I began co-author a novel with my friend. We never finished it. But, it was fun seeing how we could take the same facts, scenes, and characters, and create completely different storylines. So, I think collaborating with other authors for a book project would be great fun.
Now let's get know more about you personally. Name your top 5 favorite books by indie authors. Why are they your faves?
-Garden (Jane Yates)
-Octopus (Jane Yates)
-Lay Aside Every Wait (Selena Edwards)
-Wake, Rise, and Smile (Austin Franklin)
-Friends with Benefits (Rudolph McKissick, Jr.)
-Garden is an exciting book in a steam-punk genre. I love it, because it is beautifully-written and deeply intriguing. It is also refreshing to read a book in a non-traditional genre.
-Octopus is one of my favorite for the same reasons--interesting genre and great use of words. The author creates very vivid pictures of another world. Think Star Trek and the Wild West in one thrilling package.
-Lay Aside Every Wait is a non-fiction work by a local author in my area. It is sort of a self-help book that combines the author's personal experiences with helpful tips. I love those types of books. I particularly love that book, because it is so personal. That makes it relatable.
-Wake, Rise, and Smile is also a non-fiction work by an author in my area. He's actually my cousin. His book is one of my favorites because it is masterfully-written. The sentence structure, the word usage, and the message are all powerful.
-Friends with Benefits is a spiritual book about making intentional and beneficial connections in life. It is a wonderful guide to navigating friendships in the 21st century. It is very helpful and practical.
Outside of writing, what are your favorite past times?
Singing, watching salacious reality shows, and eating good food in great environments. Those are some of my favorite things to do when I am not working or writing.
Tell us one thing about you that is a little known fact.
I taught myself how to play the piano. When I was a child, my mother enrolled me in music lessons. It didn't go well. I have always been a free spirit when it comes to art, so being told when and how I had to learn something was difficult for me. So, I quit. I had no idea how to play the piano. But, I knew how to sing. I used little sticky notes to label the piano "Do" through "Do" and just started to play. Before I knew it, I was actually pretty okay. I still play the piano every now and then for fun.
A fun fact here is I did the same thing! I hated being told to play the piano and now tinkle around with it and the guitar. I like to have the freedom to create. Just like I love to read, but hated being told to read. I get it. Before you go, we want to ask for your advice for aspiring authors. What is one lesson you’ve learned since becoming a published author?
Writing is the easiest part of the publishing process. Once I finished writing , I thought my work was over. I was wrong. To create a quality book, it takes writing, re-writing, editing, proofing, formatting, and so much more. Writing is just the first step. It's a big first step. A necessary first step. But, just a first step.
What is one myth about being a published author that you learned and would like to share?
The biggest myth is the old adage, "If you build it, they will come." Writing a book is hard. Selling a book is harder. Creating a sustained readership is even harder. Writing a book is just the first step. You have to keep working to actually create a career as a writer, if that is your goal. It isn't easy. But, writing is worth the work.
Nicole, it was a pleasure to interview you. We look forward to your future works! Please connect with the author and check out her book, “Disposable".
Website: https: //www.disposable-thebook.com/
Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/Nickifixnwriter
Book Synopsis & Snippet
It all starts out so innocently.
Annalyn Winston is a troubled college student. Desperate for money to finish school. Starving for the love she never received from her alcoholic mother. Gerline Caslon is a bewildered wife. Determined to save her dysfunctional and childless marriage at all costs. Akon Tahiri is an ambitious attorney and devoted family man. Clawing for success in a heartless legal market. These three lives collide when Abington, Gerline's husband, hires Annalyn to be the couple's surrogate and enlists Akon to handle the legal aspects of the arrangement. All goes well until a medical test reveals that the unborn baby has a potentially devastating birth defect. A revelation that forces this unlikely troupe on a journey through the earth-shattering secrets and psychological tortures that threaten to destroy them.
Disposable is a provocative tale that raises crucial moral issues about the lengths to which one will go to create "the perfect family".
Enjoy This Snippet:
“Parenthood is undeniably one of the most rudimentary rights that someone can have. No court should ever attempt to interfere in the exercising of this right. The biological parent of a child should always be given preference in matters of custody. It’s simply the law of nature. Thank you!” My lawyer concluded his closing statement by argumentatively pounding his fist on the conference table.
My coffee cup wobbled slightly. I reached out and grasped its handle. He glanced at me for approval. I nodded and offered a smile. He had done a wonderful job.
“Thank you,” I mouthed to him. He reached over and massaged my shoulder once he returned to his seat.
“It’ll be okay,” he promised.
I breathed in deeply, wanting to believe him. But, as the other attorney resolutely affixed his hands around the rims of his wheelchair and pushed himself to the center of the room, fear chased away any glimpse of hope I harbored inside.
He glanced at me, and smiled coolly. To him, this was just business, nothing personal.
I glared at him. He looked away. He smoothed down his oversized black blazer once he’d made his way into the space between the two conference tables that lined the tiny room; into the space that separated me from them and them from me. They inhaled in unison as their advocate began his closing argument.
“My esteemed colleague brings up a very important point. Parenthood is a basic right; that is unless it is voluntarily given up. This case is not about robbing a mother of the right to parent her child. It is about a young woman who breached a contract, a written agreement that both parties consented to of each individual’s own volition. The defendant was not coerced into signing over her parental rights; she did so willingly. Therefore, she does not have the right to simply change her mind because she disagrees with the child’s parents’ medical decisions for the fetus in question…”
He then relayed the merits of his clients, arguing that they only wanted the best for the child. His claims were ironic, to say the least. I struggled to hear his words over the throbbing pain that drummed in my stomach.
It must be my nerves, I thought. Over the past few months, discomfort had become my constant companion. It greeted me in the morning when I opened my eyes and kept me awake some nights. But, as I squirmed in my chair, I realized this pain was different—deeper than any I had experienced before. I pushed back from the table; just enough to give my aching stomach some room. The baby that was growing inside of my swelling stomach moved down. Hard. Fast.
Suddenly, the pressure on my bladder became so intense that I thought I’d urinated on the pristine office chair beneath me. It wasn’t much, just a leak. But, I needed to go to the bathroom soon.
I tapped my lawyer on the shoulder. “I have to use the restroom,” I whispered as the urge grew stronger.
“One moment; he’s almost done. I’ll request a recess,” he whispered flatly. He’d become accustomed to my sudden requests to use the restroom during the proceedings. It had happened every time we’d been before the judge since I entered my third trimester.
I nodded, releasing a labored breath. The judge must’ve noticed something was wrong. She looked at me for a moment, then back at the long-winded lawyer, who still hadn’t finished. He’d begun the final part of his speech, the character-assassination portion, as my lower back started to throb.
“This young woman,” he said, pointing to me, “woefully misused the trust my clients placed in her for her own selfish gain.”
My legs started to shake. I rolled my eyes. I was contracting, right in front of the judge, right in front of them. I exhaled as I feverishly tapped my right foot, trying to stay calm. The pain grew. I flung my head back and stared at the ceiling. This couldn’t be happening. Not now.
“I have to go,” I whispered again as I attempted to stand. I had to get out of that room. I had to protect my baby, myself. They couldn’t know I was going into labor. That time was running out.
“He’s almost done,” my lawyer whispered harshly as he grabbed my hand.
“The court should not reward her selfishness by granting her wish. This case could set a very important precedent, one that could affect the course of parental rights for the next decade!” the lawyer declared.
I tried to sit back down as fluid ran down my leg. I closed my eyes, hoping by some miracle that by visibly shutting out the world around me I would disappear, and take my precious little boy with me.
“I have to go!” I shouted partially to my lawyer and partially to the judge.
“Is there a problem, young lady?” the agitated judge asked; a stern expression consumed her entire face. She didn’t like me.
“I have to use the restroom,” I announced, trying with everything inside of me to maintain a calm composure. No one could know what was happening to me. No one could know that soon the baby I loved, the baby they hated, would be leaving the safety of my womb and entering the world, only to be sent back out.
“Judge,” my lawyer began, “can I please request a recess?”
She sighed. “Fine. But, I should reiterate to you, young lady, that bathroom matters should be taken care of beforehand. We just had a recess twenty minutes ago.” “Yes.” I bowed my head. The pressure on my bladder traveled to my butt. “I’m sorry,” I said quickly as I stood. I pushed a few chairs out of the way as I sprinted toward the door. The pain was all-encompassing. My heart throbbed. Invisible bricks weighed down my legs. My head felt as if it would explode from pain. Something was wrong. These weren’t the normal birth pains my doctor warned me about. This wasn’t the “lower back pressure” he’d described.
I placed my hand over my aching stomach. “It’s going to be okay,” I whispered to my son. I stumbled up to the door as the room began to swirl around me. I opened the door, pushed my body out, tripping over the threshold, and falling facedown onto the tile floor.
I heard a barrage of footsteps coming to the office room door. I couldn’t breathe. A trickle of blood ran down my leg. A trickle that quickly became a full-blown downpour as I lay on the floor. Vulnerable. Exposed. Helpless. So completely helpless.
My vision blurred. I felt nothing but pain as red liquid ran down my legs and onto the floor, forming a pool around me. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything but watch the blood as it surrounded me.
“She’s going into labor!” my lawyer shouted as he pulled his cellphone out of his pocket. “I’m calling 911.”
He bent down over me as he explained my condition to the dispatcher: clammy skin, perfuse sweating, and blood. So much blood. Everywhere.
“Thank you.” He concluded the conversation. “It’s going to be okay,” he reassured me as he stroked my forehead. “They’re coming. Just hold on.”
“No,” I squeaked out as I glanced up to see them, the couple who wanted to take my baby from me, standing together; hand-in-hand.
“What happens if she has the baby here?” the man frantically muttered to his lawyer. “What happens then?”
“Then there’s nothing I can do,” the downtrodden litigator confessed.
The man screamed obscenities, first at me, then at the baby, and then at his lawyer who attempted to calm him. I craned my neck to look at him; then at the judge, who shook her head; then at the once-pristine tile floor that was now covered in blood. My blood.
I could feel by heartbeat slowing, my eyelids growing heavy. The world that once swirled around me now faded into darkness. “Help us,” I whispered. “Please.” I looked deep into my lawyer’s eyes.
“They’re coming,” the judge muttered as I closed my eyes, slowly shutting out the world around me.