Debut author J. Nichole received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Florida A&M University and a master’s degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Her love for books grew into a passion for writing. J. Nichole has spent the past ten years as a full-time IT consultant, and the past four writing fiction. She currently resides in the Northern Virginia area with her husband, daughter, and puppy.
BPM: Tell us about your new book and the main characters. Available on Nook and Kindle?
The series is available on Kindle. Love 101 is a college-aged romance, following Laila Jackson who we meet in her freshman year of college. She’s without her best friend, and newly single. During her freshman year, she meets Chris. Despite his approach and crazy ex-girlfriend, Laila is drawn to him. Throughout the series, their relationship progresses as Laila matures, and experiences college life at its finest. In the final book, Grown & Sexy Senior we conclude with Laila’s last year of college and as she embarks on her next chapter, who if anyone she’ll be sharing it.
BPM: What topics are discussed?
The college years are the most intricate years of a young adults life, whether he/she is in college decisions will be made that can be life altering, and although these years carry a lot of weight, they are often the most memorable years. In the series, I touch on romance, friendship, sexuality, independence, education, and black culture.
BPM: What was your hardest scene to write, the opening or the close?
The hardest scene to write was the close. Throughout the series, Laila has two love interests. In the close, I needed to decide who, if either of them, she would be with. Readers of Freshmen Fifteen had their choice, and I had to decide if I’d follow the readers or follow Laila’s heart.
BPM: Do you try to deliver to readers what they want or let the characters guide your writing?
I’m a pantser, meaning that I allow the story to guide me. Although I didn’t want to disappoint readers and not deliver more of Laila, I did let her story be told, and not be guided by the feedback I had received.
BPM: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I don’t want ever to say never… I’m sure some areas are taboo, and I may find them difficult to tackle now, but they may one day nag at me until I get them on paper.
BPM: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
None in particular. It depends on the character who has to portray the emotion. If the emotion is out of character for him/her, it may be difficult to construct.
BPM: What made you want to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
I love reading. I am a binge reader, and if I had the time, I would read non-stop. One day, Freshmen Fifteen popped into my head, and I started writing it. During the process, more stories have come to mind, and my passion for writing has grown into an uncontrollable beast.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
Because I’d love to one day become a full-time writer, I spend time learning about the craft, not just the writing but the business as well. It is time-consuming but rewarding.
BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
I do not view writing as a spiritual practice, but I do believe it’s a God-given talent.
BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned from this project?
It wasn’t surprising, but it reaffirmed my desire to reach out to college-aged adults. I’d love to work with them in some capacity. While writing Love 101, I was reminded of my days in college and remember how challenging the transition can be out of college and I want to help ease that transition.
BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
In the book, Laila attends an HBCU, and her grandmother gives her grief about not wanting to attend a predominantly white university. HBCUs have been a topic of discussion lately, particularly in the political realm. I find myself defending HBCUs, like Laila, at any opportunity.
BPM: Is there a specific place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
The shower. It’s crazy, but after realizing that’s when all my thoughts flowed freely, I started writing with rain forest mood music.
BPM: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me, but unfortunately, I write at inopportune times. Typically late at night or early in the morning, and by default, I’d rather be sleeping.
BPM: What are the top three things that make you feel happy and fulfilled?
My faith, my family, and freedom.
BPM: What makes you forget about the world around you?
Conversations with my daughter. Her curiosity and perspective amaze me. It’s humbling to have the experience to speak with someone with such little life experience who has such a great understanding how things work. She’s only five, so I’m sure many can imagine and understand how those conversations typically go.
BPM: What strengths did you use to achieve two major goals in life?
Praying and listening.
BPM: What other projects are you working on at the present time?
I have started a spin-off story that I hope to release at the end of the year, and I have many projects in the pipeline that I’ll be structuring in the meantime.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I’m most active on Twitter, but I’m also on Facebook, and readers can hear from me directly by subscribing to my newsletter.
Facebook – www.facebook.com/byjnichole
Twitter – www.twitter.com/by_jnichole
Website – www.NotTheLastPage.com
Why Freshmen Fifteen? by J. Nichole
The ‘freshman fifteen’ is an infamous term to describe the weight you gain your freshman year of college. Unfortunately, for me, it was accurate.
I attended Florida A&M University, a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) in Tallahassee, Florida. When the idea of Freshmen Fifteen popped into my head, it was only right that Laila have the same challenges I faced of dealing with the sweltering heat of Tallahassee. But Lee University, is purely fictional.
Where did the idea come from? I’d like to think God planted the seed. It happened one day while I was commuting to work. Before sitting down to write it, the only other book I authored was Journey After School, a non-fiction book for graduating college students — I guess I have a special place in my heart for college-aged adults.
Being an IT major I didn’t particularly need to write much in college, and working in my career field I probably write even less than when I was in school. But I have always loved to read. Reading hundreds of books through the school year to earn Little Caesar’s bucks… does anyone else remember those or was it just me?
In high school, my interest in books peaked when I read The Coldest Winter Ever. The book that turned me into an insomnia-reader. Sister Souljah captured me from the first page and didn’t let me go till I was finished. I was even reading in the back of a classroom when I was supposed to be listening to the lecture.
I love other creative art forms as well, I binge watch Netflix… currently watching Frankie & Grace. And ratchet music, is my guilty pleasure. I still rock out to Knuck if you Buck! But it’s something about reading that will always take the highest place in my favorite things to do list.
With Love 101 I hope to create other insomnia-readers, I hope that with the first page of Freshmen Fifteen when you first meet Laila, you won’t put it down until you know how her college career ends in Grown & Sexy Senior!
Purchase Freshmen Fifteen (Love 101) by J. Nichole
Amazon Link: http://a.co/3vAjlwv