I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. I’ve been writing stories since I was a child as a way to entertain myself. When the streetlights came on, I had to go inside the house. From my window I could hear my friends playing outside and having a good time. When I got tired of crying and complaining, I wrote stories about all the places I would go when I was old enough and all the fun I would have as an adult.
I was an elementary school teacher for 5 years, and by default my students became great writers in all subject areas. One day, a colleague said something to me that changed my life. “You’re never too old to follow your dream.” At that time, I had not considered pursuing a career in writing. Although I was in my late twenties, I didn’t believe that switching careers was a wise decision. I had already invested a number of years in teaching and had accumulated a huge student loan to pay back. But, those words spoke to my spirit and I am glad I listened.
Today, now more than 15 years later, I have a career that combines my experience in the education field and my love for writing, and 5 published novels.
How do you find time to connect with God?
In addition to my prayer times, I find time at least once a week to write in a journal. In that journal, I write a letter to God expressing my innermost thoughts. From those letters I can see how much I’ve grown, as well as the areas in which I still need to improve.
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books
Pearl Cleage, Terry McMillan, Kimberla Lawson Roby are just a few of the authors that I enjoy. A few of my favorite books are Waiting to Exhale, What Seems Like Crazy, The Black Rose, and Cane River.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
I completed my first novel during my fourth year of teaching. During this time, I also did a lot of research on how to get published, attended several literary events, joined a couple of writing groups, took free writing classes, and volunteered as a writer at church and at a local newspaper company. As a result of these things, I became a stronger writer, and knowledgeable about the publishing industry as well. Every day I woke up excited and ready to learn more. But then a series of life events occurred that changed my views on life and relationships. It became important that I write stories that would not only be entertaining. There had to be some kind of message that would promote discussion and prayerfully inspire and encourage readers, as well as give them a sense of hope.
I revised the novel I initially wrote as a classic urban love story, and turned it into a story about the ups and downs of relationships. The message of the story was forgiveness. It is easy for many of us to say, “I forgive you,” but sometimes our actions show otherwise. So in that novel (Happily Ever Now), readers follow one woman’s journey as she learns to forgive and trust her husband after he betrayed their marriage. Something that she finds is not an easy endeavor.
It was at that point that doors began to open for me. I participated in an Indianapolis book fair as a workshop presenter on editing, and before my session began, I attended a workshop on how to transition from mainstream writing into Christian fiction writing. Listening to the speaker, something inside of my spirit jumped. When I revised my novel, I wasn’t sure which genre it would fit into. But thanks to Joylynn Jossell-Ross, who was the executive editor at Urban Christian, I had found the perfect home for my story. About a month later, I was given a contract to join the Urban Christian family of writers.
Tender to the Touch is a story about friendship. Rev. Jennifer Amanda King is caught off guard when decisions she made in her past catch up with her. Not only is her personal life disrupted. The lives of her closest and dearest friends are affected as well. Together, the friends pull together to try and make the best out of a troubling situation. But they discover that putting a patch on old wounds is not an easy endeavor.
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
I attended a reunion with several college friends and the experience was unforgettable. That weekend connected us in a different way. We became a stronger support system for one another, and have helped each other grow as women. I wanted to create a story that touched on some of the issues women face, and how important it is to have supportive people in our lives.
What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
I wanted to write a story that showed readers, that no matter how many mistakes or bad decisions they make, God is always in control. There are times when we may not feel His presence, but He is there. He does not always change our situation as quickly as we think He should, but until change happens, He knows whom to send as true friends to help make each day a little better and a little brighter.
What’s next for you?
I am finishing an anthology with two other authors. The anthology is expected to release early next year. I have also started the sequel to Tender to the Touch, which is scheduled to release at the end of 2014.
Please tell us where we can connect with you online.
My website address is: www.nicolerouse.net. I am on Facebook as Nicole S. Rouse, Twitter as nsrouse, and Pinterest.