Last June, I posted an interview with author Connie Monique Wilson, talking about some of the projects she was working on. Fast forward a year and some change, her book Northern Lights: Part One, is set to launch tomorrow, September 13, from BraveGirl Publishing, followed shortly by Glow Stick (October 4) and Learning the Hard Way (November 8). I invited Connie back to talk a little bit about her new release, and what is coming in the future!
Infamous Scribbler: It’s been a bit of a journey to get to this point (releasing the books). Can you talk a bit about how you got here?
Connie Wilson: It’s been an extremely long road, but let me see if I can give you the reader’s digest version. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve been working towards this since around 1996 but it wasn’t until the last few years where I thought that I was finally getting good enough to get published. Then last year, I sent one of my books to Julia Press Simmons (the CEO of BraveGirl Publishing) just to get her opinion and maybe some feedback. I spent a good part of last year tightening things up. A few months ago, Julia reached out to me when she was launching BraveGirl and asked if I would like to come work for her and I jumped at the chance.
IS: Tell us a little bit about Northern Lights, and if you don’t mind, Glow Stick, which will be out next month.
CW: Northern Lights is my baby. I’ve been developing it since 1996 and there were at LEAST a dozen reincarnations of it until it morphed into what it is now. It’s a coming of age story told in a Sweet Valley like format. In short, it’s about a rich white girl and an African – American male that is seemingly from the wrong side of the tracks. But as we delve into the book and the rest of the series, we see that it’s not that simple. They’re both trying to find out where they fit in the life they’re given and along the way they deal with love, loss, deal with old demons and so much more. Not only will there be the Carrington and Eli story line, there will be other side books or spin offs as I call them that get into the lives of other characters that enhance the rest of the story.
Glow Stick is the newest addition to my repertoire. It’s also my most personal story. I dug deep for this one. I had to face things that I’d tucked away in the recesses of my mind but I knew in order to properly tell the story and hopefully help other kids that are going through what I went through in school, that I had to tell what happened to me. I call Glow Stick my “8 Mile” because it’s factual fiction. The characters and the town are fictional but a lot of the situations in the book happened my senior year in high school. Glow Stick is about Camille and the bullying that she endures at school and how she deals with it. It’s a little… okay no… a lot more raw and real than anything that I’ve written probably in my entire life. I took Camille straight through the same pits of Hell that I had to travel down; she deals with bullying because of her weight, hatred because of her mother being a lesbian and the desperation it takes to make self harm look like a viable option. It’s only after going through all of that, that Camille realizes that only she has the power to make her feel any sort of way about her body and her life.
I did Glow Stick during NaNo 2013. I screamed, I cried, I got angry. I had to rely on the strength of my friends who reminded me that I had one Hell of a story to tell and I’d only be able to tell it if I put it down on paper. So I got it out and by the end of it all, I found a closure with the situation that I didn’t expect in the beginning. I am so proud of this project and cannot wait to see how it’s received.
IS: Many of your books deal with hard choices, especially doing the right thing when there are easier paths out there. How do your characters deal with making these decisions? What leads them down their paths?
CW: Because those are the situations that teenagers face. Of course it’s right to do the right thing but it’s not always easier. The right thing might be harder but it very rarely has the same consequences that doing the easier thing usually come with. So no matter the storyline or the characters, I want to make that the baseline so it’s more relate-able for anybody who reads it.
IS: What audience are your books aimed at? What made you decide to write for this particular audience?
CW: Three out of the four books I have completed are Young Adult. I was a young adult when I started getting serious about writing so that’s what I focused on. And now that I’m not, it’s more about just telling the stories that I’ve been working on for so long. I will eventually go contemporary and even do some fantasy but for now, there’s a bunch of teenagers slam dancing in my head with stories to tell. LOL.
IS: What’s coming up next?
CW: So, SO much. Like you mentioned before Glow Stick comes out October 4th. Learning the Hard Way comes out November 8th. My 4th book will come out some time in early 2015, as well as a collab between myself and the head of BraveGirl Publishing – Julia Press Simmons. Look for that after the first of the year. And then I’m going to spend most of my 2015 working on the rest of the Northern Lights series.
IS: Where will your books be available?
CW: Everywhere ebooks and books in general are sold. LOL. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.
Pick up a copy of Northern Lights today (available for pre-order before the launch tomorrow) at Amazon!