Thursday, May 8, 2008
Multicultural Romance Heats Up with Vina St. Fran and One Foot Outside The Door
Today we are thrilled to welcome multicultural romance author, Vina St. Fran. Her debut novel, One Foot Outside the Door was recently released by ZAM Publishing. We’ll talk to Vina about her inspiration, her novel, and what’s coming up next.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Vina. It’s great to have you here. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Thank you! It’s great to be here! I was born in Detroit but raised in Southfield Michigan, a suburb outside of Detroit. I really started writing when I was seven, and I started out with poetry. As I continued on in school, I began writing plays and short stories. I also won the Pride Of Performance Award for Creative Writing from the city of Southfield in my senior year of high school.
Have you always concentrated on romance writing?
You know, I have always loved romance novels, but I didn’t know where my focus as a writer would take me. When I began to write my first book, “One Foot Outside The Door” at the midpoint, I realized that it was of either mainstream or multicultural fiction.
What inspires you to put pen to paper?
Current world or personal events have a bit of an impact. Additionally, my inner voice dictates to me when it is time to start writing.
What is One Foot Outside The Door all about?
Cyndarella Worthy, the heroine is a woman scorned by the past. Her first love leaves her and she is forced to draw her own conclusions. Is it because she is African-American, and Bashar Bazzi, her lover, is Iraqi? Bashar led her to believe that wasn’t the case, but a change of events, shatters his reasoning and her trust in men. Cyndarella completes college and is a successful businesswoman, and treats dating as if it were a sport. She plays to win. Thad Mitchell, an African-American gentleman, changes that and Cyndarella is finally able to love again. Within weeks of her upcoming wedding, Bashar resurfaces ready to claim his former flame by any means necessary. Can he win her heart again?
What do you like the most about your heroine, Cyndarella? Is there anything you dislike about her?
I really liked Cyndarella because she is tough, man. She also is not afraid of making a commitment if she has a reason too. Cyn, as she is nicknamed, knows what she wants or at least she thinks she does.
How about her current love interest, Thad Mitchell. Is he a good guy? What kinds of flaws does he have?
Thad is a good guy, but he is selfish. He likes to be in control and be the decision maker in the relationship which he finds challenging with Cyndarella because she is so spirited and independent.
Bashar Bazzi, Cyn’s high school sweetheart is Chaldean (Christian Arab). How did you go about creating Bashar’s personality? How did you relay his belief system to your readers?
Metropolitan Detroit is the largest Middle Eastern community outside of the Mid-East. With this being said, I learned a lot about the Chaldean community because they lived within my community. One of my dearest friends is Chaldean. It was through these relationships that Bashar was formed. The Chaldeans are Catholics and they take their faith seriously. There are also customs that are unlike Americans when it deals with matters of the heart. I incorporated the Chaldean belief system in "One Foot Outside The Door" at a slow pace, as not to lose or confuse my readers. I believe I have accomplished that goal.
Did you write any of your beliefs or personality traits into your characters?
Of course I did! Slightly, but specific, yet deliberate.
Tell us about your publisher, ZAM Publishing.
Zam Publishing is the company I formed to bring my books to market. Zam is really about the current face of our country in terms of diversity. Our mission is to bring multi-cultural fiction to market that other publishers would not take a chance on. There is a voice for everyone. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be censored because of someone else’s standards. That is unfair. Right now, we are not accepting submissions, however, we will post on our website when that changes.
One Foot Outside The Door is the first book of a trilogy. Can you tell us a bit about the other two books you’ve got planned?
For starters, I must say that the readers will not be disappointed. However, Part Two, which has yet to be titled, is going to be intriguing, sexy, and more. It will also pull at your heartstrings in ways that I can’t elaborate on right now. It will be a treat!
Do you have other projects that are in the works?
Definitely, but my main focus is on completing the trilogy. The next book is scheduled for release in 2009.
Where can readers purchase One Foot Outside The Door?
They can purchase "One Foot Outside The Door" at BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and other major online book retailers.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I appreciate all of the support I’ve received from readers and reviewers. It means a lot to be embraced as an author, which I have aspired to be for as long as I can remember.
Thanks for stopping by Vina. I wish you much success in all you do.
Thank you, it’s been a pleasure!
ONE FOOT OUTSIDE THE DOOR VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on May 1, 2008 and continue all month long. If you would like to follow Vina's tour in progress, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in May. Leave a comment at any of her blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of her tour! One lucky winner will be announced on this tour page on May 30!