Tell us about yourself.
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.
What type of jobs or careers have you worked in the past?
Throughout college, I had a number of different jobs; movie theatre, retail, community centers, and social services to name a few. After graduation, I became an elementary school teacher. After 5 years, I left teaching to pursue my interest in publishing. I have been working for an education publishing company for over 15 years as an editor.
Who are your favorite authors?
Pearl Cleage, Terry McMillan, Kimberla Lawson Roby are just a few of the authors that I enjoy.
What are your favorite books?
A few of my favorite books are Waiting to Exhale, What Seems Like Crazy, The Black Rose, and Cane River.
When did you begin to realize you wanted to write?
I started writing stories in elementary school. As I matured through the years, my stories matured as well. By the time I graduated from college, I was inspired by Terry McMillan’s books to write a novel of my own.
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.
Are you a full-time writer? If so, describe your day?
I still work full-time as an editor. I typically write in the evenings and on weekends.
About the Author
Nicole S. Rouse was born and raised in Philadelphia. She earned her degree from Temple University and is currently a managing editor at a major educational publishing company. Nicole’s debut novel, Happily Ever Now, consistently ranked on the Top 25 Christian Independent Publishers bestsellers lists after its 2007 release. Nicole’s sophomore novel, Someone to Love Me, was picked up by the Black Expressions Book Club® before its scheduled release date. Other books by Nicole include: Be Careful What You Pray For (2010), Still Standing (2012), and Tender to the Touch (2013).
During her spare time, she serves as an undergraduate advisor at Temple University for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., where she encourages the young adult women to dream beyond their expectations. She also teaches writing workshops to aspiring writers. Nicole is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and resides near Philadelphia, PA.
For the past eleven years, Reverend J. Amanda King served as an anointed and powerful leader for the women’s ministry of Faith Tabernacle Church. Though thousands of women had been blessed by her leadership, J. Amanda was most fond of the ministry she built with five of her sorority sisters. To them she was more than a spiritual leader and counselor. She was their sister and true friend.
The bond of the sisterhood is tested when J. Amanda’s old flame, “Hunky” Crawford, resurfaces and pleasant memories of their life together seem more appealing than the one she shares with her husband, David. In time, J. Amanda remembers why she ultimately chose David over Hunky, but is she too late? Feeling rejected for a second time, Hunky exposes secrets that threaten to destroy J. Amanda’s relationship with her husband and line sisters forever and lead to a startling death.
Will J. Amanda salvage her relationships and get her life back on track? Or, will she give up on God and accept the consequences for turning her back on her faith?
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