IN NIKKI’S OWN WORDS…I am a 33-year old mother of adolescent twin girls, who are the biggest highlights of my life. We live in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My passions include writing and music, and my goals are to live with no regrets, and to strive to become a better me on a daily basis. Please visit me at www.nikkirashan.com.
How long have you been writing and how did you get you get started?
During middle school, I wrote several short stories and poems that I shared with close friends. Once I started high school and later entered adulthood, the writing bug died down. In 2000 I jotted a story idea in my journal. After my then husband and I separated and I was in a relationship with a woman, I started to write in 2001 and couldn’t stop.
How well was your first novel, Double Pleasure Double Pain, received?
The reception of Double Pleasure Double Pain has been overwhelmingly positive. So many women email me and tell me that they can relate to Kyla’s story, and that’s what I was aiming for.
Give a brief synopsis of your books Double Pleasure Double Pain and the sequel, You Make Me Wanna.
Double Pleasure Double Pain is the story of Kyla, a woman who finds herself attracted to a woman for the first time in her mid-20’s. In the book she has to decide if she will remain with her boyfriend, or choose the woman who has surprisingly taken hold of her heart. You Make Me Wanna… first fills in the gaps that DPDP left out. The ending of DPDP left the reader with unanswered questions and I did that on purpose, although many readers were upset! Additionally, the book follows Kyla through the beginning stages of her relationship with the new love of her life. It’s not without up and downs, of course… 🙂
How long did it take you to write You Make Me Wanna…, and how has the reception been so far?
You Make Me Wanna took a lot longer to write than DPDP. My daily duties had increased from the time I wrote DPDP, so, it took me about 11 months to write the book, and six more to edit and finally publish.
Did the feedback from your first novel affect the process or the outcome of your second novel?
The feedback I received from DPDP affected You Make Me Wanna primarily in one way, and that was filling in the gaps of what happened to Kyla, and show how Kyla eventually put closure to the relationship she left behind.
How close is character Kyla to your own personality? Was your coming out process similar to hers?
The biggest similarity between me and Kyla are the thoughts in her head. I got such a kick out of writing her thoughts because most of them are just what I would think and feel if I were in her situation. Kyla also described herself as clumsy in the first book; that’s definitely me too! My coming out process was somewhat similar to Kyla’s, in that we both were with men prior to being with women. The biggest difference is that Kyla’s feelings were new to her, where mine had been lifelong.
Kyla appeared so naïve in the first novel, but has grown so much in the sequel. How did you want to want to approach Kyla’s newfound sexual identity in You Make Me Wanna?
I approached Kyla’s sexual identity in You Make Me Wanna… like a woman who is ready, willing, and anxious to explore her new-found freedom. Unfortunately, for a while, she left emotional connections behind and focused only on the highs of sexual freedom.
Are your characters based on people in your own life?
There’s only one character (a very small one in DPDP) that is based on a real person. Otherwise, I take bits and pieces of people I know along with my imagination to create my characters. No one (besides the one) can ever come back and say that they are one of my characters. 🙂
What do you hope readers take away from You Make Me Wanna?
I hope that readers of You Make Me Wanna… (after reading DPDP) realize that even with the turmoil that can surround the coming out process, and the emotional anxiety one creates within, happiness and peace can be found.
What are you working on next?
Right now I’m in school and am not working on any writing projects. I continue to write poems very frequently though; my poems truly hold the secrets to my soul.
Who are you favorite authors? Favorite books?
My favorite author is E Lynn Harris. It will be great to pick up a new book from him sometime soon I hope. In the Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant is one of my favorites. And The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger is an absolutely hilarious book!
What do you like to do for fun?
For fun I enjoy reading (of course!). I love watching movies, going out with friends, and spending time with my daughters. Because I’m close to the Chicago area, I very much like to drive down and visit their lakefront and enjoy the nightlife.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I see myself in a relationship with the love of my life, still writing, and cheering my girls at their college graduation.
How has been a mother of twins affected your writing experience?
Being a mother of twins hasn’t affected my writing experience beyond trying to find time to write. They keep me quite busy!
What piece of advice can you share with aspiring writers?
My advice to aspiring writers is don’t stop! The challenges of traditional publishing can be shocking in the beginning, but thank goodness self-publishing is a wonderful alternative.
Why do you think it’s important for black lesbians to tell our own stories, like you did with You Make Me Wanna?
It’s so important for black lesbians to tell their stories to promote awareness; to show the world that we do exist in so many forms. By sharing stories of love and intimacy, not only do we create a bond between each other, but hopefully open the eyes of others to see that same sex loving women share passionate, committed lives together.
Interviewed January 2006
Nikki Rashan’s Reviews