Wednesday, February 22, 2012

REAL Talk with Writer Ni-Ni Simone


Hold Up! Stop the press! Ni-Ni Simone has entered the building. Now please everybody, I know this is going to be hard, but let's try to control our standing ovations, wild applause and loud cheers although everybody knows that when it comes to books about the real, day-to-day situations teenage girls' face, no one tells a story like the fabulous, Ni-Ni Simone.

Her writing is honest and trendy like new fashion. She writes stories that are so engaging, you'll find yourself in a trance as your eyes race across the pages, full of excitement and anticipation, wondering what's going to happen next. Like your favorite reality TV show that is full of drama, crazy conflicts and real life scenarios, her books are just that good and if you're not careful, you'll be all tripped up in the head, questioning if one of her characters is really your boyfriend, your BFF, or even yourself.

Ni-Ni's writing is in a class of her own. She is not afraid to write about the deep, unspoken and often hidden situations girls face on a daily basis. Her characters are familiar like the faces you see in your third period class and her stories read like the conversation you had on the phone last night.

To Date, Ni-Ni Simone has written: Shortie Like Mine, Upgrade U, A girl Like Me, Teenage Love Affair, If I was your Girl and The Break-Up Diaries. Her books sizzle while mirroring the happenings of teenage life and if you don't already know, try to read just one, and you'll discover an addiction to her books that's as real as a craving for chocolate or as serious as your need to coat your lips with your favorite shiny pink lip gloss. Please enjoy our interview below.

1.   What or who inspired you to write your first book? 
When I was 9 years old, I used to rewrite the endings to my favorite TV shows (i.e Smurfs) and my mother would comment about how good of a writer I was. At the time, I didn't realize it was something special until many years later a friend of mine inspired me to write a young adult novel. I took the challenge as an opportunity to see what I could do. I wrote my first novel, Shortie Like Mine in 2 weeks. From there, it was no turning back. I was hooked and have been writing every since.
2.   Out of all of your books, do you have a favorite? 
Shortie Like Mine is one of my favorites. When I wrote the book, I felt like I was the character, Seven, going through the various situations with her. I also LOVE my new book coming out, No Boyz Allowed. The character in this book, Gem's message is one I think all teens can embrace.
3.   Do any of your characters mirror people you actually know or come from situations you’ve faced? 
Not particularly. My characters come from a combination of different people and events. For example, Seven's mom is like my mom in the sense that she was protective and no non-sense. But for the most part, I let the stories speak for themselves. I like to lose myself in each particular story and allow the story to take shape on its own.
4.   What books have most influenced your life? 
In college, I was an English major, so I fell in LOVE with Shakespeare. I love his plays, Mid Summer Knight's Dream and The 12th Night. I also LOVE Terry McMillian, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. 
5.   If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about any of your books?
NO! If anything about my books would be different, my journey would be different and I wouldn't want to change my journey. It has made me who I am.
6.   Can you share with us a challenge that you faced as a teenager and how you overcame it?
When I was in the 10th grade, I was suspended for being accused of fighting. The fight never happened although all of my friends stopped talking to me and made false assumptions about me. I was crushed and it was a difficult time because I couldn't understand why my friends completely shut me out. But it turned out good for me in the end. My parents transferred me to another school which worked out good. I ended up finishing high school in 3 years (instead of 4) and going to college early.
7.   You write stories about intimate issues teen girls face; boys, peer pressure, body image, acceptance, sex, teen-pregnancy, alcoholism, drug addiction, physically and emotionally abuse etc. What inspires you to write about these issues? AND above all, what is the central message you want girls to grasp from your novels?
I am inspired to touch everyday girls and these are some of the real issues girls face. I don't want to preach messages about what girls should or should not be doing. I want to show them through their own experiences the outcomes that they can have. Above all, my central message is that you can be anything you wish to become, no matter what the circumstances are.  Keep believing and working towards your goal and what you desire will manifest itself. 
8.   We've heard that you’re really into fashion, music and celebrity gossip. Who can we catch you listening to?
    I LOVE Jay-Z, Beyonce, Oprah and celebrity Gossip, LOL.  
9.   Can you tell us more about your new project?
      I've got 2 new books coming out. The first is called, No Boyz Allowed. It's about a girl name Gem who learns what it is to be loved. Then I have, Hollywood High, which I wrote with Amir Abrams. This book is about super rich teens who we think have it all (money, fame, clothes, cars) but we learn about the not so glamorous side of their lives (loneliness, drug abuse, eating disorders etc). These are both fun books in the same lane as my others. Readers will be impressed.  
10.   Can you tell us about your website and the ways teen girls can interact with you?
    I love to hear from my fans. Feel free to visit my website at www.ninisimone.com. There are ways to send me messages in my, Hall of fans, section. Also, fans can send me pictures of themselves holding my books and I post them on Facebook and on my site.
11. Do you have any words of wisdom you can leave with us?
To ALL of the, "Gems" of the world; Wherever there is hope, there is love. Wherever there is Love, there is God, because God is love. Wherever you have God, you have the ability to be whoever you want to be.

       
Ms. Ni-Ni simone


  

     

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