When Nicole S. Rouse’s parents decided to name their firstborn after their favorite literary icon, Nikki Giovanni, they hadn’t expected their daughter to share the same birth date as the famous poet. They also had no idea their child would one day become the author of five published novels. In addition to writing, Nicole participates in literary events across the country where she encourages women to follow their dreams.
If readers want to get an inside look at the person you are, what and whom would they see? Readers would see a person who smiles quite a bit. You never know when a smile can brighten someone’s day. Readers would see a person who tries to make the best out of every situation, as well as a person who tries to learn from her mistakes. Readers would also see a person who accepts challenges and enjoys experiencing new things.
What has helped or shaped you as a writer? My parents have both touched my life with their creative gifts as writers and poets. In addition to my parents, I was greatly influenced by Terry McMillan. She captured my attention with the way she told real-life stories and realistically portrayed her characters. After reading her novels, I was moved to tell real stories that most people could relate to.
Do you often compare your work to that of other writers, namely those that you admire in the industry? I don’t necessarily compare myself to other authors. Although some authors may share similar styles, I believe that each individual author has a special, or unique gift that reaches the heart of readers. I do have a few authors that I admire and follow. I look to those authors more as role models and learn from their literary journey.
Was it your goal to become a writer, or was it something in particular that inspired you to choose this field? As a child, I spent a great deal of time writing stories to entertain family and friends. I loved the different emotions that surfaced after reading one of my stories. There was always a dialogue that followed, and often they wanted to know more about particular characters. In college, I quickly became the person who edited research papers and helped classmates with their essays. Writing was something that I always enjoyed, but didn’t realize that I could make a career out of. As such, I earned an education degree and taught for a number of years. It was no surprise that I specialized in writing as a teacher and helped to organize literary workshops, plays, and other related school events. One day, another teacher spent the day in my classroom and after observing me said, “It’s never too late to follow your dreams.” That summer, I devoted my time to finishing a novel I had started, and about two years later, that novel was published with Urban Christian.
What matters most to you as a writer? I would love for readers to be entertained by my novels but most importantly, I want readers to be blessed by the storyline and the message.
How did you know the Christian fiction genre was right for you? As early as I can remember, I wrote stories about love and romance. To me, stories had to have a happy ending. But, as I matured and experienced heartache, bad break ups, and false friendships, the nature of my stories changed. I learned that life was not always filled with happy moments. Although relationships experience moments of joys, there are also challenging moments. I wanted my writing to capture all of the good and challenging moments. It became my desire to write stories that would inspire conversations and possibly encourage or help people face the challenges in their lives. Once I shifted my focus, a wealth of opportunities opened up and I knew that writing Christian fiction was where I was designed to be.
What are you some of your future literary goals? I would like to explore other areas of publishing. I have worked in the education publishing industry for over ten years and have developed a great interest in book development and planning. While it is my desire to continue to write novels, I would love to be in a position to help other aspiring authors reach their dreams.
Tell us about your latest book and what inspired you to write it? My latest book is called Tender to the Touch. This is mainly a story about the value of friendship and of sisterhood. It follows the lives of six women who met in college; each dealing with a different personal struggle. As the women try to manage their daily lives, filled with love, lust, and betrayal, their friendship is tested when someone from the past resurfaces and the reunion ends with an unexpected death.
Proverbs 27:17 reads: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. During an eventful college reunion, that scripture became real to me. At that reunion, I realized that God blessed me with a great support system. True friends may not always agree with what you say or do. But, because they genuinely want what’s best for you, they will challenge you to be a better person. That college reunion was the inspiration for Tender to the Touch. Every woman should have a good girlfriend; someone who can celebrate the triumphs and provide support and encouragement through the trials and various stages of life.
What words of wisdom do you have to impart to aspiring authors? Never give up! If your goal is to become a published author, don’t lose sight of that dream. Keep reading and writing. Keep attending literary events. And keep praying! You never know when God is going to show up. Meeting my publisher came at a time when I least expected it, but I was ready and prepared.
What do you find the most gratifying about writing? When readers share how they were touched by one of my stories, that makes me smile. In my travels, I have laughed and cried with women who either identified with one of the characters, or the situation in the story. The dialogue that has occurred as a result of the message taken from one of my novels has been immeasurable, and gives me encouragement to continue writing.
How can you be contacted? My website address is: www.nicolerouse.net. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.