A while ago, I reviewed an engaging page turner, Forever Dolls, from Author Ci'Monique Green. Today, I'm happy to bring an interview with the author.
1.The concept of a Forever Dolls is very unique (at least to me since I've never heard of it). How did you decide for your main character to be a maker of those dolls?
Forever Dolls actually had a heavy-hearted genesis. Last summer one of my closest friends of 20 years – more like a sister – died of breast cancer. Along with her other loved ones, I was one of her caregivers at the end. Some months after she was gone, thinking about her with so many reminders surrounding me, I had an idea. I thought, what if it were possible for someone to create dolls of remembrance using the hair of people who had died or were dying of cancer. I wrote down a one-sentence synopsis and tucked it away. It didn’t develop into Verona’s story in book-form for another few months.
2. How did you come up with setting your story in Chatham? Have you lived in the South? How did you create the delightful atmosphere and community?
I’m a big-city girl. Born and raised in the suburbs of Seattle, I’ve been an LA resident for 16 years, along with ping-ponging to New York and Boston some years back. For this book, I wanted to write a dreamy small-town tale. I decided to create a fictional locale so I could bring the story to life with no limitations. It was so much fun! My grandparents were from Mississippi and Arkansas, so some of the influences came from the Southern stories I grew up hearing, and things I imagine.
3. What would you say is the theme for Forever Dolls? How does the doll making activities connect with Roni's personal growth and developing love for Bradford?
The running theme is definitely community. Chatham Crest is one communal tapestry, where no one is disconnected from anyone else. With only a few exceptions, you’ll notice that the town’s characters are mostly “a-racial”, meaning, you cannot detect whether they’re black, white, or any other color. This gives the story an Anytown feel, where it’s more about how everyone care’s for each other. For Verona, her doll-making is a sobering craft in the beginning. Later on, it becomes more intimate to her as she sees how dramatically life can shift. Even as her world gets bigger because of her romance with Bradford, she’s still a kind-hearted dollmaker – but a taste of love makes her craft so much richer.
4. A lot of the story events had me cracking up. How do you come up with all of the funny personalities and happenings in your story?
By nature, I see people very vividly. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always noticed people’s idiosyncrasies, mannerisms, ways of speech, and tiny life-story details. I also love talking to people. I’ve had some of the funniest, most unforgettable conversations with all types, in the strangest of circumstances. When it comes time to write a story, I sit back and think of who the characters are before I pen them. After that, they come to life on their own, which is fun to watch.
5. Did you plot the mystery, or wing it as you were writing? How important is it to have a mystery inside your story?
Girl, I was just as surprised as you! Initially, I knew there had to be something mysterious to bring tension to the story, but it wasn’t until I was entering a particular scene that the mystery took on a new form. Personally, I’ve never been a romance reader, so I felt the mystery element would set Forever Dolls apart and satisfy readers’ tastes who look for something more, like I do.
6. Finally, tell us about yourself. What are your 2015 goals? writing goals? personal goals?
Like Rainer, Verona’s daughter, I am the only-child of an incredible single mom (Veronica). As a woman in my 40s now, I see how much her sacrificial love nourished me, being only a teenager when she had me. I’m a person who thrives in solitude, although that would certainly change if I ever have a family. I love to kickbox, hike, paint, make jewelry, anything creative. In 2015 I want to visit either some friends in France or go to Australia. The crazy thing is, I was a flight attendant for almost ten years and have never been to either place! As for my writing, I want to finish the last book in a trilogy I have, and also get some of my short stories published in major publications. As a person, I want to continue in this season of restoration I’m experiencing. The last decade has been hard, so I’m excited for these brighter days to continue.
7. What else is important to you?
My faith in God’s grace and my dependence on His love shapes my whole life. In everything I do, I hope to bring some of that light to someone else’s life too.
About the Author:
Ci'Monique is a pretty uncomplicated person, simply in love with everyday life. Made much stronger by adversities she would have liked to forget, but now wouldn't trade for anything, she understands what it means to ride out a storm until restoration meets us again. Ci'Monique enjoys hiking, cycling, kick-boxing, and yes -- pizza and ice-cream.
Visit her at her website: http://cimoniquegreen.com/index.html