Jen: Today we welcome Paulette Harper to Romancing the Book. Paulette, will you share a short bio with us?
Paulette: Paulette Harper is a multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, who writes Christian fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. She has been writing since 2008. Paulette is also the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and as a book writing coach she enjoys assisting aspiring authors navigate through the process of publishing books, marketing and creating an online presence.
Paulette lives in Northern California.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Paulette: My work in progress is my first inspirational fiction romance novel, Secret Places Revealed. I love reading romance books and writing a story that brings two people together for the sake of finding love was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Aaron Blackman is not looking for love, in fact the only thing he has on his agenda is adding to his Real Estate Development portfolio, while Simone Herron has her own internal battles with trust and abandonment. One decision on her part leads her to meet the eligible bachelor who is smitten by her, but has made a vow to himself not to get involved.
I’ve always wanted to write fiction and the idea behind Secret Places Revealed came from a desire to write my own love story
Single and content, Real Estate Developer, Aaron Blackman is determined not to be in another relationship. His ex Macy gave him enough drama to last a life time. The only thing that has his attention right now is his growing business, that’s until Simone Herron comes along. Fighting to keep his promise to himself, he soon learns that when it comes to love some rules are meant to be broken.
After losing her fiancé to an untimely death, Simone Herron is relocating and trying to put the past behind her. A new chapter in her life is what she is hoping for but what happens when her past and her present collide? Will she let the walls she has built come down?
Simone must learn that in order to love again, she must conquer her past fears and allow God to put all the broken pieces together. Secret Places Revealed will be released in August.
Simone Herron wanted to escape from the pain, and from life. At this time of the year, she always felt utterly lonely. Simone had family and friends, but it wasn’t the same. This was year number five without Joshua. As if she weren’t already miserable, the holiday season had arrived, with all of its cheery fanfare. She wished she could skip over November and December and head straight into January.
Pensive, Simone stared out her fifth floor Park Avenue office window in the center of Manhattan, New York—the city that never slept. Below her, hordes of people bustled to and fro, arms laden with shopping bags. Tourists gawked at the beautiful and spectacular views from Times Square to Central Park. Who wouldn’t love it? But her heart was no longer enraptured by its beauty; the Big Apple wasn’t the same anymore.
Simone turned away from the window. Even the business of the city and all it had to offer could no longer mask her restlessness. Something was missing. Could a move be the answer to her restlessness? It would keep her distracted and her mind off her personal life.
As a paralegal for a prestigious law firm, Armstrong and Armstrong, she worked with some of the most gifted and intelligent lawyers. Sitting in a leather chair, she mindlessly shuffled the papers. For the past few years, she’d spent her Thanksgivings volunteering for the dinner drive at Sheppard’s Gate, a women’s shelter. Christmas, was spent singing carols with her church at Faith Bible Center. When had her life fallen into this monotonous rut?
Maybe it was the fact that she’d had to bury her fiancé a few months before their marriage…but that was five years ago. Could she still be mourning the loss after five years? Did a piece of her die with Joshua? She should have been enjoying life.
Her life was like a puzzle, parts of it missing and scrambled. Joshua was gone and she was still alive trying to remember how to put one foot in front of the other.
People told her time would heal her wounds and it would get easier day by day. And they were right—some days. People also told her never to question God, but those that knew Simone knew her to be inquisitive. There were days she felt she had moved on and there were days when the feelings in her heart and the dreams of him were as real as the love they’d once shared.
She couldn’t understand why God had taken the only man she’d ever truly loved. Joshua was her soul mate, her friend, the love of her life, her future children’s father. The more she got to know him, the more she realized that meeting him had been something divine. He felt the same. They’d met while attending college in Manhattan. There was a connection between them the first time their eyes met.
She spent time thinking about what their children might have looked like. Would they have had his dark eyes and curly black hair, or maybe brown eyes like hers? The idea of not having a family hurt her to the core. Her parents were married for decades before her father suddenly died from a heart attack. For now, the dream of falling in love and having a family was tucked away somewhere in the back of her mind, preserved in the hope of a second chance.
Simone wasn’t sure she believed there was such a thing as getting back to a normal life. She accepted what life had dealt her and was allowing it to bring her to a place of surrender. She learned to accept that when life brought pain, God would give her the strength to go through it.
Simone became teary-eyed as questions swirled around in her head. Why, with all of her great accomplishments, did she still feel like there was a void in her life? She needed a change. A fresh new beginning would do her wonders. A move would make her feel differently.
She scanned her office. Her eyes drew to the plaques on the wall, awards she had received from her boss. Then she focused on the plaque on her desk, a gift from her pastor. Her favorite scripture was engraved, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose—Romans 8:28, KJV.”
She knew God was in control, but sometimes, it was more difficult to accept when His plan superseded her own. She’d heard all the sermons. She was in all the prayer lines. She had plenty of oil poured on her head. But the pain, at times, remained unbearable. She was resilient, but felt weak, as though she hadn’t slept in months. Externally, Simone had it altogether, yet she felt detached. She was a fighter at the end of her fight.
Jen: What age did you discover writing?
Paulette: While in my early forties, my writing journey started in 2007 with my first non-fiction book, That Was Then, This is Now which was published in 2008. I would have to confess, I’m a late bloomer when it comes to writing. I didn’t grow up with a passion or desire to write or to become an author. In fact, I didn’t have any author friends, who I could get words of wisdom from, or advice. But with a nudge from the Lord and plenty of experiences about life, I accepted the challenge and begin writing. Nine years later, I’ve written over six books. I write in various genres including Christian nonfiction, fiction and children picture books. My spiritual roots enables me to write books that inspire, encourage and strengthen readers, while the desire to write fiction has enabled me to write stories that entertain.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Paulette: Funny you should ask. Secret Places Revealed is my first fiction novel. In answering the question, I believe I’m a pantser. I knew the direction I wanted to go in with the book but and I also knew that in the middle of the story there needed to be conflicts and resolutions. My book is character driven so each character has his/her own internal conflicts that they must conquer in order for the love to blossom between the two.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Paulette: When it comes to writing nonfiction books I’d describe my writing as encouraging, uplifting and emotional. My nonfiction books dig deep within the human souls.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Paulette: Aaron Blackman would be played by the handsome Lamman Rucker and Simone Herron would be played by the beautiful Sanaa Lathan.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Paulette: Write. Write. Write. I have a few unfinished manuscripts that will get my attention once Secret Places Revealed is released.