Author Interviews With Janee Thompson and Nikki-Michelle

Today on Glittering Fox Reads we have Janee Thompson and Nikki-Michelle who we’ve interviewed about writing and their books. Janee Thompson is the author of Looking Beyond the Ordinary, a contemporary YA novel. Nikki-Michelle is the author of Scandalous, an erotic romance.

Looking Beyond the Ordinary features Jade Williams, a rich freelance hip hop dancer that seems to have everything. But as the title implies, all is not as it seems, and Jade has deeper problems that the book addresses on her journey.

Scandalous is all about decadence and debauchery. Saigon is a defence attorney that always gets what he wants. But when his worlds collide and secrets come to light, Saigon may have to break his own rules in order to deal with the consequences of his actions.

Buy links to both are included below!


Janee Thompson

Thank you for being here today, Janee. Your book, Looking Beyond the Ordinary is about how nothing is as it seems. It features Black teens, enemies to lovers, and even tackles bullying. What inspired you to write it?

Hello and thank you for having me and agreeing to interview me! I wrote the very first draft of this book when I was fourteen years old and continued revamping and adding as an adult. Back then, what inspired me to write it was that I felt that no books on the shelves at that time represented my experiences in school nor did they capture the day to day raw Black experiences in an uncensored and unapologetic way. 

Most of the Black books I read were about anti-black violence and trauma, books about the Civil Rights Movement, slavery, and any other book related to how whiteness and systems of oppression harmed Black communities. I didn’t want to read about that anymore, so I wrote what I was seeking to read at that time. I wanted to write about the day to day life in school and what actual Black teens faced outside of racism. I wanted to write about what happens to bullies when they go too far. I wanted to write about how a person can grow and change and fall in love after they’ve made several mistakes. I wanted to write about the true person behind severe bullying and their experiences with mental health. I wanted to write about real conversations around sex that teens have. So I did! I captured all those things in this book. Because that was what was going on around me at that time.

What was your favorite part of writing this book?

My absolute favorite part about writing this book was being able to get into character that is completely unlike myself. The main character/protagonist Jade Williams is a rich, self-serving, pompous arrogant. And a bully. Deep down, she isn’t that way; she has a soft heart, but she only weaponizes her wealth for popularity and status in school  to hide her dysfunctional home life. And these are none of my experiences in life! So it was so cool to be in the head/brain of someone else who acts that way and their motivations behind it.

What made you decide to self-publish?

Great question!! I self-published because I wanted to maintain complete creative control over the visuals/images of my cover, maintain authenticity of my author/writing voice, and be able to hire a Black editor who would understand my voice. This book is incredibly edgy, raw, and real, and it’s what a lot of Black teens go through — from bullying, to first encounters with sex, to dealing with parents, to home life and trauma in your home life, to maintaining friendships. I was not willing to sacrifice these things to submit to a white dominated industry and potentially have my entire story altered in a way that would disappoint me.

Self-publishing is the way to go if you want Blackness to be preserved as much as possible. And Blackness means so many different things to [Black people] that having the power to preserve what that means to you is what needs to happen.

Did you come across any surprising while writing Looking Beyond the Ordinary?

Absolutely. I had no idea I would cry as much while writing this book. The secondary main character, Jarell Hendricks, has gone through so much trauma in his life that it just hurt my soul. When I write, I become the characters. So when the details of his life and the motivations behind his character had slowly begun to reveal itself, the raw emotion that came with it just poured out onto the “paper.” Many chapters in this book are intense in that way.

The main character, Jade Williams, is a freelance hip-hop dancer, which is so interesting! Do you have any experience with dancing, or did you have to do some research for this character’s role?

Ha! So funny that you ask! I am the complete opposite of what you would call a dancer; I can’t dance AT ALL. I’ve always WANTED to, however. I was always into watching the dance reality TV shows and was always super invested in those who were great dancers. So additional research was definitely needed for me to write this character’s role. I had to pull from my experiences/reading about other amazing dancers of my generation such as Janet Jackson, Teyana Taylor, Jennifer Lopez, Danielle Polanco, Laurie Ann Gibson, and others.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes. I knew since I was 12 years old. However, I never thought I’d ever be published, though!

Who are some of your favorite Black authors?

Sharon Draper and Sister Soulja are two of my all time favorites.

What’s something you hope readers take away from reading Looking Beyond the Ordinary?

There are so many lessons that I want people to take away from this book. The first is this: You never know what someone is going through in their lives, so bullying and pushing someone to the edge is one of the worst things you could ever do to a person.

Second: Creating a false image of and for yourself will never work in your favor. Be true to you. Be honest with yourself. It’s okay to sacrifice things if it means you can be who you wish to be.

Third: Know your worth. Do not settle for less than your worth. It’s okay to fall in love with someone who isn’t the choice everyone else wants you to make, as long as they treat you with dignity, respect, and it’s a consensual dating situation.

Fourth: Stand up to those who are close to you when they are exhibiting toxic and problematic behaviors. It’s okay to leave those relationships, friendships, and bonds behind because it’s the right thing to do.

If you could give advice to yourself as a novice, what would it be?

Stop caring about what others think of you and your writing. Writing is art and writing is a form of expression in which your experiences and life may sometimes bleed onto the paper. Nobody can take that away from you. Yes, they may critique what’s between the pages, but they can never critique your intent to serve a particular audience of readers your work is intended for. Don’t be afraid and release what has been in your heart for many years.

Where can readers find you?

You can find me on my website: www.booksbyjanee.com

Instagram: @booksbyjanee

Facebook: @booksbyjanee

Twitter: @booksbyjanee


Nikki-Michelle

Thank you for being here today, Nikki. Your book, Scandalous sounds like the perfect Valentine’s day read for readers of erotica and romance everywhere. It seems like you’ve been writing in this genre for a while. What was your favorite part of writing these books?

I love creating new characters with “new” problems. I love pushing myself beyond my limits and my comfort zones.

What made you decide to start writing?

I loved to read as a child. I would find any excuse to read. I even did it while in the bathroom. LOL So, one day, I got the big idea that I could write, too. I was in the sixth grade when I first started writing.

Who’s your favorite character in Scandalous?

Saigon of course. LOL He’s a complex character. He’s neither the good guy, or the bad guy. He’s not always a good man, but he’s always an honorable one.

What are some challenges you’ve faced with self-publishing you weren’t expecting?

I write across many genres, including paranormal and speculative fiction. The one thing I always seem to get from some readers is, “Oh I don’t read stuff like that.” By far, that has been the hardest pill to swallow.

Has writing gotten any easier after publishing so many?

Writing has always come easy to me. However, I’m a perfectionist and absolutely refuse to publish a story I don’t think is “perfect” enough for me.

What are some of your favorite erotica titles?

By far, “Pleasure” by Eric Jerome Dickey is top tier.

Are there any Black authors that have inspired your writing style?

L.A. Banks, Beverly Jenkins. Brenda Jackson, Brenda Hampton, and Eric Jerome Dickey to name a few.

What was the most difficult part of writing Scandalous?

Trying to write a novella! A novella is technically a short story. It’s hard to get a beginning, middle, climax, and ending in less than one hundred pages. LOL

If you could give advice to yourself as a novice, what would it be?

Believe in yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s validation. And stop trying to put everyone on!

Where can readers find you?

IG: https://www.instagram.com/nikkimichelle1984/

TW: https://twitter.com/NikkiMichelle84

FB: https://www.facebook.com/nikkimichellereaders

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