Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. She is the author of the contemporary romantic comedy, The Diva of Peddler’s Creek, and Glorious Sunset, an edgy inspirational romance with a time-traveling king, an angel and a love for the ages. Ava can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material.
BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I wanted to do an “epic” romance. I read so many historical romance novels based in Europe or the Scandinavian countries, it occurred to me that I had never read one that touched on Africa. This story allowed me to do that while creating a link between past and present.
BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Always. Sometimes when you write you are too deep into your story to see what’s missing or what doesn’t make sense or flow. Your brain fills in the gaps because you already know what you’re trying to say. But if you step away for a while and come to it with fresh eyes you can re-introduce yourself to your own work as if you were a stranger to it. That’s when you find mistakes and smooth over the rough patches.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
Like with this story, glancing down to the ground and seeing something sparkle in the sun can get your imagination working. You wonder what it is, how it got there, and why no one seems to notice it but you. And next thing you know you imagine a king trapped in a piece of jewelry. Well, maybe a normal person wouldn’t make that leap but a writer makes irrational leaps quite frequently. We end up calling them plots.
For me, it is the fleshing out of the characters that makes the true magic. My plots have never ended up being what I originally envisioned because the characters drive the story. If you force a character to do what is not consistent just to fit the plot readers notice, and they don’t like it.
BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Glorious Sunset is available in Nook and Kindle, as well as paperback. My novel is Glorious Sunset, an edgy inspirational romance. As someone who has always loved many different genres, it was exciting for me to create a hybrid of my own and I borrowed from tried-and-true models. Fables and fairytales were created to teach children themes of morality so it’s not a leap to interpret aspects of fantasy as tools of learning. As children we were able to understand symbolism without much effort. As grownups we forget how to translate fantasy into something we can use. After I took ‘can’t possibly happen’ out of the equation, the question became, why wouldn’t God use time or space or angels in whatever way he sees fit? There is a word for unexplainable occurrences … they’re called miracles! Once I made that connection and fleshed out the characters, the story wrote itself.
I love this book because despite the seriousness of the subject matter, this novel is as light or as heavy as the reader wants it to be. At its core Glorious Sunset is a romance but there is plenty symbolism and lots of material to generate discussion. I’m proud that I was able to develop that complexity.
BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Taka Olufemi is an arrogant, alpha male from way back (1600 A.D.), but he is honorable and dignified even as he struggles to be seen as a man worth loving in a time and place where his name means nothing and, according to the world, he holds no value.
Violet Jackson is an alpha female from way back but doesn’t remember her glory—only remembers pain. Self-preservation has affected her choices in life and relationships, and not always for the better.
Taka has the gift, or curse, of hindsight (a.k.a., baggage) and Violet is flying blind and only focused on the future she can envision. Ultimately, just as in life, the only possible way these two wounded souls can find each other is through the grace of God.
BPM: What topics are primarily discussed in Glorious Sunset? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Topics: trust in self, self-sacrifice for love’s sake, personal value and growth.
On my blog I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I’m learning to exercise my own faith. This novel has helped me explore issues I didn’t realize I had and identify obstacles along my own path in my relationship with God.
BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers?
I want my readers to expect that I might do things a little differently and I might approach common themes in a different manner. I don’t do it for shock value, I truly come by it honestly; I write the way I experience and interpret life because it’s the only way I know how to do it.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I am on social media but I welcome readers to subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep them informed of happenings in my career and offer bonuses and giveaways. There is also my blog where I recently introduced the “Extraordinary Love” segment. “Extraordinary Love” are the posts where I invite fellow authors to describe what extraordinary love means to them. Love can be love of self, family, romantic interest, God…the possibilities are endless and the authors have varied experiences they choose to share. It’s an interesting and unique spin on guest blogging and I’ve gotten great feedback from readers and browsers (some who aren’t even familiar with my writing) who enjoy the personal insights into these authors. I’m very pleased with this segment.
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