Diamonds in the Rough by Vogue

Carmen Davenport is living the American dream. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she has anything that a twenty-one year old college student would want. This includes one of the most lucrative clothing companies in New York. The only thing missing is love until she lays eyes on Jay Santiago, a Puerto Rican drug lord. Almost instantly, Carmen begins to fall for him. After securing the rights to her inheritance, Carmen soon learns that Flame, Inc. is headed towards a downward spiral. Too ambitious to allow her dream to go down the drain, Carmen begins pulling at all lifelines to save her company. Putting aside everything she’s ever believed in, Carmen soon finds herself entangled in a web of lies, betrayal, and crime.
Vogue is the pseudonym of April L. Blanding, a 2007 graduate of Winthrop University, possessing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work. She is originally from Greenville, SC, but resides in Rock Hill, SC. Diamonds in the Rough is her debut novel while Diamonds are Forever is the second instalment. She was named as author of the month (June) by Angelique The Novelist and BK Walker. Currently, Vogue is working on the fourth book in the series, Black Diamonds.
I asked Vogue a few questions:
1. What inspired you to write?
I became inspired to write after reading a few of urban fiction/street lit novels that were absent of a female character that I could relate to. Mostly in the genre, the lead female character is born in a hard environment without a positive support system. Wanting to read something different, I decided to take matters into my own hand and pen a new kind of urban fiction novel.
2. How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
Right now I have about eight. I am on the verge of submitting The Ace of Diamonds (Part III of The Diamonds Collection) to my publisher so hopefully then I will have seven.
3. How did you find your publisher?
I was searching around on the Internet for different publishing companies and link led to another. I can’t remember the exact way I found the company, but I’m just glad I did!
4. How do you juggle a writing schedule?
I’ve created a daily schedule for myself that allows time for writing. Sometimes my writing process is interrupted, but when this happens, I try to still squeeze in some time even if it is only twenty minutes.
5. What’s the best/worse part of being a writer?
The best part of being writer is receiving the positive feedback from readers. You never know who is reading your work and it makes the day go faster when you receive that one email message from a total stranger who fell in love with your writing. The worst part of being a writer is dealing with the harsh reality of the business. It can be discouraging at times because of the stereotype of the small publishers but I’ve leaned to keep trucking thoughout the madness.
6. What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
There really isn’t a set time during the day that is the most productive. I write when the inspiration comes.
7. Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Most of my projects are outlined in my head first and then becomes notes on paper. Once an entire novel is outlined, I then began writing the book on my laptop. With a ten book series, I have to keep up with ages, births, death etc so it is important that I make notes of everything along the way.
8. What/who do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everywhere. It could be from a song, music video, or even a conversation. Recently, I was inspired by Drake’s new music video “Find You Love,” to switch the setting on a portion of Diamonds N’ Roses (Book Five of he Diamond Collection) to the Bahamas or Jamaica.
9. Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write, such as a word count?
I don’t have a goal as far as word count, but I like my novels to range between 350-400 pages. However, when it is formatted for print, it definitely exceeds this number.
10. Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I am a published author. I came up with my cover art based off the main hightlights of the novel. I use stock photography that I feel represents the novel. I am credited with the cover concept of my debut novel and have recently came up with the concept for my second (Diamonds are Forever – Book Two of The Diamond Collection).
11. What are you working on now that you can talk about?
Currently, I am planning my book release party, which is set to be held on July 29th in Fort Mill, SC. I am also rewriting and editing Black Diamonds (Book Four of The Diamond Collection).
12. How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
I’ve only received one rejection letter, which was for my third novel, The Ace of Diamonds. I didn’t get the full effect of being rejected because I had two novels accepted when I first submitted them. I took the rejection as a learning experience. It gave me feedback on what my readers potentially want to see in the series and encouraged me to stetch my imagination more than what I had.
13. What’s your advice about getting an agent?
As an author without an agent, there is not much advice that I can give. I have looked into different literary agents, but that was before stubbling upon Passionate Writer Publishing. My knowledge in terms of literary agents is very limited.
14. Do you have a critique partner?
Yes, my critique partner is one of my sorority sisters who wants to be a book reviewer. However, since the release of Diamonds in the Rough, I have had numerous offers from friends who want to be my critique partner.
Author website:

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