Selena Haskins is a native of Washington and lives outside of DC with her family.
She began writing when she was nine years old. She later wrote stories for her high school newspaper and participated in poetry and writing contests.
Selena majored in English at Johnson C. Smith University and the University of the District of Columbia.
Selena recently published her first novel entitled, A River Moves Forward.
B2M presents our exclusive interview with Selena Haskins.
B2M: Please tell our readers about your new book, A River Moves Forward.
SELENA: A River Moves Forward is about Connie Morris who grows up in Chicago's Cabrini Green Projects. She suffers abuse from her father. When tragedy strikes the family, she's virtually the last survivor. She finds herself homeless until an unexpected hobby leads to fortune and fame. At the peak of her career someone from her past tries to destroy everything that she has worked hard for. On the other side of the tracks, there's a police officer named Dean Wilson. He meets Connie and they fall in love, but when they learn that their paths have crossed before, it sends them on an emotional ride that could prove to be too much.Their past could ruin their future or make their love strong enough to move forward.
B2M: I really like the title, how did you come up with it?
SELENA: I came up with A River Moves Forward because when you think about a river it always moves over rocks, debris, and whatever lies beneath. It always keeps pushing ahead. In this story, the main character Connie Morris, faces so many different trials and tribulations that she has to prove that she can survive and overcome all these things. Just like in our lives, we face a lot of challenges, but like the river, we have to keep moving forward. We have to keep pushing ahead in order to reach our destiny.
B2M: Yes, I like that analogy.
What was the inspiration for this story?
SELENA: Originally, this started off as a short story about three sisters. I had developed writer's block, but when I came across it again there were so many different things going on in society that I decided to include some social issues into the story. A lot of times you know you have stereotypes about people who grow up in certain environments that maybe if you grow up poor, you are not intelligent and or you wont succeed. So I used this main character to show that it doesn't matter where you grow up that you can overcome anything. You can rise above your circumstances. So I really wanted to include that issue and also when it comes to love, regardless of how you grew up that you are still deserving of love. Even if you grew up in an abusive household. You can learn to overcome your past or at least cope with your past, so that it doesn't interfere with your future.
B2M: Right, I agree with you on that. That's a good point.
What fuels your creative passion for writing?
SELENA: My passion for writing started from childhood because I was a shy kid. As a shy kid with a very vivid imagination. So as I grew older, I learned how to pen down the things that were in my mind on paper. I was inspired by my English teachers and professors. They would read some of my assignments and they would always tell me that, "you are a really good storyteller." Writing has also proven to be very therapeutic for me as well to express myself. What really fuels my creativity are the little things that an average person would ignore. For instance, I can see an elderly couple walking across the street and wonder how they fell in love and then go home and write a story about it. I can smell a certain scent or hear a song and it can spark nostalgia. I'm very connected to what triggers my five senses, very observant, especially when it comes to nature. That's how I came up with the title, "A River Moves Forward" just by watching walking by the lake.
B2M: What was the most difficult aspect of penning this book?
SELENA: The challenge that I had with writing this book was touching on many social issues and family issues that can be very sensitive in nature, such as alcoholism and abuse. These things are very common not only in our society but in many households all over the world. However, I wanted to show people how to move forward from these types of issues. For example, the abuse that Connie (the main character) dealt with by her father who was an alcoholic. I also addressed issues of mixed race relationships and people who are of a mixed race and how they can sometimes face an identity crisis the way Connie did. There were many issues in this book, and the challenge was to not only address them, but to show how you could rise above them. I had a very strong connection to these characters, but I had to let them play out their role in the story and be themselves in the mist of these touchy issues.
B2M: What do you feel is the single most important ingredient necessary in creating stories that readers can sink their teeth in?
SELENA: I think the most important ingredient is to leave your readers with something they can learn from. It's important to have a strong theme that they can walk away with something to ponder over and feel entertained at the same time. In "A River Moves Forward" my message is forgiveness. Forgiveness of self and others, so you can have healthy relationships, and a positive future.
B2M: Outside of writing, what other interest do you have?
SELENA: I love basketball. I'm a huge NBA fan. I'm a Boston Celtic's fan. I love music, movies, long walks and spending quality time with family and friends. I also love to travel whenever I can. I think traveling broadens your horizons.
B2M: It does.
Who has been your source of inspiration?
SELENA: My family is pretty much my motivation. I've been writing for a long time. I had a lot of manuscripts that I never published. With this particular story it's such a mixture of drama, suspense and love all wrapped in one. They said, "this is an absolute page turner, you really should put forth an effort to try and get this one published." "I think people could really not only find it entertaining, but they may even find it helpful." So I decided to do that and put my best foot forward and the response has been great! I've been receiving five-star reviews so far on Amazon, and the responses are steady coming in either people will email me or post comments to my website or my social network pages.
B2M: What was the title of the last book you read?
SELENA: The title of the last book I read was by Carl Weber. It was called The Man In 3B. That was really a great story with lots of twists and turns. It was actually the first book that I read by Carl Weber in a long time. I read one of his first books. But I hadn't read any of his works in a while. But I picked up this one, because it was receiving so many five-star reviews. So I wanted to check it out and I'm glad that I did. He did a fantastic job with it.
B2M: Yes, he never disappoints.
Do you have a favorite writer?
SELENA: Oh yes, J. California Cooper, Margaret Johnson Hodge, and now Carl Weber is one of my favorites. Omar Tyree, and Connie Briscoe.
B2M: Okay you've chosen some great ones.
SELENA: I also like Nicholas Sparks. I like a little romance, so I like Nicholas Sparks too.
B2M: Yeah, Nicholas is one of my favorites as well.
If you could offer aspiring authors advice, what would it be?
SELENA: Well for me, since I'm still a novice at this myself, I guess the main thing that I could say is don't sit on a good story. If you've had people to read your story and they are telling you that it is really good and it deserves to be read, I think with so many avenues that we have for us as writers, take advantage of it. Take advantage of those avenues to get your story out there because your voice definitely deserves to be heard.
B2M: What can we expect from you next?
SELENA: Well A River Moves Forward is going to have a sequel, called Riding The Waves.
B2M: Okay, I like that title too. Ha-ha.
SELENA: Ha-ha, thanks, I'm working on that now. In fact I've had quite a few people to ask me, when is it coming out. Ha-ha. I want to make sure that this one will be just as successful like A River Moves Forward is turning out to be. I really want to take my time and do all my research and make this one a page turner too.
B2M: I look forward to reading it.
Selena, we wish you the best.
SELENA: Likewise, thanks so much for this opportunity. I really appreciate it.
B2M: We also encourage you to continue writing books that offer great stories and interesting characters. We look forward to hearing more from you.
Thanks for interviewing with Books2Mention Magazine. Please be sure to come back again and keep readers informed about all of your future endeavors.
Much Success To You!
The Staff @ Books2Mention Magazine
To learn more about Selena Haskins, please visit her website at www.BooksBySelena.com. You can also follow Selena on Twitter at @BooksBySelena and on www.Facebook.com/BooksBySelena and www.GoodReads.com/SelenaHaskins.
Books by Selena Haskins include: