Interview with Christian fiction author Nigeria Lockley

My very special guest today is Christian fiction author Nigeria Lockley. Her debut novel, Born at Dawn, is due to release on September 30.


I’m happy to have her here today to talk about the book and give us a preview of it.

Bio:
Nigeria Lockley possesses two
Master’s degrees, one in English Secondary Education, which she
utilizes as an
educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second Master’s
degree is in Creative Writing.
 Born at Dawn is
Nigeria’s first published novel. Nigeria serves as the Vice President of
Bridges Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that assists student
parents interested in pursuing a degree in higher education. She is also the
deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
Church of God.
Nigeria
is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters.
Welcome, Nigeria. Please tell us about
your current release.
Born at Dawn chronicles what happens to the
members of the Barclay family when their matriarch, Cynthia Barclay decides she
cannot wait on God to deliver her and disappears. Leaving behind a husband and
two kids Cynthia steps out to reclaim her life.
What inspired you to write this book?
After
watching a PBS documentary about the life of James Brown I discovered that his
mother had abandoned him. That served as the catalyst of the concept behind Born at Dawn. The more I toiled with the
idea and sought God the family grew and their story became clear to me.
Excerpt:
“Thanks,
Barbara, for letting Keith and James come over,” Cynthia said as soon as
Barbara Dillinger opened the front door of her brownstone. “Marvin got tied up
at work.” Lying, Cynthia fidgeted nervously on the stoop while waiting for the
boys to come out.         
“Looks
like he’s not the only one that got tied up,” Barbara said her hazel eyes
filled with horror. She pointed at the welts Marvin’s hands had left around
Cynthia’s neck. “Why don’t you come in and relax for a moment?” Barbara opened
the door wide enough for Cynthia to slide through. “The boys are upstairs
playing—karate chopping and body slamming each other. A few more minutes of
play isn’t going to hurt them.”
            Barbara
took Cynthia’s black, leather jacket from her and escorted her from the steps
of her brownstone into the living room.
            “I’m
sorry it took me so long to get over here—I walked,” Cynthia said, soaking up
the place. In the two years that the boys had taken karate with Sean, Barbara’s
son, the two women had never actually been inside of each other’s homes. Pickups
and dropoffs were usually relegated to a switch at the doorstep of the parent supervising
the play date or a meeting at the subway station.
            “Please
have a seat.” Barbara swept her arm around the room inviting Cynthia to take a
seat.
            Cynthia
looked to her left and then her right, trying to decide whether she wanted to take
a seat on the mustard quilted leather sofa or the spoon-shaped zebra-print
chair that faced the picture window.
            “Would
you like a cup of coffee or tea?” Barbara offered.
            “Barbara,
there’s really no need in going through all of that trouble,” Cynthia said
settling herself into the spoon shaped chair.
            “And
there’s no need for you to go through all of that trouble either,” Barbara
chirped pointing at Cynthia’s neck.
            “Barbara,
I’d rather not discuss this.” Cynthia craned her neck toward the spiral
staircase and called for her sons. “Keith…James,” she shouted into the air
            “But
I want to discuss it. Come here.” Barbara grabbed Cynthia’s hand and dragged
her over to the full-length mirror that rested against an exposed brick wall near
the window. “Look at yourself.” Barbara gathered Cynthia’s burgundy shoulder-length
hair back as if she was about to put it into a ponytail. “This isn’t right,
Cynthia,” she said, tracing the welts on Cynthia’s neck with her French-manicured
fingernails.
            “Marvin
is just going through something right now. He’s trying to open his own
business; he has me and the boys. It’s a lot for him to handle.” Cynthia
fingered the welts herself wishing she’d tied a scarf around her neck.
            “I
don’t think he’s dealing with more than you are. You don’t have to go home if
you don’t want to. You and the boys can stay here,” Barbara offered, releasing
Cynthia’s hair.
            Cynthia
massaged her face with her hands. “We can’t…I mean, I can’t.”
            “You
can’t stay there either,” Barbara interjected. “I know we don’t know each other
well, so this might seem strange or feel a wee bit uncomfortable, but if you won’t stay here, at least let me
take you to a shelter,” Barbara begged Cynthia earnestly.
            “And
this might seem strange to you because we don’t know each other well but I took
a vow, for better or worse. Now there’s a reason those vows say for better or
for worse—some days are going to be better and some days are going to worse. It
just so happens that today was one of the worst.” Recalling the days when
Marvin was sweeter, gentler, romantic even, Cynthia massaged the welts around
her throat. “Marvin isn’t all bad, and I’m not all good, so it would be wrong
of me to turn my back on my husband. I’m going to fight for this marriage until
we get back to better days when we held hands and slow danced to Marvin’s old
records.” Cynthia’s high cheekbones rose as she smiled, lost in the memories of
the days when the phrase I love you
did not come after a bloody lip or bruised eye. “He wasn’t always like this.”
            Cynthia
touched the princess-cut diamond of her engagement ring, which rested over a
simple gold band. She could still hear Marvin say in his rich baritone as he
presented her the ring while they were seated by the waterfall in Harlem’s
historic Morningside Park, “A simple ring for the woman I simply want to spend
my life with.”
            Cynthia
held onto that memory as Barbara presented her with reality of her situation.
            “So
how long do you plan on suffering through this? What about you? What about
Cynthia? What do you want for your life? Forget your marriage. I mean you. What
do you want?” Barbara cocked her head to the side and stared at Cynthia’s
reflection in the mirror. Her hazel eyes felt like acid searing right through
her skin. It seemed like she could see Cynthia’s thoughts.
“Do
you think all I have is all I want? Anyone who knows me will tell you I love to
cook. That’s the one moment of peace I get throughout the day. I wouldn’t mind
doing it professionally, but if I have no one to share my success with, what
good would that do me? You know, when I first came to sign up at the dojo, Sensei
Kelly told me it was full for the semester and there was a waitlist for the
next semester, but I came at least twice a week to check if anyone had dropped
out until one day sensei just said, ‘Mrs. Barclay I have room for your boys.’
If I didn’t give up on a karate class, how can I give up on a marriage?”
            “What
good would being in a graveyard do you or your sons? What does your pastor have
to say about this?” Barbara retorted without hesitation.
            “My
pastor?”
            Barbara
spun Cynthia around so that they were face-to-face. “You haven’t told your
pastor about what’s going on?” Barbara said, wagging her finger. “That’s a big
no-no. You can’t try and fight this battle on your own when you’ve got Satan
right up in your house trying to kill you.”
            “Barbara,
I don’t have a pastor. I don’t even go to church,” Cynthia mumbled her cheeks
aglow from embarrassment.
            “Huh?”
Barbara inhaled and clutched her chest as if she was about to have a heart
attack.
            “No,
I don’t go to church. We can’t all be the picture of perfection that you are,”
Cynthia sneered.
            Barbara
grabbed Cynthia by both wrists and pulled her to the nook in front of the
picture window. Both women took a seat in the nook.
            “‘Except the Lord build the house they labour
in vain that build it.’
I am not perfect but I rely on the one who is to
keep everything afloat for me. How is your marriage supposed to stand without
the Lord’s divine protection? Why don’t you spend the night with the boys and
come join me tomorrow at Cornerstone Baptist Church?”
            “Thank
you, Barbara, but no thank you,” Cynthia said, rising from her seat in the nook.
“Marvin is expecting me back this evening. I could never stay out overnight,
especially with you. He already thinks you’re a bad influence with all your
makeup and fancy clothes.”
            “There’s
a church on every other block in Harlem. Just promise me you’ll find one to
attend tomorrow.” Barbara clutched Cynthia’s hands and pleaded with her eyes.
           
What exciting story are you working on
next?
I am
currently working my second novel, Seasoned
with Grace
. In this novel Grace King, a volatile model, is sentenced to do
community service at a church after being placed on probation for assault.
While there she is forced to confront the demons of her past in order to obtain
the future that she desires.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
There was
never a time that I did not consider myself a writer. Now, I can officially
call myself an author, but I have been engaged in the act of writing my entire
life. I began by writing short stories, which then turned into an extended love
affair with poetry. Now here I am sharing my first novel with the world.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I am not
yet able to write full-time, however I’m always making mental notes or post-it
notes of what I want to write. I write during my commute to and from work. The
A train is my writing cave. I whip my laptop out and let my fingers fly. I also
binge write. When I have time off from work I just write and write to
supplement the days I’ve missed.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Before I
started writing fiction I used to write poetry, so I love the way certain words
sound. Whenever I encounter a word that I have an affinity for I jot it down
and try to get as many of the words on my list that day into the chapter I’m
working on.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
The truth
be told I spent a long time believing that I was destined to be the black
Madonna (I grew up in the 80s). Eventually, my mother broke the news to me that
I really wasn’t going to make it in the music biz since I can’t sing. That’s
when I turned to writing.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Regardless
of where you are in your walk in life Jesus can turn your situation around and
breathe life into it. Don’t accept defeat and don’t give up or give in just
because you didn’t win today. I gave up on my writing, but the Lord never gave
up on me. As soon as I poured myself into in Him He poured out a blessing for
me.
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Thank you, Nigeria!





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