Thrilled to have contemporary romance author Negeen Papehn on the blog today, who’s here to discuss her Forbidden Love series. Welcome, Negeen!
Author Name: Negeen Papehn
Book Title: Forbidden Love Series. Book 1: Forbidden by Faith /Book 2: Forbidden by Destiny
Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: Forbidden by Faith is out now; Forbidden by Destiny out 2/19/19
Publisher: City Owl Press
Welcome, Negeen. Please tell us about your books.
Forbidden by Faith: Sara and Maziar struggle to find a way to navigate through the cultural and religious prejudices that threaten to tear them apart. Deep within the trenches of their battle, they must each decide if fighting for love is worth the ultimate cost: their family. Forbidden by Destiny: Leyla had never known what it felt like to fall in love. Not until her best friend Sara broke Ben’s heart.
What sparked the idea for this series?
I’ve always been a fan of complicated, difficult romances. The love affairs that are undeniably meant to be but forbidden due to circumstances beyond the lovers’ control. I hate when it all come easy. So I wanted to incorporate the element of forbidden into my own stories.
How long did it take for you to write each book? Did you have to do any research?
Forbidden by Faith took me about a year to write and Forbidden by Destiny about five months. Being that both are considered own voices and set in Los Angeles, my MCs and I share the same culture, as well as, the same hometown, so there wasn’t too much research needed to set the scenes. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but for Forbidden by Destiny, I did have to seek the help of an officer so I could figure out the series of events that would take place.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
The toughest part about writing for me is finding the time. Life is consistently crazy hectic and I’m always juggling, sacrificing one thing for the other. Most days, I feel like I’m losing my mind. Carving out time to actually sit down and string some coherent sentences together proves to be a major challenge. As for the writing itself, the hardest part is coming up with the initial idea and getting the first few paragraphs onto the page. I always have this fear of running out of storylines, like the well will dry up and I’ll realize that I really wasn’t author material and have to give up on my dreams. Guess it’s part of the whole “imposter syndrome” we share as authors.
So true! What do you love most about it?
I love the ability to lose myself in the words that flow through my fingers. To create a world that I only know the small details of, the characters I bring to life, the heartache I bestow on them. I hide bits and pieces of the real people I love, into my stories. It feels like a way to make them timeless. I may be the only one who knows it, but I think being able to do that is magical. The whole process of writing is emotional and healing for me.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read your books?
The entire Forbidden Love series is a crazy emotional roller coaster ride. My characters are real and flawed, they make the wrong choices, are selfish, and will break your heart along with theirs in the process. Then in the end, they’ll redeem themselves and have you rooting for them without even realizing that you are. If you don’t mind having your heart yanked out of your chest and stomped on a few times, then these are the books for you! 🙂
How does your day job inform your writing?
I’m a dentist by day, so in the arena of how my day job helps the actual writing, the third book in the Forbidden Love Series: Forbidden by Time, has a dentist MC. In addition to that, it’s taught me how to multi-task. I work in a high-volume office, so I’m running in between 2-4 rooms at any given time. Because of that training, I have the ability to jump from one thought to the next, which allows me to put a few sentences down on the page, go see patients, run an errand, or make dinner, then pick up right where I left off without skipping a beat.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
When I’m not writing, I love spending time with my boys, hanging out with friends, binge watching shows and movies in pjs on the couch with my hubby, and drinking wine. Oh, and I love to sing!
Where can readers find you?
Twitter handle: @NegeenPapehn
Thank you, Negeen! Forbidden by Faith is available now and Forbidden by Destiny will release on February 19.
Sara knows her life would be easier if she married a man of her faith, but when has love ever been easy?
Raised by her immigrant Iranian parents, she’s been taught that a
good daughter makes decisions based on her family’s approval, and she’s
spent most of her life in their good graces. Until she meets Maziar, and
her world is turned upside down.
An instant electricity ignites between them, and it seems like fate when she discovers he’s also Iranian. Just as her mind begins to soar with the possibilities, he shatters her hopes.
Sara is Muslim. Maziar is Jewish. Will faith tear them apart?
Despite centuries of unrest behind them, Sara and Maziar embark on a forbidden love affair, attempting to navigate through cultural and religious prejudices.
Deep within the trenches of their battle, Sara finds herself more empowered and careless than ever before, but will her love and newfound life be worth the ultimate cost—her family?
Leyla had never known what it felt like to fall in love. Not until her best friend Sara broke Ben’s heart.
After the devastating break up, Leyla reluctantly agreed to pick up Sara’s things from Ben’s home. Leyla thought she was being a good friend, but when she finds Ben completely shattered, her loyalties are tested. He had been her friend too. An afternoon of an innocent lunch and a walk on the beach to cheer him up turns into fireworks when Leyla can’t get Ben out of her head.
Pushed to her limits, fighting for a love she’s always dreamed of, and against a demon she never knew existed, Leyla must ultimately make a choice. Her decision will come down to loyalty to her best friend, the expectations of her family, or the desires of her wanting heart. Is love worth taking the risk?
Negeen Papehn was born and raised in southern California, where she currently lives with her husband and two boys. She wasn’t always a writer. A graduate of USC dental school, Negeen spends half of her week with patients and the other half in front of her laptop. In the little time she finds in between, she loves to play with her boys, go wine tasting with her friends, throw parties, and relax with her family. Her debut novel FORBIDDEN BY FAITH (Forbidden love series Book 1) is currently out with City Owl Press.
Please help me welcome author Mike Chen on the blog today to chat about his upcoming debut, Here and Now and Then!
Author Name: Mike Chen
Book: Here and Now and Then
Book Genre: Speculative or literary sci-fi or literary with speculative elements depending on what my publisher wants. 🙂
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: Mira Books
Please tell us about your book.
After getting separated from his daughter by a century, a time-traveler must find a way to raise his daughter across time — then rescue her before she’s erased from history.
That’s such an exciting concept! What sparked the idea?
I tend to get inspired by whatever media I’m consuming at the time. For this, I’ve always found the idea of how time affects relationships interesting. I happened to see Star Trek: TNG’s The Inner Light and Doctor Who’s School Reunion in the same day and both play on this theme, particularly the aspect of relationships out of sync. It sparked this basic idea of a parent trying to raise a child from the future, and after my critique partner approved, I ran with the concept. By the way, I’ve had two Goodreads reviewers reference The Inner Light, which is basically the best thing you can say to me.
How long did it take for you to write the book? What kind of research did you have to do?
This book took about 1.5 years to get from initial concept to query stage. Research was fairly minimal as much of the worldbuilding detail came in later when I identified gaps to fill in. The entire first half was completely rebuilt after a disaster first draft, and even while querying I had to R&R the first act again.
Did your occupation (or hobby) influence your book at all?
Watching a LOT of Doctor Who and Torchwood at the time got my head in the right place for time travel. My day job, which is a combination of project management and technical writing, doesn’t really appear in my work, though I find that tech writing is actually really helpful for the writer’s brain. Tech writing is generally about efficiency and organization, and for some things like white papers or case studies, you need to tell a story. My analogy for this is that if writing fiction is like playing a sport, then tech writing is like doing cardio to condition your body.
I love that analogy! How did you celebrate when you learned Here and Now and Then was going to be published?
Honestly, I was in disbelief. I had been on sub for close to two years and went to acquisitions multiple times; each time, the creative people loved it and the business people couldn’t be sold on it. With Mira, we knew they were enthusiastic but I had been burned so many times that it was difficult for me to not be cynical about it. So when my agent (Eric Smith) called with the results — and we knew the date/time of the acquisition meeting — I think I said “I don’t believe it” for at least a few minutes. One piece of advice I give all my friends when they achieve major milestones — whether it’s signing with an agent or getting a book deal — is to make sure you set aside a few minutes for yourself to really absorb what has happened. I did that, laying in bed late at night and just letting the realization sink in.
What are your favorite genres to read? What’s on your TBR list right now?
First off, I don’t read nearly enough. I set a goal for 2018 to read 12 books and I actually exceeded it, even while having constant writing duties to attend to. I tend to read what I write, so a lot of SFF but with a greater emphasis on character rather than technical elements or magic systems. So from the past year, things like Kat Howard’s AN UNKINDNESS OF MAGICIANS and Peng Shepherd’s THE BOOK OF M, those are right up my alley. My TBR is massive and neverending. Some things slotted in there are Rowena Miller’s TORN, Cass Morris’ FROM UNSEEN FIRE, and Michael Moreci’s WE ARE MAYHEM (the sequel to the wonderful BLACK STAR RENEGADES).
What’s next? Are you writing anything new?
My second book will be released basically one year after my debut. It’s called THE PAUSE and it is a post-apocalyptic story about a wedding planner, ex-pop star, widower, and his young daughter as their lives intertwine among a post-pandemic society. The pitch we literally used was Station Eleven meets About a Boy.
That sounds right up my alley! Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
My website is www.mikechenbooks.com, though I don’t update that as much as I should! The best place to find me is Twitter; my handle is @mikechenwriter and I’m happy to discuss Doctor Who, video games, hockey, burritos, indie rock, and other similar bits of awesomeness. And coffee too, talk to me about coffee. I also am on Instagram @mikechenwriter, where you can go if you want to see many pictures of my pets.
Thank you, Mike! Here and Now and Then is available for preorder now and out on January 29!
To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
Their mission: return Kin to 2142, where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.
Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.
A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.
Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter