DWED Reviews Miss Scandalous by Nicole Dunlap
Rating: ***** 5 stars
While I did not get to read book 1 Miss Nobody in the Shaw family series, I did love Miss Scandalous. I can honestly say that even if you do not get to read the first book, it is all neatly wrapped in pretty pink foil paper in Book 2. Nicole has made it very easy to understand the progression of storyline and characters into this new installment of the Shaw Family Series.
It wasn’t hard to grasp the oil & vinegar relationship between Charlene Shaw and her daughter Raven Shaw. Their relationship was very salty, very diluted and very destructive. The lack of trust and love was evident. And even when they tried to repair the damage, to forge together as a united family, the undercurrents of trust issues still kept them apart.
This isn’t your typical mother/daughter relationship. Raven reminded me of a prepubescent adolescent girl who needed a time-out at some points. Yes, she was a grown woman but traumatic events in her past have kept her mind as I had perceived it, in a young state. She tried her best to make decisions that would benefit herself and her young daughter Royael, but she was still pretty much a baby herself.
Although she made me very angry, drinking and being a hot mess when she should be attending to her child, this character Raven is still well defined because her flaws are imminent throughout the book. She has secrets, skeletons in her closet that we get a peak of but are still left holding our breath for more. I understood that she was still healing. Her worst enemy in this book is herself and instead of finding peace within her past and present issues, she is still using the grief of losing her beloved grandfather as an excuse to run amok.
Charlene Shaw I found to be a very double sided person. One minute I related to her and her love for her daughter, the next second she seemed very self centered. And I was not sure if that was because of her career as an actress, as if she was stuck in a role and couldn’t find herself again. She had the world at her feet and yet she still treated her family as if there was a brick wall between them.
Miss Scandalous is a very good story. What I have described here is only a small fraction of the drama and jaw dropping “Oh, no she didn’t” suspense that will make for a great read. I do not want to spoil the experience, but I will tell you I was so angry I couldn’t just vegetate in my bed and just read. My life could not stop so that I could get lost in this book, but oh man did I want to.
Great Job Nicole, this is exactly the kind of books I love to read and I enjoyed the experience immensely. I can honestly say I am biting my nails because I need the next installment, like yesterday lol!
DWED Interviews Nicole Dunlap author of Miss Scandalous
DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve honorarily dubbed myself as “the gumbo genre” novelist because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned. I write stories with drama, drizzled with suspense, seasoned with romance, and peppered with a few good laughs and an occasional cry. My stories will always revolve around the family unit and most especially mother-daughter bonds as I’m also a counselor. I give guidance to teens dealing with depression, which has given the foundation for Raven’s character. She is the derivative of so many young women’s fears, desires, wants, and depressions.
DWED: Have you always aspired to be a published author?
I have. But ironically, grammar kinda pushed me away from Creative Writing in college and toward Psychology and Child Development. It wasn’t until I was receiving a Masters in Educational Counseling and couldn’t find a full time job that I set aside my stubborn dislike for misplaced commas–I still can’t spell to well, but blame Microsoft Word–and decided to launch my self-published career. Besides, these characters were swarming around in my head and dying to get out. So it was either them or me.
DWED: Would you say the journey was easy or hard? Why?
Both. The beginning of the journey is easy. Putting fingertip to keyboard has always been fun. The learning of grammar, I’ve decided, will be a lifelong venture. Also, the process of publishing and having my story out into the public is rewarding in itself. You’ll never know how it feels to see so many hours of hard labor being produced and tangible. What’s hard is getting reviews. I haven’t gotten any 2 stars or below, but it is difficult to be scrutinized for what I could’ve did better.
DWED: Who would you say inspired you to write?
The biggest inspiration in my life is God and the Bible. I find that after I’ve read it, I get a rush of energy. Even though my stories wouldn’t be considered Christian Fiction, they have certain aspects that I’ve learned from my relationship with Jesus. My second biggest influence is for the teens that I counsel. Many of them deal with dejection. They feel like they have to be in a gang or they have to be with that popular guy who doesn’t treat them right. And some go as far to think that their abusive situation is irreparable. Learning from them and helping them has influenced how I write.
DWED: Let’s delve into the book. What started the idea of the Miss Nobody (Shaw family Saga, book 1) & Miss Scandalous (book 2)?
Working with foster families gave me an insight into how teens feel when they think they’re unloved by their guardians. Sometimes they can’t disconnect themselves from their own parents’ misgivings to understand that there is someone right in front of them who cares. I also work with girls who have the worst boyfriends known to mankind. Raven deals with this issue in book 1. Though her boyfriend, Chris, isn’t as awful as the horror stories that I’ve lived through, I find that some of the teen girls just let life pass them by while being tied down to someone so wrong.
DWED: Was there any negative comments that derived from Raven being in love and producing her half brothers daughter?
Well, no. I think people were kinda irked out in book 1, until at the end when it is given to the reader, but not to Raven and Jon, that they aren’t related. Most of the Miss Nobody reviews I received about them were from readers who couldn’t wait for them to get back together, no matter what Raven did to his mother, Elise.
DWED: Tell us a little more about Raven and Charlene’s broken relationship. Was it always meant for them to be in such turmoil?
Yes. I don’t write happy endings, my stories border on realism. Charlene began the turmoil in their tense relationship when she abandoned Raven, as a baby, in Miss Nobody. I am showing how a disconnected mother-daughter bond affects all involved from the way that Charlene attempts so desperately to regain Raven’s trust in Miss Scandalous to the way Raven has a fear of abandonment that encompasses her relationship with friends, family and romantic partners.
DWED: What is something that is not found in both books that the readers should know about both Charlene and Raven Shaw…or will we find out in the next installment?
I don’t want to give away book 3, Miss Perfect, but throughout each story you should see a progression in their relationship. It is so hard for people to forgive and showing how it can be a lifelong process is really important. You will not like Raven or Charlene at all times, because they are human, they are flawed. Raven will always be a secretive person no matter if her mother or Jon has all their cards on the table. This will lead to the mystery of Miss Perfect. And Charlene, she’ll always be dramatic.
DWED: How crucial did the rape of Charlene Shaw play in her constant mental displacement?
It was a constant in Miss Nobody. I love how dreams have a place in our reality. I don’t think I displayed it so much in Miss Scandalous for Raven, but in Miss Nobody, dreams showed how Charlene hadn’t fully gotten over being raped by Roy Timmon/ Royland Timothy Alder. It takes years to cope with such trauma, and even then, it can be difficult to truly overcome being raped. Throughout the series her hesitance of herself, the constant self-doubt will slowly wan, except for intense turmoil moments–in which she will resort to drama-mode.
DWED: Is there anything in the book that can be said to relate to your life in some aspect?
I don’t know how, but some of my life events have correlated with Raven’s. I hadn’t noticed it until reading Miss Scandalous for, maybe, the third time. From being a pregnant teen at the age of eighteen to the fire in book two, yup that happened to me. What’s even more coincidental is my daughter was the same age as Royael when the house fire occurred.
DWED: Can we get a sneak peek into what to expect from the Shaw girls next? Will Charlene’s and Raven’s secrets finally come out into the open?
Miss Perfect will show my constant need to evolve as the “gumbo genre novelist”, in that the story will have more mystery, action, and suspense–I will never leave the drama aspect, though. Actually Raven’s secret will be revealed pretty soon into the story. I know readers like the climax of not knowing, but if as a writer, I hold on to the plot for too long that can bite me in the rear. The secret ain’t gonna be pretty, though and it will lead to a lot of trouble for herself and Charlene because Raven is a hothead.
DWED: What can we look forwards to seeing from you throughout 2013?
I will have Miss Perfect perfected by the end of summer. I am also going to go full mystery action in a standalone novel that I am currently writing for Amazon Episodes. I like to think the story will be like watching a series on Starz or HBO. But the untitled story has proven very interesting which is good, because it sucks to start a story and I can’t even tempt myself to finish.
DWED: What other avenues are you using to promote Miss Scandalous?
I’m exclusively through Amazon Prime, so I’m promoting it to members with Kindle prime who like freebies. When it comes out I will have a book giveaway on goodreads. If anyone wants to sign up, and add me as a friend because I’m not only a writer, I’m first and foremost a reader.
DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?
Believe in yourself. Take the criticism with a grain of salt. And by all means, cross your fingers and hope someone reads and loves your story.
DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?
I’m addicted to pinterest.com I have to boards dedicated to Charlene and Raven, with photos. Add me if you’d like. Also, I like free, so if you do to snatch up my novel Miss Nobody on March 2 or 3rd. It’s been on Amazon Best Sellers paid list for women’s fiction and family dysfunction.
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