April took the time to indulge me in my quest to dig deeper into her literary talents. Take a look at our one-on-one interview.
April, many writers these days choose to use a pen name for their writing. How did you select your pen name, Vogue?
When I think of the word vogue, my mind automatically connects it with the phrase, “strike a pose.” Although the phrase is commonly associated with models and fashion, to me, “strike a pose” had a different connotation. I took the phrase more so as “taking a stand.” The phrase inspired me to walk out on faith and take chances. Taking chances is what led me to having a published novel. However, I will not be telling the whole truth if I didn’t acknowledge Madonna’s song, “Vogue.” There are certain lyrics in the song, which I felt spoke to me and my aspirations:
All you need is your own imagination
So use it that’s what it’s for
Go inside, for your finest inspiration
Your dreams will open the door
As a fiction writer, a vivid imagination is definitely a must have. I don’t believe that God gave me this talent to only waste it. Therefore, like in the song, I must use it. Taking advantage of the vivid imagination I possessed, I birthed Diamonds in the Rough (DITR). My new dream of becoming a fiction writer opened the door for me to become a published author.
Very interesting perspective and a good choice, might I add. Why did you choose to use a pen name as opposed to your government name or some variation of it?
I didn’t want to use my real name because I wanted to create a brand for myself. I didn’t see “April L. Blanding” as being a brand. When I chose Vogue, I decided to put “simply” in front of it as the name of my website because it represents that I’m just being myself. The more I thought about it, I realized that “Simply Vogue” could be a brand. There are more sides to me than being a fiction writer, but I am using this as a stepping stone to accomplish other dreams that I have.
I’m originally from South Carolina as well. Does your southern roots have an influence on your writing?
My southern roots do not have an influence on any part of my writing aside from the locale possibly ending up in one of my books. That is as far as it goes. However, it is generally fictional cities that I’ve placed in southern states.
Now that you are officially a published author, with your debut novel recently released on June 1, how does it feel?
It feels surreal. Ever since 2006, the characters have been very personal to me. I feel almost that I am letting people read my diary although the novel is not based off my life. It is like I’m giving a piece of myself away.
Is it what you expected?
The feeling I have of being a published author is. However, I have to think about the business side of things. Right now, I am taking the time to learn more about the publishing industry and how to market myself. I also am trying to perfect my craft. I visit websites daily just getting tips on how to make my writing better.
You can tell us :: wink ::…are any events in Diamonds in the Rough based on your life?
There is one scene in DITR that was 100% fiction. This year, 30% of it became true. Based off the back cover synopsis of the book, it is known that Carmen (the main character) will delve into criminal acts. She is led there by her own ambition and determination to save Flame, Inc. Let’s just say that my own ambition and determination almost led me down the same path. I was just lucky to have someone stop me before I actually went as far as she did.
What would you say is the hardest part thus far about writing the books in The Diamond Collection?
The hardest part about writing the books is keeping the storyline consistent. I have to remember what I said in Book One when it comes to writing Book Nine. Unless, I want the reader to intentionally believe something for the majority of the collection. *Winks*
So, when can we expect to see the release of the second novel of The Diamond Collection?
I was informed today that the second installment, Diamonds are Forever (DAF) is currently in editing. This book is an epic so I know that it will take some time to edit. Judging from the amount of time that it took to complete DITR, I have a feeling that DAF will be released towards the end of the year.
Other than writing, what are some of your passions?
My other passions are blogging, graphic design, and songwriting. When people visit simplyvogue.net, it is obvious that the site is a blog site heavily laced with celebrity gossip and entertainment. Before I became known to Facebook as an author, I was a blogger. If you visit my Facebook profile, I still have blog posts (Notes) there. I didn’t get an official website until I started promoting DITR. Of course, I didn’t want to leave the blogging alone because I had a following. I just moved it to the site as well. In terms of graphic design, I plan on creating a photo gallery of some of my work. I’m still growing with it, but I give the world a taste with the cover of DITR. I’m credited for the cover concept of the book. Lastly, I have written songs since middle school. The working title of the ninth book in the series is Diamond Princess, which is a hip-hop fiction novel. I definitely showcase my lyrical skills in that book.
For those who may have questions or just want to follow your successes and progress, how can you be contacted?
Do you have any final words for your dedicated fans and prospective readers? Anything I may have missed that you feel the reading world should know about Vogue, the writer?
Dreams do come true. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You are in control of your own destiny. If you want it, work for it and get it. It doesn’t matter how many doors are shut in your face. No one can stop you, you can only stop yourself.
“No one can stop you, you can only stop yourself.” Very well stated. It’s a motto that we all need to proclaim. Thank you so much, April, for letting us into your talented world. You’re definitely a woman who wears many hats [as fashionable as they are ;-)]. Be blessed, doll, and don’t be a stranger!8-D