Monday, 27 October 2008

Guest author: Jeff Rivera!

As part of his blog tour to promote Forever My Lady (Warner Books/Grand Central Publishing) due out October 28, author Jeff Rivera is visiting Wordtryst and he's giving away a copy of his novel! You know the drill: leave a comment in the trail and you're automatically entered in the draw. He'll also answer any questions you might have, so fire away!

Who is Jeff Rivera? He hails from my second home, Miami (Florida) and he's not your everyday, run-of-the-mill author:

"Once homeless and living in his car, award-winning novelist Jeff Rivera writes passionate stories of those often forgotten and neglected by society. He believes even in the eyes of a gang member, even beneath the soiled clothes of a bag lady or behind the tears of a lonely kid in the back of the class, there lies a common thread that links us all, the universal human story. He has made it his personal mission to help change the way the world thinks in a positive way through his stories." -

Originally independently published, Forever My Lady went on to be acquired by Warner Books/Grand Central. It tells the story of a juvenile delinquent named Dio who is sentenced to prison boot camp. Everyone whom he has ever trusted has given up on him except one special girl, Jennifer, who promises to stay by his side no matter what. He promises he will turn his life around for her and she promises she'll never leave him. In fact, they plan to marry one day. But when Dio is released from boot camp he discovers Jennifer is about to marry someone else.

Jeff, welcome to the blog! What impelled you to write Forever My Lady?
The story sort of fell into my lap. After I was homeless, my first job was working at K-Mart where I met what would become a friend of mine who was in a gang and was trying to turn his life around for "his lady". That sparked the idea and I decided to create a story from scratch based on my own experience of love and people I know and that's how it all began.

Have you experienced heartbreak?
Very much so. I mean, especially during high school or when you're a teenager, you have these crushes. But sorry to say, usually I'm the heart breaker in the relationship. I never intentionally do so, but maybe I break it off so that I won't be the one who is hurt when it gets too intense. The characters Jennifer and Dio are together for so long and she really stays by his side even after gang violence haunts her life.

Why do you think that she puts up with Dio for as long as she does?
I do believe that Jennifer really does love Dio, but there comes a point when she realizes it's a very dysfunctional co-dependent relationship. Lord knows I've been through that before. I have a good friend now who's in the same situation and she's been with the same guy for years and they just cannot break up with each other no matter what even though the relationship is very unhealthy. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

What advice do you have for others who want to be published?
Besides the old cliches of "don't give up" and things like that? Definitely I would say something that was simple yet profound that my father said, he said "Be the best." So be the very best you can be because eventually the publishing industry does reward talent. You have to focus on your talent and be the very best you can be. The other thing I think I would say is to realize that agents and editors WANT you to be good. They pray to God that today will be the day that they get something across their desk that's actually worth publishing. So, they're rooting for you.

Thank you for being my guest today. Congratulations on the release, and I wish you continued success and truckloads of sales!
You're welcome, Liane. It's been a pleasure.


stephe said...

What an amazing life--both Jeff's AND Dio's. Many, many people from different walks can relate to both stories, a great plus.

Good luck, Jeff, in all your endeavors.

Thanks for having him on your blog, Liane.

Debs said...

Thanks for that excellent interview. What an inspiring man too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, everyone! -- Jeff Rivera (Author of FOREVER MY LADY)

Anonymous said...

I like Jeff's mission and it seems the World could do with some inspiration right now.

I wonder if an autobiography is in the works?

wordtryst said...

Stephe, truly amazing. I'd like to echo akalol's question and ask: Is a memoir in the works?

Debs, he is indeed an inspiration.

wordtryst said...

Oh, I have another question for Jeff, on behalf of my friends who are self-published.

How exactly did your Warner pick up your book? Was it sales? Media interest? An editor browsing the Internet? Or sheer serendipity? None of the above?

PJ said...

I really like the sound of this novel, and will look out for it.

wordtryst said...

Stephe, Debs, akalol and PJ: When the copy of Forever My Lady arrives from Mr. Rivera's publicist I'll do the draw and let you know who won the freebie.

Thanks for commenting!