SR: Practice pitching: tell us what your book is about in 50 words or less.
CH: My Colorblind Rainbow is a vintage story that reads contemporary. Two girls on a journey of self-discovery will form a forbidden bond that risks everything they’ve ever known and everyone they’ve ever loved.
SR: Where did your idea for this book come from?
CH: I started writing this book four years before it was published. I wanted to tell a story featuring a queer black female that was not erotic. A genuine story of love and family. Something I had never read before featuring a black female protagonist in the YA category, which is what I normally read.
SR: Was there a specific issue that really motivated you to write this particular story?
CH: I consider myself an activist, and I love shedding light on social issues. Current issues such as racism, sexism, gender identity and sexuality acceptance were the main issues I wanted to address with this story.
SR: What’s one thing that you and your protagonist have in common?
CH: Me and my main protagonist Darlene share similar character traits. She is a shy girl, introverted mostly. She is a teenager who is really curious about things she doesn’t understand, and not afraid to ask questions.
SR: If you were the right gender could you have a romantic relationship with your protagonist? Why or why not? Would it be a good relationship?
CH: Well, considering the LGBT theme of my story, I guess you could say I am the right gender lol. My main protagonist Darlene reminds me too much of myself for me to ever see a possible relationship. My secondary main character, Rose represents what I have always found attractive in a partner. She’s edgy, sweet, attractive, respectful, and not afraid to break the rules. I think that’s why it was so easy to write her.
SR: Carpool karaoke. What would be your protagonist’s song? Yours?
CH: Darlene’s song would be “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday. Mine would be “Bills Bills Bills” by Destiny’s Child.
SR: What do you think the hardest emotion to elicit from a reader is? Why?
CH: I think love, or any deep feeling of lasting affection for a story or its characters can be hard to elicit from a reader. I have enjoyed plenty of books, but only a select few I can say gave me that level of intense attachment that lasted a long time. I think as authors, we all strive for that. It’s one of the reasons why we write.
SR: Did you set yourself a specific writing challenge with this book? What was it, and what was the reason?
CH: I really wanted to reach my goal of 30,000 words or more. Since that seems to be the common minimum for novels, I wanted my first book to be at least 30,00-40,000 words.
SR: What was your journey to publication like? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome?
CH: My journey to self-publish had its difficult times. I spent a lot of time doing research about finding editors, cover designers, how much everything would cost. There was so much available information that I often worried that I would do something wrong and regret it. But I’ve used it all as a learning experience.
SR: Tell us something about you that isn’t common knowledge.
CH: I love liver and onions. People always through they were gross growing up, but I loved them.
SR: You have to flee the country. Where are you headed to and why that location?
CH: I’m going to Australia. I’ve heard the beaches are beautiful. I love sun & water.
SR: It’s the zombie apocalypse. You have to pick a weapon from what’s currently within 10 feet of your present location. What will you defend yourself with?
CH: I’m using a tripod and bashing in as many heads as possible!
SR: How long will you survive in the zombie apocalypse? How long will your protagonist survive? Why?
CH: I don’t think either of us would last three days. I am not built for this, and neither is little Darlene lol.
SR: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
CH: Do your research! Look into all possible publishing options but do what is best for you. Take other peoples opinions with a grain of salt because it’s your career, not theirs. Be active on social media and make friends within the reading and writing community. Never expect immediate sales or reviews from anyone. Let everything be organic and trust the process. Patience is key!
SR: Now for fun, if you were stuck on a deserted island and found that magic lamp with a genie and the genie had the power to bring any character in any of your books to life to be your companion, who would you pick and why?
CH: I would pick Benjamin, my main protagonist’s best friend from my thriller novel ‘Was It Her?’. Benjamin has the type of personality to make a fun time out of any situation. He also has street smarts and could probably get us off the island if he tried hard enough.
SR: And if the genie would only bring characters from works by another author to life who would you pick to spend eternity on that deserted island with?
I would choose Gale, from The Hunger Games. He’s a hottie, and a great provider. We’d never go hungry.
SR: Do you have any special events coming up? Where can people catch up with you in person or on a podcast?
CH: I have a blog tour coming this summer. I don’t have the full details yet, but to keep up with everything I have going on, follow Chanel Hardy Publications on Facebook, or follow @chanelhardypub on Instagram or Twitter!