Nancey Flowers

Nancey Flowers
A Fool's Paradise

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
January 2002

1. Who is Nancy Flowers?

Nancy Flowers is a woman with many passions and ideals, one of which happens to be writing. At present, I'm working on completing my second novel entitled Shattered Vessels. It is completely different from my freshman novel, A Fool's Paradise.

2. How long have you been writing?

As far back as my memory can take me I've always been a writer. As a child I won numerous awards in elementary school for writing short stories and poetry. When I entered college I decided to major in Journalism.

3. Is "A Fool's Paradise" a romance novel?

I wouldn't classify A Fool's Paradise as a romance novel. Romance novels generally have happy endings and my book doesn't fulfill that prophecy.

4. What inspired you to write "A Fool's Paradise?

I had an idea for a novel while working at a dead end job in Atlanta Georgia in 1993. I completed Nathan McCall's, Makes Me Wanna Holler and another book and I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great to write a book of my own. I wrote an outline and did nothing with it for years and in November-December of 1997 I decided to pick up where I left off and complete it.

5. How did you come up with the character Anne-Marie?

Anne-Marie is simply a part of my imagination. Some have said that she is my alter-ego. I disagree, but since the book is written in first person she does possess a lot of my qualities and personality traits.

6. Why did you choose to make Anne-Marie and Colleen's mothers so hard on their daughters?

The fact that Faye and Ms. Margaret were hard on their daughters wasn't intentional, but it does help others realize that no relationship is perfect. The relationship that I have with my mother is quite the opposite.

My mother is very loving and nurturing, but I have friends who have very volatile relationships with their parents, and I wanted to expose the different types of relationships that exist.

7. Did it ever cross your mind to have Anne-Marie beat up Nadine for having on her dress at the wedding?

Actually, I did. However, I quickly changed that for several reasons. Anne-Marie is a lot smarter than that. Also her character is pregnant and that wouldn't allow for the turn-out that I prepared for the ending and some people may have thought that was a little over the top. People approach me all the time and say that they don't feel that that part was realistic and sisters don't argue like that. I disagree, because I know of sisters that don't aren't even on speaking terms.

8. Will there be a sequel to "A Fool's Paradise"?

Yes, there will be a sequel, but it won't be ready immediately. I have two other novels that are slated before it.

9. When will your next book be out?

I plan to have my next novel out by May 2002.

10. Why type of atmosphere do you require to write?

I can be anywhere when a thought hits me. All I need is a pen and a pad. I don't type my work out immediately. I handwrite and then enter it into my computer. It's time consuming, but it works best for me.

11. Are any of the characters in "A Fool's Paradise" similar to you?

As I mentioned earlier, Anne-Marie is the character that I can identify closely with. Her drive, ambition, and tempermant are all qualities that I possess.

12. Why did you choose Jamaica as the country for your characters?

I chose Jamaica as my setting to show that these age-old problems exist everywhere, because redemption, parent-child conflict, love, happiness and sorrow are universal issues.

13. Your characters are unpredictable. Did you know while writing "A Fool's Paradise" how your ending would turn out?

No, I didn't know how my novel was going to end until I got to chapter 17 or 18. It was late in the game. I had an alternate ending, but that would have dragged the story out longer than necessary, so chose the ending that you see today.

14. How did you come about Hyacinth's character?

Hyacinth was a late addition. I decided that Colleen needed a little competition, because Lloyd was too good to be true. Lloyd's character is very patient, considerate, loving, hardworking and has his act together. I needed another element to stir things up a bit. Thus, the creation of Hyacinth.

15. What message would you like people to receive from reading "A Fool's Paradise"?

I would like for people to learn to be loving and compassionate to each other. Learn to love yourself and if you have a dream work hard to make it come true.

16. Why did you chose to make Mr. Miller (my favorite), Donavan, Lloyd, Patrick and Mr. Saunders such nice and caring men?

I was raised by men with integrity, morals and were very caring towards me. Therefore, it was important for me to set a standard and prove that not all men are dogs.