And now let's meet Jeff:
Ryshia: “Forever My Lady” is a romance. Do you see your career as a romance author?
Jeff: I see a career as someone who writes emotional roller coasters, some of those will be romance, some will be young adult but all of them will make you feel, will move you emotionally. That's always my goal as an author.
Ryshia: From self-published to Warner, that’s quite a journey, what was the most memorable moment?
Jeff: The most memorable moment was getting "the" call from my agent at the time about Warner wanting to acquire Forever My Lady. It truly was a dream come true, still is.
Ryshia: Many latinos are claiming " Forever My Lady " as their story. How does that feel to you as an author?
Jeff: I am so inspired by the early fans of Forever My Lady. I mean it means a lot to hear people all over the world say that the story moved them to tears or that they could relate to it or that in some way it influenced their life. It’s strange in a way because these are just fictitious characters but even for me they have become real.
Ryshia: “Forever My Lady’s " main characters are two Mexican Americans. How is it that as a Black American you were able to write about the Latino or Chicano experience?
Jeff: I think most of my Latino and Chicano friends have branded me an Honorary Latino. Haha! I know it sounds strange to some people because of how proud I am of my heritage as a Black American but there’s a part of me that feels like I have some kind of past life connection to Latinos or something, I don’t know what it is. I feel very connected to them.
Ryshia: The publishing industry speaks of books sticking in a market and you’ve obviously had amazing success, and stuck. What bit of marketing advice would you give to authors to make their book stick?
Jeff: The biggest advice I would say is first write a phenomenal book (whatever that means to you) but a phenomenal book not based on your opinion or your best friend or your mom but hundreds of people you don't even know. Secondly, keep promoting even if it takes years, keep going, think of yourself as a brand and stop thinking of your book as "your baby" and thirdly, keep writing, keep putting book after book out there especially if it's part of a series.
Ryshia: What are you working on now and when can your readers expect your next book?
Jeff: I'm working on the sequel to Forever My Lady now and some young adult books that I'm very excited about. As far as when the sequel will come out? I don't like to put any dates out there but hopefully soon.
Ryshia: If your dream of flying in a private jet came true and you could only go to one place, where would it be?
Jeff: That is a a really good question. Let me think about that for a second ... I'd say, why not Australia where I could have the time of my life exploring the country with very close friends and close family members.
Ryshia: Where can readers buy " Forever My Lady "?
Jeff: Definitely my website: www.JeffRivera.com, Amazon.com or their local bookstore.
The scoop on "Forever My Lady":
For Dio Rodriguz, manhood means keeping his barrio rep stone-old - and striking back before others hit him first. The only thing he lets himself care about is Jennifer. The quiet, dark-eyed girl who believed in him when no one else would. But when a drive-by shooting forces him into a prison boot camp and lands Jennifer in the hospital Dio must learn a different kind of courage to survive. Against lies, violence, and heartbreaking betrayal. Dio has one last chance to turn it all around - fight for his new life...and prove his love for Jennifer is real.
Excerpt from "Forever My Lady"Prologue
DON’T BE STUPID, FOO’. DON’T BE A PENDEJO.”
Dio looked at his homie Spooky’s grip on his jacket. Most of his boys called Dio “Playboy” because all the ladies loved him, but those who had known him since he was a kid called him by his real name, Dio.
He took another hit off his joint. He’d given up smoking over a year ago, had to, but on this day he was more nervous than he had ever been in his life.
Thunder rumbled and rain poured, making it impossible to see. Thunder scared Dio, always had. Dio fought to keep from shaking. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t swallow. He tried to hide his fear. His mind was set. He had to do it. Dio yanked his arm away from Spooky and pushed the
“Just keep the car runnin’, ése.”
Spooky was a big guy, tattoos up and down his arm and a glass eye. He normally would have just kept Dio from leaving at all, but he knew nothing could stop him. Nothing at all.
Dio jumped out of the car. It was a ’57 Chevy, complete with chrome wheels, slick red, with a chili-pepper-hot Mexican jaina painted across the hood. Dio had painted that picture himself. It was dope.
He slammed the door shut and looked up at the cathedral in front of him. Lightning illuminated its majestic towers, windows with an eerie stained glass. He’d spent many a night imagining this would be where he’d marry her. They’d have a huge wedding with members of their families
ﬂying in from all over the world just to watch this event, this marriage he thought was so destined to be. He’d put his everything into this dream, his one and only dream, and now as
he yanked the heavy oak doors open, his heart pounded like a subwoofer.
He dried his soaked clothes with his hand and scratched his shoes on the mat so as not to squeak across the old wood ﬂoor. The church was jam-packed, mostly with Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, but some blacks. Probably his familia, Dio thought. How could she even think about marrying some pinche negro?
Good luck everyone!