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. Mr. Rivera currently lives in Miami, Florida. Adopted by his Filipino stepfather when he was seven years old, his ethnic background is Black American and Native American.
Originally independently published, Jeff Rivera's debut novel, Forever My Lady went on to be acquired by Warner Books/Grand Central. It tells the award-winning passionate story of a juvenile delinquent named Dio who is sentenced to prison boot camp. Everyone who he has ever trusted has given up on him except one special girl that promises to stay by his side no matter what, the love of his life, Jennifer. He promises he will to turn his life around for her and she promises will 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. Forever My Lady was featured in national magazines, on national television and radio including: The Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Rotarian Magazine, Urban Latino Magazine, VOY, Right On! Magazine, NPR, American Latino TV, SITV and was awarded Best New Author Award and the Best Urban Fiction Award and by the Mahogany Media Review. His first novel, Forever My Lady (published by Warner Books/Grand Central Publishing) became a critical media darling having received over 45 reviews on Amazon, over 30 reviews on BarnesandNoble.com and was given 5 stars by Amazon.com's #1 Book Reviewer Ms. Harriet Klausner. Rivera is fast at work on his next novel as well as the sequel to Forever My Lady and anticipates its independent release in 2008.
Hi, Jeff! Thank you so much for dropping by. How does it feel to be one of the few people that start out self-publishing and then gets picked up by a major publisher?
It feels great! I really do believe in visualization and that's exactly what I did when I was writing Forever My Lady. I would visualize not only getting picked up by a major after I had self-published but people's reactions to my novel while reading it. Visualzation works but you can visualize until your brain rots away, you have to also put the work in as well.
Who was your favorite character to write about?
I loved writing one of the supporting characters, Louise. She was the most fun to write because she was so feisty and full of sass. And of course writing the letters in the book seemed to flow very well. Whenever I write it's like I'm watching a movie in my head and it just flows.
Which are you most like Dio or Jennifer?
I think there's a bit of each of them in me. In fact there's a bit of all the characters in me, even the nasty racist character or the trailer trashy Louise character or the tough guy with a heart of gold in the the drill instructor character. They had to be a part of me in order to write it well.
Underneath the gritty parts of Forever My Lady and even the love story elements there are often spiritual messages. Would you describe yourself as a spiritual person?
Very much so. I was raised in the church but came into my own sense of spirituality as time went on. I'm very happy about who I am spiritually and I believe you can go to church night and day but unless your walking the walk it's all in vain. Spirituality to me helps you look outside yourself and realize not only how we're all connected but where our place is here on earth.
What places can we go to get Forever My Lady?