Intimate Conversation with Naleighna Kai
Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Open Door Marriage, Every Woman Needs a Wife, co-author of Signed, Sealed, Delivered ... I'm Yours, and Baring it All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing. She started writing in December of 1999, independently publishing her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with an independent publishing house. She is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller, an award-winning author, and The E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction.
Naleighna is the CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, the founder of Macro Literary All-Stars (M-LAS), as well as the marketing consultant to several national bestselling and aspiring writers. She is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago. Naleighna pens contemporary fiction, erotica, and speculative fiction and is currently working on her next novels: Rich Woman's Fetish and Slaves of Heaven.
BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
The only answer to that question is the Creator has a purpose for my life. A purpose that included surviving sexual abuse by two separate male family members as well as physical abuse by my mother. All of which have been something that my female lead characters have overcome in my novels. At one point, the will to survive motivated me, then it was my only child, J. L., then it was healing from the things that happened to me, lately it has been helping others to heal and to live their dreams. Even more pointedly, it has been the members of M-LAS, an author support group that I founded in May. The women (and one male), have provided a whole new set of life lessons as well as personal growth that I would not have been able to experience elsewhere.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My body of work speaks to women who have been caught between a rock and hard place, or places that were just plain hard. It is my hope that something that is between the pages of my novels speaks to the heart, helps them to heal, or provides some insight into dealing with something they’re going through at the moment. Authors can be role models, and because I realize that what I put into print can impact other people’s lives, I try to write novels that speak to the human condition and tastefully tackles complex situations.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
After writing four books that focused on a trio relationship that was all about two women and one man, I thought I would flip that scenario on its head and write something where the woman was in a dilemma where there are two men she loves dearly and an opportunity where both men would have to accept her choice.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
In the beginning of the story, I was able to relive my time on the Soul Expressions Wal*Mart tour with so many wonderful authors. It was the only tour of its kind and even now I wish Pam Nelson was still with Levy and could do it all over again. And I was able to express some ideas gleaned from what I learned during that time and from the people who put that tour together. I also posed a question in the novel that I have been afraid to do so before now: where was God? Where was God when my father raped me? Where was God when my father molested me? Where was God when all these horrible things happened. The answer that came as I wrote the words was something intensely beautiful and healing. I don’t think I was ready to address that question before now, and I’m glad the book provided the opportunity.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
What if’s always drive my novels. The what if’s make for an interesting experience because I don’t always anticipate the outcome. I’m taking a journey just like the reader is. My books tend to be more character driven because I’m drawing on splinters of my soul in order to lay a situation on the page and explore the outcome through my character’s eyes.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My current book, Was it Good For You Too?, is a slide into the polyamorous lifestyle that many are hearing about these days—in articles and in the news. Instead of polygamy one man with many women, this is a look at the flipside, one woman who is in love with two men, and only one of them is her husband who introduced the practice into their relationship only to have second and third thoughts when his wife’s first love enters the picture again. The novel is available in all ebook forms and in trade paperback.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
Tailan is a lot like me when it comes to strength and determination. She is also like me in the since that I never wanted a child, but I’m so happy that I have my number one son. She is also like me in the fact that she, like me, overheard my mother’s biological brother and sister, discussing an arrangement for my uncle to come to her home every week to have sex with me. Like my main character, I too, ran away from home. Unfortunately, I met with different results than my character, Tailan.
Delvin is representative of a man who makes a mistake and does everything in his power to right old wrongs. It’s also about a man who stands strong in his convictions when it comes to the woman he loves. At first, he will go along with the program, then he realizes that in order to have what he wants he will have to assert his innate beliefs—even if it pains him to do so.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
This is a look into the poly lifestyle. Though the term “free love” has been around since the 60s, polyamorous relationships are on the rise as more people decide to embrace a stable anchor for a partner, but want the ability to take on lovers to fulfill other aspects of their lives. They desire to keep the primary family intact, but are open to exploring sensuality, love, and sexuality with others who are of like.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
This book is nothing like my present situation. I am not in poly relationship nor looking to be in one at the moment, but I did take the time to speak with several people who are and learned a great deal from the prospective of those who openly embrace the lifestyle.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Without “outing” anyone, I will say that I dove into the polyamorous community and was able to ask the women questions about why these types of relationships work for them; how it fared in the beginning, and what allowances were made for trying to make sure everyone was “safe” in such an open environment.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal was to explore some of the issues encountered in the polyamorous community. I think I presented the situation in a light that will make people think, and also show the human emotions are prevalent regardless of rules and boundaries; emotions can drive things array because that it not something people can control.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
Rich Woman’s Fetish and Ninety Days of Pleasure (a prequel to Open Door Marriage), that is being written with an author support team called M-LAS.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I invite people to visit my website: www.naleighnakai.com or look me up on FaceBook as I’m there almost every day. I also have aspiring writers join me in a FaceBook group called the M-LAS Literary Café.