Award-winning author, Nakia R. Laushaul is the embodiment of holding your nose and jumping. One year ago this week, she quit her corporate job, in Houston, Texas and although she has a teenage son to support, risked it all to become a full-time author. The result? A bestselling debut award-winning novel, “Running from Solace.” I had the opportunity to catch up with Laushaul to discuss the cult-like popularity of her debut novel, what inspires her and her advice to others who are thinking about taking the plunge to go for their dreams.
Why did you write such a heart-wrenching story like, “Running from Solace?”
I write for change—entertainment is important, but change is what I’m after. “Running to Solace,” was written to show the emotional effects of child abuse. There are children in this world who don’t have the luxury to put a pretty little butterfly bookmark in the middle of their lives and finish the chapter the next morning. They sleep on their bruises and scarred hearts. For those children, I’ll continue to write the truth and hope for change.
If you could give one of your characters a word of advice, which character and what’s the advice?
I would tell Naomi (Running from Solace) that life is what you make it. You finally have the opportunity to create the life you’ve always wanted. Then I’d hug her, but not too tight, she’s so fragile and human.
What is your writing process?
Writing consumes me. When a story hits me, I go into my zone, this wonderful place of make-believe and words and chapters that seem to magically add up until a story is born. I can barely eat, sleep or tear myself away from my laptop. When the process is all over, I get sad and feel really empty until another story rescues me.
What advice would you give a student in middle school who dreams of being a writer?
I used to think that being a writer was some special gift bestowed upon this extraordinary super-power-like set of individuals that were beyond my reach. Still, I longed to be one of those writer people. When I finally got up the chutzpah to write an entire book of my own I discovered that it was indeed hard—but I did it. I am now the person that I thought was beyond my touch. If you like to write, and you write then you’re already a writer.
What song best describes your work ethic?
Every time I think about my workload I think about a 90’s song by Vanessa Williams, “Work to Do.” I was a kid when it was originally released, but boy, do I understand those lyrics now: “Got so much to do. Work! Work!”
If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about the community, what would it be?
I would erase child abuse so that we could have a society of healthy adults.
A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
He’s coming to announce that I’ve won some sweepstakes that I don’t remember entering. The prize is a Mexican getaway. At the time, I am so overworked that I could care less that there’s a talking penguin in my living room, especially since I’m too busy packing my bag.
What are you working on now?
Currently I am putting the finishing touches on my fourth book, “Locked in Purgatory.” Yes, it’s another one of those heart-tugging family sagas. It will have the same truth and inspiration as “Running from Solace,” but from a different perspective. I am also working on developing content for television and film; I think my work will transfer well to the screen.
Tell me about Quit2Write
I quit my job in 2012 to pursue writing full-time. I started a video blog on YouTube to tell people about my journey and discovered that so many others were on the same path. Not everyone quit to write, but people are quitting everyday to do the most interesting things. Quit2Write is not just my story—it’s your story too.