Tia Kelly

love notes by tia… the blog.

the pen series… nia forrester.

Happy Monday! My friend Nia Forrester is surprising readers with a new release today. Ivy's League is her latest release and I recently sat down to chat with Nia about her new novella and the people that inspired it.


Tia: Hey Nia! How are you? I'd ask what's going on, but I have a feeling I already know… anything you want to tell us about?

Nia: So... there's this little thing I've been working on. A novella, called Ivy's League that's coming out today. An early Fall labor of love, so to speak.

Tia: Okay, you're going to have to tell me more. What's this one about?

Nia: So this month I started writing Daily Shorts on my Facebook page again. And as I was writing one of those shorts, thinking about the woman who was featured in it, a spark was lit. It made me think about all the women I know who are successful, independent and... alone. Many of those women choose to be, and are fine with it, but a few would love a partner, but sometimes almost by virtue of their success have "priced themselves out of the market" so to speak. And I have this working theory that those women sometimes have eligible, available and GOOD men right under their noses, but perceptions of their socioeconomic differences keep them from seeing it. So Ivy's League is about one such couple, trying to negotiate and come to terms with those differences, which are more perceived than they are real.

And for those who might have been following them, that's why the Daily Shorts stopped. Sometimes you just gotta go where the muse leads you ...

Tia: Before I even nod my head in agreement about following the muse, this sounds like another "is Nia Forrester eavesdropping on my life" kind of stories. This is such a real thing for women (and men). I think it's a very scary place to even acknowledge that alone feeling, especially if there's already a feeling of being successful in other areas of life. Now I'm really curious about Ivy's League.

I'm not on Facebook anymore and now I'm tempted to rejoin just so I can read your Shorts. Give us a little background on Ivy.

Nia: Ivy is divorced, has a son and lives in an exclusive Washington, D.C. suburb. She sends her son to a great school where all the other women and families seem to "have it together." It's a Christian school, so there are very strict codes of behavior not only for students but for the parents, many of whom attend the school's church. Ivy constantly feels as though she's falling short of that code of conduct she outwardly while there she is very staid and proper. But she's really playful, funny, and not at all pretentious. She just doesn't have much of an outlet for that side of herself, because just like at her son't school, her job requires that she always conduct herself with the utmost of decorum. Ivy is a woman yearning for a change.

Tia: And the gentleman of interest?

Nia: His name is Eli. And Eli came to me when I recalled that a fellow writer asked whether I ever wrote stories where the guy was the one who'd been burned by love and left heartbroken. Eli is that guy. He's been burned in the past by a woman who, not unlike Ivy, was a little "above his station" so to speak. So he's cautious about getting involved with Ivy. While she wants to jump in with both feet, he's reluctant even to dip a toe in. A confident man by nature, he's unsettled that Ivy seems to shake that confidence. She seems different, but can he trust that? Can he risk putting himself out there again?

Tia: How was writing angsty love that's driven from the male character? Is Eli like any of the men you've given us before?

Nia: It was easy to put on paper initially, but harder to refine and adjust later. There's a line between a man who's a thinker and cautious to a man who comes across as weak, so I did a lot of rewriting to make sure we get that Eli is a strong man, but just doesn't want to put himself in the emotional line of fire that Ivy might represent. He's different from other men I've written in that he's very emotionally self-aware. He knows he could fall (and is falling) for Ivy. But he's trying to decide whether to put the brakes on and spare himself what he thinks is almost certain heartache. My other men were a little more emotionally clueless all the way through.

Tia: Why a novella?

Nia: I wish I could say there was a method to that madness. I have another book to get out, that's all. Ha! This could just as easily have been a longer piece, and honestly, it was kind of a struggle not to make it so. I uncovered layers, and Ivy is me, and she's my girlfriends, and some of my colleagues and acquaintances, so I felt like I wanted to go deeper with her. But time was not my friend. And Eli, he was so many guys I know; guys I've met ... I wanted to tell more of his story. But, again, there just wasn't time.

Tia: And there's always more story to tell that just can't make it on paper, especially with real life characters. Their stories will always evolve and go on.

I know you and there are quite a few stories in your head competing for writing time. Which book are you working on now or are you taking a break? You've released quite a few books this past year (In the Nothing, The Come Up, Mother and Lifted) and hinted about a sequel or two.

Nia: The Education of Miri Acosta is next. And after that I only have one other book planned for 2015. Having said that, you know there's no telling what could happen. Just as Ivy's story wasn't planned, others may surface.

Tia: I'm looking forward to seeing the Acosta family again. The Seduction of Dylan Acosta is one of my favorites written by you. Before we part, what's one thing you hope readers take with them after reading Ivy's League?

Nia: I have no idea. This one was for me just a leisurely meandering tale of two people finding each other, clearing out the background noise and finally, eventually, deciding to focus only on the bond they've built. No super-deep messages in this one. Just love, as my friend Angelia Vernon Menchan would say. *wink*

Tia: Can't wait to read Ivy's League, especially since I can relate to Ivy. You like hearing from readers. What's the best way for them to reach you and get updates from you?

Nia: The usual. I'm on Twitter, Facebook, can be reached at authorniaforrester@gmail.com and on my blog www.niaforrester.com. And yes, I do love hearing from my readers! Thanks for having me, by the way!

Tia: Any time and thanks for stopping by.


Ivy's League is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

ENTER TO WIN an electronic copy of Ivy's League by Nia Forrester, now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To enter, answer this question in the comments section below:

How do you know when it's a love worth fighting for?

Share your comment for a chance to win an electronic copy of Ivy's LeagueContest ends Monday, September 28, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST). Winner will be selected at random and notified via email no later than September 30, 2015.

About Ivy's League
By any measure, she is a success. By any measure that is, except her own.

Ivy Livingstone has entrée into Washington DC’s political elite, lives in an exclusive neighborhood and sends her son to a sought-after private school. But her beautiful life is a gilded cage. She is independent, but alone. And unfortunately, very few men are confident enough to believe they are in Ivy’s league.

Eli Thomason has all the confidence in the world, except when it comes to his own judgment about women. And his attraction to Ivy Livingstone proves him right. She is everything he shouldn’t want: a woman above his station and beyond his means. He overreached once before and still lives with the heartbreaking consequences, so why does he find it so difficult to leave Ivy alone?

And if their own baggage isn’t enough, Ivy and Eli have to contend with that of everyone around them, hell-bent on confirming their worst fear: that the bond they’re beginning to build can’t possibly last.

the pen seriesTia Kelly