Paralyzed with the humiliation of having to publicly defend her sexuality as a heterosexual, Lorna must decide to believe in her bouts of memory loss and forego the incident or rekindle her passion for journalism to protect her livelihood and uphold the integrity of her family.
They would both agree that I am a fair writer. I asked them both the same questions and challenged their answers to broaden a perspective on humanity. Lorna and Trista would both say that I was able to be respectful of how they both felt yet stay on task to come to a resolve.
Is anything in your novel The Town Dance based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Some of this is based on real life experience that I actually speak about in the Author's Notes. I have a friend that was sexually assaulted by her partner who happens to be a lesbian. We worked together and one Monday while recapping our weekend she said her girlfriend forced herself on her and raped her. I was paralyzed with emotion, I realized at that point that I didn't know what to say or how to help her. But the feeling was mutual because she dared not to repeat herself or bring the subject back up. We stared at one another for maybe 5 seconds and this was almost 15 years ago.
I am a writer. I write from emotions. But my emotions were so confusing on this topic I didn't know how to start the story. I'm not a lesbian and I have never been sexually assaulted. But I never forgot how I felt and most importantly I never forgot the look in her eyes. I wrote this because that can't be an isolated incident and conversations need to be had. I felt responsible to express how I felt and explain the look in her eyes.
Are your books driven by the characters or story line? Why?
My books are driven by characters. I liken it to having a baby. A baby comes with a story line, or life story, and also a set of characteristics. Their characteristics shape their experiences or life story not the other way around. My root in the arts is theatre and characterization, bringing a character to life, is everything in that art form. When I write, I get as detailed as their favorite color to what kinds of grades they made in elementary. The more you know about the character, the more effortless the story will write itself.
What is it that you'd like readers to walk away with after reading The Town Dance?
We tend to merge our lifestyles with our livelihood and that can hinder growth. The main character was faced with the decision to protect her lifestyle, career, or defend herself and her livelihood. There are so many people that build these high tolerance levels and continue to push back their walls of defense. Before they know it, their is no personality in their work and the passion disappears. I hope people walk away from The Town Dance with the notion that there should be no compromise when it comes to a healthy livelihood.
What is a hidden talent or pastime that you enjoy that may surprise others?
I think people would be surprised to know I'm adventurous. My demeanor is really reserved and can sometimes be calculated. People would be surprised I've bungee jumped, parasailed, deep sea dived and kite surfed to name a few. I also love a good horror movie!
About Nikki Skies
Connect with Nikki
Nikki Skies is a writer, speaker, poet and playwright living in Atlanta, Ga. Nikki is the author of the dramatic debut fiction novel, The Town Dance. She also authored a short story book, "Mississippi Window Cracks" and a poetry book entitled, "Pocket Honey, Wind and Hips".
As a speaker, Nikki has spoken on the topics of: Mental Health of Intergenerational Families, The Impact of Feminine Images, Rise and Demise of Women in Hip Hop/Poetry and The Feminine Contribution to the Black Arts Movement. Her poem, "One Day White Woman", has been used as curriculum in Oakland's Women Prison System, Orange County middle schools and San Diego State University for multicultural/diversity lyceum.
While she is best known for her performances on PBS television and BET's Lyric Café, Nikki has performed and spoken at colleges and universities as a roster member of National Association of Collegiate Activities and Campus Progress.