Today, we’re visiting with Jamallah Bergman, author of interracial and multicultural romance. She’s here to introduce us to her latest novel, Renzo….
Renzo, Simone, Gianni and Federico Cipriano
Each brother was thriving on their own working in what they were best in doing.
But it’s their mother’s wish for her son’s to find love and happiness like she had with their father, since they have not only been well known for their work ethics but also for their sexual conquest.
Watch as the Cipriano brothers of Kellington try and find love in probably some of the most unlikely of places. Along the way you’ll meet some of the women who take their hearts as well as their minds on a whirlwind ride like no other.
Renzo, the oldest Cipriano brother, lives a life that consists of working at his restaurants, dealing with customers as well as with a persistently aggravating ex-wife. He never had the chance to find the one thing that eluded him the most…..love.
That was until he walked into her store that rainy afternoon…..
Jaslyn Whitman, owner of Timeless Treasure Antiques, lives for a sale as well as making other people happy with the things she has in her shop. Being the ‘new girl in town’, she of course has been on the radar of some men. But she mainly tries to put work over dating men whose only intentions are to get her into bed.
Who thought tall dark and handsome would walk through her door?
Once these two meet, sparks immediately fly…for Renzo. Jaslyn however isn’t ready to deal with what would happen if she got involved with a Cipriano man. It’s up to Renzo however to show Jaslyn that there is more to him than just rumors and lies.
Tricia: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Jamallah: Well let’s see….I’m a mother of one…..a friend to many who need a friend and an absolute hopeless romantic….with a warped mind. I enjoy making new friends, hearing back from people who have read my books, it makes me feel good to know that what I’ve worked so hard for others to enjoy really makes people feel good. That they enjoy reading my words, my thoughts and my dreams too. Oh and I do enjoy giving people I meet hugs, so if you ever do meet me in person, you will be hugged…..and hugged often, lol.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
Jamallah: I’ve been writing since I was 12 BUT I really didn’t start writing romance until I got a bit older. I would write mainly from dreams or crushes I had on celebrities that I liked. I didn’t really get discovered until 2011 and it was by chance. I had been on another website that was for writers and authors and I had made friends with Mike Arsuaga, (who writes by himself as well as with his wife Cynthia). I had told him about a story that I had been trying for years to get out but no one wanted to publish it. That was when he told me about Secret Cravings Publishing, who he had published with, and told me that they would probably want to publish it. So I went and check it out and then I went and submitted my 1st book “If…Only You Knew” to them and they loved it and now I have 8 books out now and many more to come.
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Jamallah: My latest is called Renzo, which is the 1st book of a 4 book series called “The Ciprianos of Kellington”. Each book will deal with a brother….Book 1: Renzo, Book 2: Simone, Book 3: Gianni and Book 4: Federico
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?
Jamallah: Actually I got the idea from a picture of these four hot looking men standing together near a waterfall. They all wore white clothing and some had short and long dark hair and muscular and I thought to myself, “You know they all kind of look like brothers” So instantly that’s when I started to think about Renzo *sigh*, yeah I always go *sigh* when I think about Renzo and his story. He really was great to write about and I loved his and Jaslyn’s story and how they came together. They make for such a beautiful couple.
Tricia: If you could recommend just one of your books to my readers, which book would you choose?
Jamallah: Oh my…..lemme think here…..*thinking….thinking….smoke is coming from ears….what the hell!* ok….I have to say that it would probably have to be my book called “The Admission”. I have to say that out of all of the books I’ve written so far, this particular book drained me emotionally. It will make you love and hate as well as shock you when you read it. For that’s how I basically felt when I wrote it and had to figure out the characters for it. One in particular really and honestly had me to the point where I would have to walk away, talk to myself because I got so into it and then my kid would say to me, “Mom….are you mad and talking to yourself?” Yeah…..she knows momma pretty well,lol.
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Jamallah: Richard Collins from my 1st book “If…Only You Knew” by far is my favorite of the top 5. Why that is because of the fact that his character has a great deal of importance in my life. You see when I was growing up in Georgia, I was constantly picked on because of my weight and for being extremely shy (still am at 40) plus I was picked on because I had feelings for a guy that basically everyone knew except for yours truly, that I could never get with. But being so into him, I always thought something could happen. Of course it didn’t and I learned from it greatly. Well I always had friends in middle and especially when I got to high school. Most of them were guys, most were juniors and seniors and most of them were jocks. On the football, basketball, softball, soccer, you name it. I was the ‘bud’ the ‘pal’, the girl that they knew they could never develop any emotional attachment towards. So well, during my freshman year in high school, I began a good friendship with a guy who was on the football team. For personal reasons, I will name this person with the initial “J”. J and I became fast friends and he always knew how to make me laugh especially on days when I needed it badly, which for me was every day. I think what drew me to him was the fact that he treated me like an equal. He didn’t shame me or make fun of me because I was a fat girl or because I was awkwardly shy at times, nope, he treated me just like everyone else. And that’s why I slowly started to fall for him. BUT I decided to myself that I would NOT tell him my true feelings for him. The reason for this was because as of this date, my track record with men has been at an all-time LOW, I’m never that good as far as getting into relationships with men that I would like to be with. So I keep my feelings hidden and with him, he was the one who started it and restarted it for me. I didn’t want to lose him as a friend, especially during a time when I needed his friendship more than anything.
Well, we kept our friendship just as that up until the day he graduated from high school (since he was older than I was). I never told him how I felt much less did I ever tell him how much of a friend he meant to me during those times when I needed him the most. He was my muse for Richard and to this day, he doesn’t know that he was the muse for Richard. So I like Richard because he reminds me so much of “J” and how much of a great friendship me and him had together years back.
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Jamallah: I think it has to deal with figuring out different ideas towards writing a book. Like how can I go about this whole storyline differently? I try to be different as much as possible with my topics as well as my storyline. I love being different and it shows that whenever I get a message from a reader who really enjoyed my story and can’t wait for the next one to come out.
Tricia: What is your primary goal as an author?
Jamallah: To have people say “WOW!” To make people think when they read my work and not just really picture themselves as my hero or heroine when they walk through a day in their lives and the people that they come into their lives as well.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Jamallah: Right now I am in the midst of working on Book 2 of the Ciprianos of Kellington, which is of the next brother in line….Simone. I really love Simone and Delia’s story too. It’s rather sweet and you will see plenty of moments when stuff from the past comes up that will bring forth a lot of what is happening to them now in the future.
I am also working on something else as well but I don’t want to give out too much….TOP SECRET STUFF! *winks*
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Jamallah: Never give up on your dreams. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t be a author and that being an author is not work because all they see you as doing is sitting on a computer and using your imagination. Keep writing and writing and writing until you feel you can’t write any more. You have a God given talent that most folks would die to be able to sit and write out a entire book about something that they thought up in their heads. I’ve had folks tell me for most of my life that I would probably not amount to anything but here I am now, I’m a successful writer, I’ve gotten to meet some great fellow authors of my genre and others as well. I’ve made some great fans because of what I’ve been able to accomplished PLUS I’ve shown those that thought I wouldn’t be able to do something this big that I did.
Learn more about Jamallah Bergman and her books at the following links:
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jamallah-Bergman/e/B006HT16WY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5805513.Jamallah_Bergman
Author Blog (where I host authors of all genres): http://jamallahbergmansstoriesoflove.weebly.com/guest-whos-come-to-talk-with-me.html
Personal Blog (where…well…I just say stuff): http://jamallahbergmansstoriesoflove.weebly.com/my-blog-aka-what-i-am-probably-thinking-today.html
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/jamallahbergmanauthor
RNC Profile: http://www.romancenovelcenter.com/jamallahbergman
Jaslyn watched her walk toward the front as she began to walk back and forth a bit in the front of the table. She had never been as nervous as she was at that moment. What in the hell did Delia talk her into, she wondered. Soon footsteps could be heard coming her way. Suddenly two men appeared with two silver domed trays, and right behind them was Renzo and Delia. He wore his basic attire of a black suit with a white shirt and long black tie. His big hands held a small bouquet of beautiful violets that he graciously handed to her along with a smile on his face that made her smile up at him.
“Are you ready for lunch with me, Jaslyn?” he asked as she smelled the flowers’ sweet fragrance.
When she looked over toward the table, she saw the two waiters had already placed their plates on the table and then another man came in with an ice bucket with wine in it and two wine glasses that he set next to each plate. “Shall we sit down then?” Jaslyn replied, walking over to one of the chairs, but the man who stood next to that chair told her, “Please, if you don’t mind, ma’am, it’s best to take the other chair.”
“All right.” She walked over to the other chair as Renzo helped her sit. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied as he went over to his chair and sat down. The man with the bucket began to pour some red wine into her glass and then walked over to pour some in Renzo’s glass as well. “Wait a minute, I think we are missing something fellas.” He saw the guy that brought the wine leave as he motioned for the other two by saying, “All right.”
Soon the two men lifted the silver domed plates and immediately the warm aroma of garlic, tomatoes, and basil hit her nose. “Oh, it smells delicious.” She looked over and saw something even more delicious on his plate, something that looked like beef rolled up. “I’m sorry to be staring, but can I ask what you have there?”
“Oh, it’s called Bracioline alla Palermitana or Beef Cutlets Palermo Style. It’s really delicious, would you like to try some?”
“Sure, if that’s all right with you?”
He got up from his chair and brought his plate over to her as she helped herself to a beef roll up and put it on the side of her own plate. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Soon the young man brought over a basket of cut up crusty bread, and placed it next to her. “All right guys, you can leave and come back in about forty-five minutes to clear the dishes and bring dessert.” And with that, everybody left. Delia told them, “I’ll leave you both to eat your lunch.”
Jaslyn watched as Delia left the two of them alone and then she looked over at Renzo who appeared to be waiting for her to taste the food. She picked up her fork and knife to cut into the meat and once she tasted it exclaimed, “Oh my.” She continued chewing, taking another bite. Renzo smiled at her. “I think I might have found another favorite from your menu.”
“I’m glad you like it.” They both continued to eat their lunch in silence because Jaslyn honestly didn’t know how to begin a conversation with Renzo. She would look up from time to time to see him looking at her. “You know there was something I’ve always wanted to ask. How did you get into selling antiques?”
Dipping her bread into the sauce, Jaslyn was just about to take a bite, but decided to wait on eating it. “Well, I have my Great Aunt Annie to thank for that. I used to go over to her house for the summer and she always had these little antique dishes, vases, and centerpieces around her home. I would always look at them, but she never let me touch them. So I would sit on her couch, which she always kept plastic on, and look at her pretty little knick knacks. Sometimes she would take me with her shopping when she knew someone had a piece she could add to her collection. She even had a piano that dated back to the late 1890s, which was probably the only thing she’d let me touch because she gave me piano lessons. My great aunt taught me to appreciate everything as far as when I went looking for antiques. She told me what I needed to look for and what sold well. So I owe all I have to her.” Taking a bite of her bread Jaslyn smiled remembering those days when she was young.
“That is amazing, so whatever happened to her collection she wouldn’t let you touch?”
“Oh, she gave it all to me in her will since she knew I was the only one in the family that would appreciate her things and not sell them. She had so much, I had to spread them around my place. I couldn’t keep them in one spot. In her house, she had a separate room that she kept everything in.” Taking a sip of wine, she told him, “So what about you? Why did you get into being a restaurateur?” She watched him sit back against his chair with drink in hand in deep thought.
“I think it was my parents, especially my mom, who really made me want to own a restaurant. I wanted a restaurant where when people ate my food it would take them right back to Sicily, which is where my family is from. My mom was all for it, but my brothers thought I was crazy. They said it would be stereotypical for an Italian to open up an Italian restaurant. Well, I told them all that we shall see whose laughing last when my place did well. I had to do plenty of research about pricing of kitchen equipment, tables for the dining area, supplies, food, wait staff, chefs…you name it. I did plenty of research on it. Plus I had a friend of mine who owned a restaurant in New York and he showed me where he got most of the things for his establishment. It took about two years to finally get everything together to what I have right now. I named it after my mom, of course, since she is such a big influence in my life. I remembered when I used to find her cooking in the kitchen…she always had me tasting her food. She never let my brothers do that. But, she always let me be her taste tester. I’m surprised I didn’t balloon out, but of course that was what track and football was for.”
“You were on the track team?”
“Oh yeah, I did the one-hundred meter dash, four-hundred meter relay, and I also did javelin and shot put too.”
No wonder he was so muscular, she thought. “Do you still run?”
“Oh yeah, I run just about every morning real early before I get ready for work. If I didn’t, I’d probably look like my cousin Lou…let’s just say he enjoys his food a bit more than the average person.”
Jaslyn smirked. “I have at least five cousins named Lou and one of them you can call Lucille.”
He laughed out loud at her comment and they both continued laughing even after they had finished eating. “Why don’t I show you some of the furniture since we have some time before they bring over the dessert?” Jaslyn said as she started to get up from her chair.
“Wait, I’ll help you with that.” He got up to help her from her seat. She thought it was so sweet of him to be so courteous.
“I do want to show you this one piece that even though I haven’t been able to sell it, it’s by far my favorite.” They both walked toward a door, which led down to the basement. This was where Jaslyn had a guy come in to fix up some of the items that needed restoration before going on the sales floor. “Well, here it is.” She pointed to the huge wall unit that covered the entire wall.
“Wow,” Renzo said looking over what was before him.
“I know right? Isn’t it gorgeous? I had another antique friend of mine from Nantucket about eight months ago go under. He told me I had first pick before the rest of his inventory went to auction. He had a lot of really huge pieces of furniture for mansions. Most of what he had I honestly couldn’t take, but there were some smaller pieces I was able to get…some desks, lamps, and a couple of tables. Then I came across this magnificent beauty here…” She ran her fingers along one of the cabinet doors that had carvings of flowers. “I fell in love with it immediately.”
“It is a beautiful piece, but it’s so big. How were you able to get it down here?”
“Well, it comes in eight pieces. I had four men help out, plus we have a huge garage door.” She pointed to the garage door that was closed off and locked.
“And you’ve been trying to sell it for how long?”
“Well, I’m not going to sell it now. I tried selling it, but no one seems to want it. So I said one of these days whenever I get myself a big enough home, I’ll bring it to my home and have it in that one room I said I would put Great Aunt Annie’s collection in. Honestly this thing will hold all of her things and then some.” Jaslyn said, still running her fingers along the edge.
“You’ll get it one day. Is this mahogany?”
“Yes, it is. Why don’t we head on back upstairs now?” They made their way toward the steps that would lead them back up to the shop.
“If you didn’t go into antiquing, what do you think you would be doing?”
Locking the door behind her, they walked single-file to get through the small aisle of tables and chairs. “I’d probably be a classic pianist.”
“Really, you’re that good, huh?” Renzo replied.
“Well, I’m not Beethoven or Mozart, but I am pretty good on the piano.”
“Do you have a piano here? I would love to hear you play.”
“Actually, no, we haven’t had a piano here for a while.”
“Wait a minute. I know where there is one, come with me.” Grabbing her by the hand, they both walked past the front counter where Delia was at the register. “We will be right back, Delia,” Renzo said as he opened the door.