About the Author
Nicole S. Rouse was born and raised in Philadelphia. She earned her degree from Temple University and is currently a managing editor at a major educational publishing company. Nicole’s debut novel, Happily Ever Now, consistently ranked on the Top 25 Christian Independent Publishers bestsellers lists after its 2007 release. Nicole’s sophomore novel, Someone to Love Me, was picked up by the Black Expressions Book Club® before its scheduled release date. Other books by Nicole include: Be Careful What You Pray For (2010), Still Standing (2012), and Tender to the Touch (2013).
During her spare time, she serves as an undergraduate advisor at Temple University for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., where she encourages the young adult women to dream beyond their expectations. She also teaches writing workshops to aspiring writers. Nicole is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and resides near Philadelphia, PA.
Q & A with Nicole Rouse
How did you come up with your title?
Like the characters in the novel, I spent a weekend with friends I hadn’t seen since college. During the reunion, details of each of our lives were revealed that changed the nature of our friendship. We became a stronger support system for one another, and have helped each other grow as women.
One of the women scheduled massages for each of us that weekend because we were all stressed and tense about situations in our lives. We were at very fragile and tender places. So the title, Tender to the Touch, was birthed out of that experience.
They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
A graphic artist for Urban Christian designed the cover. The woman on the cover represents each of the women in the story. Each woman is tired and bored with the everyday details of their lives. They long for change, and have prayed for change, but feel as if God has closed His ear to their requests. So each day they step a little farther away from their faith, which opens the door for trouble.
Why did you feel you had to write this book?
During the weekend with my friends, the value of genuine friendships became apparent. Although we are a very diverse group of women, there is a lesson that can be learned from each of them.
I wanted to write a story that showed readers, that no matter how many mistakes or bad decisions they make, God is always in control. There are times when we may not feel His presence, but He is there. He does not always change our situation as quickly as we think He should, but until change happens, He knows who to send as true friends to help make each day a little better and a little brighter.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
While I love the progression of all of the characters, Dr. Zora Thomas is my favorite. Sometimes in a marriage, it is the woman who compromises her dreams and goals in order to fully support her husband and family. Although Zora supported her husband through college and throughout his career, she made sure that she accomplished her goals as well. In this story, Zora deals with an issue that threatens her marriage. Reggie, her husband is ready for children, but Zora is not. While she does not want to lose her husband, she remains honest with herself about her reasons for waiting. As she struggles with her decision, she doesn’t lose sight of the dreams, despite some opposition.
While I do believe that a husband and wife should make compromises for one another, I think it is important for women to maintain their identity. I have seen a number of women get divorced and have no idea what they want to do with their lives now that they are single. It’s great to take one for the team, but your teammate must be willing to do the same in return.
If you could travel anywhere in the world and write a book based on that location, where would it be and why?
It’s funny that I am being asked this question. I was talking to another writer recently about writing a story based on a location outside of the US. Dubai, for many reasons, has become a very popular place for business. Several friends have traveled to Dubai for business and have shared how much they enjoyed the experience. In my research, I found that Dubai has not only become a global city, but there are man-man islands, beaches, and huge shopping malls to enjoy. Intrigued by my research, I will be visiting Dubai in October of this year. I am excited about the opportunity to learn more about a different culture, and look forward to creating a story about the experience.
Are you an avid or occasional reader? What is your favorite genre?
As an editor, I spend a great deal of time reading professional material. When I have time, I enjoy books of inspiration and entertainment. Since I have become an author, I don’t get the opportunity to read as many books for leisure. Where it used to take me 1 week to finish a book, it now takes me one month.
Mystery and suspense would be my favorite genre. I also enjoy reading inspirational books that help keep me focused and help me grow as a person.
If you were granted one wish. What would that be?
To live each day without fear; fear of past disappointments, worry, obstacles, and hurt. My wish would be that we could all be free of any fear that would hinder us from living happy and healthy lives.
What new projects are you working on?
I am finalizing a short story for an anthology. The anthology is scheduled to release in the early months of 2014. I have also started writing the sequel to Tender to the Touch, which is tentatively scheduled to release at the end of next year.
Where can readers find you?
About the Book
For the past eleven years, Reverend J. Amanda King served as an anointed and powerful leader for the women’s ministry of Faith Tabernacle Church. Though thousands of women had been blessed by her leadership, J. Amanda was most fond of the ministry she built with five of her sorority sisters. To them she was more than a spiritual leader and counselor. She was their sister and true friend.
The bond of the sisterhood is tested when J. Amanda’s old flame, “Hunky” Crawford, resurfaces and pleasant memories of their life together seem more appealing than the one she shares with her husband, David. In time, J. Amanda remembers why she ultimately chose David over Hunky, but is she too late? Feeling rejected for a second time, Hunky exposes secrets that threaten to destroy J. Amanda’s relationship with her husband and line sisters forever and lead to a startling death.
Will J. Amanda salvage her relationships and get her life back on track? Or, will she give up on God and accept the consequences for turning her back on her faith?
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A sisterhood of sorority sisters is tested in Tender To The Touch by Nicole Rouse. J. Amanda, Jasmine, Tionna and Zora are dealing with different issues that will test all of their friendships. J. Amanda is the leader of her women’s ministry at her church. J. Amanda is supposed to lead by example but this is proven harder than it seems. When an old boyfriend comes into the picture, J. Amanda starts questioning everything about her marriage and life. She also has to worry about losing the respect of her sorority sisters.
Jasmine has tried to mend the friendship with Tionna after sleeping with her boyfriend. Jasmine is now married to that boyfriend, Brian and regret is starting to set in. Brian had changed and Jasmine does not know how long she will be able to stay. After an altercation in front of her children occurred, Jasmine will have to get the courage to stay enough is enough. Will she make that decision?
Tionna has moved past Jasmine’s betrayal and is focusing on her daughter with ex-boyfriend, Brian. At Brianna’s party, Tionna realizes there is dysfunction in Jasmine and Brian’s marriage. When her daughter informs her of an incident between Brian and Jasmine, Tionna becomes concerned and decides to be there to support her friend.
Dr. Zora Thomas is working on her first novel. To the average outsider, Zora’s life is perfect. Zora is dealing with issues of starting a family. Reggie, Zora’s husband wants to start a family as soon as possible but Zora doesn’t believe they are ready. The battle is wearing Zora out and she knows it is hurting their marriage. Will Zora give in to Reggie’s demands?
Tender To The Touch is about secrets, family, forgiveness and friendships. The author does a wonderful job expressing what is done in the dark will be brought to light. These characters are ones that readers can relate to as well as their issues. This book had drama, secrets, a little suspense but also had a message of how powerful friendship and relationships can be. I recommend this book to others.
This book was provided by the author for review purposes.
Reviewed by Teresa Beasley
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