Nekesa Afia and Pamela Varnado Bring the Love!

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Happy New Year Frolic!

I’m back with my first FROLIC “Bring the Love” article of 2021—and I’m especially thrilled to be here chatting about these two fabulous books—must-have additions to your TBR in 2021.  

But before we dive into the interview, let me catch you up on a few things. First, let’s congratulate ourselves—we made it to 2021! That is worthy of celebration. Now, over the holidays, besides writing, reading, and writing, I did some binge-watching. Like the two women I interviewed this month, that binge-watching started (and for moi continues) with Netflix and Shondaland’s production of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series–here’s to many seasons to come.

Okay, now, remember my Bring the Love column is about romance books and any of the entertainment I love! Of course, novels are on top, and these two novelists have some fun (and important) things to share with us – including two of the hottest book covers of the seasonϑ!

So, let’s do this!

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Release Date: June 1, 2021 (available for preorder)

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

What you need to know about Nekesa?

Nekesa Afia is a Canadian millennial who is doing her best. DEAD DEAD GIRLS is her debut novel. @nekesaafia

(Description provided by publisher.)

Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.

Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that.

When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her.

Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.

Denny: What’s your favorite trope to read? What’s your favorite trope to write—and does either one get some love in your new release:)? 

Nekesa: I love classic romance tropes, enemies-to-lovers, fake relationship, and there’s only one bed. It’s hard to get these types of tropes into my novels about death and murder, but I’ve always been tempted to write an espionage novel that has all three.

Denny: Why did you decide to set “Dead Dead Girls” in the Prohibition era? 

Nekesa: Simply because the 1920s is my favourite decade of history. It’s filled with so much art and culture and it was the birth of the Harlem Renaissance. Even with so much change, things weren’t fantastic for Black people, but I couldn’t deny myself the chance to spend hundreds of hours daydreaming about the music, clothes, and shoes!

Denny: What are you binge watching now?

Nekesa: I’m a bit eclectic when it comes to my TV taste, but I just started binging Arrow on Netflix. I also just finished watching Bridgerton, like everyone else on earth with a Netflix account.

Denny: What beverage do you recommend readers enjoy while devouring your new release! 

Nekesa: Louise drinks a lot of Coke and gin, so one of those, but preferably both.

Looking for Grace by Pamela Varnado

Release Date: November 2, 2021 (available for preorder)

Genre: Young Adult

(Description provided by publisher.)

My brother is gone. My mom is too stuck in her own grief to see me, and my dad thinks pain isn’t something to ever be discussed. Even the boy I’m secretly in love with has let me down over and over again. It feels like there is only one way forward, only one way out. Just when I’m ready to end my own life, something sucks me back in. One note. One sweet song to keep me going. Those melodic melodies sweetly singing in my ears give me hope. 

Each morning, I figure, what’s one day more? One more day for someone to see me. To hear me. To save me. But can they? Will they?

Find out how you can be the one to help save a life at  

What you should know about Pamela:

Romance Writer of America (RWA) Golden Heart® winner Pamela Varnado writes young adult, science fiction, and romantic suspense novels that portray the frailty of humankind and the hope for a better day. @PamelaVarnado

Denny: What’s your favorite trope to read? What’s your favorite trope to write—and does either one get some love in your new release:)? 

Pamela: My favorite trope to read is Ticking Clock. Knowing that time is running out ramps up the tension and keeps me turning the pages late into the night. Whether a character is solving a crime in a thriller or finding a cure for a strange affliction in a science fiction novel, a Ticking Clock always drives the story forward. 

My favorite trope to write is Finding Courage When All Hope is Lost. In my young adult novel Looking for Grace, sixteen-year-old Grace is at her lowest point in life. To escape a dark twisty maze of grief and depression, she must question her misconceptions about her family, friends, and society. It’s not just a young adult novel, it’s a story for people of all ages. 

Denny: What question about this new release do you want to ask yourself and then ask it and answer it—and send it along, but keep it short, please. 

Pamela: Novels about grief and depression are often dark and heavy, so the question I asked myself while writing Looking for Grace is…Did I give my reader hope? I wanted to write a story that would inspire a troubled soul to find enough bravery to face the darkness and survive. 

Denny: What are you binge watching now and what beverage do you recommend readers enjoy while devouring your new release!?

Pamela: Currently, I’m binge watching Bridgerton on Netflix. Protagonist Rege-Jean Page is my new OBSESSION.  

While reading my novel I recommend you enjoy a flirtini cocktail if you’re over twenty-one. The champagne bubbles will lift your spirits and help you rise high above the day’s troubles. If younger, I recommend a cup of hot chocolate in your favorite ceramic mug. In the morning the drink’s sweetness will snap you awake and at night it’s frothy warmth will lull you into dreamland. As usual, marshmallows and whipped cream are optional. Enjoy!

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. 

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4 thoughts on “Nekesa Afia and Pamela Varnado Bring the Love!”

  1. I have pre ordered the book Looking For Grace and can’t wait to read the book. Dead Dead Girl also looks interesting to read, and I will be reading them both . I am so excited about Looking For Grace I can’t wait for it to come out.

  2. “Looking For Grace” sounds like it’ll be a great read, I’ve already preordered this book and can’t wait to finally get my hands on the deeply emotional story of Grace!

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