Jean Nicole Rivers is the author of two popular psychological horror novels, Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers and Black Water Tales: The Unwanted. While working on The Unwanted she struggled to stay organized and manage the details of her story with multiple word processing documents containing everything from her style sheet to her character breakdowns. With much work she found a way to keep everything in order, but it wasn’t easy or streamlined nor did it offer her a way of analyzing and correlating the details in order to make for a more layered tale.
With her extensive background in data management software and her passion for writing and storytelling, Jean Nicole re-shaped the confusion of her initial writing process into the idea for Simply Stylus.
Simply Stylus is a cloud-based writing software that allows the writer to easily outline, organize and write their novel.
With Simply Stylus writers can set writing goals, outline story events, set up character profiles and even bring in pictures to further highlight the details.
Currently, Jean Nicole Rivers is finishing her 3rd installment of the Black Water Tales series and working closely with her software engineer to continue to roll out new features and functionalities in Simply Stylus that add optimal value for creative writers.
Everyone has a story to tell and Simply Stylus makes telling that story easy.
What sparked your interest in writing horror stories?
Horror is life, real life in its most raw physical nature, but simultaneously abstract. It is everything boiled down into spine tingling minutes and seconds that require one to make decisions that could change everything. I write horror for many reasons but mostly because of all genres, it is the only one that sticks to me long after the book has ended and the credits have run, like spots of blood on one’s hand that refuse to wash away. It sleeps with me, nudging me in side late into the night. It disturbs me. Horror feels more real than any other genre. I have always preferred real and true, no matter how dirty, over all of the comfortable and pretty things and that is exactly what horror delivers. The situations in horror, life or death, kill or die, save them or save myself are the closest we come to seeing who we truly are in the deepest places of our psychic and physical being and this is what produces that oh so well-known adrenaline pump that hooks people to the screen, not allowing them to look away. Living those moments over and over has the power to give us a true glimpse into the mirror and sometimes, ironically enough, that is the most frightening thing of all.
How do you marry your background in data management with your passion for writing?
Writing a novel is all about continuity. If you do not keep pristine cohesiveness throughout your story, you will lose your reader quickly. The details can be endless; memories, names, settings, habits, lies, themes, ages, years, etc. The better you can manage the many details of the story, the more layered and complex you can make your novel, which is a great way to keep your reader engaged.
How do you balance being a creative and a technologist?
Some days, I think that I’m a technologist and creativity is my outlet and other days, I know that I’m a creative who uses the technologist to give me normalcy, most days I just swing back and forth between the two without worrying too much about it. In my daily life I thrive on routine, input = output, it gives me a sound metric by which to measure my life, but there is always that other side that constantly asks, “What if?” and the only way to quite that voice is by allowing it to play out in the worlds that I create.
What are some challenges you faced whilst you were trying to launch Simply Stylus? Did you struggle to find investors?
Resources. The monetary resources are important but the human resources have shown themselves to be just as imperative. Thus far, I have personally funded Simply Stylus 100% and that in itself is a struggle, but finding the perfect talent to bring my vision to fruition was a bit of a maze. Eventually, through word of mouth, I found a great engineer, but every single day brings new challenges.
What does being an executive woman mean to you?
It doesn’t mean a lot to me, to be honest. I’m not really sure what the term “executive” should imply but when you are a black woman launching a software from dust, you live in the trenches every single day, wearing every hat (even if you don’t wear that hat) being fueled only by your dreams and hoping it pays off before you hit the end of the runway. It’s difficult, but well worth the fight.