Thursday 3 August 2023

A Slice of Cake With... Naima Haviland

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Naima Haviland.

Naima says " I write novels and short stories, mostly in the dark fantasy, and horror genres. Lately, I've branched out into romance, erotica, and literature. There's no telling where my imagination will take me next!

I'm inspired by the Southeast United States, including the Florida panhandle, an ocean paradise that has been home to pirates, outlaws, eccentrics, explorers, UFOs -- and me!"

What kind of books do you write?

Readers can expect immersive worlds and complex characters. However, my plots go in unexpected directions. I’ll mix vampires with folk magic or modern gothic with erotica. Or I’ll start a short story as a romance and finish it as a time-travelling mystery. My latest novel, The Name I Chose, weaves the worst of our influencer culture into an alternative version of Victorian England. The story combines romance, body positivity, and social justice.

Can you describe your writing why?

I want something of myself to live on after I die – hopefully, I have lots of time ahead to make that happen but I write like there’s no tomorrow. I want to uplift, fascinate, and entertain people I don’t know.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

After all the day’s shock and danger, it was the subterranean tunnels that threatened Philomena’s spirit. She had the feeling now, as she had whenever they’d locked her in the closet, that she should never see daylight or people again. Philomena sat against the tunnel wall in the darkness and stifled a sob against her knees. 
But then her mind’s eye conjured the image of Mordecai from the encompassing darkness. She considered the challenges arising from physical malformations. How mean the array of opportunities presented him, yet he’d built a career that earned him a comfortable income. How cruelly people may have treated him, yet in his chosen profession Mordecai helped people flourish. 
Philomena dried her tears with the back of her hand. She stood, felt about in the dark for the track, and began once again to follow it.
Mordecai persevered, and if she intended joining her life to his, she must match him. He thought you too delicate. Prove him wrong.
Though she had much to make her anxious, Philomena gave preference to reliving the pleasure Mordecai’s infrequent smiles had afforded her. When they composed together at the piano, her soul frolicked with its sympathetic twin. Despite his physical asymmetry, his form fit perfectly with hers when he embraced her. Though absent at the moment, his presence sustained her.

Tell us about your latest project

The Name I Chose is a novel of passion and peril set in an alternative Victorian England. 

Bold inventions usher in a new age, while genetic and cosmetic sciences reinforce an age-old class system. For the rich, immunity to disability and disease justifies their hold on power. Born disfigured, Mordecai Michaelson has employed his musical talent to rise above a life of poverty. Philomena Paulson appears no less perfect and no more talented than her upper class world requires. But she has secrets only Mordecai understands. Acceptance, trust, and a passion for music compose bonds of forbidden love between them. When chance discovery of Philomena's darkest secret threatens scandal and revolution, she's determined to save Mordecai from the gallows. But Mordecai is just as determined to keep her from social suicide, even if it costs him his life.

The Historical Fiction Company gave The Name I Chose a 5-star review: "... what we have here is an excellent screen play for an equally excellent film. All the necessary component parts are present: romance and love interest, beautiful music..." — and distinguished the novel with 2022 Silver and Highly Recommended Awards. 

Order The Name I Chose from your favourite bookseller. While we’re sharing a slice of cake, try a yummy bite of the audiobook

What is your favourite cake?

The mint-chocolate birthday cake I baked for myself on my last day of being 29. I put so much green food coloring into the homemade icing that the whole thing looked like a malformed TicTac. I circled the top of the round layer cake with chocolate-covered coffee beans. I woke up 30 years old to find that all the icing had slid off and the coffee beans now lay on the plate. It looked like a metaphor for aging. That was a tasty cake, though.

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Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find out more about her books on her website Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. Never miss out on future posts by following me.


  1. Naima is an amazing author. Her world building is beautiful and her characters are lovely.

  2. SO happy this came today--I love her books!

    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed the interview - and the cake of course lol