Friday, December 2, 2011

A Conversation with Shan

             In the urban fiction game authors come and go, but many are forgotten and few are remembered that's why Shan, a rookie in the writing game has made sure when she came out with her first novel  Rozalyn she came correct. This author is making a great deal of noise in the book clubs of facebook because of Rozalyn, so I wanted to see what all the fuss is about, wanted to pick the brain of the person wrote this novel. So I sat down, got my questions ready and waited for the results and this is what I got.

Brandie: Shan you are new in the game so tell us a little bit about yourself.

Shan: Well, I am 26 years old born in Shreveport, Louisiana but raised in Dallas, Texas. I am a single mother of 3, 1 boy and 2 girls. I love basketball and enjoy watching and playing it. Over all I'm a pretty laid back type of person. Easy to get along with

Brandie: There are a lot of genres out there, why write urban fiction? What steered you in that direction?

Shan: I write urban fiction because although its categorized as fiction, it's real. Being that I've grown up in the hood; it's what I know, it's what I'm used to so it's more of what I can relate to. Nine times out of ten most of the things you read in urban fiction you have either gone through yourself or know someone that has. For me personally, writing things that I've gone through or seen others go through is like therapy. Some people go see a doctor for their problems but I pray and write about it. I love writing and entertaining others with the things I write. I have a lot more to learn about the publishing world but I plan to around for a long time and urban fiction won't be the only genre I explore.

Brandie: Urban fiction is a popular genre; it has grown tremendously and is known everywhere you look. So tell me Shan what makes your work different from the rest? What can readers get from you that we can't get from other authors?

Shan: Readers can expect to feel what my characters are going through the minute they open my book and read the first sentence. My writing is very raw and uncut I try not to sugarcoat anything. And when I write I write in the first person's point of view so to me I am giving readers a look into the characters mind; they know what they're going through, what their thinking and therefore feel closely connected to each character.

Brandie: Let's talk about your book Rozalyn. Rozalyn and Tamar are pretty interesting characters. Who are they? What makes them tick?

Shan: Rozalyn is a young, naive girl that's really lost. She is so hungry for love that she doesn't even realize when it's not true love or what loves supposed to feel like. The only thing that makes her tick is someone not loving her. You can tell while reading that she was very upset with the way her mother did her and with her dad not being in her life. Rozalyn is a very pretty girl with low self-esteem and for that reason alone it causes her to make some not so smart mistakes.

 On the other hand Tamar is a hot head. He's cocky, smart, and very handsome. He really believes in family, and that they should be there for one another. Tamar doesn't open his heart up to anybody, so for someone to take advantage of what little love he gives pisses him off and causes him to do dumb, insane things. To understand his character one has to understand where he comes from, his upbringing.

Brandie: I read Rozalyn and I noticed that Rozalyn and Tamar's relationship seems to mirror the relationship of Keylan and Latoya. For example, Tamar wants kids but Rozalyn doesn't believe the time is right, yet Latoya wants kids and Keylan doesn't believe the time is right. Did you do this purposely; maybe the perfect relationships could exist if the couples swap partners?

Shan: Yes this was done purposely. Rozalyn is very goal oriented; she has dreams and believes that she will accomplish them. She believes in marriage, has morals and wants to wait before having kids. In the beginning Tamar didn't want kids, but after certain events he changed his mind. As far as Latoya and Keylan's relationship is concerned (which you will read more about in part 2) Latoya will give anything to have a baby. She wants it more than anything but Keylan is smart; he knows he is not living his life right, so why bring a child into the world? Keylan and Rozalyn do have the same views but Keylan would never date someone like Rozalyn, she's not headstrong enough for him. Latoya is a strong, independent individual. Rozalyn hasn't gotten to that point in her life yet. 

Brandie: Will the Rozalyn series stop after part 2 or can we expect a part 3?

Shan: That all depends on the readers. If they read part 2 and the feedback I get are readers wanting more of Rozalyn and Tamar then definitely. I've fallen in love with these characters and could write about them forever, but it all depends on what the readers feel in the end.

Brandie: What is there about your novel we don't already know?

Shan: Yes and that is that Rozalyn was pretty much inspired from the things that I've gone through. Although it is a fiction read it wad developed from my childhood, growing up I felt a sense of abandonment from my mama and daddy. My mother is a recovering drug addict; she has been clean for 4 - 5 years. She is truly an inspiration to me, seeing her overcome such a battle has make me realize that anything is possible. Throughout my childhood she was struggling with drugs and my dad had another family so I went out seeking love from others. I ended up getting pregnant at 14 with my son and had him when I was 15, so I can definitely relate to teenage pregnancy and how often it happens in society today.

After I had my son I didn't write as much as I used to. Months eventually turned into years before I picked up a pen again, it wasn't until after my son's father was murdered when I started writing heavenly again. I felt like I didn't have anyone to talk to about the way I was feeling and if I did talk to someone they didn't understand what I was going through. So once again writing was what I used for therapy. It's pretty much when I developed Rozalyn's story. I didn't plan on publishing at the time; it was more like a journal writing for me. Just last year after hearing my pastor speak about following through with dreams and not ignoring your talents is when I decided that I was going to give Rozalyn to the public. Rozalyn has been in the making for a few years now just lying dormant around the house, I finally brought it to life and am very happy about that.
Me: Have you thought of a topic for a novel outside of Rozalyn? If so what is it?

Shan: Yes, I have plenty of novels that I have lined up to write, so many ideas and story lines running through my head that it's crazy. All I'm going to say is that my third book will be based on a character from Rozalyn and it will be out around the summer of next year.

Brandie: Besides writing, what other projects can we look forward to you venturing out into?

Shan: Well I plan to pen three other novels after my debut novel Rozalyn and drop them next year. After that I am going to take a small break from writing novels and focus on writing screen plays. Screen plays are what I used to write when I was younger and I would love to start it up again and hopefully take it on the road. I would also like to write a few movie scripts in the future as well.
Brandie: Every author has their own advice for aspiring authors, what's yours?

Shan: The best advise I can give is to do your homework, research as much as you can and don't be afraid to ask questions. Also never let anybody tell you that your story isn't worth telling. Follow through with your dreams and don't give up.  

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