Hello Shawan welcome to Books2Mention Magazine. Thanks for taking time to interview with us.
Your first novel Help Wanted debuted in 2005 and received great response from readers. Now we are awaiting your next project, which is assured to be a hit with readers.
B2M: What enticed your interest in becoming an author?
SHAWAN: I've dealt with situations that have motivated me to pen stories, perhaps issues that many face: relationship drama, unemployment, the loss of someone close to you, etc. However, I try to craft characters who go through "status quo" stuff, but evolve to another level. For instance, in my novel Help Wanted, a mother and daughter are sleeping with the same man, in the same house, AND both of them have intimate affairs with other men on the side. Affairs unfortunately aren't uncommon, but I tried to make the realities that each of them face unique. Also, I am an avid reader. I tend to like quirky stories, something no one has ever done. So, I strive to write well, and produce works that are entertaining and enlightening.
B2M: Did the ability to write always come easy to you?
SHAWAN: I believe I have been blessed with the ability to write. It doesn't always come easy, but the flow has been consistent. I typically write better when I am in the midst of trying circumstances, and people trying my nerves! (Smile).
B2M: What genre of readers do you consider to be your target audience?
SHAWAN: My target audience spans over several genres. Of course, readers who like Urban Fiction are exposed to the book, because it is shelved in that literary category. I've found people who normally would only read Non-fiction, or Spiritual books embrace my novel. I'm lucky, because I have grandmas, and college kids reading the book. My characters range in age, and I think that gives readers an opportunity to relate to something in the novel.
B2M: Who are some of your favorite writers in the industry?
SHAWAN: I like authors Pearl Cleage, J. California Cooper, Jonathan Luckett, Bernice McFadden, J.D. Mason, and Lolita Files.
B2M: You have a unique writing style. What fostered your idea to create four stories in your book Help Wanted and have them connect in the ending?
SHAWAN: Basically, the book centered on people making bad choices, and trying to use their own devices to resolve the conflict. They craved for relief. I wanted to introduce spiritual deliverance to each character in a way that left them empowered instead of dependent. I had each story merge into a surprise ending, because I felt that each lady could be a blessing to the other. They were diverse in age and experiences, but really desired the same thing...order in their lives. The meeting of these women set the foundation for a positive sisterhood, where they could heal from broken beginnings.
B2M: What messages do you hope your books convey to readers?
SHAWAN: A message that I sometimes forget myself: We are flawed. We're gonna make mistakes, and wade in troubled waters at times. We can't embrace the mindset that there is "no turning back." Every day is an opportunity to make a change for the better. Just be patient, and pray hard.
B2M: With the anticipation of releasing your second novel, do you feel the dangers of the "sophomore jinx"?
SHAWAN: Wow. The pressure (smile). Yes, I admit I get anxious at times about how the second book will be received. I try to focus more on my growth as a writer instead of what people will say about the storyline or the characters. The biggest hurdle for me was writing the first novel, because you are this big question mark. If you're lucky, people start to feel the writing. The positive feedback I've received has definitely kept the morale up! Actually, I'm extremely excited about the next book. While it is fiction, it is very personal and sometimes warped, but I think readers will be pleased. It's a no holds barred type of story, but it will inspire some, especially those striving to realize their dreams.
B2M: What can readers expect from you in the future?
SHAWAN: The second novel is titled Rock-a-bye, slated for release in late 2007. The third novel, Collide, will be released in 2008. I am also working on a series of Children's Books, so keep checking my website for the latest releases and author updates.
B2M: When you look at how women are portrayed in the world today, do you feel a certain responsibility as a woman to try to craft stories that offset those images?
SHAWAN: Yeah, most of the videos and media images of women are monotonously messy, and fairly inaccurate. I mean, who has time to shake booty all day and night, and drink bubbly in a rubber band, wanna be thong? If a woman has allotted ample time for that kind of nonsense, then she has way too much time on her hands. I try to convey realistic views of women: a single mother working every day, and going to school to try to take care of her child; a cancer survivor, a mentor, a teacher. I may show you a woman burdened by a drug addiction, but I'll incorporate someone who stands by her in her quest to be clean. I feel a responsibility to craft stories that show women that regardless of what you did, or where you've been, you can rise and be who God called you to be. Some women battle generational curses, and low-self esteem, and so I try to convey messages of hope in my novels.
B2M: What has becoming an author meant and done for you?
SHAWAN: Writing for a living can be challenging. My faith has been tested, but opportunities surface to remind me that I'm doing what I was destined to do. I am passionate about writing, and honestly, no longer see myself in a traditional nine to five career. Corporations dictate your hours, how much you make, and your job duties. Creativity gives you a blank canvass to form infinite possibilities. I can strive to be a millionaire, and sleep in when I want. I can spend quality time with my young daughter, without using vacation time, and that alone is priceless.
B2M: What would you like to say to readers who have not had the opportunity to read your work before?
SHAWAN: If you're looking for a different type of read, something that is a good blend of scandal and sensibility, then please check out my novels. Thanks for the support!
B2M: What wise words would you like to offer to individuals who are pursuing their talents?
SHAWAN: Ignore the dream killers, and be your #1 fan. Put in the hours needed to learn all you can about your endeavor. Trust in yourself to make things happen. Never wait for anyone to do anything for you.
Again, congratulations Shawan on the success of your book and we encourage you to continue to write intriguing heartwarming stories that are spiritually moving.
Thanks for interviewing with Books2Mention Magazine. Pease be sure to come back again and keep readers informed about all of your future endeavors.
Much Success To You!
The Staff @ Books2Mention Magazine
My sincere thanks to Books2Mention Magazine for the interview. Peace and blessings.
You are welcome to visit the website of Shawan Lewis at www.shawanlewis.com.
Books by Shawan Lewis include: