Saturday, September 5, 2015

Author Interview with Shan Mahogany

LaToya: If you could choose a famous African American who has impacted your life who would it be and why?
Shan: I’d have to say Oprah Winfrey. I can remember growing up watching her talk show, listening to the stories of adversity and success in her own life and others and thinking, wow… If they can make it, I can make it. I might’ve not agreed with everything that was said, but I did connect with her ability to make others feel like they could reach their full potential in life, and all you had to do was believe. To this day, Oprah is still inspiring others to reach their full potential. She’s living her life’s purpose and I’m currently living mine. Praise God!

LaToya:  Where are you from? Where do you live now?
Shan: I was born on an island in the Bahamas called Freeport, Grand Bahama. I currently reside in Tampa, Florida.

LaToya: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? 
Shan: No, I didn’t. I wanted to be a lawyer. Not sure why, I guess it just sounded good.

LaToya: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? 
Shan: I’ve always been an advocate for journaling. Seriously, I probably own at least 20 journals I’ve written in over a period of 15 years or more. But I got away from it and turned to my laptop and iPad. I didn’t get really serious about writing until I was in my twenties and a part of a writer’s guild. And even then, I only wrote when inspired. My first book was finished way before I could get it published. And that’s because it was a compilation of poems I’d written all throughout my life. So when the time came, I just complied the ones I thought suited what I wanted to put out in the world and the rest is history!

LaToya: How did you choose the genre you write in? 
Shan: Because poetry is my first love and rawest talent, the first genre I wrote in was based on completed material. The second came because the telling of fictitious tales had always been my favorite thing to do since grade school. When given a topic and told to make up a story, to me, that was SO exciting! As I got older and saw that there was an art form to writing novels, I just fell in love with fiction more.

LaToya: Where do you get your ideas? 
Shan: I mainly draw from my own life experiences as well as others. Being an observer of your surrounding is imperative as a writer. Also, I read A LOT, so sometimes an idea is triggered based on somebody else’s work. It could be a word, a place, a person’s nationality. You just never know where inspiration will come from.

LaToya: Name one book that you would categorize as a life changing read. 
Shan: In my opinion, no literature written on earth could ever compare to the life-changing effect the Word of God has on me every single day!

LaToya: Who is your favorite author? 
Shan: That’s like asking me what my favorite song is. Impossible to answer without giving a list. But if I could choose one person, right now I’m in love with Janice Ross. No one had ever touched my soul the way she did in a book I recently read by her called, Loving Nate. She has a way with words that is insanely good!

LaToya: Name one book you wish you’d written. 
Shan: Again, as a poet the book of Psalm is amazing! I wish I’d penned Psalm 23, 24, 27 and 121. Ijs…

LaToya: Tell us about your latest book. 
Shan: I’d been toying with the idea for years of writing a story based in the Bahamas. My inspiration came from an experience I had at the age of fifteen, but I’ve completely exaggerated the series of events in this recently written story. My adolescent experience that it’s somewhat based on, can be read in my first book Emphasis On Love, under the titles, The One That Got Away and A Letter to Love.

LaToya: How can readers connect with you?
Shan: Social media or email. I’m always accessible.

LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Shan: Stay connected to your source of strength and inspiration through prayer. Commit your gift to God and allow him to flow through you. Surround yourself with talented authors who share the same convictions as you. Read a lot, and the read some more. Support other authors in every which way you can, even if your book isn’t selling. Supporting someone else’s dream will be just as satisfying if you do it with all of your heart! Learn from the greats and ask questions, because people who are successful have been through some stuff and are usually humble and willing to share their journey with you. Lastly, enjoy the process. Being a writer isn’t easy, but if it’s your passion when others read your work, they will know it!

Connect with Shan:
Facebook: Shan Mahogany:

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