Age – 40
Where you live – Bronx New York
1. How long have you been writing?
For over 25 years.
2. What or who was your inspiration to write?
I first got inspired to write from a Mayor Fox figurine I got in my Richard Scarry Puzzletown set when I was little. When I got older, I got inspired by a variety of actors and actresses like Salli Richardson-Whitfield. I kind of see stories like movies in my head, and I see the actors playing the roles of my characters in my imagination.
3. Which genre do you like to read? Why?
I like to read in fantasy and science fiction. I also like to read in contemporary African-American fiction.
4. Do you write this genre or others? Why?
I write in fantasy and I write contemporary African-American fiction. I write in both genres because I want to create positive stories about the African-American experience.
5. Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors include Ralph Ellison, Bebe moore Campbell, Francine Craft, Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry and Ray Bradbury. I’m also a fan of Paul Dini and several comic book writers.
6. How do you create your characters?
In my brainstorming process I like to draw a character to show what they look like. And from there I come up with the character backstory and then the plot.
7. Do you give them names before you develop them?
Yeah. Usually this is in the brainstorming stage before I start drawing.
8. How do you choose your characters names?
They just kind of come to me. Sometimes I do deliberately give a character a name because I want to make a point. For example Cassandra Lee in a Recipe for $ucce$$ was given that name because I wanted to reference Sara Lee, the name of the bakery. And Marilyn Marie got that name because I wanted to reference Marilyn Monroe.
9, Do you edit as you write or after you get your manuscript written?
Both I edit for grammar as I write on a first draft. Then I go into serious editing of dialogue and story after the manuscript is written.
10. Do you have an agent, publisher, or self-publish? If you’ve used more than one which was most profitable?
I self publish all my books through my SJS DIRECT imprint. Self-publishing was the most profitable for me because I have so much creative control over page layouts, fonts and cover design.
11. What advice have you received to help you and what advice would you give a new writer?
The best advice I received was from a blogger Miss Snark which said to write well. And the Advice I’d give a writer is to tell them writing is a marathon, not a sprint. This is a long haul business. Writing isn’t a race, but a long distance run that requires training, planning, preparation, strategy and most of all time. Lots and lots of time. Not to mention discipline.
You’re going to have to develop a thick skin to take criticism and rejection, and patience and understanding to listen to those critics and take what they have to say to you and use it to make your writing better.
Here are my Paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shawn-James/e/B00379H1CG/