Monday, April 16, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Shonda Brock
Shonda Brock graduated from Bethune-Cookman College, followed by a career in the US Army. She leads a fun-filled life with her husband, four children, and a rather large dog that needs its own healthcare insurance card. She loves the art of a good conversation. She often turns six shades of red when any of her children tell her, “Mommy I’m bored.” Her answer is always the same, wait fifteen minutes, something will definitely happen.
Eternal Traces is her first self-published novel. It is a paranormal romance. She hopes it will find a home and become a series. Shonda published the first installment last November and has started the second installment and has outlined the third. This is a feat while trying to understand the art of the publishing world.
To help in this journey, she has joined the Romance Writers Association (RWA), and She Writes.com. She has also started a blog site in which she comments on everything from romance to raising children in this fast, paced everything-must-be-now world.
Please visit her website where you can learn how to define yourself in six words, under her Bio.
Dr. Meryt Brownstone, a talented cardiologist, is developing a breakthrough for transfusion patients—synthetic blood. Her lifestyle doesn’t allow the luxury of getting involved with people. As an ex-military officer and undercover mercenary for the US government, personal drama is something she can do without.
But her solitude is broken when Dr. Fritz Daniels appears, seemingly drawn by her blood research, and joins her in the laboratory. Then Rene, his equally mysterious blue-eyed brother, mesmerizes Meryt in a way she can’t ignore.
Just when love is within Meryt’s reach, she is called to duty on a secret mission in Sudan, but before she leaves she discovers the peculiar Daniels family’s shocking agenda. This catapults her down a bloody path, a path she may have travelled before.
The vapor of dreams surrounds Meryt. Centuries ago in ancient Africa, Nitocris fights for her nation and the man she loved. Parallel events shape both women’s lives. Does this Egyptian queen hold the secrets to Meryt’s modern day dilemma?
Meryt is in a race against time and unknown enemies. If she can’t figure out her true mission soon, she will be forced to relive her gruesome past and again face losing everyone she loves.
How did you start out your writing career?
In the literal sense, I started my writing career when I first understood the concept of the five-paragraph essay. It is still my favorite way of expressing myself. I use it in everything.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that fictional stories are based in truth. I would have never guessed there was so much research involved in a totally fictional novel.
As I started to develop the plot, I quickly realized it became more interesting the more truths I added. I likened it to playing a game my husband started for a dinner conversation, “Two truths and a Lie”, the person tells two truths and one lie and it’s up to the rest of the quests to figure out which is the lie. When writing a fictional story, there is a lie grounded in the truth. In my mind, it allows the reader to take a journey in which they can believe in the, “What if”
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
In this book, I hoped to take the reader on a shameless, exciting, quick journey -- with no passport, no airports, and no waiting in line. I introduced a little bit of Egyptian/African culture. I wanted the reader to remember our bloodline ties to the ancient sands of Africa, the birthplace of civilization.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
The character came first. For the past few years I’ve been extremely interested in Queen Nefertiti. If you look closely beyond mainstream media she has a mysterious upbringing. There is no proof of her bloodline to the pharaohs until she marries Akhenaten. Her name means, ‘the beautiful one has come’. Once she makes her appearance in Egypt a new monolithic religion is introduced causing a new capital to be created, plus a movement in Egyptian art starts with her and the pharaoh at the pentacle. The most astonishing rumor is she may have been the Pharaoh replacing Akhenaten.
I found so many little interesting facts that it started me on a path of, “What if.” From there the storyline was born.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I was surprised at the business itself. Writing and reading have such a rich noble history. Literacy was used and is continuously used to segregate people by classes, yet when a person creates a body of work, it is extremely difficult to get it publicized.
There is always someone there to promise the world for the low, low price of two arms and six legs and in return you’ll receive one brand-new painted fingernail. What I was most surprised about was publishing a book is a business and there is always somebody willing to sell you short for your dreams. To write a book of fiction or non-fiction is a labor-of-love, to publicize a book of fiction or non-fiction is a production.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love going into a dream state creating the characters and their storylines. It was almost addictive to be in their world witnessing their actions.
The part I could do without is editing. I’m in search of a good editor. A good editor is worth their weight in gold.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. I wished I had published a book earlier in life, by now I would have understood the business better. I am so happy for my son. He and I published at the same time. He is 21 years old and I am forty-something. He will be so much more ahead of the game. I am very proud of him and I hope he continues on with the written word.
2. How important a good editor is to a book.
3. Publishing a book is similar to the entertainment business.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer
If you want to write, write. I’ve met so many people that said they have a story and they wish they had time to write. My answer is ‘write’.
Two things I always hear as a complaint, there is never enough money and there is never enough time. This maybe true, but somehow things still get done. Please just write.
Don’t let anyone stop you from writing, to include you. You maybe the next best selling author or you may not, but you’ll never know until you write it down on a piece of paper or type it out across a screen. Don’t let anyone take your dreams.
I tell my husband all the time, “You can’t win the game, if you don’t play.”
What’s one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I wish my friends and family members understood it takes a lot of time and a huge imagination to create the written word into a story that stimulates all of yours senses. Sometimes it’s difficult to turn ‘On’ the story in my head and sometimes the story can’t turn ‘Off’ and it continues to play, so if I look distracted or short tempered, “It’s me, not you.” I’m caught between two worlds.
Tell us something few know about you.
I am an open book; if you ask a question mostly I’ll answer it.
Something odd about me, I like books, but I love, love magazines. I could single handily keep the hard copy magazines in business. I buy four to five at a time.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
In the words of the late comedian, Robin Harris, “There is no such thing as Spare Change.” I believe there is no such thing as Spare Time. I do enjoy writing but when I’m not writing I’m living the rest of my life with my loving husband and children. I love to cook, invite friends over and serve high calorie foods and drinks. To me, that’s when the best conversations occur followed by this statement, “What the ---, you must be kidding! Now we have a party.”
What do you do to interact with your readers?
Excellent question. I am a brand spanking new author and I am not certain how many people have actually read my book. Hence, if I have not said thank you to Shades of Romance, I will say it now.
“Thank you very much Shades of Romance for featuring me on your website. You have no idea what this means to me as a new author trying to learn how to market a paranormal romance novel especially in a time where the publishing industry is changing within itself, as the boom of eBooks grows and the descent of the hard copy book leaves, not mention the explosion of the internet.”
I have a friend Christa, who runs Webbella.com, a web design and digital marketing site. She has helped me immensely. Plus, I have another friend preparing a book signing at a popular dessert bar called Crave. In addition, my husband and I have handed out numerous of free copies to anyone interested in my romance tale.
Our theme for this month is EBooks. Do you own an eReader and if so, what’s the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own and eReader, do you see yourself purchasing on in the future?
Yes, I own an eReader. To be very honest, this is my third one in the past four years. I’ve passed them on to my children and I have given them as gifts to friends. If you love to read, what better way to travel? You can download as many books as you want and only carry one eReader. You can download samples, free books and the books themselves at a cheaper price than the hard copy. To me, this is a Win-Win. (Except for magazines, I love the feel of the shiny paper and the free cologne samples.)
I downloaded few books last week: Third Grave Dead ahead, Taming the Vampire and Chariots of the Gods. I’m currently reading a series by Kerrelyn Sparks’s Secret life of a Vampire.
Who was the first author you ever met?
General Colin Powell and just recently another friend of mine, Shoran Reid author of Waking The Sleeping Demon, a true story of the Atlanta Courthouse Shooting.
15. Oprah always asks, “What do you know for sure?”
I have been blessed. I have received so much. I only hope that I can be a blessing to others.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
This is a small excerpt from the second installment:
“Deacon! Just stop!” Meryt raised her voice above his, “Just stop for one minute and open your mind. Stop thinking, stop analyzing, stop trying to make it fit into your special boxes so you can file it away for future use. I want you to open your mind to the ‘what if’. If you can open your mind to the ‘what if’ for one single moment……” Meryt stopped in front of his desk, staring directly into his eyes, trying to control the anger in her voice by measuring every word and infliction in her tone, “Then I can make you believe in the ‘why not’.” Meryt took a step back to allow the intensity of her words to melt into Deacon’s conscious. As precious time slipped away, she wondered if the weight of her words would ever change his mind.
If he didn’t believe her now, Meryt had no more time to waste. She had to leave. Meryt took two more steps back into the shadows heading towards the door. She stole one last look, as she turned back to study Deacon’s expression. Meryt witnessed the ‘what if’ take root in her old comrade. It was a sparkle in his left eye. Her words had seeped through. Even though time was running out, she now had hope.
Deacon’s mind was open to the ‘what if’ so Meryt told her ‘why not’ story on how it all began two years ago when Rene and Fritz walked into her hospital.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I can be reached or followed by:
Facebook: Eternal Traces
I would love to hear any feedback.
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