What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
First and foremost, I would like for readers understand how important it is to love yourself before trying to love someone else. People need to realize that heartbreak is just like any other illness. You need take time to heal and get to know yourself again, and you can't rush the process to avoid having to deal with the hurt. I would also like for people to walk away knowing that a relationship can't complete you or make you happy, only God can give you that kind of peace. I really want women to know their worth in God's eyes and to be willing to be patient enough to wait for the man He has created to love them.
What does it feel like to see your writing dream come true?
It's wonderful, confusing, scary, and unbelievable all at the same time. My 'wow-I-can't-believe-this-is-happening-to-me!' moments are often clouded by the 'what-if-my-book-tanks' moments. Thank God that those moments don't outweigh the good ones.
What motivated you to finish the book?
Sanity. The book's characters were in my head all of the time, so I had to finish the darn thing just to shut them up.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I didn't learn as much writing the book as I did once I finished it. I learned to face and accept rejection when I first started looking for a publisher. I learned patience during the year and two months I was waiting for the book to come out. Now, I'm learning to not let praise go to my head or to take negative comments to heart.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I wish that non-writers would understand that how important it is to support authors, especially Black authors. This experience has given me a whole new appreciation for struggling and starving artists.
If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased), who would you invite and why?
I would definately have Zora Neale Hurston at my table because she has had such a huge effect on me as a writer. I would also invite Tina McElroy Ansa. She's an author from Macon, GA, like me, so she is definately an inspiration. Her success made me feel like becoming an author was something that I could do, too. I would also invite Mary Monroe. Outside of being a big fan of her work, she is an author who really encouraged me when I was trying to find a publishing home. She has also given me a lot of sound advice and support. I probably would have given up a long time ago if it wasn't for her.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I don't think I do anything that would surprise anyone. I'm a wife, mother, and teacher. I go to work, I take care of my kids and my husband, I go to church, and, when there's time, I write. I'm quite ordinary-- maybe some people might find that surprising.
What’s the most interesting change in your life as a result of being a published author?
People seem to see me in a whole new light now. Before, when I would tell people that I'm a writer, the typical reaction would be, 'That's nice.' Now, that the book has come out, it's more like, 'That's wonderful! I've written something. Would you mind looking at it?'
Do you have any advice for those aspiring writers?
Keep God first and read everything you can get your hands on about the writing craft, about the publishing business, and about marketing. Spend as much time as you can talking to other authors-- they are a wonderful source of inspiration, advice, and encouragement, and most are willing to help out aspiring authors. Accept criticism. I had my book rejected by some of the best! Thankfully, most took the time to tell me what was wrong with the book and what I needed to work on. It's all helped me to become a better writer.
Can you us give us a sneak peek of your next book?
The book is titled First Comes Love. Two broken-hearted best friends plus one wild, drunken night in Vegas equal disaster for London and Bernard, who wake up married to each other. Between fighting about everything from bills to laundry and each other's wandering eyes, it doesn't take the former friends long to figure out that maintaining a friendship is a lot harder than maintaining a marriage. The book explores whether truly loving someone means holding on to that person at all costs or being willing to let them go. Look for it around December 2008.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers can also visit my website at www.shanaburton.com or myspace.com/shanajburton.
The story chronicles 26-year-old Vashti Hunter's journey toward self-actualization, God, and the love of a good man after being left at the altar on her wedding day. It is also an honest look at the challenges facing single and saved women in a secular world. The book tackles a plethora of contemporary issues, such as Christians surfing the internet to find love, dealing with baby-mama-drama, being the other woman, and dating outside of one's age and race.