Friday, December 11, 2009

DEBUT AUTHOR: Shawneda Marks

Shawneda's love of writing began as a teen when she published her first poems in the Library of Congress. Today, Shawneda has penned three books, including Love Is..., All I Ever Wanted, and It's In My Blood. She is an activist author and speaker, using her talents to raise awareness of important topics, such as women and girls issues and the environment. Shawneda lives in Snelville, GA with her husband and baby girl.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I'd like readers to take a way the desire to do something to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, to be tested and the ability to do something with their new found awareness about this illness. Not only is knowledge power but knowing is beautiful.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I don't think I chose this book this book chose me. It sounds corny but its true. The main character stuck around from my first novel and made it known she had a story to be told. With the death of a friend from the complications of AIDS and African American women being the highest demographic of new HIV positive patients...I couldn't not write the book.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned the importance of being available to be someone else's advocate. I learned that being an intercessor sometimes requires trusting God to know the details without everyone else knowing them. I learned I have a bigger heart now than before for misunderstood and ostracized individuals.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My favorite scene from the book is when John's prayer is answered and he finds one of the root causes to the issues between his wife and daughter, it's juicy.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

We're artists and we're sensitive about our art.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

Kendra Norman Bellamy and Stephanie Perry Moore both said write what's in your heart. Stephanie Perry Moore helped me be free from the cookie cutter syndrome...every trend and rule isn't for everyone. I have to write the stories God gave me the way my life allows not based on the opinions, expertise or habits of others.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

The toughest test I've faced as a writer is stepping out on faith and releasing a book in an openly controversial technology because of my beliefs and convictions regarding ministry and being green.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?

Best advice I've ever received about the publishing industry is to learn all I can about it from the inside out.

The worst?

I was told to follow and execute exactly as laid out the "formula" to have a bestseller. Upon further investigation I found out you have to write the best book you can write, give it all you have to offer at the time and trust God. There. Is. No. Formula.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do: Write your first draft with as little editing as possible to get the story out of your mind.

Don't: Forget to follow your own voice. "You are a voice in this world and you deserve to be heard" (borrowed from A Different World)

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I sing Old Yellow Car by Dan Seals when I drive by clunker cars and salvage yards.

Five questions about books:

One book that you have read more than once.

Soul Journey by Jacquelin Thomas

One book you would want on a desert island.

The Amplified Bible

One book that made you laugh.

Make Me Whole by Roishina Henderson

One book that made you cry.

The LoveChild by Ashea Goldson

One book you wish you'd written.

Financial Secrets My Dad Taught Me (I have too many questions left unanswered and now he's gone)

Our theme for this month is Children Books. Can you recommend three books for children?

Where the Red Fern Grows classic fiction , Willie Willing Heart and the Ten Commandments by Caterri Leaks, and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein a classic poetry book

Oprah has--as one of her magazine columns--a section where she talks about what she knows for sure. What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that God is real, He lives and He loves not just me but everyone. I know for sure if just one person is tested, does something to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and help others this book will be worth all the blood, sweat and tears writing and publishing it required.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Diamond Butterfly: Share Heal Sparkle Shine Fly, a devotional available June 2010

Emotional trauma at any age is devastating at a young age it is brutal. Sometimes we need a safe place to share what we're going through. Being open about the pain, hurt, anger and other myriad of feelings we have after being grossly neglected, hurt, abused, molested, and betrayed is an important part of being able to heal.

I pray over time you encounter here and in every area of your life what is needed for God to wipe away the pain until you sparkle and shine. Let the Lord lift every burden and free you from your pain. God protected you against things that have taken many others out. He can give you what you need to mount up on wings like an eagle and let the world see the beauty of your wings when you fly.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Find me and all my online hangouts and contact info

Twitter - @shawneda

It's In My Blood

A daughter betrayed.

Rocked to the core by the loss of the last man she loved, Rosalyn isn’t sure how to continue on. Tragic news destroys what she thought would be the happiest moment of her life. Scared and alone she contemplates doing the worst thing possible in her mind, going back home.

A mother twisted by fear.

Naomi has prayed for God to send her daughter home to restore the relationship they once shared. Almost ten years of praying fasting and pleading has her face to face with her greatest desire and worst fear.

A father left in the dark.

The only thing more important to John than his wife and child is his relationship with Christ. Everything else in his life is going in the right direction he hopes that his daughters need to come home will be the start of a new chapter in their lives.

Ask Shawneda a question for a chance to win a copy of It's In My Blood and matching jewelry mark.


LaShaunda said...

Shawneda thank you so much for being our featured author today. Your book sounds really interesting I'm looking forward to reading it.

Tell us a little about your jewelry marks. I think they make beautiful gifts.

Shawneda Marks said...

Sure LaShaunda,
Jewelry Marks are environmentally friendly affordable binder friendly book jewelry. It's a classy way to mark your place and I make them custom designed for your favorite book, color and other options for authors and organizations. I also make them as give aways and swag for charity and celebrity events.

Brooks J. Young said...


I am honored to know you. Your book will touch the lives of so many women and men.

Thank you for raising awareness on HIV/AIDS in America.

I will see you tomorrow to get my autograph copy!

Rhonda McKnight said...

Congrats Neda Mae!

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