Black History month has really kicked off with a BANG! Today, we have romantic drama and suspense writer Elizabeth LaShaun.
Me: Welcome! Thank you for joining us! So, let's get right to it. Tell us about yourself. Who are you? Where are you from? What genre(s) do you write in? How many books have you written?
Elizabeth LaShaun: Hey, I’m Elizabeth LaShaun. I’m born and raised in Chicago. For the last 5 years I’ve called Dallas home. I write drama novels with romance and sometimes a splash of crime in the mix. I have published five books under my imprint Mayott Publishing. I’ve been a part of 2 anthologies. And I’ve published one book under the imprint Hard Kandy with my co-author and business partner KR Bankston.
Me: When did you know that writing would be a part of your life journey? What inspired it?
Elizabeth LaShaun: That’s a complicated question. It honestly wasn’t until 2019 when I returned to writing that I saw it as part of my life’s journey.
Me: I completely understand. Talk about your journey from the early stages of writing to finally hitting the PUBLISH button on your most recent book. Was it positive? What are some of the highs and lows that you’ve experienced?
Elizabeth LaShaun: Early in my writing career I honestly wanted no part of the business. I was a reader, an avid reader. I didn’t want to be viewed as someone following a trend. Unfortunately, the story wouldn’t let me be, so I wrote it. I had an online book club that I used my pen name to publish it under so no one knew it was me. Written, done, or so I thought. Then another story came. With the support of my book club, I published that book and was petrified. It received great reviews. I made really good money, but I didn’t have much confidence in my writing. Social media was how I and many others mainly marketed back then. A lot of time was spent cultivating relationships with readers. It was time consuming, draining, and sometimes intrusive. I had a family. Soon I found myself a bit jaded because readers started to demand a lot from authors. I published four books before taking a seven- year break. I’ve never written a book without my characters always talking to me. In 2018 it happened again. My most loved character was all in my ear. So, I got back to writing. This time I was confident in my skills even though the market wasn’t as lucrative or easy to dive into. While it's completely different than when I jumped in 2010, God always sends me someone to show me to keep pushing. Since jumping back in I’ve written 3 books, published one traditionally, released the other through my Patreon page, tweaking the third. I’ve also co-written 7 and a half books in an eleven- book series.
Me: Nice! Those are quite the accomplishments. What are some things that you’ve learned about publishing? What advice would you give to a newly inspired writer who wants to publish their first book?
Elizabeth LaShaun: The best advice I can give an inspiring author is to know your craft. It might sound cliche but it’s true. Know the genre you write in. What is expected in said genre, etc. Have confidence in your gift, but never stop growing and learning. Know you will be critiqued. Be open to it and have honest people around you (beta readers are critual). This business, like any other, is constantly changing, be prepared for that. Enter it with realistic expectations. Have a plan. Understand this is a business and time has to be into the business aspect as well as creativity.
Me: How would you define your literary experiences as an author of color?
Elizabeth LaShaun: As an author of color I’ve realized sadly we are automatically put in a box. Everything is clumped into urban genre which technically has to do with location but for readers it’s believed to be street lit. So, craving my own niche and standing in my own space has been difficult. Also having unique covers have been a hindrance at times because people have expectations for you to follow the pack. Totally not me.
Me: Tell us about your most recent book. Who are the characters? What inspired you to write it? Who is the story directed to?
Elizabeth LaShaun: My most recent book Steady Love was released on my Patreon page (www.patreon.com/elashaun). It’s book 5 in the love series. So, the gang's all there. This time however we learn the kids are all grown up and have their own drama. Alejandro’s (Tianna and Boss son) fighting being his authentic self -opposed to what’s comfortable for him. Storm (Shan and Success’s daughter) has been in a relationship for ten years happily. Like many women she doesn’t believe she can ask for more or evolve. There is also a lot of drama between the original cast Kinji, Mo, Tianna, Boss that change not only the marriages but decades of friendship. Seeing the next generation come into their own inspired part of the story. The theory of no new friends and the trials of marriage, friendship, and expectations was also a motivating factor. This book was definitely written for my love series fan. It’s also for anyone in the different stages of life my characters find themselves in. Book 1 was written 10 years ago. I’ve changed, my readers have changed. Now our kids are trying to find themselves (Alejandro). Some have had to see their children through hard times or face that maybe they don’t know what’s best (Storm). Also, age doesn’t always bring wisdom and what used to work in relationships and marriage can change.
Me: Are you planning to write more books?
Elizabeth LaShaun: Absolutely! Currently I’m in the middle of co-writing book 7 of a series with KR Bankston called Deadly Taboo. Book 1: Lies will be released in June. I also have two more books in the love series. And a few standalone projects.
Me: That's amazing! so now, brag on yourself: What are some of things that you have accomplished since becoming a published author? What are some things that you have not accomplished yet, but aspire to achieve?
Elizabeth LaShaun: My biggest accomplishment is the emails from readers expressing how my book touched them. That’s honestly what it's all about for me. I’ve also been a featured speaker. I’ve had my book featured in the Daytona Times as well. I haven’t made the NYT bestseller list. I also haven’t been able to make writing my full -time career.
Me: What motivates you to keep writing?
Elizabeth LaShaun: My characters that stalk me are my biggest motivations to keep banging the keys. Also, my readers that check on me inquiring about the latest book. Lastly, knowing it’s my calling and gift that I’m meant to share.
Me: How do you balance your work life/family life with writing?
Elizabeth LaShaun: This is something that I’ve struggled with for yearrrrsssssss! It was really hard and tough for a long time. First thing I did was create a schedule. I have writing days and I have business days (marketing, studying, etc). I also only give myself so much time for each task. So, in a day you might hear me say Alexa set an alarm two or three times lol. So far that has been working for me. I also give myself grace and don’t force anything. I listen to my body, spirit, and family. I voice record the idea and remain present in the moment.
Me: Got it! What is one thing that you want readers to know about you that they may not know already?
Elizabeth LaShaun: While I love writing drama filled books. I hate to have it in my life.
Me: Same here. I'm not a fan of drama outside of fiction. Where do you see your career as an author headed towards in the next five years?
Elizabeth LaShaun: In the next five years, writing novels and assisting other authors will be my only career. I will still crank out great books and content on my Patreon page.
Me: What is your support system composed of? Family? Friends? Coworkers?
Elizabeth LaShaun: My support system is honestly my family and bestie. I have had friends and co-workers support my books. Who holds me up, is my Boothang and best friend. They hear the rants, doubts, and wants. They also talk me off the ledge and build me up.
Me: What would you say, separates you from the other authors that are on the market right now?
Elizabeth LaShaun: In my books I’m going to pull on every emotion you have and make you think. I have a ton of characters in my book. You’ll see you, your partner, son in the characters in my book. My books always have villages just like your life.
Me: (Last Question) What can readers expect when they read your book(s)? When can they expect your next release?
Elizabeth LaShaun: Readers can expect to feel. They can expect to think and leave asking themselves questions. Steady Love will be released in 2022.
Thank you so much Elizabeth for stopping by and giving us an inside scoop in your world as an author.
If you guys are looking for a good read filled with drama, love and a strong connection to its characters, you can purchase paperbacks and ebooks at www.elizabethlashun.com. You can also pre-order Deadly Taboo book 1 on ebook and paperback at https://hardkandypublishingpreorder.carrd.co/ To have the real EL experience you should join Elizabeth at Patreon for as little as $2 a month www.patreon.com/elashaun.