Looks like we got another one... *drum roll please*... it is an honor to introduce to the MJB platform, the International Bestselling, Dark Paranormal Romance and Fantasy author, Lasasha Flame.
Me: Thank you so much for joining us. So, tell us about yourself. Who are you? Where are you from? What genre(s) do you write in?
LaSasha Flame: I’m the International Bestselling Author, LaSasha Flame. My genre is dark paranormal romance although I do have a few contemporary dark romances as well. And I am from a small town south of Chicago, IL.
Me: Nice! When did you know that writing would be a part of your life journey? What inspired it?
LaSasha Flame: That’s a great question. When I first started writing it was a hobby much like reading. I never thought it would be more than just something in my spare time. But the further I sank into the industry, the more seriously I wanted to be taken. Watching other writers create right before my eyes and sharing it sparked the hobby. The love of the craft sparked the business.
Me: As a woman of color who writes in the dark paranormal romance genre, what has your experience as an author been like? What are some things that you wished you knew before diving into this particular niche?
LaSasha Flame: The biggest juggle of being an author of color is the balance between when to be silent on current events and when to be outspoken. Some feel that because I am a business now, I should be silent so as to not alienate some of my readers. However, I have chosen to use my Facebook profile as a means to being vocal. Keeping racist, sexist, prejudice, ableist, and any other -ist comfortable is exactly what is wrong with the world today. Most of the time I strive for a great laugh with my friends and followers but sometimes the black woman has something to say, and I am blessed to have a platform however small to be a voice for marginalized communities. I have no problem sparking the conversation because knowledge is shared and those who mean better do better. Only those with hatred in their hearts seek to silence you. I may be labeled drama or angry or anything else they use to guilt black women into silence, but I will not be guilty of silence in the name of a $0.35 royalty to keep the -ists comfortable. Sometimes we need to be uncomfortable in order to motivate change.
I apologize for being long winded, but it had to be said and I don’t believe in giving rosie answers. The only thing I wish I knew before getting started in this niche is to have gotten started writing right out of high school. I wish I would have known this was my calling when I was younger. I would have been a pioneer.
Me: I appreciate the honesty in your response. Most people have no idea what the other side of the business of publishing looks like or what it comes with. I think that your willingness to discuss the "uncomfortable" is what will continue to expand your platform. It takes a lot of bravery these days to stand in your truth - whatever it may be. And for that I commend you.
Me: Next question, what inspired you to create stories in the dark paranormal romance genre?
LaSasha Flame: Well, I was a reader of the genre first. So, I already had a love for these types of books. I found so many things that I wish could have been done differently in books. Writing the books, I craved as a reader gives me the passion behind every word. I am writing for me, and others like me. The multicultural curvy black girl who wished she were the dark Lycan king’s obsession. The plus size afro Latina that dreamt of bringing a daemon prince to his knees and professing her to be his future queen. The sassy woman of color fated to love a Japanese Fae prince who goes to war for her. Blond hair skin like milk with blue eyes is beautiful but the world isn’t white- washed. Beauty is painted in color and so are my characters.
Me: How would you define your literary experiences as an author of color?
LaSasha Flame: A dark paranormal romance that skirts the rules of traditional romance but always has a HEA and your next guilty pleasure.
Me: Tell us about your most recent book. Who are the characters? What inspired you to write it?
LaSasha Flame: My latest release is called Kindled: Set Light to Fire. It’s an interracial paranormal romance between a black faery and a white dragon shifter. It’s a slow burn from friends to lovers. Kindled is book 3 in the Dark Immortal Flames series. It’s a lot more tame than the first books but it also has a lot more action than the first two. In Taken Jasmine and Jafar were alone majority of the time so their interaction carried the plot. In Kindled we see Gailena falling in love with a dragon while preparing for war and fighting small battles. So, it’s not just their interaction but also them working together on something bigger than themselves. This is either refreshing for the series so far or a mistake. I will know once the reviews start rolling in. I wrote this idea down so long ago I don’t remember what inspired me to write this story. Maybe a dream? Or a book that didn’t go the way I wanted? I am not sure. Dark Immortal Flames is a series that has been in the works for 7 years. I had a stack of paranormal story ideas that I couldn’t write all at once. So, I made a series and built on that.
Me: Brag on yourself: What are some literary related achievements that you’ve accomplished thus far? What would you like to accomplish?
LaSasha Flame: I don’t really like bragging about myself because I feel I am still a work in progress and my little milestones are nothing compared to where I want to go. But I would say my achievement is bringing a truly diverse cast of supernatural beings to the paranormal romance genre. There is not enough color in publishing, and I feel each and every writer who is publishing in color is achieving something extraordinary. I hope to be a steppingstone for the next wave of authors of color to dominate my favorite genres.
Me: I hear ya! Representation matters and it is because of authors like you that People of Color will be able to find themselves in the stories that often excluded us. Now, I have to ask, but who is/are your favorite all time author/authors?
LaSasha Flame: I used to think I had a favorite author, but I have come to realize I don't care about the authors themselves but the stories they create. I do have a short list of authors who I trust to deliver a great story but mostly I have favorite series and books.
Me: What motivates you to keep writing?
LaSasha Flame: I have a pile of story ideas that could touch heaven’s throne. There is always something to write for me. And I am convinced that I will be dead before I ever run out of ideas. Morbid but true.
Me: How do you balance your work life/family life with writing?
LaSasha Flame: On a fine line of barely their sanity. lol. I invested in a portal laptop and literally carry my work everywhere. So, any down time, no matter how small, I am typing away. My children are older and in school all day so when I don't have to work my part time job or schoolwork (studying for my MBA) I spend the day writing or working my author business.
Me: Balancing work/family life is always tough. I still struggle with trying to figure it all out myself. What is one thing that you want readers to know about you that they may not know already?
LaSasha Flame: If you want traditional romance then there are millions of other romance writers already cranking out those types of stories. I am writing the stories I want to read. I want a romance that breaks the rules of romance. Stories that aren't scared to explore topics like cheating, polyamory, fluid sexuality, sexually liberated women, and imperfect people that don’t always make the best choices and still find their way back to each other for a HEA (Happily Ever After).
Me: Where do you see your career as an author headed towards in the next five years?
LaSasha Flame: I am praying my main series is big enough to be passive income. I am already turning a small profit on my books, but I want to expand that profit to sustain itself and cut me a payroll check.
Me: What is your support system composed of? What advice would you offer new authors who may be lacking in a support system?
LaSasha Flame: My support system is my husband. He has been there for me helping fund my passion when I started this up. But my true support system is myself. Nobody really believed me when I first came out as a writer. My husband supported me because he just supported me. But he had doubts as well. I didn’t stop though. Now that things are taking off, they can’t help but acknowledge me. 7 times published and an international bestseller is hard to ignore. So, I tell new authors that you don't need a support system. You just need to believe in yourself. You don’t need your spouse to read your books. You don't need your family to buy your books. You do not need anyone but yourself. I see so many people who are writers crying that their family aren't buying and reading their every word. And that tells me that they just want their vanity and ego stroked. They are upset that nobody is praising them for working their job. We don’t go to our friends and families' jobs and run behind them with pom poms cheering their every step at their 9 to 5. So why would we expect that in return? That’s your ego. The best advice I can give you is to throw your ego in the trash and support yourself harder than anyone else.
Me: I agree whole heartedly. What would you say, separates you from the other authors that are on the market right now?
LaSasha Flame: Simply being an author of color with a diverse cast in the paranormal romance separates me from those who are currently dominating the genre. I am a much-needed change, but I am not alone, and we are paving the way.
Me: (Last Question) What can readers expect when they read your books?
LaSasha Flame: I am always looking for ways to make readers clutch their pearls. But no matter how crazy the plot is, my books will always end with an HEA (happily ever after) and I will always publish in color ;-)
I appreciate you so much LaSasha for the gems you just dropped in this interview!
You guys, if you are looking for a dark, sexy paranormal read, head on over to Ms. Flame's Official Website:
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