The Reading Corner and Literary Tips

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Q &A with Shana Burton, Author of #Flawbulous

1. Tell us all about you, the author.

 In addition to being an author, I'm a Christian, educator, mother, friend, sister, and occasionally someone's girlfriend. I'm an author because that's the only thing I know how to be. I have no other employable skills aside from writing and teaching, and I don't particularly enjoy teaching. 

2. How long have you been writing and what has the experience been like for you? 

I've been writing for as long as I've been able to hold a pencil! The writing experience has been easy. Writing comes naturally to me, like breathing. It's the selling, promotion, and business side to publishing that's a challenge. If I could just write and hit "send" on my laptop and let the book sell itself, I'd be a happy camper!

3. We like to show support to those who motivate, support, and push us. Please identify any of the people who have helped you on your journey to become a writer. 

So many people to thank for that! My mom, of course, for supporting me in everything I do. My fellow writer chicks Crystal, Traci, and Latravius keep me honest with the writing craft and aren't afraid to tell me when I've written something that sucks. I'm also cool with a lot of authors who keep me motivated and inspired to keep writing.

4. What is your writing process like and how did you come up with your style of writing?

Generally, a guy I'm dating, a co-worker, or a friend does something unfathomable or pisses me off and then I go write a book about it. That's honestly my process! I wish it was more contrived and detailed so I could dazzle you with my ingenuity. Unfortunately, that's pretty much it.

5. Do you write full time or part time? 

I'm always writing, so it's full time in that sense, but I still work so it's part-time from a financial prospective. 

6. How do you come up with the titles for your books? What about the character names? 

I get inspiration for titles from everywhere-- song lyrics, cliches, scriptures. I had to be a little more creative with the Flaws series since the titles had to have the word "flaw" in them somewhere. 

The English teacher in me likes to use symbolism with my characters' names. The names always reveal something about them. "Vashti Hunter" was on the prowl for a man. "Sullivan Webb" is always tangled in her web of lies. "Kina Battle" is always in some sort of fight, be it external or internal. If I base a character around someone I know, I try to use a derivative of that person's name. 

7. What motivates you to write? 

Not liking my day job is a big motivating factor. Plus, once the characters in my head start talking, there's no stopping them until I write. At that point, it's either write or go crazy. I also get great fulfillment in telling stories that make people think, laugh, and feel or just escape whatever is going on in their lives for a few pages.

8. How does writing affect every other area of your life?
It definitely affects my friendships and relationships. My friends are scared to tell me things now and preference statements with, "Now, Shana, don't put this in one of your books!" Guys are often very fearful of ending up characterized in a book, which is good because it makes them act right. Aside from that, it doesn't affect too much. I'm still very much the same person I was before the books. The only difference is that you can Google me now!

9. Tell us about your book(s) in as many words as you'd like. 

My books are about how ordinary people deal with extraordinary circumstances. I like to take those things that people swear they'd never do-- be it cheat on a spouse, betray a best friend, compromise principles for money-- and put my characters in those circumstances. You rarely find "good" characters in my books. They have layers, they're complicated, and they're messy, just like all of us. The reality is that we're all one bad decision away from self-destruction and are saved by grace. That's the message in all of my books. 

About the Book
Has there ever been a time when you did the one thing you swore you’d never do?
For fabulously flawed friends Lawson, Sullivan, Kina, Angel, and Reginell, that time is now! When Lawson is pushed against the wall, she fights back by betraying those closest to her. A split decision changes Sullivan’s fate and family dynamics forever. Kina is searching for love again but finds it in all the wrong places. Happiness is finally within Angel’s reach, but another woman may cause it to slip through her fingers once again. Reginell has made her share of mistakes in the past, but she never thought trusting her sister would be one of them until now.
All of the lies, drama, love, fights, and prayers have led to this moment. Join the ladies for one last ride in this critically-acclaimed book series!

About the Author
Shana Burton is the bestselling author of Suddenly Single, First Comes Love, Catt Chasin’, Flaws and All, Flaw Less, Flawfully Wedded Wives, and a memoir, Note to Self: The Diary of a Divorcee. The two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee is also an educator and resides in Georgia.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Putting Your Best Foot Forward While Interviewing

I received a phone call from an author who had blown a television interview. Apparently after 30 plus takes they told her that they would contact her later. She knew that they wouldn’t. Not only could she not answer questions about her life, she froze and forgot what her book was about. She was so upset because she realized that she lost a great opportunity to be seen by thousands of people. Plus, she felt that the host would never call her back and so far she was right.

I immediately contacted my publicist and asked her to take this author and two others through media training. The training we received was from  Media  by Sistrunk. The owner of the company Deborah gave us some valuable information. I have used some of the information from participating in the training, in this article.  Often when you are being interviewed you plan what you are going to say, but what is just as important is what you don’t say. Not only is it important to have good talking points and good verbal skills but you must also have great non-verbal skills. The ability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally is essential. Nonverbal communication is often referred to as body language and includes gestures, expressions and postures.

Here are some do’s and don’t to help you navigate through the interview.

· Maintain eye contact with the person who is interviewing you. Keeping eye contact is a sure sign to the interviewer that you are focused on what they are saying.
· Sit up straight and lean forward to show that you are interested in what the person is saying.
· Keep your hands folded on your lap or the arm of the chair when listening to the interviewer.
· Smile when appropriate.

Don’t pick your hands.
Don’t slouch or slide down in your chair.
Don’t tap your fingers nervously.
Don’t fiddle with objects on the desk or near you.
Don’t ignore the interviewer by looking away from them.

Finally, know your subject matter. It is easy to forget information, but you can lessen your chance of this happening by practicing in front of a mirror. Maybe practice does not make perfect all the time, as said, but at least it will make the interview better. Practice these tips and you’ll appear as a confident and assured person while putting your best foot forward.

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