Interview with S. J. Shanklin

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
"I grew up in Cleveland Ohio. The concept for "Shades of Brown" was introduced to me by a teacher in Junior High. Our school was about to be integrated, Mr. M. used the white paper comparison to illustrate the point that we as Caucasian students were not truly white, compared to the white paper we placed our hands upon. Mr. M. helped make the transition easier by pointing out that we were a lighter shade of brown, not white. I have lived my life looking at people and found this concept to be true with few exceptions.

The decision to introduce this concept through the eyes of a young girl was prompted by observations and experiences of both my daughter and granddaughter. As children of mixed race they sought a more comfortable place for themselves. I felt compelled to bring the concept that we as humans are more alike than different, as a way to help other children find a comfortable place. Consequently, this book is dedicated to all "Brown Babies."
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in my head as a child. Putting pen to paper took longer. I started writing seriously about eight years ago.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I chose to become an indie author because the traditional process of finding an agent to find a publisher etc.etc. took too long. Self publishing costs were prohibitive for print, although some success for my book as an e-book, would allow me to consider print editions.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The success is still to be determined. Smashwords is an awesome venue for publishing. My book is now available world wide thanks to SW. The support and instructions on proper formatting are extremely helpful. I would recommend Smashwords to anyone who would like to see their work published.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy in writing is taking an idea and giving it life.
What are you working on next?
My current project is far different from "Shades of Brown", which was written for middle grade and family. My current untitled work addresses how past childhood abuse has affected the life of a victim who is now a middle age woman.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love James Patterson! He is my ideal. I also enjoy Anne Rice and Patricia Caldwell.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend my time working at my regular job, waiting on fame and fortune, to rescue me! When I'm not working or writing I spend time with my family, especially my granddaughters.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
In the past I used my local library web site. Currently I find books on Smashwords as well as the library and Barnes and Noble. There are many many great indie books to be read and they make for an incredible experience.
What is your writing process?
I don't really have a process. I write then review, rewrite, review, rewrite, review, delete, add and on and on it goes. I forgot research, research, research, although my works are fiction I like my facts to be correct. The added benefit to research is learning.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
"Diary of Anne Frank" was the first story that I crawled into the book and became the character. I most enjoy a book that I can become one with the characters. It's my personal escape from the real world, for a little while.
Published 2014-07-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Shades of Brown
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 38,930. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
“Mom, have you ever noticed that black people aren't really black and white people aren't really white? Have you ever noticed that people are really brown, many different shades of brown? I think the world would be better off if more people saw brown shades, instead of black and white."Jaylene Johnson’s profound observation is about to change her young life in many unexpected ways.