Here’s the situation… Myss Shan, born in Louisiana but raised in Dallas, Texas is a mother, national bestselling author, and co-owner to one of the top African American Independent Publishing companies, Shan Presents. She is also the founder of the African American Book Expo.
The Situation Room with Michelle Cuttino sat down with Myss Shan to talk about her latest release, A Dopegirl Needs Love Too, and what else she has in store for readers.
TSR: Please tell us a little about Myss Shan, the woman behind the writer.
Myss Shan: Myss Shan is a mother, author, businesswoman, plus so much more. I’m so shy and such a deep thinker that I have to remind myself when I’m in public to soften my face and look more friendly. I love helping people. I love talking about creative ideas. I love coffee and just anything simple is fun to me. I’m a very down to earth person, and it doesn’t take much to make me happy. I think that’s why my characters are very simplistic.
TSR: When did you first realize you wanted to become an author?
Myss Shan: I was a little girl. I used to write all the time no matter what was going on around me. I would write during school, at home, and just wherever I could. I was about ten or eleven when I started. I started writing horror stories. Then, when I read my first Urban Fiction novel, The Coldest Winter Ever, I immediately fell in love, and started writing similar stories.
TSR: How long does it take you to write a book? Take us through your process.
Myss Shan: It takes me longer to do an outline than it does to write a book. I actually outline all of my books prior to writing, and that process includes characters, character background, plots, etc. That can take a couple of weeks sometimes, because I have so much going on. Once I can sit down and write my book with no distractions, of course, I only need ten to fourteen days to complete.
TSR: There are so many different genres of writing, why did you select urban fiction?
Myss Shan: I honestly love mystery and suspense more than anything. I’ve tried that genre, but it didn’t seem to stick like Urban so I stuck with Urban. I love all styles of writing though, and just try to write whatever my readers love from me the most. Eventually, I’m hoping to get my readers up on other genres.
TSR: How many published titles do you have under your belt? Which one is your favorite, and why?
Myss Shan: I have twenty-one books published. My favorite would be Addicted to a Dirty South Thug. I felt like that book dealt with so many issues in the black community that people are scared to talk about. Not only that, I love how my main character Khi loved Cuba despite her being very imperfect.
TSR: Please tell us about your latest release, A Dopegirl Needs Love Too: A Hood Love Story. What is the book about?
Myss Shan: This book is probably my second fave, and probably because I wrote the main character surrounding myself. She is a tomboy who grew up around all boys. She is very flawed. She doesn’t know how to be in a relationship. She doesn’t know how she’s supposed to love, or even receive love, but after having her heart broken by her first love, she finds someone that is willing to accept every part of her.
TSR: From where do you draw inspiration for your characters?
Myss Shan: I get them for everywhere. I might meet the barista at Starbucks and have a small conversation with him/her and just decide I’m going to create someone like him or her. Or I might be listening to a song and just say I want to create a character that’s been through something like what this artist is singing about.
TSR: You are founder of the African American Book Expo, which will be held in New York this year on April 28th. Tell us a little about the expo.
Myss Shan: The African American Book Expo just came from me getting a lot of requests to do book events. I had no experience so I was a little skeptical, but I went with it, and it turned out great. Our first event was held in May 2017 in Dallas. We will be in Baltimore in February 2018, New York in April 2018, and California in August 2018. It’s open to any and every one that would like to come and participate.
TSR: What do you think are two of the most common traps for aspiring writers, and what advice can you give to help new authors avoid them?
Myss Shan: I see a lot of aspiring authors signing up and paying companies thousands of dollars to publish them. Some aspiring authors don’t research enough. I was one of those that came into the game, and listened to other people instead of researching and reading up on the industry myself. There are a lot of people with some great jewels, but it doesn’t hurt to get out there and learn what you can.
TSR: What can we expect from Myss Shan in the future?
Myss Shan: Movies, web series, and a lot more books to come. I will be stepping into another genre as well. This will be a great year for me.
TSR: Please tell our readers where they can contact and/or follow you.