I met Shakela James on Clubhouse and after hearing her speak, I had to meet the fiery author behind the beautiful avi. Shakela James isn't just an author, she's a brand. Sis designs covers, sells lashes and even has a podcast. Keep scrolling to read her exclusive interview.
1. How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid but I started writing professionally in 2015.
2. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have published 11 books, written at least 40 lol. All of my books are special to me, but Mascara and Moscato will always be my pride and joy. I’ve had readers tell me this book changed their life. I’ve seen readers do “Mascara & Moscato” parties based off this book. I’m forever grateful for the impact this book continues to make.
3. Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.
My favorite character is Zuri from the BITTER series. She is special because so much of her is the young woman I used to be. She’s a character that you want to shake from time to time, but you still love her because you understand her. She’s that character that you constantly root for even though you know she’s probably going to do something stupid. I developed tf outta Miss Azuria Middleton (lol) so she holds a special place in my heart.
4. Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from life. Everything and anything can inspire me. I’m a very observant person so I pay attention to what’s happening around me and I go from there. During the pandemic, I find a lot of inspiration from listening to conversational podcasts. Their multiple perspectives help me create characters with morals that differ from my own; I’m able to give them a strong voice rather than writing about them in a bias way.
5. How do you handle writer’s block?
I usually read a book, take a shower, or go to sleep lol. For some reason, my best ideas come to me in the shower or overnight.
6. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
The most difficult part of writing (process) for me is the emotional toll that it takes on me.
I get super invested in my characters and their stories so sometimes by the end of the book, I am DRAINED. Other times I find it hard to detach from certain characters long enough to allow my brain to bond with new ones so I find myself simply avoiding my laptop.
Then, there are times where it becomes difficult to balance writing with the everyday responsibilities of being a wife and mother because when I’m focused, I tend to tune EVERYTHING out lol.
7. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?
I am currently working on a few things in both book and film and will be releasing some new material at the end this month! I’ve taken an extensive break from writing so I’m in the process of rebuilding an active following in the meantime.
8. What books or authors have most influenced your writing style?
Eric Jerome Dickey (may he rest peacefully) and Terry McMillan are my literary godparents! Their books are very descriptive, entertaining, and their characters are always complex. Their writing styles are very poetic so I definitely have drawn inspiration from both of these legends.
9. How do you handle literary criticism?
I believe I handle literary criticism very well. Naturally, I’m a very confident person so once I release a body of work, I have made peace with it. Once it’s out, people will do what they do so when it comes to criticism, I take what I can use and toss what I can’t. As long as it’s constructive, I’m open minded but if there’s shade, I’m liable to come back with the whole tree
10. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Readers can get to know me better by visiting: Amazon: bit.ly/shakelajames
Website: www.shakelajames.com - sign up for my newsletter
Podcast: PrettyBookedPodcast - Fun author and reader interviews
IG: @authorshakelajames / @prettybookedonline