I intentionally left off what Shakir is the Master of because I’m a good girl and my blog is wholesome. . .in appearance 😉 But if you subscribe to his blog, you’ll know exactly what he’s mastered.
Every little once in a while I’ll run into an author whose work captivates me with its subject, with its tone, and with its storyline. Shakir Rashaan’s work has done all three.
I was first drawn to Mr. Rashaan’s work through his online presence on Facebook. He has a habit of popping up in conversations, usually surrounding kink, and making his presence felt. While some of his comments may give you an idea of who he is, there is usually more intrigue left in his wake- and I believe that is deliberate on his part. This automatically made me more curious about his work because those who aren’t familiar with Mr. Rashaan should know that the theme present in most, if not all of his books and stories, is the “lifestyle” or more specifically, the BDSM lifestyle and because I’m not as familiar with reading books, fiction or non-fiction on this topic, my curiosity won out and I wanted to dive in.
Even though I have a few of his books waiting in my Kindle TBR pile, I wanted to be sure I started with his recommendation, so after asking he advised me to start with Deviant Intent: Obsession due to The Awakening being re-released in December and not being available for download. So I read it and was impressed.
Now having been introduced to Shakir and his work and pairing that with his charismatic (flirtatious) persona, I figured I needed to ask him a few direct questions to see what makes him tick in the literary sense and he was gracious enough to agree to answer.
Shakir, welcome to my blog! I’m delighted that you found time to come and visit with me and share some writing gems with me and my readers.
Thank you for having me, Aja! I hope you don’t mind me making myself at home. You know how I am: a Cohiba cigar and a Hennessy and Coke and I should be good to go ;).
I couldn’t help but notice the pencil skirt you wore for me… I love a woman who doesn’t mind showing off her curves. *wink*
*Laughing* I prepared myself for your flirting, so that will not deter me from getting answers, Sir.
Can you tell me a little about your publishing journey and why you choose to focus on such a “hot” topic in your stories when many won’t take that chance or aren’t educated enough to do so convincingly?
Well, actually, I took on this topic a few years before it became hot to the mainstream community ;). But to answer your question more directly, I write erotica with a BDSM slant because it is a part of my life. I am a recognized Master within the BDSM community in my city and in other communities throughout the country. My wife and I have friends and connections in just about every major city and in places you wouldn’t expect, including across the pond. Even without my own knowledge of the subject, to be able to rely on others who have expertise in other aspects that I might not be well-versed in, that is a research tool that makes my stories more realistic than those who might not have the connections I have. There’s only so much research and imagination can take you. Eventually, having that real-time resource to reach out to is invaluable. In fact, the best ones I’ve read are from authors who are a part of their BDSM communities in one aspect or another.
I can appreciate how experience combined with research can make a body of work more genuine and your stories do in fact read as genuine. How has the reception been regarding your books and the subject that underlies the plot/storyline?
*Grinning as I look at those pretty legs* *Clearing throat* I’m sorry… I need to answer the question, shouldn’t I?
The reception has been positive for the most part, although there are some who are, expectedly, somewhat repulsed by the material. The thing that they at least agree on is the books are very well written LOL.
What I have been smiling about as of lately is, despite the gateway book that led a lot of them have read to be more curious about the topic, they have earnestly sought us all out, asking questions to get a deeper understanding of WIITWD. Women especially have been curious about the Dominant/submissive relationship, and they have been receptive of the sex-positive aspect of the relationships, even though there is going to be some drama down the line, at least no one will come away believing they have to be “cured” of their proclivities, as some authors have suggested through their prose.
I know what book you are referring to and I’m glad it had a positive impact on the reception of your work, as misleading as it’s been for some. Considering BDSM just happens to be the lifestyle of choice for your characters, would you say there is something more you’d like us, the readers to discover about them? Are we failing to discover this in reading your work because the focus has been put on the “lifestyle”?
To quote Ramesses, “Regardless of what you’ve read or seen on HBO, we are ordinary people. We go to work, some of us even owning businesses. We pay taxes, and a lot of us are very spiritual people. We are in very stable relationships, even married for long periods of time. We raise families, and our children are very stable. The thing that separates us from “normal” people is we enjoy doing more than just two positions while making love. Oh, and one more thing: we do this in the privacy of our homes, so it’s none of your business what we do, unless we make it your business.”
That being said, the relationships are intricate, and they are intense at times, but they are no different than what you might see in married couples. You get to see the emotion between certain characters. You get to suffer with them as the series progresses. There’s more to BDSM than the outfits you see and the floggers and whips that are synonymous with our lifestyle, but it is only scratching the surface of how deep this can go.
How deep can you go in your writing- are there other types of stories or genres you’d like to write in? Can we anticipate that in the future?
Contrary to popular opinion, I’m (thankfully) not a one-trick pony. As an artist, to be able to stretch into other genres is the ultimate challenge. I have short stories and novels in the paranormal romance world, erotic romance, paranormal erotica, mystery, urban lit, and I’m trying my hand at an erotic thriller as we’re speaking right now!
You found out from reading OBSESSION that I can weave a compelling couple of cases and still make you want to rape your husband once you’re done reading *wink*.
Right now, I’m looking forward to the re-release of The Awakening and being introduced to the mainstream reading world. While the other characters in these types of novels are Caucasian or dealing in interracial relationships, my characters are majority African-American and people of color, from Ramesses and Neferterri all the way down to the majority of the fringe characters. Of course there are Caucasian characters in my series, but you’ll see what I mean when The Awakening and the subsequent novels come out.
I’m truly looking forward to them all just from the taste I’ve gotten so far. Is there any advice you’d want to share with me specifically as a new and budding author and also for my readers who may also be aspiring to write?
For you, Aja, my personal advice is to find a time to write every day. The more rhythm you have in writing, the better you become at it. I can’t tell you how many times I’d been told that as an up-and-coming writer and author, and it really rings true! It doesn’t have to be the same time every day, but the mindset of “anytime, anyplace” is something to be taken to heart. I remember coming up with a character profile for a trilogy I’m conceiving on the backside of a program at my son’s football banquet because the urge hit me.
For your readers who will be reading this interview, my advice is to research the industry, try to learn from whomever is willing to seek out advice, but try to bring some level of business acumen to the table. Nothing frustrates an established author more than for someone to come to them with questions that could have easily have been found by reading a book or two on the industry. I know my publisher, Zane, is in the midst of writing a book on all aspects of the industry. I’ll be getting that the MINUTE it’s published because there’s so much to learn and absorb from someone who has been where you’re trying to go.
That seems to be the mantra coming from so many seasoned authors to those seeking advice, do your own research and I really appreciate your advice to me because that is my problem- finding and making the time every day to write, no matter what. I’m becoming more committed to sticking to a schedule and agree that keeping the rhythm is important. So thank you!
I know just from following your social media updates, you have a lot coming up in the remainder of 2013 and early 2014; can you tell us what we can expect?
Jesus take the wheel, I’ve been busy as hell as of lately!
Okay, let’s see, what immediately comes to mind is my erotic short story series I’m in the midst of dealing with. The first in that series, The Stranger, released on July 2nd, and it has been doing very well out of the gate! I will be releasing three more on a monthly basis on the first Tuesday of every month, taking November off to get ready for The Awakening.
I’ve also, with my wife, opened up a virtual store we’ve affectionately named Shades of NEBU. You can go to the site at http://www.shadesofnebu.com and check out the store. A lot of the toys and implements that you’ll read about being used in The Awakening are being sold there, and tomorrow we’ll be celebrating our 30% Off Sale for the 4th of July holiday. So you get to be the first to post about it! *See how spoiled you are?* *wink**It was that skirt you wore to the interview, looking all sexy and such*
Your readers can hook up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads, too.
Thank you for the chance to sit down with you (and enjoy the lovely view, I might add… whew) and do this interview, Aja. I had a lot of fun.
You are such a flirt but I had a lot of fun too! Thank you Shakir for agreeing to give me some time out of your busy schedule. I’ve grown in my respect of your talent and I am looking forward to reading your future work.