LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Urban / African American Fiction has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and is currently working on the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, along with other projects. In recognition of her work, LaShanta was recently named National Black Book Festival’s 2013 Best New Author and has been nominated for 2013 Breakout Author of the Year through the African American Literary Awards Show.
Currently she lives in Killeen, TX, with her husband and two children. She is pursuing a degree in English at Drury University and also serving in the US Army. Her hobbies include spending time with family, traveling, eating, and of course, writing. Her motto is “strive to excel, not to equal.”
Makynzee has spent all of her life being dependent on people who’ve always disappointed her, especially her abusive mother. Everyone lies to her – her sister, her uncle, even her beloved father. When her mom strips her of her one true love, gymnastics, she’s determined to find and maintain her independence. There’s only one little problem…money. She sets out to find a job as a dancer at a gentlemen’s club, but finds Kalil instead. With his looks, money, and charisma any woman would be crazy not to want him and Makynzee’s no different. Falling for him fast she soon discovers some things just aren’t adding up and Kalil may not be the man she thought he was. He wants to be with her and provide for her, but can he protect her? When a love-struck fan becomes obsessed and begins attacking and stalking Makynzee she questions Kalil’s ability to be her protector. Makynzee has no idea who he is, where he came from, or why he’s here, but he’s determined to have her even if that means eliminating everyone she knows and loves. By any means necessary, right? She belongs to him and he’s claiming what’s rightfully his, no matter the circumstances. When truths are revealed, they threaten to tear Makynzee’s soul apart and chaos becomes her life. Will she be able to escape this temporary insanity or will she become a permanent victim?
Introduce yourself to the audience.
I was born and raised in Orangeburg, SC. I love to eat, watch movies, read, and obviously write. I’m married, have two kids and I live in Texas. Oh, and I hate spiders.
Tell us about your title.
Lovely Lies, basically sums up the concept of my novel. Makynzee, the main character, has been lied to and kept in the dark about a lot of things and the premise behind that is that most of the people lying to her are doing it out of love and trying to protect her. In a perfect world, that would be ok, but we all know nothing is perfect…except maybe my father-in-law’s gumbo. It was originally titled Through It All, but with the help of my publisher we came up with Lovely Lies.
What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve always written, books…short stories and stories that literally never ended, so a really close friend basically challenged me and said that I wouldn’t write one that I was willing to try to get published.
Who is the audience for the book? Who do you feel will enjoy Lovely Lies the most and why?
The audience and who I think will enjoy my book most is women age 17-35. That’s not to say that most lovers of urban fiction and romance won’t enjoy it, because I think they will. My book falls into the genre of romance, with a dramatic twist and it’s an urban fiction, so it can be enjoyed by most as an urban fiction.
Who was your favorite character?
Hands down, Kaeden. He has this mysteriousness about him. That characteristic of “I know he has that psycho crazy gene, but I know it would only be used to protect what he loves and cares for.” Just enough bad boy mixed with perfect gentleman to keep you satisfied and on your toes.
What did you enjoy most about writing the book?
I enjoyed writing about how Makynzee and Kalil fell for each other. You know it’s an instant attraction, but there’s also that “I shouldn’t be doing this” factor as well.
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was being okay with writing things that I didn’t actually agree with. Letting the characters have their own thoughts and make their own decisions instead of using mine.
Describe your writing style.
Hmmmm…grab pencil and paper or MacBook and ready, set, go! I don’t think I have a specific style, I just write what I see playing out in my mind and edit it until it works.
How is your book different from others in the genre?
Romances are usually based on a love story that survives against all odds and have a generally happy ending…that may not be the case with mine.
Who are some of your writing influences?
I don’t have specifics, I thrive off of really god stories, so it could be a vet and big name, such as Eric Jerome Dickey or a new name, such as one of my label mates, Mariposa Urbana.
Let us know about upcoming events and projects. How can readers contact you?
Lovely Lies 2 – Release Date: TBD
Aug 31 – Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair (Dallas, TX)
October 24-26 – National Black Book Festival (Houston, TX)
http://www.lashantacharles.com (personal website)
http://www.delphinepublications.com (publisher’s website)
Thanks for stopping by Lashanta!