Hi and welcome to my blog, Shakir Rashaan. Please make yourself at home and grab a drink from my hunky cabana boys, Zeke and Jake. So tell us a little about yourself.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
As much as I would love to say none of my personality and life are in my writing, it would simply be a slight bit of a falsehood LOL! There are aspects of my personality that are in the male characters of the books that I write, but I’m not saying which aspects those are, I want to leave something to the reader’s imagination. As far as life experiences, there’s probably a lot more of that than my personality, but I try my best to spin the experiences as best as possible, to protect the (not so) innocent.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
Depending on the research I need to do for a book, I would say 3-6 months, not including time with editors and such. I actually took the NaNoWriMo challenge (which is National Novel Writers Month) back in November when I wrote my latest novel, Deviant Intent: DECEPTION. I managed to get this DI installment done during the month, which was both exciting and stressful at the same time! I don’t know that I would do that again, but stranger things have happened.
What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I outline my stories, from the plot, to the locale, to the characters, just so I can keep it all straight in my mind. The outline gives me the structure I need so that even if I do venture outside of the parameters I’ve set for myself, I can get back on track by checking with my outline to see what needs to be done. Once I’ve finished my outline, I usually pick a time during the day where I do nothing but write. Usually a Coca-Cola, some music to reflect the scenes I need to write, and solitude for about 90 minutes, and I can do wonders!
Tell us about your latest release or upcoming release. What inspired it?
Deviant Intent: DECEPTION was inspired by a couple of real-life accounts that I read about in the news. Because my “Kink, P.I.” series is erotica crime fiction, I had to work out the details of how to mask the actual crime that was committed and some of the details, and spin them to my satisfaction to make the book “pop.” I have always been drawn to crime novels, but I wanted my crime novels to be sexy, too, with a male character that every woman wanted to get with, and every man wanted to be like. That’s how Dominic Law was born.
What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
Nope, I don’t find them difficult to write, but I do find them difficult to keep fresh as best as possible. In my erotic romance, All I Want… Is You, because the underlying theme of the novel was based in the music industry and the female lead character was in a music group, I incorporated a song that I felt enhanced the love scene that she was in. The feedback that I got from readers was that scene was intense for them because of the lyrics in the song that I used as the backdrop for the scene.
What kind of research do you do for your books?
For my Deviant Intent series, a lot of police procedural research is done, to keep the book rooted in reality as much as possible. In my Chronicles of the Nubian Underworld series, most of that research is personal contact type of research, mainly because I am an active part of the BDSM/Fetish scene both in Atlanta, and in various other parts of the country.
What are some of your favorite things or hobbies to do?
When I’m not writing, I usually play basketball to relieve tension or to help clear my head when I have a particular problem that I need to work out in my head. Everything else is revolved around my wife and kids and the things that they are involved in.
Who are some of your other favorite authors and genres to read?
My goodness, the list is crazy (but why wouldn’t it be for writers, we’re readers, too LOL)… Let’s see, I read a lot of male authors mostly, Eric Jerome Dickey, Omar Tyree, E. Lynn Harris (RIP), James Patterson, John Grisham, CAIRO, Carl Weber… and I do read the ladies, too, Allison Hobbs, Zane, I just began reading Sherrilyn Kenyon (her B.A.D. Agency series has sparked my interest), Suzanne Collins, Anna J, and a few others of note.
Among your own books, have you a favorite? A favorite hero or heroine?
Difficult to choose between Ramesses from my Chronicles series and Dominic from my Deviant Intent series, but if you had to nail me to the wall (figuratively speaking, of course), I would say Ramesses over Dom because I can do a lot with Ramesses and take him in so many different directions as opposed to Dominic. Even Derrick, my leading man in All I Want… Is You, can hold his own as a heartthrob of sorts, and I even have a few female readers wondering if I will bring him back in another book sometime soon.
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
For me, the characters come first, then the setting, then the story. I have to know my characters before I can figure out what predicament I want to put them through LOL. It makes it easier for me to brainstorm to figure out how I want this character to act, how I want this character to speak, the mannerisms, all of it.
What part of a book has been the easiest to write? The hardest?
The ending has definitely been the hardest to write because I have no idea whether to leave a cliffhanger or just close out the book and leave it as a HEA or HFN. The easiest is pretty much getting into the plot line itself, finding the twists as they come up, things like that.
The elements of a great romance for me are to have a man that isn’t too icky sweet; you know, a dude that you know you can hang out and have a few beers or a good cognac with, and pair him with a woman that knows how to manipulate the game, she knows what she wants, but can play the strings in just the right way to keep the man guessing, but not leave him frustrated during the chase, or she could flip the script and decide to be the pursuer, making it look like he’s after her the entire time. I’m not into the whole teen angst type of romance between grown people; that irritates me as a male reader. A conflict could push them closer together, or a set of circumstances that could threaten to tear them apart but it doesn’t, that keeps me interested.
What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
The hardest part of writing can sometimes be the ability to find something as close to original as possible. Storytelling has been around for centuries, so the concepts can be hard to come by, so I try to find things that I think no one else has written about, or I take a concept and hope the readers care enough about the characters to not worry about if the plot has been “done before.” The easiest part of writing is being in the midst of the writing itself. Being in that flow, letting your fingers put down what your mind is conceiving, it is the best feeling in the world.
Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?
It’s a little bit of both! Sometimes I just buckle up and get ready for the ride, and sometimes I make the characters do exactly what I want them to do. It depends on my mood, although sometimes my mood has nothing to do with the fact that the characters are going down a road whether I like it or not, so I might as well write what I “see.”
What are some of your current projects?
Deviant Intent: DECEPTION is the latest project right now; that released back in February. My next project that I’m working on is a cautionary tale tentatively titled The Devil’s All-American that I hope to have ready by the end of the year. I’m also preparing for the third book in the Chronicles series, which is tentatively titled as Tempest: Book Three of the Chronicles of the Nubian Underworld. I also have a few short stories involved in some erotic anthologies, including Erotic Snapshots: Volume 6 being released soon by Essence Magazine Bestseller Anna J, and Chocolate Flava 3 which is being released also, by NYT Bestseller Zane.
Boxers, briefs, boxerbriefs…. Or commando on a man? Why?
As a man, I prefer boxerbriefs, best of both worlds! I might go commando on occasion, but that depends on the circumstances LOL.
What is your strangest habit?
Honestly, my strangest habit is probably never taking the same route anywhere that I go. If I’m travelling home, I hardly take the same route more than two days in a row, same for going to work. It’s an old habit I inherited from my father, who was a police officer before he retired, to keep anyone from tracing my movements.
When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Damn, you’s a good looking brotha!
What is your favorite pizza?
Supreme or Meat Lovers… that’s easy!
What is one thing scientists should invent?
Being a Trekkie, the concept of beaming from one location to another; if they could get that figured out, I would be absolutely on the list for being a test subject!
If you could time travel, where would you go?
That’s easy, too… Ancient Egypt! I want to witness first-hand the building of the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, Abu Simbel, the list is endless… and I want to dispel the conspiracy theories that aliens helped the Egyptians build it all… they were simply eons ahead of their time and, in my not-so-humble opinion, the greatest civilization in the history of the planet.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
Writing in the erotica and crime fiction genres gives me a rush every time I’m ready to put pen to paper to see what new madness I can create. Seeing the looks on readers faces when they read the synopsis and studying their faces to see if they will give themselves away is priceless sometimes.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
I always tell a first time reader to start with my “first-born” because that was the catalyst for everything that came afterwards. The Awakening introduces readers to Dominic, as he was a fringe character in that book, but there was enough to roll with to make Dominic the main character in the Deviant Intent series.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
My only hope is that they maintain an open mind and realize that they got a peek inside a world that most only dare to enter, much less indulge in. It’s not a fantasy planet that someone envisioned before writing about it like Middle Earth or the planet of Gor or something like that, but it is a world that, if they opened their eyes just a little wider, the reader would see that world happening around them.
Anything else you want to mention?
That I appreciate the opportunity for the interview and your support with your blog in helping with gaining more exposure and, hopefully, a new set of readers to entertain.
DI: Deception by Shakir Rashaan
“What the eyes see, and the ears hear, the mind believes…”
What Dominic Law found out after his first couple of cases as a private investigator was that everything… and everyone… is not what it seems.
However, since he had Natasha and Niki to relieve the stress after working such difficult cases, Dom figured that it was worth all the trouble… especially when they knew the stresses of the job, with Natasha being a detective and Niki being the newly appointed assistant district attorney.
The next cases that the firm picks up are no less complicated; one involves a murdered submissive in Natasha’s district, leading them to try and weed out the killer among five different Dominants with an axe to grind.
The other case that occurs in Niki’s district brings to the surface an issue that is at the center of debate in the Fetish community: consent. Or, more specifically, can consent be used to hide behind a crime committed during the heat of passion?
Deviant Intent: Deception takes you back to the streets and dungeons of Atlanta’s Fetish community, twisting the cases to their final conclusions, guiding you through the minds of the principal players of the “Kink Detective” series.