|Shani Dowdell poses with a reader at a signing for her novel Mocha Chocolate.|
And let's not forget she's a publisher. Whew! This is one busy sister. She took time out of her schedule to chat with me about her career.
How did you get into writing?
I cannot say that I was a natural born writer, because I don't remember doing much creative writing or reading as I grew up. However, I have family and friends who remember seeing me carrying around a journal as a young girl, as well as I do remember getting my first diary at the age of 10 and chronicling things that I saw. I did this until one day my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Threadgill, took up my diary and began to read it to the class and I got in trouble about the contents. From the seven grade forward, I stopped writing all together, because I didn't want to get in trouble for the things I wrote. It wasn't until I was 27 and had a renewed love of reading from reading writers like Darrien Lee, Zane, and Eric Jerome Dickey that I decided to begin writing down my thoughts and one year later the novel, Keepin' It Tight, was complete. Now, no matter how controversial or forbidden a topic may be, you may find it in my writing
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey?
I'd have to say that meeting new people and learning about the human experience has been the most rewarding. Secondly, learning that I am in control of my own destiny by using my God-given talents is a rewarding notion in and of itself.
Talk about your plays and productions that you’ve produced?
I'm a relatively new playwright. My first play is based on my second novel, Secrets of a Kept Woman. It's about three women who have been best friends since high school. The women show the world their best face, but underneath the surface are the secrets that they struggle to keep. Shayla has a cheating husband who is never home, Rhonda is all too familiar with Shayla's situation with her own skeletons in the closet, and Gladys picked the wrong man in college and he is abusive.
I felt like telling Glady's story was important, because growing up I was a witness to domestic violence in my household and today, around the world, at least one woman in every three has been beaten, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. While Secrets of a Kept Woman is unsettling at times, comedic at others, and very dramatically performed, I want to be able to reach women and men who are dealing with abusive relationships on an intimate level and remind them that they are not alone and there is hope.
What’s your latest project?
My very latest project is a short story titled Lord, WhyDoes It Feel So Good? released July 29, 2012. It's a romantic drama that I enjoyed writing about Destiny Baker, who is divorced at 43 with a solidified Christian walk. She is focused on her career and raising her children. Then, she falls in love with a man who literally takes her breath away (think Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks No Air). No matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape the tangled web of Jacob Turner. When their perfect little affair is challenged she is forced to reconsider everything that she values.
How can readers reach you on social media and the Internet?