When did you know that writing is what you were called to do?
I was trying to write poetry for mother’s Day and Father’s Day since I was about six or seven years old, so I’d say I had innate gravitation toward writing; but, I believe I realized it was something I’d do for life when I was about thirteen years old.
What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I love that words can encourage, entertain, inspire and even sometimes teach an important truth (or at least a character’s truth). I find that even words that someone took the time to write me on a birthday card can often be so uplifting.
What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Not having enough time to write as much as I desire to do so in this season in my life.
Tell me about your books and where readers can learn more about me and my books.
girls in search of cover is the story of three generations of Black women living with family secrets and how their unresolved trauma leads to addiction and sexual abuse. The young heroine, Carmia, finds herself battling not only her mother’s hidden addiction but antagonism and religious hypocrisy from a corrupt church mother. Carmia looks for love in all the wrong places, which leads her down a dark path of seduction and betrayal.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I mostly draw from my life’s observations and experiences combined with info I’ve learned from my elders and even young people around me. However, I’d say my greatest inspiration is when I feel that God has given me a story. That feels like purpose mixed with passion.
Do you have a schedule for when you write?
Mostly, evenings until about midnight and on Saturdays.
Do you outline your novels?
Sometimes I outline but most of the time I don’t.
How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
It takes me about three months for a first draft and maybe two more months to polish it.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on girls in search of cover, part one.
What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally?
I know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
Who is your favorite author to read?
It’s still Maya Angelou. But, I like Toni Ann Johnson and Yaa Gyasi too.
What book are you currently reading?
“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi.
What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far?
I’ve been produced Off-Broadway and published at the age of nineteen years old.
Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I’d like to be a full-time writer.
What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
Choose your path and follow your heart. God has a plan for the gift He’s given.
What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?
I believe that my voice and writing style is unique, but I also believe that my authenticity comes across through the fact that I see my writing as part of my purpose to do good in the world through entertainment. How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose? I write to entertain and to help others feel less alone and/or encouraged. I hope people so Identify with my characters and that they see a way to move from hopelessness to empowerment.
How can readers find you and your books?
pamelamshana.com and Amazon.
Readers can learn about me and my books on my website: pamelamshana.com, my author’s Facebook page: Pamela Mshana’s Reading Room, and on Goodreads and Amazon.