LaShawn Vasser has penned over twenty best-selling contemporary romance novels and novellas. From a very young age, LaShawn developed a deep love of books and a passion for writing that she couldn’t wait to share with the world!
LaShawn is also a dedicated wife and mother of three. She enjoys trying new recipes and cooking big family meals with her sisters. These dinners tend to be loud and filled with lots of good crazy – oftentimes the perfect setting for inspiring juicy, new plot ideas.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
Thank you so much for asking! There is not a definitive moment that I can pinpoint where I thought about writing professionally. Prior to publishing my first novel, I’d written several, but I was content with my role in Corporate America. However, writing was always my passion. At the time, it hadn’t crossed my mind that I could make a career out of publishing romance novels. As a matter of fact, I had no idea self-publishing was even possible. Good thing I was a curious sort of person. I had these finished novels and wanted to do more than keep them saved on my hard-drive. After a bit of research, I discovered self-publishing and on May 23, 2013, I released my first novella – Out of Nowhere. Lightening struck, luck found me and so did readers! It was a successful release and I never looked back.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My books feature black heroines and are written for the romantic at heart. They are full of sexy alphas that aren’t afraid to be vulnerable, chivalrous, and loving for that one special woman. It’s romance with sizzle. Readers can find me at major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play, LaShawnVasser.com, and most other retailers where digital books are sold.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I’m always quietly observing everything and everyone around me. I’ve been known to draw inspiration from real life, a song, a newspaper headline, dreams, a scent, a caress and more. Everything is potentially the basis for a story.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I’m what some people might call a pantser. I don’t use outlines, and if I do, they are more like a few bullet points. However, I do have a routine that I follow religiously. I’m usually in my writing space by 8:00AM. I spend the first two hours of my day on the business of LaShawn Vasser – posting to my social media accounts and engaging with readers, preparing marketing materials, answering e-mails, returning calls, etc. The next two hours are spent on nothing but the art of writing. I take an hour lunch break (unless I’m really in a writing groove), and then I spend the following two hours writing. The tasks for my final two hours of the day alternate depending on the day. For example, M/W/F are devoted strictly to improving my craft, whether it’s an online course, reading a book, or researching YouTube. T/TH might be devoted to learning something new about the business. Currently, I’m working on a sports romance and the long awaited Final Chapters to my Out of Nowhere Series. I can usually finish writing a book anywhere between three to four months.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
That’s another great question! I would say I was a Nancy Drew fanatic, but the first book that really moved me was The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison. The list of authors that I love are just to numerous to name. I love everything from Fantasy, SciFi, Romance, Apocalyptic Suspense, and more. However, I’m currently reading We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
My most significant achievement as a writer is to still be here and loving it after releasing more than 25 novels and novellas over the past seven years! Can I also add that people actually BUY my books? Sometimes, it’s still all so surreal. I keep my dreams and goals pretty close to the vest until I’m ready to put my plans into motion, but publishing more books is part of the plan.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional and self-publishing?
Rejection; it can be a hard pill to swallow. It’s never easy when readers don’t necessarily enjoy something you’ve spent months crafting. It’s like throwing a bucket of ice cold water all over a warm body (lol). When it comes to publishers, I’ve never experienced that type of rejection because I’ve never submitted to one. And, when approached, I’ve been fortunate enough to walk away from deals that I didn’t think were a good fit. Although challenging, self-publishing has always treated me great and it has given me the freedom to tell the stories that I want to tell. Rejection is a part of life. As a creative, I understand that not everyone will enjoy everything I write. But, I do my best to take the good feedback with the bad. Fortunately, there is a lot of good to balance it out. I also keep in mind that some of the most successful people that I admire have been rejected. It didn’t stop them from obtaining success and knowing that helps to keep me motivated. When it comes to changes in the industry, there has been a lot of it since I published my first novel. But, I always remember, as in life one thing is certain . . . things change. I am a woman of action, so I don’t spend too much time focusing on the challenges. There is too much work to do and words to write. I’ve learned to assess, address and keep it moving.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself?
It depends (lol). I’m always my own worst critic and if I had a nickel for every time I’ve said why did I write it that way? I’d have the bank account of Bill Gates. But, if I’m able to give a book some time to breathe, I am usually able to enjoy the stories I’ve written. However, if it’s been less than six months since I finished a novel, I’m not interested in reading that because I’ve lived, breathed, and dreamed about each and every character for months on end.
9) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Absolutely, NOT! There is never a point in life where aspiring writers cannot become successful in this industry. Readers are always looking for the next great story. However, I would suggest that aspiring writers define what success means to them. Don’t follow the crowd or allow anyone else to define it. I would also suggest finding a mentor whose career you’d like to mirror and observe them. Follow their moves. Watch them for a while. And, before reaching out, do your publishing homework. Be specific when you ask your questions. As for starting late, when and what time is that (lol)? I think life experience is a rich playground when creating art! Folks with late starts usually have a ton of life experience.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
That’s a HUGE question . . . lol. Not sure if I can do it justice. However, I feel a certain freedom that comes along with writing. In the space of my head there are no limits. I can go anywhere, do anything, and experience whatever I want. So, when someone glances over at me and catches that secret smile on my face, they have no idea why it’s there. What am I thinking? What am I creating? I love the mystery of that.
Find Author LaShawn Vasser at www.LaShawnVasser.com for exclusive news, updates, and more. You can also reach her at the following: