Shani is a writer who enjoys weaving suspenseful romantic stories into page-turners. She has written 30+ novels, which paved her way to a new reality as a full-time writer. She writes in the multicultural romance and urban genres. When not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys exploring nature, taking long walks, and spending time with family.
You can find out more about Shani’s work or contact her @
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? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
At first, I started writing the story as a challenge from a good friend. As the storyline developed, I realized that I was actually pretty good at telling a story. The passion for writing grew on me, and I would find myself at work, counting down the hours until I could return home to write more on my story. That was when I knew this was what I was called to do.
As far as being a writer, what’s not to love? We share people’s loves, hopes, fears, fantasies, and sticky situations from our imaginations. We build worlds, tear them apart, and put them back together again before the end of a story. It’s the creativity that I love the most.
The frustrating part has nothing to do with the writing; it’s the business side, which writers have to deal with during/after the writing process: editing, marketing and promotions, bookkeeping, etc.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
As of today, I have 31 books on the market. Most of them I authored alone, but I do have a few co-written books and a few anthologies I was apart of. My books are multicultural romances and African American romances, and all of them can be found on my website www.shanigreenedowdell.com.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I don’t have one source from which I draw inspiration. I can be inspired by a news headline or a family dispute. Something as small as a conversation with a barista might spark a story idea. I usually keep a list of stories that I would like to write and the theme I would like to cover and go from there.
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?
One month if I work on it diligently, but this is only for the first draft. Add another two weeks for rewrites, two more weeks for editing and proofreading. What projects are you currently working on? I have a few projects in the works. The main one is Book 4 of the Dangerous Bonds series, which is currently in the hands of my beta readers (yay!) Next up is the next story in the Love Bites series, which will be an every-month release fluctuating between Siren Allen and me. Coming down the pike is the final book of the Bad Boys of the Military Series, Book 4 of Secrets of a Kept Woman, and Book 7 of Breathless.
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?
Been There Done That by Darien Lee. Who is your favorite author to read? Right now, it’s Theodora Taylor; her multicultural romances take you on an adventure. What book are you currently reading? Nowhere to Run by M’Renee Allen. I love her work, as well.
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?
I would say making enough sales to transition from a full-time employee to a full-time self-employed writer was my greatest achievement. Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years? Theatre and/or movies.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? 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?
I see rejection as an opportunity to look at what I’m doing right and what I may be doing wrong. I take that time to enhance what’s right and fix what is wrong. For example, I felt like it would help to earn an English degree, so I’m working on that and have a few classes left before obtaining that degree. Doing this helped with my grammar and gave me perspective on literature from a longer period, starting back in the Victorian era of writing. What is your advice for other writers to better cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing? Watch as many videos and do as much research as possible, then jump in with both feet. The best teacher is experience, as long as they are willing to learn from their mistakes and adjust quickly.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
Yes, this is extremely difficult. Sometimes creative juices get zapped while the author is busy trying to run the business. By the time a full day of administrative work is done, there is no energy to write. This is why I always suggest writing at least one hour before doing anything else. How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform? I started in 2005 before Facebook was popular. Needless to say, it was tougher back then, but it hasn’t been extremely hard to build a reader base with Facebook as a tool.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
I read my work all the time. I usually enjoy reading it unless I think of something a character should have said or done that would have been better. Then, there’s the feeling that you could have made the story better before publishing it, and that’s not a good feeling.
10) 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?
No. As long as a person has the will to do it, there is a way to make it in the writing industry. Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances? It depends on whether they are willing to bend with the times. As long as they study the market and understand what readers want and give it to them, there is a chance to make it.
11) 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?
Most fictional writers, like myself, don’t want to come out and say, “when I was young, XYZ happened to me.” If I wanted to do that, I would write non-fictional self-help books or an autobiography. Instead, I express myself through character dialogue, story plots and themes. In a story, I might show my characters feeding people at a soup kitchen. That is to show the importance of helping others. It’s not a book about the homeless problem, but the issues are on the reader’s mind. This is one of the great things about writing fiction; an author’s imagination addresses problems they are passionate about in their own authentic voice through their characters.