The Chicago native, Elizabeth LaShaun, who now calls Dallas her home, has published five novels via her imprint, Mayott Publishing. Four of those novels compose the highly acclaimed Love series. Which includes: Inconvenient Love, Lethal Love, A Mother’s Love, and Lion Heart. In His Absence, her fifth offering is a standalone book. Elizabeth’s work doesn’t fit into one category or genre. She blends romance, drama, crime, and contemporary fiction into a nice package that leaves readers begging for more.
Elizabeth strives to create memorable, relatable characters that guide readers on an emotional journey. She has been selected as a featured panelist several times. In 2012 she was selected one of “Class of 2012’s Hottest Chicagoland Authors” and was a featured panelist at the Chicago Authors Promoting Success Expo. Driven Divas’ Book Club selected LaShaun as a featured panelist at their literacy event in 2018. When a reader closes a book by Elizabeth the characters and most importantly the lessons and feelings aroused will stay with the reader long after the last page. Amazon reviews prove she has accomplished her goal. To contact Elizabeth LaShaun please visit her website www. elizabethlashaun.com
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?
Hello, I have to say thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I’m so excited to chat with you. To answer your question, my writing journey began in 2009. At the time I couldn’t say I knew it was what I was called to do. I just had a story in my head that wouldn’t let me be. When I knew this was my calling, God given calling I would say in 2019. (I know right 10 years later), but that’s when I know it was God’s gift to me. I love the love honor of bringing the people in my head to life. I also love the twist and turns that I don’t see coming but develops before my eyes. What frustrates me the most? Editing lol. It has to be done, but I can get stuck during the phase and sometimes have to step back for a beat.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I have published 5 books. 4 are part of the love series: Inconvenient love, Lethal Love, A Mother’s Love, and Lion Heart. My standalone book is In His Absence. To describe my books and style I call all of my novels emotional rollercoaster’s and warn all of my readers to buckle up. I write drama novels with a blend of romance and crime. To read more about the books and me check out my website www.elizabethlashaun.com
3) What projects are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on book 5 of the Love series titled Evolved Love. You can expect the same drama in all the other books. I’m also working on a hot series with my business partner KR Bankston which is the Deadly Taboo series. I bring the drama and KR brings the pain which makes for a great read. Also, my company The Literary Evolution has registration open for our all inclusive literary retreat taking place in the ATL June 2022. We have great panelist including J.D. Mason, Keith Thomas Walker, and others. To register go to www.thelitevol.com At the Literary Evolution we empower authors. One of the ways we do that is offering consulting services and self paced courses for authors in different levels of their writing journey. From the basics of what a story needs to marketing, and specifics on formatting your books. So as you can see I’m busy, busy.
4) 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?
Wow great question! For me honestly my most significant achievement was a reader emailing me saying her mother who has Alzheimer’s remembers my character Mo, but sometimes can’t remember family members. A young lady emailed me telling me she could relate to my character Cherish who was a confused teen mom. That is my most significant achievement. In 5 years I will continue to write, hold my conference, and be the lead writer on a stellar drama.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
You keep coming with great questions! If Erykah didn’t ever speak the truth, she did when she said she was an artist and sensitive about her sh**, she meant it and I felt that deep in my chest. When it comes to rejection, in this industry it’s inevitable. The industry is very subjective. You have to learn from the onset that everyone won’t like you. All of that is true, but it hurts to get critiqued. To cope I vent to my co-author/best friend and family. I never address the reader. I also pray and get the reminder that this is my calling. Make sure you are able to come back and see if there is any valuable advice with the rejection and run with it.
6) 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?
I typically write in the morning. I never do an outline. Honestly I would never follow it. My favorite gives me twist and turns that I don’t see coming and I love it. To complete a novel it takes me for the first draft a month to two if I’m writing almost daily. I never do a word count minimum when writing, but I do sit down in mind to write at least 1 chapter.
7) 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?
Another great question and the short answer is no. It is never too late for an author to have success in this industry. When a reader sees your book they don’t know for sure who you are. They are looking at the cover and secondly your synopsis. If you have a great story to tell, tell it. Your tribe is out there!
8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I have always been an avid reader. My great grandmother instilled that in me. The first book I read that touched me was An American Girl book named Annie. I wanted the doll but I had to read the book first. I loved it and read the entire series. My favorite author…I have a few KR Bankston, J.D. Mason, and Carl Weber to name a few. Currently I’m reading J.D. Mason’s latest novel, Broken Glass. It’s an excellent read by the way.
9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?
For me, I believe it gave me my focus and time to be me. I believe the pandemic put everyone on the same playing field for once. We were forced to deal with ourselves like never before. It made me be still and listen. I began to meditate, which I love. What the pandemic showed me was how precious life was and also enhanced my spiritual connection. It reinforced that my writing is my gift above money, critique, acclaim and it was my duty to share it. Everything else will come in time. I guess, it made me see the bigger picture of life and my part in it. My purpose!
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
Excellent question, I’m currently working on becoming a hybrid author. Currently, I self publish via my imprint Mayott Publishing. I love self publishing because I have creative control and the freedom to do as I please. I would like more exposure and distribution which is what I believe traditional publishing can offer, but I could never let my baby go. Traditional publishing can be for a 2 book, 1 book deal and end at the end of that contract. I want to be able to publish other works of mine. My view of the industry has honestly changed. At one time I felt it was oversaturated and really hard to stand out or be recognized. The conditions haven’t changed, but my mindset has. What’s for me is for me and the industry is fine. There are great networking opportunities and authors out there. I attract those people and opportunities.
11) I see you are extremely busy. Tell me more about this all inclusive event?
The Literary Evolution was started by me and my business partner KR Bankston in 2019. We are both self-published and love to help others fulfill their dream of entering this industry. Due to the pandemic we couldn’t do an event in 2020 and we didn’t feel comfortable in 2021, but in 2022 we are coming hard and with a bang. We’ve all been cooped up in the house for far too long. We are celebrating the book club, the backbone of our industry. The readers that love our work gather to discuss it. We want our attendees to feel relaxed so we take care of everything; the hotel stay, including transportation to and from the airport, as well as breakfast and lunch at the conference. Food is also provided at the meet and greet and after party. So pretty much all you have to do is show up and have a great time with our authors. To register www.thelitevol.com and payment plans are available.
12) You mentioned courses. What are those about and what made you decide to enter the teaching realm on the literary industry?
There are a few answers to that question. First, I wished I had the classes. Let’s face it the literary industry can be very intimidating. Writing is just such a singular undertaking that you don’t know where to turn. Unfortunately most people don’t understand it’s a business first and foremost, myself included. My goal is to save people time and money. The Literary Evolution offers a host of consulting services and we hear from clients the same questions over and over again. With our busy schedules we decided to develop a self paced class so our students could learn at their own pace. There are handouts, quizzes, and resources in our classes for more information www.tlemasterclass.com
13) 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?
You made me think on this one. Writers are hardly ever asked to pull themselves into their work. I love the question. To answer it, I’m a Libra. I’m a person that thrives on understanding everyone’s perspective and digging deeper. I bring that to my books. My goal is to always make you feel and to fully understand my characters. There are some that you won’t like, that’s life, but did you understand them. That’s the goal for me. Writing is my purpose. I take it more serious now. When I wrote my first novel I knew I had a story, but I didn’t know if it was good or if I was a good author. I was honestly just getting it out. Now I respect it more. I respect me more and what I bring to the table.
It has been my pleasure chatting with you. I want to thank you again for the opportunity. You can find me on Facebook Elizabeth LaShaun, instagram @elashaun, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please visit my website www.elizabethlashaun.com