1. She’s obsessed with hair weave - not necessarily wearing it, but making wigs on a cap.
2. She absolutely loves dark chocolate.
3. She’s really shy at first when meeting new people.
UBAWA: What's your favorite color? and why?
Shay: My favorite color is pink and I think because it's so feminine and girly. It can come in soft or hot colors and it describes me!
UBAWA: What's the last country you visited? Tell us about your visit.
Shay: I have never been out of the United States.
UBAWA: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Shay: Bali. I saw a movie that was filmed there and it looked so peaceful. The culture might be a shock, but the ambiance of the location is beautiful.
UBAWA: If you had to choose between owning a nice car or a nice house, which one would you choose?
Shay: Owning a nice house. Cars have depreciation factors and there will always be the newest, next best thing out on the market, but a home you can grow with, add on to.
UBAWA: If you could create your dream job/career, what would it be?
Shay: Waking up still wearing my pajamas and hopping on the computer to write my next bestselling novel. That's a dream to me. To be able to make enough money doing something I absolutely love, where I wouldn't need a second income.
UBAWA: Most people say success is a matter of luck; what do you think?
Shay: I say success is earned. It's not luck. Hitting the lottery is a matter of luck. If you want to be successful you have to get out here and work for it. Success does not fall into your lap and all of a sudden you are rich and famous. Even the most famous celebrities had to do something and become great at it to be successful.
UBAWA: Tell us a little about how you became an author.
Shay: I started in 2006 when I took a chance and submitted a short story to an independent publisher. They loved what I wrote and asked to buy my story. Soon after, I signed a book deal with them and got lost in the industry. Now here I am six years later on my own armed with a greater knowledge and more experience.
UBAWA: Many self-published authors face some sort of challenge when publishing their first book. What was your biggest challenge?
Shay: The biggest challenge for me was finding the right team of people to work with. Whether it was cover designers, editors, etc you have to find the right people who will see your vision and bring it to life. Money also played a factor. You have to know the costs of everything beforehand, because even the smallest things add up, so you have to be prepared.
UBAWA: If you had to choose one category, where would writing fall for you: a hobby, a passion, a career, or a gift? Explain
Shay: I would have to say it’s a passion for me. I'm in love with writing. It may sound funny but I like how I can make up a character and either make a person love them or hate them. It's about control. I can't control the world we live in, but I can control the world my characters reside in. Writing is something I have never strayed far away from and more than likely never will. It's my mark on the world.
UBAWA: Some things are not for everybody. Do you think writing could apply to this statement?
Shay: Yes. With the ease of e-book publishing anyone can write a book and submit it online. Take for instance some celebrities. They may be the best singer or rapper, actress or TV personality and may have won numerous awards and accolades, but this doesn't mean that they will be the best author or the best writer. I have read books by celebrities and I shake my head knowing their celebrity over powered their actual skills.
UBAWA: Do you use an outline before you write or do you just write?
Shay: I tried to use a formal outline, but that just doesn't work for me. I may jot down where I want the story to go, the climax, and the ending, but for the most part I write. I sit in front of my computer and it flows.
UBAWA: Many authors prefer complete silence when they're in the writing lab, how do you like to set your atmosphere?
Shay: I like silence or music playing. Since I have children I just need to be away from them for awhile, so that I can get into what I am doing.
UBAWA: What makes your writing style different and unique?
Shay: I don't write the typical stories based on selling drugs, prostitution, money, murder and the gangster mentalities that litter the urban book industry. I try to make my stories like a roller coaster ride with twists and turns and surprise endings. I approach subjects that others may not think of talking about and weave a story around the subject.
UBAWA: Do you think it's helpful to invest money into taking writing classes and workshops or are you a self-taught writer?
Shay: I am self-taught, but I have taken some writing classes while in college. It is helpful to brush up on your skills and you can never be over-educated. Investing money to perfect your craft will be beneficial in the long run, so I believe taking a few classes will do a writer well.
UBAWA: Before you begin to write, is there some special ritual you adhere to or do you just write?
Shay: I just go in. I sit down, turn on that computer, and I write.
UBAWA: Have you ever looked at something you wrote and asked yourself, "Did I write that?!" Please do tell. : )
Shay: YES! My very first book, Truth Hurts, that came out in 2006. I picked it up recently last year and just kind of skimmed through it and I was amazed at the language used, the errors etc. I noticed my writing immaturity. I have since revised it and will be re-releasing it this year.
UBAWA: What's your opinion on the state of Urban Fiction? Is it an accurate depiction of real life or a bad influence on the people who read it?
Shay: My opinion on urban fiction is the market is saturated with urban tales. Some depict real life and some just exaggerate it. As far as it being an influence ,I think that depends on who is reading it. If you have a teenager reading about the drug game then yes that might be an influence on them. But people like to be entertained and want to escape from their own reality, so I believe urban fiction will always be around.
UBAWA: Nowadays, it seems that every time you turn around, someone else has a new book out. Do you think the industry should be more stringent as to who can write and publish a book or is it fine the way it is?
Shay: I do believe there should be boundaries, but I also believe there are millions of talented people out here that have a voice and need that chance to be heard. I would place the stringency on celebrities. It's not fair that most writers have to start from the bottom up, but you have a celebrity that can come through the door just because of their name and who they are and take all the top spots.
UBAWA: If you could give advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Shay: I would say most importantly to hone your craft and learn the publishing game. Research and know what you are getting into. Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies out here that will take you for a ride for your money. The writing is the easy part. Also, develop a thick skin. Reviews can help and hurt at the same time. You might think your book is the best thing ever written while someone else might think it's garbage.
UBAWA: Before you leave, tell us one thing that you would like to be remembered by.
Shay: I want to be remembered by my humble spirit and my smile.
Heart throb, Terrance Davenport, is black, rich, and dying of lung cancer. Being granted only a few months to live, he constructs an idea on how to care for his four children in the event of his death. He comes up with an idea he calls, "The Arrangement." The only problem is convincing his wife and the two mothers of his children of his idea.
"The Arrangement" is all three women must agree to move into one house for six months with their kids in order to receive any money from his will.
When Terrance’s wife, Tanya learns the details of "The Arrangement" she is disgusted. She has basically put her life on hold after becoming pregnant to take care of her husband. She finds herself emotionally drawn to her husband’s best friend for comfort, as her husband’s illness takes a toll on her. Eventually, she finds herself facing her own demise and loses everything she has come to love.
Portia Jackson is the mother of two of Terrance’s children. She owns her own hair salon, drinks like a fish, and stays in brand name clothing. She is a rude, no nonsense, type of woman who makes it her business to let everyone know what she feels, or thinks, no matter whose feelings get hurt in the process. After a secret she has held on to for years threatens her inclusion in "The Arrangement," her world begins to crumble around her. Afraid of losing the glamorous life she is accustomed to having, she will stop at nothing to keep it.
Amber Sykowski is the mother of Terrance’s oldest son. She comes from a long line of money and has always been ridiculed by her racist mother for having a bi-racial child. She feels the only way to escape her mother's disapproval is to go against everything she was taught, and make her own rules. When it almost costs her life, Amber has to make a hard decision that could turn her entire world upside down.
In several unexpected events all three women eventually come to depend on each other forming a unique and unexpected bond.
Will "The Arrangement” help them all to learn the value of forgiveness, love, and friendship?
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