Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Sharita. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
SL: Well I was born and raised in Chicago. I have 2 kids and happily married to a wonderful man who understands my love to write.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
SL: My first book was under my other pseudonym Michael Mandrake called True Meaning of Love. It took about 4 months to publish.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
SL: I didn’t start until mid 2010. I’ve been writing on and off since my late teens but only began publishing right away. I love doing m/m because I enjoy writing romance. Two men in love is hotter than the traditional vanilla plus it’s still sort of taboo which is appealing. If the men are emotional and romantic as well as alpha it works too!
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
SL: Um, well I started out doing shorts in anthologies and them my first sole author book came out in Dec 2010. So far under the three names I have 10 books released and 5 more to come this year. I have about 10 shorts in various collections as well.
Do you write full time?
SL: I work part time so yes basically. 😀
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
SL: Well I’ve always enjoyed writing but never had the nerve to publish. My friends encouraged me to get back into writing as well. I’d say the profession chose me especially after my fanfic started to get many comments and I made friends from the stories I wrote. It called out to me.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
SL: When home with my daughter who’s four I’d say early in the morning from 6am-10am I write, then I spend the afternoon with her and doing like blogs or promo if needed, then back to writing once everyone is asleep in the house.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
SL: I write through for the most part. I do small edits like misspells or a rephrase of sentences.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
SL: A little of both. It really depends on the story and the pseudo who is writing. BL plots nothing. She likes to free hand it all. Michael is a lot more organized. I do a character arc, sometimes write out scenes for him. And Rawiya does a little of both.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
SL: Mostly things on the net. For certain stories I’ve looked up Wikipedia, I’ve went to certain sites if there was things I had no clue about. Asked my friends or my husband. I’ve also read other authors books at times.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
SL: I’m emotional so a lot of my characters are the same. I’m not a drama queen but I’ve written them for fun. Most of my characters are open minded like I am and unique. The character arc helps, I do an interview with them and write out what they like and don’t like.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
SL: I’d hope they are entertained in either a funny or sexual way. Maybe learn a thing or two about me or what message I’m trying to convey.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
SL: Usually as I’m writing. I’ll even change it when halfway through.
What are you working on now?
SL: I’m working on Michael Mandrake’s next book, Vertigo 2 Devotion. It’s one of my longest and my darkest book to date.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
SL: I’ve blogged, done contests, set up ads on websites, I have my own website, done bloghops, contests, swag. A little of everything! 😉
What kind of books do you like to read?
SL: I read what I write. Mostly m/m but I do have some m/f on my Kindle. 😉
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
SL: Real life experience and music. Lyrics really do spark me at times.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
SL: I’m a computer and music person. I have a love/hate relationship with FB. I love concerts as well.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
SL: At the end of the year I plan on self publishing a book, non erotic under my own name for my cousin who committed suicide. Word is he was gay so I’m attributing the project to him.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
SL: Keep writing. Don’t take bad reviews personally, learn from them and figure out how you can do better. Don’t be a drama queen. Never get to full of yourself and think you know it all and always try to learn from those before you.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
SL: The Literary Triad – http://www.thelitriad.com/#!
Michael Mandrake – http://tabooindeed.blogspot.com
BLMorticia – http://blrawiyaerotica.blogspot.com
Rawiya – http://rawiyaerotica.wordpress.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/rawiyamikembl
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/TheLiteraryTriad
Kindlegraph – http://www.kindlegraph.com/authors/rawiyamikembl
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Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
SL: Well since this is for NNP I’d better do a book from them. *laughs* Here is one from Time to Make the Donuts my last release.
This is a hot one. Definitely R Rated
Now with his senses heightened, Chris pulled him up by his hands, guiding him a few feet to the right in front of the table. “Lie down.”
Andre cocked an eyebrow. “Yes Sir, I love it when you’re forceful.”
“Yeah? Good then. Time to make donuts, baby.” He moved away and went to the fridge, grabbing a bowl of his dough out. When Andre’s eyes met Christopher’s gaze, he began to chuckle.
“What are you up to, lover?”
The boss of the shop slipped his hand into some flour before dipping it into the gooey mix. “You’ll see.” He took a little, shaping it around his cock. Andre laughed again and watched Chris make the donut around his stiff shaft.
“Christopher…oh my God, I…oohh…” Andre’s eyes widened still peering at his partner make his dessert.
The manager grinned, “A perfect donut.” It sat nicely on his balls, like a ring around his dick. Chris admired his work for a moment then got up on the table and hovered over him. Slowly, he leaned in, taking Andre’s lips into his while rubbing his own thickness against Andre’s. “I want you, Andre.”
“I want you too.” He encompassed his lips.
“I want to be inside you.”
Andre smiled and gripped his shoulders. “Mmhmm, I’d love that. I guess it’s about time we switched.”
“I should say so. We can have donuts later, my friend. Right now,” Chris placed his hand around Andre’s neck while rubbing his orifice. “I need this.”
Andre, a customer, comes in and pays Christopher a visit. The two lock eyes and immediately connect on a personal level. The intensity of this deep, instant connection convinces Christopher to pursue a potential interest – to find out just what might happen between them – when Andre passes him his card and phone numbers. He wonders what the young man does for a living however, he’s so smitten by him, Chris doesn’t give it much further thought.
Little does the shop owner know, Andre actually works for his biggest competitor as a secret shopper and has been told to use any method necessary to find out the secrets of the shop. Andre is ordered to convince Christopher to sell his shop and become part of the national chain.
When Christopher finds out, he has a surprise for Andre and deals with him in a rather humorous way. Will he trust Andre once he finds out this fact? Will he give up his shop under the pressure the well-known franchise? Will this newly found romance beat the odds and move past this bump in the road to happiness for both Andre and Christopher?
Note from T2B: Shirta is giving away one free copy of “Time to Make the Donuts,” to one lucky person. Just leave your comment here for a chance to win. Shirta will select a winner within three days and contact via email. Contest ends 04-23-2012 11:59PM EST.