Shawna: Hi Shawneda! First off, I would like to welcome you to my blog. Would you start off by telling us a little about yourself?
Shawneda: Sure I’m a hopefully enamored of Christ, wife, mother, activist, author and avid reader. I love all things word related and believe reading is still FUNdamental.
Shawna: When did you first become interested in writing?
Shawneda: I’ve been writing poetry, short stories, songs and fiction for as long as I can remember. My first piece was published when my dad sent in a poem I’d written without my knowledge and the first glimmer of hope to be a writer was born.
Shawna: Awe...I love that! I bet your family is so proud. What genre do you prefer writing/reading?
Shawneda: I prefer reading contemporary fiction, Christian living and inspirational poetry. I love writing poetry and songs, fiction and then nonfiction.
Shawneda: When you get an idea for a new project, how do you approach it? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you go for it and see where it leads?
Shawneda: I normally receive the title and plot first. I pray about it then plot out the story. Then I meet the characters and get to know them. I do perform lots of research while I get to know my characters and prepare to write the rough of the novel. For my nonfiction it is similar except there are no characters. My songs and poetry are the only writing I just let flow.
Shawna: Tell us about your new book, It's In My Blood?
Shawneda: It’s in My Blood is a story about a young lady who is pregnant and HIV positive. Rosalyn’s life is changed and she returns home to figure out what to do about her prospects with a child. Her tumultuous relationship with her mother opens wounds from her past. It follows her on a journey to healing that affects her whole community.
Shawna: What inspired you to write this?
Shawneda: I had a close friend at my previous church that died from the complications of AIDS. His status was not known until He passed because he was afraid people would change their attitudes and behavior towards him.
Shawna: Wow. My father-in-law works in inner-city ministry in Houston, and AIDS is an issue that touches their congregation often. I plan to tell him about your book because I think there are people he knows who would relate to, and find comfort in this story. But in truth, we all benefit from awareness. I'm so glad you wrote this. Emotionally, how did you handle such an intense topic?
Shawneda: I believe it was through prayer and an understanding husband. At times he nor I knew if I was coming or going, I’d be talking about the characters like real people.
Shawna: I do that! Good to know I'm normal -- for a writer, anyway. What do you hope to be able to accomplish with your writing?
Shawneda: I hope to inspire readers to action in and outside of the four walls of the church. I hope to bring more awareness and fewer stigmas to the disease. I also hope to help raise money to donate to two deserving causes. Ten percent of the net proceeds are split between a national and local HIV charity, Balm in Gilead is national and Aniz Inc is local to Atlanta. If one person reaches out to someone infected or gets tested I believe God’s purpose and plan for the book will be fulfilled.
Shawna: Absolutely! Any ideas for future projects?
Shawneda: I’m currently finishing Diamond Butterfly, a devotional released June 2010. My True Essence inspirational breast cancer awareness novel will be released in October 2010. The ebook for It’s in My Blood will be released June 27th 2010 and the audio book December 1st.
Shawna: Other than your book, which I'm certainly looking forward to reading, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?
Shawneda: Anything by Marilynn Griffith she is by far my favorite contemporary traditional Christian fiction author and Eric Wilson Jerusalem Undead series. For urban fiction Vanessa Miller is fierce and Stephanie Perry Moore is great for young adult.
Shawna: Shawneda, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I applaud you for your commitment to these causes, and your talent. God bless you, and your work!
For more about Shawneda Marks, and her book, It's In My Blood, go to:
To purchase an autographed copy:
For info on future works:
Leave a comment or question for Shawneda to enter the drawing. I'll anounce the winner Wednesday evening. I usually do this on Thursday, but we're headed out of town for my grandmother's 90th birthday. Happy Birthday Nonnie!
I'd like to conclude by encouraging readers to look for ways to spread the word about Shawneda's book and ways to help with this cause.
Have a great Monday! God bless, Shawna