Today is your chance to find out more about what inspired Shewanda's Crimson Footprints and how she shaped this compelling story.
1. What was your inspiration for "Crimson Footprints?" The idea for Crimson Footprints first found fruition in a Master's Level fiction writing class at Nova Southeastern University. We had a character sketch project to handle, which was where the first character I came up with, the hero Tak, was born. Everyone else was the result of a seed germinated through this contrary character. Deena, for example, was what basically what I thought Tak would be attracted to. Funny, that she became the main character.
2. Can you tell us a little about Deena's background and how that has shaped who she is when the book starts? Deena's had a difficult upbringing. She's the oldest of three children and the only one who can remember her parents before her mother murdered her father. When the book begins, Deena's a straight laced architect who assumed the weight of everyone else's problems plus her own, till she meets the free spirited hero.
3. Both Main characters, Deena and Takumi, undergo significant change throughout the book. How did you plan out or develop these changes? It was simple really. I began as I always do: with the end. I knew where I wanted my characters to end up. It was a matter of figuring out what would be sufficient to get them there. Given how different they are from each other, and the significance of the changes, it of course takes quite a lot. Lucky for the reader, they're privy to it all.
4. When creating your characters, how did you decide on the ethnicity of each one? Both ethnicities were easy picks, actually. I go through these spells when I'm totally absorbed in a culture other than my own, by way of fiction, film, art, you name it. At that time I created Tak, I was interested in Japanese culture, and as an American, Japanese American culture, which is ,of course, a distinct entity. I appreciated the challenge of taking what I'd learned and crafting a three dimensional figure with beating heart from it. From there, it was a matter of finding the least likely candidate for him, which, if you know the hero, would make that individual the most likely candidate for him. So, I settled on my own ethnicity. Or a variation thereof.
5. Can you tell us about why you chose Miami as the setting, and how this effects the story? I tend to rely on places I know for settings, and since Miami is home for me, it was a natural go to. The scenic setting of the city definitely lends itself to romance. Who better to convey that than a long-time resident? The result is Miami as it's rarely shown: in it's truest form. That includes both the good and the bad.
6. Deena is a mix of naive and street smart. How did you balance these aspects? Deena's a contrary character. All the best characters are. In creating this balance, it was important to keep in mind the aspects of her history that led to both being possible. Her street smarts were a matter of necessity, a survival mode innate in each of us and tapped into when necessary. But the naivety is a surprise. It's the result of carefully built walls and overcompensation.
7. Family is an important theme in this book. How do each of the main characters' families effect their lives? Early in the story, Tak makes an important parallel, likening family to the shell of a turtle, a protection from the world. But just as the presence of that protection has a likely effect, the absence of it has one, too. Deena struggles with this notion of an incomplete, or obviously lacking family, and this struggle has the power to effect every facet of her life. Meanwhile, Tak, whose family is faulty in more subtle ways, feels inclined to resist the impact they have on his identity, life and purpose, even if it is undeniable.
8. Who are your favorite authors? Stephen King, Amy Tan, Zora Neale Hurston, Edgar Allen Poe, and Shakespeare top the list.
9. Do you have any interesting habits or rituals when you write? Not really. I just make sure that I write every day. Sometimes it's linear, other times it's fragmented scenes. Sometimes i'ts to music, other times there's silence.
10. Can you tell us about any future projects? The sequel to Crimson Footprints, Crimson Footprints II: New Beginnings, releases in February 2013.
I expect to release the first of a New Adult series titled Love Edy in Fall 2013. That story centers around a black ballerina and an Asian Indian football hunk who are next door neighbors and fall in love, much to their families' dismay.
Finally, the final book in the Crimson Footprints series will be released, Spring 2014.
You can connect with Shewanda on Facebook, Twitter, her Blog, or her Website.
Crimson Footprints is available now from Amazon in Paperback or Kindle.