Author Interview: Shalya “Shay” Crape

Author Bio Shalya Crape:

I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio and I am the youngest of five kids. I currently reside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin along with my fiancé, my twin boys, and my daughter.

I have always dreamed of being a writer since I was a kid. My mother could always be found reading a book and that is what started my love for reading. As I got older the books I would read inspired me to try and write. My first story I had ever written was a short story on Sherlock Holmes for an English assignment I had my junior year in high school. My teacher said I was one of the best writers in the class and she really enjoyed reading it.

From there I took that as motivation to one day pursue my dream. My opportunity came after reading a book that had an advertisement to submit a story to be published in an anthology book. From the advice of one of my sisters I worked up a story and submitted it without a second thought. Once I received a response from the publisher that they wanted the story I was ecstatic. They also inquired about any further writings I had. With nothing on hand, I sat down behind the computer and went to work on what would later become my very first published novel “Truth Hurts”.

Author Interview Questions:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Shalya Crape: That is certainly a dream of mine to just write for a living, but since bills still have to be paid I am a customer service rep for Wellpoint, which is a health insurance company. I have worked some of everywhere. From being a teller at a bank, a sales associate at JCPenney, a shoe salesperson at Payless, a receptionist for a mortgage company, and a supervisor at a health clinic in the scheduling dept.


What compelled you to write your first book?

Shalya Crape: After I wrote my short story and sold it to the company they were interested in a full-length novel and so I went to work on a story that later on became “Truth Hurts”.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Shalya Crape: Yes I have always wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I never had the courage to submit anything though because I was afraid of rejection.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Shalya Crape: I have one book and one short story currently published.

My book “Truth Hurts” is about a young girl who is looking for love amongst the life of fast money, cars, clothes, and jewelry. She has a very overprotective father who will do anything and everything to protect his baby girl. Even though he is one of the biggestTruth dives into drama head first not realizing what she is getting into until she jeopardizes the lives of those she loves. She goes so far as to date her father’s enemy and ends up creating a nonstop whirlwind of trouble for herself and her family.

My short story is titled “The Good Ol’ Days” and can be found in the anthology book “Social Security, in the hood we take care of our own” It was about a girl named Shawntay, who falls in love with a drug dealer from the block and her mom would do anything to keep them apart. She leaves town with a secret that she thought no one knew about. Until one day she realizes that she was the one secret’s were being kept from. It is a story of trust, friendship, and the power of love.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Shalya Crape: I am currently penning my second and third novels at the same time. They have yet to be titled, but I can say definitely be on the lookout for more works to come from me real soon.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Shalya Crape: Holding my first published novel was like seeing my children for the first time when they were born. I was elated and so proud of my accomplishment.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Shalya Crape: What inspires me to write is knowing that someone out there in the world could possibly relate to the stories I am writing.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Shalya Crape: I know this is probably going to sound redundant, but I am proud of that fact that I took a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream and it came true.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Shalya Crape: I have three children. Twin ten-year-old boys, and an eight-year-old daughter. I am currently engaged. I have three brothers and three sisters of which I am the youngest girl. My family is very supportive it’s amazing. My sisters have made their co-workers and friends purchase a book from me and my kids have been my very own mini publicists. Everywhere we go they mention that their mom wrote a book. My dad has bought books from me and given them to his friends as gifts.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Shalya Crape: I would say when I create a character, if it is a female some of her thinking and attitudes may resemble my own, but usually its more so exaggerated to where the character would say something that I personally wouldn’t say, or handle a situation totally opposite of what I would do.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Shalya Crape: I have so many writers I admire. Terry McMillan, Eric Jerome Dickey, Mary B. Morrison, Carl Weber, Daaimah S. Poole, Noire, Zane, the list goes on and on. I want to say I love their writings and have drawn inspirations from them, but trying to set my own ground is my biggest goal.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Shalya Crape: As a child I enjoyed reading books by Judy Blume ,Beverly Cleary, and Ezra Jack Keats.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Shalya Crape: My favorite author would have to be Terry McMillan and the genre I usually read is urban fiction.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Shalya Crape: Wow, what a question. I would hope they say my books were great to read and that my writing was what separated me from the rest of the writers. I hope they say that I was an inspirational person who encouraged others to stop chasing dreams but to go grab them.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now – city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Shalya Crape: I agree that location and life can definitely be influential. I grew up in Toledo, which is a small city in Ohio. I came from a split parenting household raised by my mother and stepfather. Currently I reside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin right on the outer lying areas of the city not quite the suburbs but I want to say a skip before you reach them. If I could live anywhere I think I would have to say I would stay in the Bahamas …lol just for the weather.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Shalya Crape: My writing scene varies. You could find me chilling on the couch with the laptop in my lap watching a movie and writing at the same time. Sometimes I am in my bed with my laptop or I might take it with me wherever I go.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Shalya Crape: I watch TV yes. My favorite shows right now are Making the Band 4, Girlfriends, Grey’s Anatomy, and College Hill. I have to say TV doesn’t always inspire my writing sometimes I may hear or see something and be like oh that would make a good book or character, but I won’t necessarily draw from it totally.

What about movies? Same as above.

Shalya Crape: I am a big movie fan. My favorite movies are Why Did I Get Married, Vantage Point, Reign Over Me, The Notebook, just to name a few. Movies don’t usually inspire me to write ,but they are just interesting to draw a few ideas from.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Shalya Crape: My first book would have to be categorized as an urban fiction book with most of the characters being African-American. Some would also title it as street lit but I prefer to say urban fiction. I can’t say who my writing style is like because I don’t compare myself to others.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Shalya Crape: It took me a total of two months to write my first book. I didn’t think it would be that short of a time period at all. I worked at it every day because at the time I had a job where I only had to answer the phone, so most of my time could easily be spent typing away at my book. I used everyday and any chance I could get to do it.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Shalya Crape: I would have to say my children are a constant motivation for me to keep going. They give me a reason to pursue this dream to show them dreams are achievable if you only try.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

You can contact me on myspace.com my page on there is shayshay377. I always post a chapter from books that I am working on in my blog giving a preview of what’s to come. I can also be reached via email at shalyacrape@yahoo.com. I am currently working on my website so that will be coming soon. To purchase the book it is available wherever books are sold Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Waldenbooks, Target, Walmart, Amazon.com, or visit the publisher’s website.

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