Lashanta Charles is an American romance author who first published in 2013. She’s just released her fourth novel, Heart of a Savage, which is a sports romance that’s already garnered some great reviews. She writes strong female characters who have been mistreated by their parents, and her stories, whilst romance, are suspenseful and dark at times. We can’t wait to find out what motivates her and where her stories are going next.
Hi Lashanta, thanks so much for visiting Booktastik!
Thank you for having me! It’s been a while since I’ve done an interview, so I’m very glad to be here.
You’ve grown up with a love of reading. Was that instilled by your family, or was it something you chose to do out of the blue?
Reading came naturally. I didn’t grow up in a library. I actually didn’t have access to many books. My granny had one of those traveling salesmen come by her house one day, and I remember he had these ridiculously expensive encyclopedia like books, maybe ten in a set. He said they would help with all the subjects we had in school. My granny was ready to slam the door in his face, but I begged her to buy them and even then she said, “If I pay all this money for them, you’d better read them.” So, I did. I read about different cultures, religions, places and beautiful places I’d never heard of; and even though they didn’t help at all with school (LOL) I still enjoyed them.
That’s awesome! I bet your friends are scared to play Trivial Pursuit against you ;).
In high school, you loved to write. Did you know then that you wanted to be an author?
I had no idea I would actually become an author. I honestly just loved to write. I was obsessed with the idea of creating alternate scenarios, alternate lives, an overall alternate universe. I felt good when I would have people coming to me and asking for more. I never intended for it to go anywhere, but I’m very happy it did.
Your main characters have been through so much. Was it a conscious choice to deal with some of the issues in your books (like the betrayal of parent to child), or was it purely for story purposes?
It’s not purely conscious, but I can’t say that’s the main objective. I try to write characters that could be relatable or who can inspire. I don’t want them to be perfect, but I want them perfectly acceptable. I actually try to give every single character, villains included, some sort of redeeming quality. I don’t outline my characters. I let them grow or adjust as I go. For instance, I may have a character who likes a certain food in the beginning of a story, but by the end there’s no mention of it, either because something happened to make then no longer like it or they just drifted away from it.
Can you tell us about your latest release, Heart of a Savage?
Heart of a Savage is my first self-published work. It’s Bailey’s story, but it’s just as much Dominic’s story. They build from a solid foundation so that when they face any shakiness, they can still build. I didn’t want it to be a sweet story, but I wanted it to have tender elements. I wanted it to be adorable and funny and yet, I wanted drama. I wanted Bailey to be a woman who didn’t know what she was capable of, so that she could meet and be surrounded by people who could show her. I wanted Dominic to be the hero that was still realistic. He wasn’t perfect, but he worked, he fit. It’s a feel good, laugh out loud, romance with touches of darkness that need to be overcome.
You have some awesome covers. Do you come up with the ideas yourself, or do you let the cover artist have free rein?
Thank you! I’m weird and have a quirk about full faces on covers, so no free rein!! LOL! I tell them my vision and I let them know exactly what I’m flexible on, but I make sure they know that there are certain things I won’t bend on. I’m particular about font, and I’m nuts about colors. I have a thing for red, but I tried orange this time, but even with that I snuck in a red-orange. I’ve worked with some brilliant designers though. This time around was from Deranged Doctor Designs.
You’re a mother to three children. How old are they, and when do you get the time to write?
I have an 8-year-old boy, a 5-year-old girl, and another 1-year-old girl…I have no time to write! I honestly get more writing done at work than I do at home, and even that is limited. I just squeeze it in when I can. There have been times when I’ve locked myself in my secret place (my closet) and told my husband to fend for himself. It doesn’t always work though, because then I have the tiny fingers under the door once I’m discovered.
You also serve in the army. How often does it take you away from home, and while you’re working, do you get time to write?
Lately, I haven’t been away from home much and I considered myself lucky, but I know that’s about to change. Once the summer rolls around, I’ll be back and forth across the globe as usual. It’s hard because my husband also serves, but we do our best to make it work. It’s actually easier to write while at work or traveling than it is at home, so that’s a plus.
Being the in the army, you would know about toughness, sacrifice, and resilience, both mentally and physically. Does this knowledge/experience help you with your characters and story?
Definitely. It lends to character development. I don’t claim to know it all, but I know my experience and I use what I know to write what I want.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I have no favorite authors, but I do have a favorite genre, romance. I will read just about any romance as long as it has a cover that catches my eye and a synopsis that keeps my attention. My absolute go-to is paranormal romance, absolutely love it.
What’s your favourite part of the publishing process?
The writing. That’s the part that has only my input, no filters. Just me and my thoughts. It’s amazing.
If you could go anywhere for a holiday, where would you go?
Anywhere tropical. I hate cold. Absolutely loathe it and my ideal holiday would be a tropical oasis where I can sleep and read whenever I want.
How do you like to spend your downtime when you’re not working?
Read, sleep, eat, repeat. Very simple and the ultimate relaxation.
Can you tell us about your Lovely Lies series?
It was my very first release with an indie publisher, but I’m discovering with Heart of a Savage that even though self-publishing is much more demanding, it’s also much more rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I’m working on a few different projects. One is a romance anthology with six other authors. We haven’t decided on a title, but it’ll be centered around a casino resort where all sorts of hijinks happen LOL. My story is a novella about a jilted bride who was supposed to get married at the casino. I’m also working on a second anthology with 12 other authors and this one (also a romance) is a short story focused on a complicated love. Finally, I’ve also got my next release in the works and that one’s top secret for now, but I’m looking to release it late fall. The anthologies will release over the summer.
Wow, you are super busy. Good luck with all your upcoming releases, and it’s been awesome learning more about you. Thanks again for visiting Booktastik!
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