Today, I welcome author Yasmin Shiraz to my blog. Yasmin is just wrapping up a Virtual Book Tour as she promotes her latest release – Loyal, a young adult novel released this week. (You can purchase Loyal on Amazon.)
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing when I was still in single digits. I wrote and compiled my first book of poetry when I was 19. I considered myself a writer at that age. By the age of 21, I had written my first television episode spec script. Many people consider themselves aspiring writers, but I believe you are a writer the moment you commit to completing a work.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences is in your books?
A lot of my experiences dance between the pages of my books. I am so inspired by real life and I convey that energy in my books. In both the Retaliation series and the Tisha Ariel Nikkole series, I’ve created strong, female protagonists. These characters guide the stories and every decision ripples through the books. I believe I have a strong personality and I’m encouraged by the decisions that my female protagonists make. In many cases, I’ve had to make similar decisions or have been put in similar situations.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
My plot ideas are influenced by my research on youth, culture and the entertainment business. Additionally, since I’ve worked with youth for the past twelve years, I’m inspired by the fearless teens I’ve met along the way. For my adult novel series, I’ve created plots based on my personal experiences as a hip hop / entertainment journalist and my work with top secret security clearance based government agencies.
Please tell us about your current release.
My latest book is Loyal. It’s the prequel to Retaliation. It’s about the relationship between a brother and sister. In the book Retaliation readers were able to see how protective Khalil was of his sister Tashera, but in Loyal, the readers get to learn how he was paralyzed and how it impacted their relationship.
What inspired you to write this book?
Khalil is one of the most memorable characters from my book Retaliation. I wanted readers to learn about Khalil and Tashera’s relationship. I cherish the close relationship that I have with my brother. Our relationship inspired me to write Loyal.
If this book is part of a series, what is the next book?
Loyal is the prequel to Retaliation which won a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers Award by the American Library Association. With this release, there are three books in this series. Retaliation tells the story of Tashera who is now in high school and is traumatized when she is jumped by three girls that she doesn’t know.
If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
If I could be any character from one of my books, I’d be Tisha Ariel Nikkole from the Exclusive, Privacy, Devious and Secrets adult novels. She is a free spirit, determined and is living her life on her own terms. She is not allowing anyone to control her life or her destiny. She is brave beyond her years. I love her courage and boldness.
What book are you reading right now?
Currently I’m reading the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I’m a fan of every kind of book that has ever been written. This book is non-fiction and explains how people who don’t have boundaries in their lives, lose control of their lives. This books is absolutely changing my life for the better. This is one of my favorite books of all time.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
I’m a meditation enthusiast. I’ve even taught my kids to meditate. When I first finished graduate school, a college student in one of my classes told me that I should meditate and she gave me a book on meditation. I took the book but it took me a decade before I ever read the book. But once I read the book and started meditating, I felt the power of meditation in my life. It makes me more calm and keeps my head clear. I love meditation. My motto: When in doubt, meditate.
When a gang member is shot at a heist, his sister copes with trying to help him heal while he proves his loyalty to his crew. In the prequel to Retaliation, brother and sister, Khalil and Tashera find themselves on different sides of loyalty. Khalil’s loyalty to his gang threatens the loyalty he should have to his family. This book illustrates the dynamic between a brother and sister and shows their love, challenges and desire to be there for each other.
Loyal, Retaliation and Accused make up the Retaliation Young Adult trilogy.
About the Author
Yasmin Shiraz is an author, filmmaker, speaker and activist. She uses her passion for life to fuel her books, documentaries, speaking engagements and social activities. She’s spoken at over 100 colleges, universities, middle schools and high schools as well as non-profit organizations. She’s an award winning Writer/ Director and enjoys producing work on youth and community issues. By day, she’s the President of Still Eye Rise Media and runs the Yasmin Shiraz website.
You can purchase Loyal on Amazon.