Name: LaShawn Vasser
Where are you from? Chicago by way of Arkansas
A little about your self ie your education Family life etc
I studied at Loyola University in Chicago. I’m a mother of three and a wife of more than 23 years. Before I decided to pursue writing full time, I worked in the financial markets industry.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I write romantic fiction. I’m a super romantic at heart – the flowers & candy kind of girl. However, I do have a little rebel within me. My next romance novel, A Perfect Storm, that’s scheduled for a Christmas release will reflect that.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I didn’t pick writing as a career, it picked me. The passion to create stories started as a young child. I was probably no more than eight or nine years old when I started writing. Even back then I created fictional people and stories on notebook paper then forced my friends to act them out.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is a great question. I think I’ve always considered myself a writer just not a very good storyteller – LOL. I’m still working on it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired to write stories where I could envision myself as the heroine. There weren’t very many books at the time that seem to be written with me in mind and I found a whole audience that was hungry for the same connection.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure that I do. I’m still playing around with many different styles. I would say that each one of my books has a different feel to them. They’re kind of like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
How did I come up with the title for my most recent release, CREE? While the character couldn’t be further from her personality, it was the name of one of several favorite aunts.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I try always to incorporate a message in all of my books. However, in Cree it was to get to know yourself. As women we always want to take care of everyone else and tend to put ourselves and our needs last. We will be much better partners and have so much more to give in our relationships, if we take care of ourselves too. However, Cree had to find that out the hard way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Great question. I think most of the book is realistic. However, none of it was based on my life per se. But, several real life observations merged together to form the characters.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes. While none of it was based on my life per se, several real life situations/observations were merged together to form the characters.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
What books have influenced my life most? I would say (and I really mean it) President Obama’s Dreams of My Father. I could relate to a lot of it. Also, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I’ve had many influential women in my life namely my mother but if I had to list someone else too, it would definitely be Maya Angelou.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am now reading 50 Shades Darker for the 2nd time.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes! Well, she’s new to me but I love Xavier Neal author of Cinderfella, Mika Jolie – The Martha’s Way series, and Raven St. Pierre – author of Again for the First Time, and so many more to name.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on a follow up to my book, A Storm is Coming called A Perfect Storm and a follow-up untitled novella to Pieces of Me.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Wow. Another great question. One entity that supported me outside of family….the readers! Somehow, they managed to find me and encouraged me to keep on writing after my very first book – Out of Nowhere.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Writing is a full time career for me.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest book, no. My debut book…almost everything – LOL.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Can’t say that I remember a moment. The writing has just always been here for me. I was such a very shy little girl. It was so much easier to make up stories in my head and to live in that pretend world than it was to go out and meet people.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. A snippet from A Perfect Storm (unedited): Gina’s nails cut into the palms of her hands as she balled them up into tight fists. The pain in her hands was nothing compared to the pain in her heart. A life, a love, and a relationship taken. Not only did she want them back! But, Gina was determined she would get them back.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Staying focused on one story. There are so many characters talking to me. Sometimes, they are polite but then sometimes they all want to speak at the same time and it makes it difficult to stay focused on just the one story.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Wow. That is a tough question because I have so many favorite authors. Impossible to name just one. However for romance there is Maya Banks, Delaney Diamond, Brenda Jackson and of course the great Nora Roberts.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
In the past, no. However, 2016 is shaping up to be a big travel year for me.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The designer of my covers is a very dear friend who always has supported and pushed me to follow my dreams. His name is JBLogic. He can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part about writing my book was believing I could do it professionally and that people would actually want to read it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that I had a lot to learn about the art & business of writing – LOL. And, I’m still learning. But, I also found out that somewhere deep inside of me – inside this passionate but very shy person was a will, drive, and determination to open myself up to readers and follow my dreams.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The advice I would give to other writers is to be open. Open to critique, criticism, change, be committed, be confident, and be honest. Read as much about the business of writing as the art of writing. In other words…Be FEARLESS – that’s my definition anyway.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If I could talk to all of my readers I would tell them that I love and appreciate them immensely. I would THANK them so much for their support and tell them that they inspire me daily to give them great stories about love and life!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes. The first book I ever read that I can remember is Where the Sidewalk Ends.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
What makes me laugh are people and things that don’t take themselves too seriously and can laugh at themselves in a good naturedly way (I hope I’m one of those people). What makes me cry is when the heart wants what it wants but it’s just not attainable…at the time anyway.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Marilyn Monroe. I’d want to ask her why she made the choices she made and was it worth it?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I want my headstone to say she lived and loved hard. Why? Because nothing else really matters other than attempting to be present in every moment so that the people I love and those who love me know it. I don’t want a second of life to go by where I think I should have or would have said or done something differently.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Other than writing I love to read, spend quality time with my family, and immerse myself in the ocean…even though I live in the tundra aka Chicago. Winters here are beautiful but ridiculously cold!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My movie choices are all over the place. I enjoy watching action/sci-fi & apocalyptic-zombie movies for example Jason Bourne, World War Z, 2012, The Walking Dead, Terminator, Star Wars, Matrix, I am Legend, Remember the Titans, Soul Food, and more.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite food is spaghetti. Favorite color is burnt orange. And, my favorite music is anything that tells the story of love & heartbreak (i.e. jazz, country, r&b, blues, etc.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I were not a writer I would be a high school counselor.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Author of Romantic Fiction