It’s an honour to welcome Shani Greene-Dowdell to the blog today to take part in Diverse Books Month! Shani is an award winning author that currently resides in Alabama. She founded Nayberry Publications in 2007 with the goal of giving voice to African American fiction through self publishing and publishing others. She’s active in her local theatre and has taken some of her work to the stage.
1. What does the term “Diverse Books” mean to you?
When I see the words “Diverse Books,” I think of the different blends of books on bookshelves and e-Readers. I see an array of authors from different backgrounds sharing their story and the sight enamors me. Styles of various authors exist for the reader’s perusal without any type of racial or cultural biases.
As we all know, good writing comes from the soul of the writer. When a writer can capture the soul of readers from diverse backgrounds, a seed is implanted for a better understanding, respect and love of different cultures. Of course, I’m optimistic that there is power in the pen and that authors have the ability to narrate a more diverse world.
2. You are the founder of Nayberry Publications. Please tell us a little about the ethos of this organisation and how it promotes diversity in literature.
Firstly, we believe every author has a unique voice. We publish a variety of genres and stories with characters from different walks of life. . The character backgrounds and culture flows from the author’s imagination to the reader, instead of boxing authors into prescribed categories. We also open our blog to all writers who reach out to us.
3. You’ve taken some of your books to the stage. How important do you think it is to take diverse literature to other platforms for a wider audience?
This is important. I think expansion to different platforms creates a larger and more engaged audience for diverse literature. It builds an ambiance that’s not typical and people love live events. My idea with turning Secrets of a Kept Woman into a stage play was to take my writing and creativity to a platform where those who were unwilling to pick up a book would be able to appreciate it in a different format. With future productions, I hope to capture the hearts of nonreaders and convert them to book lovers.
4. What cultural influences do you have in your writing?
My writing is largely influenced by African American culture in America. As an African American woman, I cannot help but write about my experiences. Even in my multicultural series, Breathless: In Love With An Alpha Billionaire, it is largely driven by the African American and Caucasian American interactions through the lens of different age groups. For me, it is important to candidly relate these experiences, because I don’t believe sugar coating is productive or helpful.
5. Please share with us some of your favourite diverse authors and/or books.
Some books I have enjoyed have been authored by John Maxwell, Danielle Steel, and I was recently entranced by a novel written by a new interracial romance writer, DJ Parker.
Thank you, Shani! To find out more about Shani, you can visit her Amazon page here: http://www.amazon.com/Shani-Greene-Dowdell/e/B002PT28EA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1 and see her company page here: http://www.nayberrypublications.com/