JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Shana Burton, author of Flaws and All
(Urban Christian/Kensington Publishing)
Faith, family and friendship have always been the cornerstone of the lives of lifelong friends Lawson, Sullivan, Kina and Angel. All three are put to the test during one turbulent year that forces them to challenge the bonds of their friendship, their willingness to forgive and their faith in God.
Lawson Kerry, a single mother since age 16, has finally gotten her life together until the return of her sonâ€™s father threatens everything sheâ€™s built, including her new job, her pending marriage and custody of her only child.
Sullivan Webb is the pampered First Lady of Mount Zion Ministries. Her wandering eye and lustful spirit could cost her more than sheâ€™s willing to pay.
Wife and mother Kina Battle has suffered in silence at the hands of her abusive husband. Will she reach her breaking point before the situation turns deadly?
Angel King has always been the perfect nurse, but she can maintain her professionalism when her newest patient is the woman who stole her husband?
For these ladies, all bets are off, nothing is sacred, and their lives will never be the same.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Flaw and All?
Shana Burton: Itâ€™s actually five different books that I started on and didnâ€™t finish, but the idea for the different storylines came from a variety places. Some were based on real life experiences, such as the abuse storyline that stemmed from the time I worked with the local chapter of Violence Intervention and Prevention through my church.
Lawsonâ€™s storyline with reuniting with an old flame was also partially true. We didnâ€™t have a one-night that resulted in a pregnancy like in the story, but we did date for a minute in high school and met up again 15 years later when we ended up working at the same high school. The rest is just from my over-active imagination.
JP: What sets Flaws and All apart from other novels in its genre?
SB: What sets it apart is the content of the book. I’m not the first person to write about domestic violence, sex scandals in the church, mistresses versus the scorned wives or child custody issues. I think this is the first time I’ve seen it all done in one book.
The heart of the story, though, is not the drama that these women go through as much as it is finding strength in God and in the bonds of friendship. It’s Christian fiction as much as it is “chick lit” and contemporary romance.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Flaws and All getting out to the public?
SB: One, I have a great publicist, Dee Stewart, who never stops promoting for me. Outside of Dee, though, I have to hustle non-stop. All day, I’m sending out email blasts, mailing postcards, attending conferences, talking up my book to strangers–anything to get the word out.
Above all that, though, the Lord has given me so much favor and opened doors of opportunity that had nothing to do with Dee or my efforts.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Flaws and All?
SB: This book was around five years in the making, but not on purpose! I had a deadline looming and was nowhere near a completed novel. The Lord just dropped it in my spirit to pull up the books I had saved on my computer and flesh them out to be one story.
Once I decided to combine the stories and make all the characters friends, it probably took about six months to finish. But again, most of it was already done; I just had to add some chapters to make the ladies interact with each other and rearrange a few things structurally.
JP: What’s next for Shana Burton?
SB: Iâ€™m finishing Catt Chasinâ€™, which is supposed to come out May 2011, and Iâ€™m outlining Still Flawed, the sequel for Flaws and All.
Shana Burton was the 2009 Georgia Author of the Year Nominee (Best Fiction) for her novel First Comes Love.