Author Spotlight: Shennette Sparkes
Shennette Sparkes is a Lupus survivor, a nationally known Lupus advocate, and an amazing basketball coach. She released her first book, an inspirational youth quote journal entitled Training with a Purpose, in January of 2017. Her second book The Story Behind the Story: Butterfly Warrior was released in January 2018 and chronicles Shennette's battle with Lupus. Let's get to know this warrior a bit better, shall we?
First, let’s get to know you a little better
Where would you go in a time machine?
Back to the time of the ancient Romans or the Renaissance time period.
Which super power would you like to have?
The ability to heal people.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I would be fierce violet. I love the color purple and I’m very sassy.
What’s your favorite old school jam?
Frankie Beverly and Maze “Before I Let You Go”.
What TV show can you absolutely not miss?
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
From the Bottom to the Top: Butterfly Chronicles.
Now, on to your writing
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I decided I wanted to write when I was about 9 years old.
What inspires you to write?
Understanding that it’s vital to have material for future generations to read from African American Women. I feel that it is a way to ensure that my voice, along with the voice of others who face the challenges of life, are heard.
What genre do you write and why?
Memoirs, health, and self-help. My goal/desire is to inspire, motivate, and encourage people to be bold, be beautiful, but most importantly be who they were created to be. It is my hope that through reading my books people will not only gain knowledge, but they will also gain a sense of hope and courage that they too can change the world.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I used to only write when I felt inspired, but lately I have begun to write on a schedule, blocking off time daily to bring thoughts and ideas to paper.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Whenever I write, I must hand write everything out before typing.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is keeping my flow. Once I get going, I can write for hours at a time, but if my attention has to be drawn to another task/goal, it's sometimes difficult to get back on track.
How do you select the names of your characters?
My writing style is based on real life events or experiences and I use real names/people.
And just a bit more
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Butterfly. I believe they symbolize hope and transformation through a process.
How did it feel when you published your first book?
I was shocked that I actually completed it. Publishing my second book brought great relief.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
Right now I’m working on Training With a Purpose 2, the sequel to my first book. I’m also working on a teacher's manual to go with both books to be used by educators/coaches/mentors with the purpose of developing student leaders. This book will highlight the 6 essential building blocks for student leadership.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Yes, I enjoy reading. I try to read 2 books a month. Valerie Burton, Dr. Rosalind Osgood, TD Jakes, and Robert Greenleaf to name a few.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t stress the small things.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Just start somewhere. Often times we wait for the perfect timing and right circumstance, when most times it’s the courage/faith to just get started that you need.
What does literary success look like to you?
I would love to become a bestselling author and have my books used in schools and universities.
Thank you, Shennette, for letting us get to know you better. To read more about Shennette, please visit her website at www.shennettesparkes.com.