Name: Shakyra Dunn
Latest Release: The One Left Behind: Magic (Book 1)
Genre: Fantasy; YA
Shakyra Dunn can’t stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town. Read Reviews done by Shakyra here.
- How long have you been writing?
-I have been writing since I was about seven years old, and funny enough, I mostly started off with fanfiction before I knew what fanfiction was! When I turned fourteen and started high school, I went back through these older travesties and decided “Hey, I’m probably a lot better now, I think I’ll try again.” In total, I’ve been writing with the mindset of an author for eight years now!
- What kind(s) of writing do you do?
-I try to write whatever I can, but I gear towards fantasy novels and short stories. I’ve also been dabbling in psychological and supernatural stories lately.
- What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?
-My goal as a writer has always been to inspire someone else to follow their dreams. As a child, my original goal was medicine, but writing was a talent I had always possessed. As previously stated, when I was a teenager, I looked back at my old works and decided to try again. Plain to say, my mother wasn’t happy when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. But after convincing her, I took the plunge into this messy and amazing field. Through that strive and goal, I feel that no matter what stands before you, you shouldn’t abandon your dreams at any cost. It makes it all worthwhile.
- What inspires you?
-I take inspiration from a lot of different places, but I’d have to say that my biggest inspirations come from my experiences. I always try to implement a part of myself in every story that I create.
- Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.
-Ummm, this is going to be a fun topic… *Giggles* Well, fictional characters that AREN’T mine, I’m madly in love with Zack Fair from Final Fantasy VII. I could make a list on the reasons why, but plain to say… after playing Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII at age sixteen, I was so inspired by his struggle, and his cheerful personality throughout his entire saga. That, and Tetsuya Nomura makes a lot of insanely unrealistically attractive guys, and Zack is definitely one of them. And that game is still one of the only ones to this day that I have played that will never fail to tear out my heartstrings, rearrange them, and then put them in backwards.
-Characters that ARE mine, I’m not certain that I have romantic feelings for any of them, but of all of the characters that I have created, my biggest support in a potential relationship has to go to Relek Paladere. He’s very calm, not nearly as sensitive as his best friend Frayle, but there’s more about him that you’d want to know as you get to understand him. And that’s what makes him so appealing to other people.
- How do you find or make time to write?
-I work the graveyard shift, so sometimes it’s hard to try and find the time to write, but a majority of the time I try to have a plan of when to write. I also spend my days off filling in the blanks of what I don’t have established yet.
- Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
-I try to combine both logic and intuition, depending on the situation that I’m in. Usually my writing process these days begins with the voice of a character in my mind, and I jot down whatever spawns. I always have had the habit of creating my characters before the plot, and establishing where they fit into it all. Once the characters have a home, I find that I plan the plot and the sequence of events long before the writing can begin.
- Who would play you in your life story?
-Ooh, that’s an interesting question. I’ve never actually considered that. Maybe… Camren Bicondova? Her hair is about as curly as mine is.
- What projects are you working on at the moment?
-I’m currently planning out a story called “FML: The Final Lesson.” I’m thinking that it could be the start of a new saga of stories once Left Behind reaches its end.
- What process did you go through to get your work published?
-I self-published, so I didn’t have much trouble, but I did go into it pretty blind. The One Left Behind is my first published work, and with what information I had, I haven’t had much success as a whole, but now that I’ve gotten more research and assistance under my belt, I feel more prepared for what steps I can take for marketing my second book!
- What is the hardest part of writing for you?
-I would say the hardest part is keeping focus on my stories. I sometimes struggle with my thought process, especially if I’m writing from scratch.#writing begins with the voice of a #character in my mind. #interview #author #writerslife… Click To Tweet
- What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.
-The One Left Behind IS my favorite work; I put a lot of heart into crafting this series, and to this day, it is some of my best work. I think what I enjoyed most about creating it, and about writing in general, is giving my characters a voice. I strive for character development in everything that I create, and it is definitely my strongest asset in my work next to dialogue.
- If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?
-Probably Master Chief from Halo. He could survive any apocalypse on his own.
- Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?
I’ve always thought that “The One Left Behind” should be an animated series instead of a movie. I’ve had SOME thoughts for main characters on what I could imagine for a voice cast, and some that I really can’t think up.
-Frayle, for instance, is a hard voice to come up with. He has this slight Irish accent that paves the way whenever he’s nervous or angry, otherwise it’s well hidden, so I don’t know who could pull that off.
-Nova is a serious character in the first novel, even a bit bitchy to say the least, but she’s also regal in some aspects. The first voice I thought up for her, especially after playing Tales of Zestiria, would be Alexis Tipton. She did a phenomenal job as Alisha despite Alisha being kind of pushed to the back-burner as a character, and her role stood out so well.
-Relek, I imagine him to have a younger voice despite him being the more mature half of his duo with Frayle, and I’d have to pass that type of characterization to Michael Johnston, who, funny enough, was also in Tales of Zestiria as Mikleo and has an upcoming role as Ephemera in Kingdom Hearts 2.8, the X story.
-Recca, pretty easy to think of. Maybe it’s just the affinity of fire that he carries, but I ALWAYS hear him with a Travis Willingham tone. Particularly the easygoing voice that Travis can portray, because Recca is rarely ever angry, and kind of strays from the hotheaded type.
-Then there’s other major supporting characters like Curova and Freiya. Curova, I picture a sort of Justin Charles Cowden voice. It’s not too mature, and it seems to blend flawlessly with Curova’s very stoic and almost belittling nature.
- What is your favorite escape from day to day living?
-My favorite escape besides writing is definitely being able to curl up with a good book and listen to music. It’s always nice to drown things out.
- What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?
-It’s actually difficult to promote your work with a slim following, and it’s even harder to make sales when not a lot of people really know about your book, even when you work with others, send off free e-books, etc. This is a part of why I think that self-publishing the way that I did was more damaging than useful, and it really does eat up a lot of time.
- Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
-My biggest inspiration for getting me into writing is Lemony Snicket. It might sound silly, but when I was nine years old and read “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” I practically devoured each book until the series came to an end when I was thirteen. It wasn’t long after that that I wanted to pursue writing for myself. I also loved reading J.D Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” in high school–it is to this day one of my favorite novels.
- Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?
-The secret to originality in writing is that there IS no originality in writing. There is always something that will relate to a component of another story. It is just a matter of making these components your own and weaving the threads to your own will.
- What are you currently reading?
-I’m currently reading Carmine Warrior Queen by Alan Janney to prepare for a review of it. I am also reading Adelle Yeung’s “The Cycle of the Six Moons: An Eclipsing Autumn” to prepare for “The Last Winter Moon” coming out next month!
- What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
-It’s hard to tell. There’s ever-changing works when we enter this field. We just have to be prepared.
Thank you for your interview today! We wish you success in all your future writing endeavors.