Shakara Cannon developed her love for writing during her childhood years writing stories to read to her family at bed time. As she honed her skills, Shakara steadily gained notoriety in high school writing stories that surprised her teachers. She further developed her passion for writing at California State University, Northridge, double majoring in English and Business with a minor in Psychology. Later, writing fiction grew from hobby to therapy after the loss of her daughter’s father.
Shakara’s talent for creating colorful, sexy, and humorous characters, coupled with relative, relatable, and controversial topics brings her novels to life. Each page has you thirsting to know what happens next!
When the repressed traumas of Simone Johnson’s childhood resurface through a recurring dream, secrets are unveiled that explain the negligence of her mother and her deep distrust of men. The support of her best friends, Stacey and Talise, gives her strength, but when tragedy strikes, leading Simone into a chasm of darkness, who will be there to help her find her way out?
Simone, Stacey, and Talise are your typical best friends navigating life. They brush shoulders with entertainment’s elite and experience great successes.
Simone is living an extravagant lifestyle, which some may say has come to her easily. She doesn’t trust men and is willing to remain guarded to protect herself. Even though star NBA player, Deon Bradford – a good guy, looking for a woman to love him for him – has her in his sights, and is making every effort to bring down her guard, Simone remains distrustful. She feels that she can do without a man’s love, until an unsuspecting man comes into her life and shows her what true love is really like, but is he who he portrays himself to be or will Deon win her heart?
Talise is the romantic, who dreams of a marriage just like her parents. When she meets a man that she knows is her soul-mate, but later finds out that they stand on opposite sides of religion, will this be a deal breaker?
Stacey is the brother, the shoulder, and the comic relief, but when Stacey falls in love, he falls hard. Will his need to give into his heart cost him the ultimate price?
Once the secrets start tumbling out of the closets and no door is able to contain them, who do you turn to when your reality feels like a dream and you are sure that this can’t be life?
Many writers talk about those books that touched them throughout the years, that inspired them to write. What are FIVE books that have meant something to you as you develop your writing career? And why?
In no particular order: Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Soulja was a great book. I’ll always remember that book – Winter Santiago and Midnight. That novel made me feel lots of emotions. It reminded me of my passion for writing.
The Upper Room, by Mary Monroe. Mama Ruby was nuts! I thought it was amazing for Mary Monroe to think up a character like that. She challenged me to think outside the box, in regard to character development.
Mary B. Morrison, Soul Mates Dissipate was an amazing book. I loved the title and story. It inspired me to be fearless when writing. We all may not know someone like mama Ruby, but a person like her exists.
I love The Host, by Stefanie Meyer (author of the Twilight series) This was an amazing sci fi story that was so out of the box it was just amazing. It inspired me to write the general fiction novel I am currently working on.
Invisible Life, by E. Lynn Harris, changed the way I thought. He wrote about things that weren’t mainstream. He talked about relationships that were taboo and secret. He was a courageous and amazing writer. It’s hard to believe that he is no longer with us.
I’m the type of person that has a hard time picking favorites, but when I really like a book, just like with movies, I can read them at least two times!
You are executive producer for a new reality TV show, “Between the Covers”. You can have FOUR authors on the show–alive or dead–that you think will be entertaining and will attract viewers. Which four authors do you choose and why?
E. Lynn Harris, because I loved his personality and energy. Eric Jerome Dickey, because he is such a great writer. He thinks out of the box and takes you places that you may never go in his novels. Plus, anyone who can create Gideon is a genius! Love that character! Mary B. Morrison, well she had me at Soul Mates Dissipate. Those novels encouraged me to write, they fueled me! Jackie Collins, because I love all of her novels. She’s been in the business for so long, I’d love to pick her brain.
What are THREE pieces of advice that have served you well as a debut novelist in the industry?
The three pieces of advice that have served me well are:
1. To never burn bridges. The book business is very small so you have to be careful what you say. I’ve dealt with people in this business that I don’t ever want to deal with again, but I keep that to myself because I never want to bad mouth anyone – although they may deserve it – because it’s just not good business practice. I learn and keep moving forward.
2. Edit, Edit and Edit again! It is very important to make sure that your work is the best you can make it. No one is perfect so you still may find small errors, but when a novel is riddled with errors it’s very annoying.
3. Sell yourself. This business is really about you. If people like you as an author and like your work they will follow you throughout your career. It’s very important to brand yourself and your name. Everything is in my name; my website, my Facebook, my Twitter handle, everything! I plan to write many books so I have to brand myself as an author not just the title of my current novel.
These days, using social media to promote and market books is a major key to success. What are TWO ways in which you’re using social media to promote THIS CAN’T BE LIFE?
I’m very active on Twitter and Facebook. When people can reach out to you and talk to you and get a feel for the kind of person you are, that is priceless marketing and promoting. I love being able to talk to the people who are reading my book or who have read my book. It’s really amazing and a sign of the times. There is nothing like the feeling of someone contacting me on Facebook or Twitter and telling me how much they enjoyed reading my book. It’s truly amazing and I’m always so humbled and thankful.
If you had ONE chance to tell readers why they should pick up and read THIS CAN’T BE LIFE, what would you tell them?
I’d tell them that they should read This Can’t be Life because it’s a wonderful story of friendship. It has a lot of twists and turns. You won’t be able to guess what is going to happen next. It will keep you engrossed from the first page to the last page. You will definitely laugh, cry and get angry, but you will feel satisfied. That is a guarantee.