Urban literature is quickly becoming a leading sector of the book publishing industry. I had the pleasure of interviewing multi-dimensional LaShonda Devaughn bestselling author, owner of LSDV Productions and a master at controlling her vision:
T.N: What made you want to become an Author?
L.D: I grew up in a rough environment, when I started losing people I loved to jail or to the streets, writing became my therapy. It started with poetry, and then my boyfriend at the time convinced me to try my hand at writing rhymes. I was actually really good at it and I loved it. I ended up losing my boyfriend to street violence and I would write him poems to express how I was feeling at the time. Once I lost my little brother to street violence as well, I knew that I had to turn the pages I was writing into a story. That’s when my first book, A Hood Chick’s Story was birthed.
T.N: Did you always have a career in writing?
L.D: No. I got an Associate Degree in Science, I went to school for Legal studies so I’ve worked in Law firms, accounting firms and then became really successful in Real Estate.
T.N: How did you make the transition from Real Estate to Publishing?
L.D: Real Estate was never really my passion. I think I went after it so hard because I grew up on public assistance so owning a piece of the American dream was a goal of mine. Owning multiple properties and being a landlord was a lot of work and at times, stressful. There were parts of it that I loved but the transition into writing was easy because the art of writing and storytelling was my calling.
T.N: You’ve written five books; did you ever think that you would become a Best Selling Author?
L.D: Honestly, I didn’t know where A Hood Chick’s Story was going to take me, however I knew I was on to something. Now, five books deep, I don’t plan on stopping.
T.N: Despite the many roadblocks you experienced getting to this point in your career I have to say that you are a master at controlling your vision. What is the one thing that keeps you focused and disciplined?
L.D: My two children keep me focused, motivated and disciplined. I’ve been through a lot of trials and tribulations growing up so I always told myself that once I had kids, I would provide them with a life opposite of what I had endured.
T.N: Why do you think “A Hook Chick’s Story” resonated with a lot of folks?
L.D: I think A Hood Chick’s Story resonated with a lot of folks because it hits home in a major way. It’s loosely based on my life and I knew in writing it that there were others who have been through similar struggles. It’s not only relatable in your typical “hood” but also in the suburban areas because it’s very family oriented. People email me all the time telling me that although they didn’t grow up in the hood, they could relate to a lot of the issues that the main character Tiara and her family went through. It’s a very emotional and personal read which is why I think the Hood Chick’s Series became so popular. A Hood Chick’s Story pt. 1 is actually still my leading selling novel.
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T.N: Do you think there is a place for urban literature in the mainstream book industry?
L.D: Most definitely. Hip-hop is one of the leading genres in music; urban literature is becoming the same in the literary world. People tend to forget that urban literature is a multi-million dollar industry, our stories are so real, raw and relatable, they deserve all the recognition it receives and more.
T.N: Why do you enjoy writing urban literature?
L.D: I enjoy writing urban literature because it gives a voice to a community that sometimes goes unheard. There are many issues in urban communities that I feel haven’t been highlighted or brought to the forefront that people could not only identify with but make some changes in their own lives and learn from it. Plus I’ve lived a lot of the things I write about so it makes it easy to craft these stories.
T.N: Tell us about your new novel, “If all men cheat, all women should too”? I’m sure you get asked to explain yourself all the time!
L.D: Well first let me say, the biggest misconception about this book is that people think it’s a “how-to” cheat book for women. But it’s the total opposite of that. In fact, it’s more of a book that gives insight on why both parties shouldn’t cheat. It’s based on a relationship with a woman named Janae who loves her man whole heartedly and her man Tae who was once very much in love with her as well. Somewhere down the line, he became detached and ultimately became unfaithful. Once he realized that Janae was going to keep taking him back each time she found out about his cheating, he stopped hiding his infidelity and in so many words told her she had to deal with it. Janae had never been unfaithful and never planned to. She felt that if she loved him enough, he would eventually change. When that didn’t work and she drained herself mentally and emotionally trying to please him, someone began showing her the attention that she yearned for at home. Drama ensues and their relationship is tested in a way that I don’t think has ever been depicted in a story up until now. This is a book that should be read by both men and women. It shows the “real” behind failed relationships, how to fix what’s broken and how to learn to let go. The story is deep and super emotional. It’s not only about cheating.
T.N: Do you believe that infidelity is inevitable in long term relationships?
L.D: No. I think that with discipline all relationships could survive.
T.N: What does the next 5 years look like for LSDV Productions and LaShonda?
L.D: Right now, my brand, LSDV Productions is an emerging empire. Within five years not only will more books be produced by myself and a team of hot Authors that are signed to my company but also film, theater, music and so much more. I’m five books in and I haven’t even got my feet wet yet. Get used to seeing LaShonda DeVaughn because I’m here to stay.
T.N: Do you have any hidden talents?
L.D: Yes. I actually have a really nice voice but never pursued singing. Maybe I’ll use it for the sound track for one of my books soon lol, you never know.
T.N: How can people contact you?
L.D: You can contact me on my website www.lashondadevaughn.com, Twitter@hoodchickstory and like my Facebook fan page at “Author LaShonda DeVaughn”.