Intimate Conversation with Aaliyah Shalawn
Aaliyah Shalawn fell in love with words at a very young age. However, her love of writing and wordplay became secondary to the workforce once she became a teen mother. It wasn’t until a layoff, that she was fully able to focus on writing and created the dramatic novel SCENT OF DECEIT. It will be released via G Street Chronicles in late March 2013. Readers will be intrigued by this descriptive urban soap opera tale of lies, envy and deceit.
BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I wrote my first short story in the 6th grade and received an excellent grade. From that point on I was constantly called on from teachers to write. My father is a songwriter, so I would often sit next to him at the piano and watch him write songs. I fell in love with words and started to write all the time. It became my addiction, notebook after notebook of words, from short stories to letters, poems and songs.
BPM: Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
Besides my father at a young age, my husband always encouraged me to just do it. I was constantly changing careers and jobs and becoming bored after a few months, he kept telling me that life was about sacrifice, and sometimes we needed to let go of what was familiar in order to embrace and appreciate your gift and what you love.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
My debut novel SCENT OF DECEIT is truly an urban soap opera. It gives you drama, suspense, issues that you can relate to, with just a touch of imagination. The main character is Selena. She is a beautiful entrepreneur whose life is taken by storm when the people she loves the most betray her. She turns away in hopes of getting away from deceit, but learns alot about her own deceitful ways. I don’t have a favorite character, I love them all.
BPM: What inspired you to write this book? Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I was inspired to write Scent of Deceit simply by desire. It was the perfect timing, it just felt right.
BPM: Share with us a brief excerpt from one of the most powerful chapters.
Selena remained silent and walked into her beautiful kitchen full of stainless steel appliances, and marble counter tops. She began to cry again as she opened a bottle of Moscato and poured a glass. As she tipped the glass up to her lips to take a sip, Sean yelled again.
“Selena, what are you doing? You hear me talking to you?”
Selena threw the glass against the wall and began to run up the staircase screaming and crying uncontrollably.
“How could you do this to me!” she yelled.
Sean grabbed her and tried to calm her down. He had no idea what was going on.
“So she didn’t let you know she came to my place of employment with a round belly, a belly that she says you helped with? What the heck, Sean? We are getting married. Wait a minute we WERE getting married—”
Sean interrupted. “Baby wait, let me explain.”
“Explain what, Sean? After 6 years, buying a home together, and planning a wedding, you give it all up for someone else?”
“I didn’t give it up. I am not going anywhere. I don’t even know if the baby is mine.”
“Oh, so that is supposed to make me feel better because you don’t THINK the baby is yours? It shouldn’t even be a question. You betrayed me, and I really don’t care if it’s your baby or not. You slept with her unprotected, jeopardizing MY LIFE! Get out Sean!”
Sean grabbed Selena and pushed her against the wall while she screamed for him to get off her. He knew the type of woman Selena was – this could very well be his last opportunity to explain anything, or get her to even think of working through his messy mistake. He looked deep in Selena’s eyes and began to speak.
“Listen to me, I know I messed up. I’m human, but you cannot stand here and look at me…”
Selena had looked away. She couldn’t deny her love for Sean. He was everything she had ever wished for in a man.
He grabbed her face and pressed his forehead to hers. “You can’t act like you don’t know we are perfect together. We finish each other’s sentences. We’re both ambitious, and we know exactly what to do to brighten each other’s day, and Leen, making love to you is —”
Selena snatched away and slapped Sean in his face.
“Don’t even come at me with that, because if any of that meant anything to you, you wouldn’t have a baby on the way. How could you? We planned when we would have both of OUR children together. We picked out names. Do you remember that Sean? Huh, do you? What about Miyani and Malachi? What were you thinking? Do you know how embarrassing this is?”
Selena walked away, but Sean grabbed her arm and began to yell. “Who cares about what people think, Leen? This is about us. We have to live with this. Stop worrying about what people would say.”
“How do you sound? I don’t have to live with this. As a matter of fact, I’m not living with this. You decided to step out on me. I’m not even going to pretend that I wouldn’t look at that baby differently if we stayed together. I can’t do this! This chick came to my business, in front of my clients, with this mess. I’m done!”
She walked past Sean, and before he could reach out to grab her, she screamed at him. “Do not touch me!”
She grabbed her keys and looked back at Sean one more time before she yanked her two-carat engagement ring off, threw it at him, and walked out the door. She hopped into her black X5. Sean stood in the doorway and watched as she backed out of the driveway and sped off into the darkness.
BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
My goal as a writer is to entertain. I want readers to be able to visualize what I am writing. Writing is an art form; therefore, you should be able to see it – be it literally or technically.
BPM: What do you think the effect has been of the media attention focus on African-American literature and the arts?
I believe the media over the last few years has been more positive in African American Literature. There are so many best sellers and quality reads in our genre as of recent, that we can no longer be denied.
BPM: Share with us your latest news. How may our readers follow you online?
My short story LIFE was recently in the top 100 on Amazon.com and my full length novel SCENT OF DECEIT is now available. Follow Aaliyah Shalawn on Twitter and Facebook.
Selena Nichols, owner of a posh salon in Philadelphia has the picture perfect life. To minimize drama, her friends are limited to her sister and the love of her life, her fiancée. However, Selena’s picture perfect life changes drastically after a surprise visit from a mysterious woman changes the dynamics of their relationship.
After going on a relaxing getaway with her sister and best friend Tamara that ended in tragedy, her desire to get more out of life increases. Doing her becomes priority, while everything around her is falling apart.
When Selena’s good girl facade catches up with her, she eventually finds out that she too can be deceived. Will she survive and play the hand that has been dealt, or will she succumb to the evils associated with deception?