In this installment of the Author Showcase we talk with Anne Shade. Anne Shade loves sharing stories about women who love women featuring strong, beautiful BIPOC characters from her idyllic suburban home in West Orange, NJ.
What made you decide to take a stab at professional writing? Who were the writers that inspired you?
I’ve written poetry and short stories since I was about 8 yrs old but never saw myself as a professional writer. As an adult I started reading historical/regency romances by authors like Johanna Lindsey, Iris Johansen and Julie Garwood. I enjoyed them but I craved seeing something like that featuring women that looked like me. I considered trying my hand at writing a full-length novel but didn’t think anyone would be interested since I didn’t see any other authors writing such work. Then I discovered Beverly Jenkins, and it turned my world around. Reading her historical romances featuring strong, beautiful Women of Color had me putting pen to paper. I self-published my first hetero historical romance in 2007 then had the honor of meeting Beverly a short time later and sharing that novel with her. When she validated my work and supported what I was doing there was no stopping me. I published two more after that then ventured into lesfic with my fourth novel, Deepest Desire. Beverly has, and will always be, my inspiration and the status I aim to reach for.
Your latest work Three Wishes is a sapphic twist on the Aladdin story, what draws you to reimaging’s of classic tales through a queer lens?
I was drawn to reimagining classic fairytales in my first novel under Bold Strokes Books, Femme Tales, where I used Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella as the premise for three individual stories about three friends. I love the idea of taking classic tales like that and retelling them in a more diverse way that shows a queer BIPOC point of view of a classic happily ever after.
I saw you had wanted to be able to open a Bed and breakfast, do you have a place picked out that you would like to set it up?
Yes, ever since I was a teenager observing how much my father loved working in hospitality, I’ve wanted to do the same. The idea of a bed and breakfast seemed so romantic and personal, like hosting a bunch of friends in your home. When I finally stayed at one, I knew right then that was what I wanted to do. Now I’m working on making that dream come true when I retire within the next ten years. My plan is to set it up in one of the Carolinas, but my dream would be to do it on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. I visited there once on vacation, and it holds a special place in my heart.
You were part of Bold stroke books anthology In Our Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous and People of Color, what do you think are some of the barriers to getting more diversity in mainstream publishing?
Yes, I was honored to a part of bringing In Our Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous and People of Color to Bold Strokes Books repertoire. My personal mission in life is to present as many positive and loving BIPOC stories to the world as possible to combat the negative stereotypes of BIPOC people. We are just as deserving of telling our stories and history as anyone else in this world. No laws trying to erase us, and our stories will change the fact that not only were many of our ancestors here before the ancestors of those trying to erase us knew our countries and lands even existed, but we were a crucial part in building this country into what it is today. I believe fear, bias and whitewashing are the main barriers to getting more diversity in mainstream publishing.
You have written in a lot of different genres from historical to retelling of classic fairy tales with an adult spin, are there any types of stories you have not done that you want to explore?
My writing genre pretty much represents my reading genre. I’m all over the place and I know that’s not something most authors do but when a story comes to me it’s through the character’s voices and they don’t always want to be fixed to a particular genre. But the going theme is always love and romance. There are only two types of stories I would still love to tell. One is a dark paranormal romance, which I’ve already begun working on, and the other is a full-length historical young adult. I’ve done a historical young adult novella, but I’d love to expand on that idea into a full-length novel.
What is your next book you are working on?
I’m currently working on a sexy contemporary story featuring three best friends. One is a beautician, one is burlesque performer, and the last is a dominatrix. It’s titled Leather, Lace and Locs and is due for release in 2024.
If people want more info about you or your projects, where should they go?
People can find information about me and my projects at www.anneshaderomance.com, www.boldstrokesbooks.com. On social media they can find me on IG and FB at @anneshaderomance and Twitter at @anneshade3
When the zombies take over the world where will you be?
I will be hold up in my bed and breakfast with my family, food from the organic garden and small farm my daughter promised to create at the bed breakfast, several horses from the ones my son promised to acquire and train for the guests, all surrounded by a sturdy and zombie impenetrable wall.
What is your favorite Fandom
I don’t know if it’s considered fandom but fairytale retellings are my favorite.
What piece of art, be it in the form of music, a book, a film or picture, do you think people must experience before they die?
Music. My father loved music, of all genres, and he instilled that love in me. Everyone has that one song, that one piece of music that can transport them to another place, a memory, bring them joy and motivate them. Not everyone is into the same type of music so I don’t have a particular genre or piece that I would say they must experience. Just whatever music affects them.
Give one fact that most people would not believe about you?
I wanted to be a Broadway performer. Particularly in musicals. When I was a little girl I would watch musicals, memorize my favorite scenes, and perform them every time they came on dreaming of performing on stage one day. Lack of support kept that dream from coming to fruition but I still love belting out a good show tune with all the flair of that little girl dreaming of being a star one day.