By: E.Oberio/ June 13, 2020
Over the past months, everyday routines have been drastically affected by the spread of COVID-19. Most of us have been asked to stay inside our homes and limit face-to-face interactions. It is during these very moments that we may feel an even greater need to connect. For some, writing is considered therapeutic. One such author is Shadrick Halloway, our latest guest in our author spotlight. Below is his interview about his book “Leaving Heaven”.
Hi Shadrick. Congratulations on publishing your book, “Leaving Heaven”. Would you tell us a bit about yourself please?
Thank you. I was born in Jackson, Massachusetts. I went to Callaway High School and played in its band program all 4 years, becoming Section Leader of the Percussion Section, eventually. Then, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta for about 2 years. It was here that I fell out of love with drawing and started to write more. Everything was good until my grandpa caught cancer and died. I dropped out, I stopped playing basketball. Basketball was a huge goal of mine. I wanted to play pro most of my life. Life stopped. I moved back to Mississippi shortly after to look after my grandmother. I got engaged, it fell through. Then, I got a job at Bestbuy. I actually decided to write a book out of frustration. Now here I am, at Sprint as a manager and trying to get my book out there and hopefully have more to come.
What incident inspired you to write your book?
The events going on in the world. I find myself so frustrated with mankind. People are extremely inconsiderate and rude and selfish nowadays. Look around. Everyone has seemed to have lost all sense of direction. You have the unjust killings of black men and women. Constant power struggles in our government. Killings, rapes, kidnappings, pedophilia. It is all very sickening. I want people to see how evil the world is, that God is real and why He is not to blame for any of this and that we have bigger problems going on than the petty things we kill each other over.
There is just so much of media control that we as a people will always be divided. I wrote this book to show people that the world would have to literally end for anything to really change for good.
How did you choose the title of your book?
Originally, it was going to be called Beyond the Law. Because in this story, our government decided to make up rules and play by them in order to fit their benefit. And it was a play on China trying to take over so they are going over our government, over our constitution. They are trying to become the law so they have become beyond it. But I saw someone had that title so I changed it to Leaving Heaven because I was listening to a lot of Eminem and his song Leaving Heaven had so much pain in it. He was in a dark place in that song and that’s how I felt writing this story. When Jesus came to earth to save us, He put on human flesh to be amongst us. He left Heaven to save us and that is sort of what happens in this story, except with my main characters.
Did you experience any writer’s block while writing this book and how did you deal with it?
Every step of the way. Sometimes I’d overthink things. This story was not planned. I made everything up as I wrote it. But I was very unhappy at the time so I would just be very unmotivated at times. So when I tried forcing myself to write, I couldn’t. I think it was for the best. I do not like doing anything that is forced. If it isn’t natural, then it shouldn’t be pursued at the moment because it doesn’t come from the heart. I just constantly drew from my original inspiration and what story I wanted to tell and started to have fun with it. Hence, why it became very supernatural. That part was fun for me.
What did you edit out of this book?
I almost edited a lot of words from the dialogue of the characters. Like some things they say are very offensive and I did not want people thinking, it is coming from me personally, like I feel these things. But coming from a place where people do feel and say these things behind closed doors or to your face but I left everything in. I feel if it isn’t offensive on some level, then I made it too soft and that is a big problem in the world I think. Everyone is always offended by the smallest things. I don’t remember it being that way growing up.
What was the hardest scene to write in this book?
The hardest scene for me to write was the scene when Jaxon was talking to his grandparents through video chat. When his grandpa telling him how proud of him he was, it was difficult because his grandpa was just my grandpa. I wrote everything in his voice. My grandpa was a big influence to me growing up. He taught me so many things and he is where I get my hard work and never give up mentality from. He was Superman to me and that conversation between them was one I felt we would have had but never got the chance to.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have and what are they mostly about?
One. It will be a prequel to this one. Following Urijah’s father growing up. I’m excited.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I think the most difficult part for me is just keeping up with a theme and making sure not to stray too far. Since everything is free styled basically, I have to make sure to remember what happened or what was said, otherwise I could contradict myself later.
What advice do you have for 1st time authors?
Go for it. If you want to write a book or story, no matter what it is, do it. Start writing, put it on paper and then worry about the rest later. There is no worse thing than not succeeding because you never even attempted. You have one life here and it should not be lived in fear. Just ask yourself this, “What would be the disadvantages of me doing this?” If you cannot think of any, well what do you have to lose? I’m a complete novice so if I can do it, for sure you can.
Brilliant! Where can we find more about you and your work?
You can get a copy of my book via Lulu.com and by clicking this link: Leaving Heaven
Sincere congratulations Shadrick. Looking forward to your next book launch.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.