Author's Corner Trendsetters

SHARI QUINN

After publishing her first novel over three years ago, many began to reach out to best-selling author Shari Quinn to share their dreams of writing and book publishing to share their life-shattering stories with the world as she could relate to both sides of spectrum.

Shari’s first book, Disloyalty, was birthed out of an unfortunate incident where her best friend of 20 years began a secret love affair with the man Shari was dating. While the events surrounding the betrayal were painful, Shari used writing as a mechanism for healing to cope with the infidelity. Instead of retreating to a dark space, Shari decided to document her recollections of the many events surrounding the relationship involving the trio. She took a three-month leave from work and taught herself how to write three-dimensionally for fiction. While she was an advanced academic and technical writer, she did not have the gnat for creative writing so she embarked on the quest to learn the elements of fiction writing including character development, creating intriguing conflicts and heightening climaxes with surprising plot twists and a nail-biting cliffhanger that left fans in awe and craving for a sequel.

                At the time, Shari worked as an Academic Partnership Manager with a local college. She has been in the higher education industry for more than 17 years and served in leadership roles as School Director, Director of Admissions and Assistant Director of Admissions. She has also taught at the collegiate level for many years and served as a guest speaker in over 75 high schools throughout New York State. She believed the leave from work was essential for her to focus on her goal of completing this book, followed by a strict writing discipline.

                During her three-month work hiatus, the former college professor of marketing, management and communications conducted extensive literary research and taught herself self-publishing. Since publishing with a book publisher was incredibly costly, she decided to develop her own publishing company rather than pay the upfront investment and share her royalties with a publisher. With an earned MBA with a concentration in marketing and having taught entrepreneurial courses in the past, she knew the valuable concepts of starting and sustaining a successful business, thus she created Shari Quinn Publishing. Because of her determination, dedication and the resilience to recover from the pain, Shari completed Disloyalty the full length suspense novel in a brief three months which sold out in the book stores many times.

                After publishing her traumatic fictional story, her book created social media and news phenomena. Through effective marketing strategies, she strategically created a high demand for her high profile book and its mysterious book cover with the red-painted fingernail closely pressed against the piercing red lips to insinuate a large secret inside. Books flew off book store shelves and distributor warehouses across the country.

                Many people began to write the now famed author about their dreams of book publishing and requested to retain her consulting services and assistance in helping them write their story. Shari soon discovered the public’s strong interest in book writing so she designed a How-to workshop, created a barter agreement with a local college in exchange for free classroom space to facilitate her well-attended workshops. She offered fee-based How to Write a Book workshops and taught aspiring authors the art of book writing, publishing and marketing. Their stories were awakening, shocking and life-shattering. Surprisingly, they each managed to survive their thunderous storms. Men and women attended the workshops. As a follow-up, Shari would often reach out to the enthused and motivated attendees three- to six-months after the class to learn the progression of their writing project. To her surprise, many were distracted by life happenings and deferred their writing for a later time in life.

                To help re-motivate them to share their stories, realize their dreams of publishing and inspire others who may be going through similar life challenges, Shari put out a casting call to solicit stories from courageous women who have overcome unimaginable obstacles to share their story in her latest book, Behind the Smile: 15 Women Who Survived the Storm. Inquiries were overwhelming and over 35 story submissions were received. With the help of her hair stylist who opened her hair studio on a Sunday afternoon to host interviews of the women, Shari selected 20 empowering, eye-watering stories to spotlight in her new motivational book. More intense, emotional interviews proceeded with the future authors. The purpose of the book was to use her platform to help shine a beacon of light for others, provide a sense of hope that they, too, could make it through their storm. Knowing that all would not complete the project for various reasons, she accepted a few more than needed to reach her forecasted goal of 15 during this year-and-a-half long project.

                Behind the Smile is a collection of carefully chosen inspiring short stories of amazingly courageous women who have persevered through life’s most difficult challenges and overcame the most tragic situations that would break the average person. Part of Shari’s goal was to profile a diverse population of women from all age categories, races and background to appeal to the masses. It was important to make sure their stories were able to touch all generations and readers. The stories range from a woman living with HIV who contracted the life-altering virus from her adulterous husband. She also shared the traumatic experience of surviving a brutal rape and kidnapping on her way to elementary school by unknown assailants. Tearfully, her younger brother helplessly watched the attack as he hid behind bushes. Throughout her life, she has experienced a myriad of rollercoaster emotions coupled with shame and homelessness but in the end created her own silver living is now the epitome of strength and a victorious survivor. Today, over 15 years from her devastating diagnosis, she is now a world speaker on HIV, living undetected of the virus and lives in the greater Atlanta area enjoying watching her two daughters grow to become amazing young women and she was told she would not live to see them grow. Her story will empower you.

                Some of the other stories range from women battling and surviving breast cancer, living with Lupus; a woman who is confined to a wheel chair from a rare spine ailment who was also crowned Miss Wheelchair New York; a pastor nearly facing divorce and loss of faith. Additional stories include loss of jobs to the death of children, homelessness, low self-esteem and a woman’s repeated entrepreneurial quest with one failed business after another.

                While all of these women endured great challenges, they all were able to defeat the odds. In their stories they shared details about their experiences, how the experience impacted their life, and how they have been able to either live with or overcome the challenge. These stories are heartbreaking, empowering and encouraging. These incredible women were brave to expose their pain and personal stories with the world. When intensively interviewing and communicating with the women over the year span, Shari became inspired and compelled to share her personal story about her fears and insecurities, which was not part of her objective. However, she narrowed down the 20 selected submissions to 14 and added herself as the 15th story. Although she aspired to inspire others through this book, she didn’t realize how much the women stories and bravery would inspire her, and give her a new perspective.

                No matter your gender or age, Behind the Smile will undoubtedly touch your heart, inspire you and increase a level of humanity to always be kind because you may never know the pain and tears behind someone’s masked smile. Since its May 31st it has received raving reviews from fans. To avoid royalty splits, Shari donates proceeds of the book to a local shelter that provides transitional housing for homeless women.

                Shari considers herself a genre-fluid author and is the creator of five books: Disloyalty, How to Market Your Book: An Author’s Guide, the cookbook Taste! Our Family Recipes co-authored with her cousin Ann Johnson; the Art of Book Writing, and Behind the Smile: 15 Women Who Survived the Storm. The cookbook Taste! was featured in Essence Magazine as of one of 15 cookbooks authored by African American women. Shari is currently working a short film production to showcase vignettes of the women Behind the Smile which is expected to debut in late 2018 under Shari Quinn Production. Readers have already requested a sequel of the book with hopes of encouraging others through their stories.

                In her spare time, Author Shari Quinn enjoys traveling, cooking and baking. Beaches and nature is a regular place for her to retreat. The former Gwinnet resident now lives in her hometown area of upstate New York. All of her books can be located on Amazon.com. [insert Amazon Author Page]. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . To learn more about Shari, follow her on Instagram, @shariquinn2.

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