Hello, Sunshines, Thank you for stopping by! I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour for; She Wears The Mask by Shelly Stratton, not only will I be telling you all about this book, but I have an amazing exclusive interview with Shelly. Go on and have a look, I hope you love it as much as I do!
She Wears the Mask by Shelly Stratton
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Format: Paperback & eBook; 262 pages
Genre: Historical/Women’s Fiction
No one can ever really know what lies behind the mask . . .
Gripping and moving, She Wears the Mask is a novel about two women from two very different worlds, both burdened with secrets from their pasts, who form an unexpected bond…
1950s Chicago: Angelique Bixby could be one of many fresh-faced sales girls working along the Magnificent Mile, but she’s unique. She’s a white woman married to a black man in 1950s Chicago, making her stand out among the tenements on the South Side where she lives. Despite the challenges the couple faces, they find comfort and strength in their love for one another. Angelique is content, as long as she has her Daniel by her side and their baby in her arms, until she loses them both—one to death and the other to dire circumstances.
1990s Washington, D.C.: Angelique Crofton is a woman of privilege. A rich, aging beauty and mother of a rising political star, she has learned to forget her tragic past. But now that she is facing her own mortality, she is finally ready to find the daughter she left behind, remember the young woman she once was, and unearth the bittersweet memories she had long ago buried.
Jasmine Stanley is an ambitious lawyer—the only black woman at her firm. She is too busy climbing the corporate ladder to deal with her troublesome family or their unresolved issues. Tasked with Angelique’s case, Jasmine doesn’t know what to make of her new client—an old debutante with seemingly too much time and money on her hands. Jasmine eagerly accepts the challenge though, hoping if she finds Angelique’s long-lost daughter, it will impress the firm’s partners. But she doesn’t count on the search challenging her mentally and emotionally. Nor does she expect to form a friendship with Angelique, who is much more like her than she realizes—because Jasmine is harboring secrets, too.
Hi Shelly, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Firstly, what five words would you use to describe yourself?
Tall, intelligent, creative, diligent, and loving.
Can you tell us a little about your latest/up and coming release?
My latest book, She Wears the Mask, is a dual-timeline novel set in 1950s Chicago and 1990s Washington, DC. It is about two very different women from different worlds who are bonded by their buried secrets and the stress they’re under trying to keep those secrets hidden from those around them. It deals with familial relationships, racism, and the sacrifices we make to obtain the American dream.
When not writing, what do you like to do to relax?
I wouldn’t call it relaxing, but I like to distract and challenge myself by running. I’ve been doing it a lot more now since the shutdown due to COVID-19 and being stuck at home. While I run, I’ve started listening to podcasts and books on Audible. It makes the runs a lot easier.
If you could have a holiday home anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I know it sounds crazy . . . most people would probably say some faraway, isolated island with wide open beaches or a chalet in the snowy mountains, but I’d get bored easily in those places. I really love New York City. I love it for the people, the energy, the microcosm of cultures, and because there is always something to do and see. Christmas in New York is pretty awesome as well.
If you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead character’s?
I’d love for She Wears the Mask to become a movie and I could see either the actress Nicole Beharie play the main character Jasmine or maybe, Simone Missick. For the main character Angelique, I’d have to think about that more. I could see Jodi Balfour playing the younger Angelique in flashbacks, but not sure who would play the older version of her.
When writing, do you plot or do you go with the flow?
I do a combination of both. I usually prefer to write a few chapters free flow to get a feel for the characters and the story. It’s my way of saying, “Hey, I’ve never met you before. Tell me a little about yourself!” And then once that’s done, I do a rough synopsis of the story. I write more based on that synopsis and sometimes, especially if I hit a wall or if the novel is particularly twisty in plot, I end up doing chapter-by-chapter outlines to make sure it all falls together.
What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?
- Write what you want to read rather than what you think readers will want. Writing by committee is painful and honestly, you can never please everyone.
- Even if you have a contract with a publisher, be prepared and be comfortable with self-promotion. Your book is your baby, so you’re going to have to be its biggest advocate and be your strongest supporter.
- Once a book goes out into the world, it takes on a life of its own. You can’t control how people perceive your work—and don’t try to. I’m amazed at what readers what insights readers take away after reading the text and how invested they can become in the characters and story that make me see my books in new ways. Conversely, some readers and reviewers have strong negative reactions that for my own sanity I have to disregard. Try not to take any of it personally.
If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite?
My great grandmother, godmother, and my daughter. They aren’t famous but these three have been some of the most important people in my life. Unfortunately, my great grandmother and godmother died before my daughter was born. They never got to know each other and I think they would have loved each other’s company dearly if given the chance. Together, they would have been a hoot.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun; What is your favourite snacking food?
Butter popcorn. I can finish an entire bag and not even realize it until the last bite.
Yummy, thank you, Shelly!
About the Author
As long as she could remember, Shelly Stratton (who also writes under the penname Shelly Ellis) has wanted to be an author. In college, she studied journalism and started out as a crime reporter for a small local newspaper. Now she is an editor at a trade journal.
She became an author when she was selected as one of four finalists in the BET Books First-Time Writers Contest when she was 19 years old. The prize was having her first short-story romance published in an anthology.
Since then, she has authored ten books and has been nominated for various awards, including a NAACP Image Award® in the Literary Fiction Category, an African American Literary Award in the romance category, and a RT Reviewers’ Choice Award.
Shelly lives in Maryland with her husband and their daughter. She loves to paint, read, and watch movies.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 17
Review at Books, Writings, and More
Tuesday, August 18
Feature at I’m All About Books
Wednesday, August 19
Interview at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Thursday, August 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, August 21
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Monday, August 24
Review & Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading
Wednesday, August 26
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Thursday, August 27
Review at Passages to the Past
Friday, August 28
Guest Post at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, August 31
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – She Wears the Mask
The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.