Note to Self: The Diary of a Divorcee
by Shana Burton
The most tumultuous period of my life was from November 2008-October 2009. Within a year’s time, I went from being a happily married woman to a disillusioned wife, watching my marriage’s slow hemorrhage, which led to its eventual death. By the end of fall 2009, I was no longer a wife. I was a divorcee and single parent. More importantly, I was a woman brave and crazy enough to step back into the dating arena after a 12-year hiatus in the hope of finding a love that’s everlasting.
Thus began the journey of 1,000 dates and just as many lessons about love and life, all documented in my personal journals that make up this book. Written with humor and often brutal honesty, Note to Self is realistic first-hand account of challenges professional women over age 30 face when re-entering the dating market, proving that even for authors, real life is often stranger than fiction!
Review: "The author did an outstanding job with presentation and book as a whole. I could not close the book. It was that good." --Cleo Bennett
Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee
Audience- African-American women, 18-49
Kindle eBooks > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
Purchase Link: http://amzn.com/B00GKRG3YO
Meet the Author
Shana Burton is a college instructor and bestselling author of Suddenly Single, Catt Chasin’, Flaws and All, Flaw Less, Flawfully Wedded Wives and First Comes Love (Kensington Publishing.) Note to Self: The Diary of a Divorcee is her first memoir. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, dancing, and long naps. Shana Burton is a lifelong resident of Georgia, where she resides with her two sons.
Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/shanajburton
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Intimate Conversation with Shana Burton
Shana Burton is a college instructor and bestselling author of Suddenly Single, Catt Chasin’, Flaws and All, Flaw Less, Flawfully Wedded Wives and First Comes Love (Kensington Publishing.) Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee is her first work of nonfiction. She resides in Georgia with her two sons.
BPM: What is your definition of success? Does money play a part in how you gauge success?
Of course money plays a part, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. My job as a college program director paid very well, but I wasn’t really fulfilled in that position. Success to me is being able to take of my family while doing something that allows me express myself creatively.
BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life?
My all-time favorite book is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston. It completely changed the way I create characters, develop conflict, and use dialogue in my stories. Contemporary authors have made a difference in my life for a different reason. Today’s authors are truly building a brand instead of just writing books, and it inspires me to take my career to the next level.
BPM: How many books have you written? How has your writing style evolved over the years? What stimulated your growth the most?
I’ve written seven books. I can safely say that I’m a much stronger writer now than I was when my first novel, Suddenly Single, came out six years ago. Back then, I tried to write what I thought people wanted to read or emulate what other authors were doing. Now I trust my instincts. I write the book that’s in my heart and in my spirit. I’m a bit competitive, so when I read a really good book, a part of me is saying, “Yeah, I’ve got to step my game up if I’m going to compete with this chick!” Striving to be one of the best, if not the best, motivates me to come back harder, stronger, and better with each book.
BPM: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
I’ve realized that I need to develop a thicker skin to have a presence in this arena. By nature, I’m sort of quiet, and I hate conflict. In the past, I used to be afraid to speak up for myself if I didn’t like a book cover my publisher submitted or I would gave away books and writing sessions that I probably should’ve gotten paid for. Now, I’m about my business. If I don’t like something, I say it. I stick to my guns more, and I demand respect. Being a nice girl has had to take a backseat to being a business woman.
BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Learn everything you can about the craft, then learn everything you can about the publishing business. They go hand-in-hand. It doesn’t matter how great the book is if nobody is reading it or knows it exists. By the same token, all of the marketing and promotion in the world can’t save a book that sucks.
BPM: Introduce us to your book. What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook?
It’s a memoir, so I’m the main character, and the guys featured in the book are certainly characters themselves. This memoir chronicles my first year of dating following my divorce. I was an absolute mess. I hadn’t dated in over a decade. The rules, the expectations, and the dating pool had changed since I was last on the market. Plus, I was a lot older trying to date. Dating in my 20s was a cake-walk compared to dating in my 30s with two kids! Note to Self…The Diary of a Divorcee is now available on Kindle.
BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block?
Before she died, my publicist Dee Stewart said she wanted me to start a “Divorced to Dating” blog chronically all of my dating adventures. I kept a journal detailing the dates I had with men, but we never set the blog site up. As it got closer to the year anniversary of her death (October 5, 2012), I wanted to do something to honor her memory. I thought this would be the perfect way since it was her idea for me to start my dating journal. Thankfully, since the majority of the book came directly from my personal journals, writer’s block wasn’t really an issue.
BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message enclosed?
I want to reach women who are going through the trial and tribulations of dating like I am. It’s still a battle for me. I absolutely hate dating, but it’s a necessary evil. The message that I want to deliver is that finding yourself and being happy with who you are will always trump finding a man. Also, I want people to remember that there’s value in every experience, good or bad. I go through no less than 20 guys in the memoir, but each one taught me something so it doesn’t feel like I wasted my time.
BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
The opposite of everything I did in the memoir! It was clearly an ineffective strategy.
BPM: How do you avoid the temptation of interjecting your own morals, value system or ministry in your writing?
I think the problem is that I didn’t interject enough of my morals. When I was writing the memoir, I was single for the first time since I was 20 years old, so the world was my oyster. My moral and value systems were not priority. Enjoying my newfound freedom and single status took center stage.
BPM: Share with us a quote or brief excerpt from one of the most powerful chapters.
This is quote someone else posted on Facebook from my memoir. I didn’t realize how powerful it was until then:
I’ve decided that I don’t want to fall in love. This isn’t to say that I don’t want to be in love or have a meaningful relationship. It means I don’t want to fall in love. Anything a person “falls” into, he or she can get up and walk away from. Moreover, falling is rarely done on purpose. No, I want to be like the trees that keep ripping up my driveway. I want to be rooted in love—invested so completely that the roots extend far beyond my being. I want a love so strong that it will tear through concrete or any other obstacle that may stand in its way.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I would also want women to take away that they’re not alone. When I was going through my divorce, it often felt like I was the only one in the world going through it. It’s a comfort to know that there are other women out there who know exactly how you feel and can relate to your struggles.
BPM: How do feel about selling digital books vs. selling in a brick and mortar store? What impact do you think electronic book sales will have on black authors? On indie authors?
I’m very torn on this issue. I know when I publish books through my publishing company (Urban Christian), my sales revenue takes a hit when people download the book as opposed to buying a hard copy, not to mention the negative impact it has on bookstores who can’t compete with the digital market. On the other hand, thanks to ebooks, I was able to put this memoir out myself without having to go through my publishing company. Don’t get me wrong—I still love the support and advantages of traditional publishing, and I will continue to put out books the old-fashioned way. Admittedly, though, there’s a lot of freedom in being able to put out the kind of book I want, when I want, without going in debt or having to sell out of my trunk. I honestly don’t know if there’s a happy medium between the two.
BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online?
I’m always writing. While finishing the memoir, I started on a new novella. It’s titled Flawsin’ and is a part of my Flaws series. I’ve decided to do a novella on each of the main characters from the Flaws books. In this particular one, readers will get to see how the ladies meet and how Charles and Sullivan get together. I’m very excited about the novellas because it gives me a chance to focus on each character individually and really get in depth with each character’s backstory.
Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/shanajburton
Like on Facebook: www.facebook.com/shanajohnsonburton
BPM: Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself, your journey and your book with our readers! Thank you for having me and for all you do to support black authors.
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