Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Q&A with Shamara Ray




Shamara Ray is the author of the new novel The Referral Program. Her other novels include Recipe for Love


Q: What inspired you to write The Referral Program, and how did you create your characters Dylan, Ivy, and Brooke?


A: I was inspired to write The Referral Program after realizing I was having the same conversation over and over with many of my friends. There was a shared sentiment that it’s not easy to find the one. Once you’ve tried all the apps with minimal success and have been to all the trendy spots, what’s next?


It’s not uncommon for single women of any age to get discouraged when it comes to dating or feel a bit apprehensive about meeting someone new.


Those discussions sparked the idea for the novel and the characters Dylan, Ivy, and Brooke. I thought, how could a group of friends make it easier for one another to meet great guys? Three friends, all single, with aspirations of love and marriage, yet they had no prospects.


Creating the dynamics of their friendship, closeness, and wanting the best for each other, was pivotal for the creation of The Referral Program. Their personalities are quite unique and, though they ultimately want the same thing, they each approach the program in different ways.

Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I actually did not know how the novel would end or whether Dylan, Ivy, and Brooke would find love. While writing the novel I wanted each character to experience her own journey with the Referral Program. I didn’t map out the ending in advance. It was an organic writing process. When meeting someone new, we don’t necessarily know how it will turn out.


Much like the ups and downs many of us go through with dating, the characters have similar and very relatable experiences. I anticipate there will be quite a few people who see themselves in Dylan, Ivy, and Brooke!


Q: What do you think the novel says about the concept of Mr. Right?


A: I think the novel begs the question, does Mr. Right exist and, if so, how do you find him? Dylan, Ivy, and Brooke each consider their criteria for Mr. Right and are open to trying something different and new. Furthermore, they question if they want Mr. Right or Mr. Right For Me.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?


A: I hope readers can appreciate that dating can be a journey and it might take a bit of creativity and the willingness to try something new to find your person. It may not be easy, it might even be a little tough, but don’t lose heart in the process.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m currently working on my next novel. I can’t share too much, but I can say it’s something a little different than usual. There will still be an element of friends supporting one another, but under much more challenging circumstances.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Yes, I would love to hear from those who are putting the Referral Program into action. Please share your stories of how it’s working for your circle of friends. Send me a message on my website at shamararay.com, Instagram @shamararay, or Facebook.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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