How long have you been writing & what initially drew you to writing?
I have been writing since I was a little girl. After reading basically every book in my house, I realized that I could create my own stories to entertain myself. I used to write stories and turn them into plays and short skits for my younger sisters and mother.
When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out my sisters and I preferred reading the book to each other over anything else. When I finished the book (before I got my hands on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) I created lots of stories about magic and far away lands. Because I was a child when I started writing, I think it has been easy for me to write from the different stages that we go through in life (i.e. - a child's point of view, a teenager, a young adult...an almost 30 year old).
I'm often inspired simply by the people around me. I have always been susceptible to the plight of society, whether it be individualistic or little pockets of society that have been grouped together. This I think opens me up to the thoughts, feelings and emotions of people outside of myself that I may not have experienced otherwise. Through my writing I want to give other people who may not have these same capabilities a chance to peak into a world unlike their own.
What has shaped your viewpoint on Woman's Health and Gender Studies? On the differently-able community?
Over the past year I think we have seen some amazing accomplishments achieved by women. As a woman I encourage and applaud every facet of a women's progression in our world. With that being said, women's health is also very important to me. I think as women we tend to pile many things into our lives. Although we are champions at balancing all that life throws at us, we do push various odds and ends to the back burner. Our health should not be one of them.
I think education and really just talking to one another about our bodies plays a big role in women's health. I think that the "I have a friend, who has a friend, who has a friend" line might be a little exhausted at this point, but it still holds true. I have a friend that has HPV, she has a friend that has breast cancer, she has a friend that has cervical cancer. We need to share our stories in hopes of encouraging more women to make appointments, follow through with those appointments and get the appropriate tests and screenings that they need. No ache, lump, or headache should be overlooked when it comes to our bodies and our lives.
I have the same convictions for both gender studies and the differently-abled community. I truly believe that more education on these subject matters and bringing the conversation into our daily lives will raise awareness and openness in regards to both matters.
What is the main take away that you want readers to have from your work?
All I could hope for is that after exploring my work, readers take a step back and think "I never thought of it that way". I am not trying to change my readers opinion on the world, but I am trying to open them up to all it has to offer.
I am currently working on a book of essays, that I plan to self publish on Amazon.
To find more information about Shalirrah, please visit her here