Character Interview with Yasmin Shiraz
Tashera Odom and Khalil Odom-whom are sister and brother- are the main characters.
Q. What or is there conflict in the story?
The conflict in the story is about loyalty. When Khalil is shot and left for dead, he clings to loyalty to his gang, while his sister feels he should depart from his gang affiliations.
Q. Which characters in âare you most like?
I'm most similar to Tashera. I'm very inquisitive like she is. If I don't understand something, I ask questions.
Q. Take us inside âyour bookâ What are two major events taking place?
When Khalil is shot and it is revealed that his gang members rather take him home than to the hospital. That event was very telling about how much the gang members cared about his life.
When Khalil is on the operating table thinking about which 'truth' he's going to tell his family he realizes that his sister is the only person who always knows when he's lying. Most people worry about what they are going to tell their parents, he was concerned about his sister. That spoke to the level of intimacy in their relationship.
Q. Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
My relationship with my brother was the foundation for this novel. As teenagers we were very close and I wanted to capture the essence of a close brother/sister relationship.
Q. Describe each character in three words?
Tashera - Inquisitive, Determined, Fearless
Khalil - Insecure, Confused, Afraid
Q. One of your lead characters has âfearsâ that keeps him from seeing the truth about his gang. Do you think sometimes we let our fears get in the way of what God has planned for our futures?
Yes. Fear has a way of preventing us from leading authentic and empowered lives. Wherein Tashera wanted to see the truth in all things, Khalil was afraid of not fitting in and being seen as 'less than' in the eyes of his peers.
Q. How do you see yourself in your characterâs story, if at all?
My relationship with my own brother is thoroughly interwoven throughout this novel. There were decisions my brother made in his life that I never quite understood, but I always asked questions. There were times as a teen that I didn't agree with my brother, but I always loved him regardless.
Q. Is there an overall theme to this novel?
The overall theme to Loyal is that you must love your family members through their pains and through bad decisions. You also must love them even when you don't understand the decisions they make.