But she didn’t let the hateful remarks stop her. Jamila has always had an interest in writing, even from when she was in elementary school. She wrote her first story in 3rd grade and her first poem at age 17 as a means of dealing with her grandmother’s passing, which occurred just one day before her senior year of high school began. A few years after graduating, Jamila realized her talents lie in her words as she made the decision to major in English and take poetry classes while enrolled at a junior college.
Jamila decided finally to make her love for writing poetry a career move. In the summer of 2010, she began working as a freelance proofreader. Following in her father’s footsteps in authorship, her debut book of poetry, “Pure Confessions Volume l” was released in July of 2011 and received rave reviews. In November of the same year, Jamila released “Birthday Girl,” a novella she originally had no plans to have published. Gaining confidence from her family and friends, she went on to release “Pure Confessions Volume II,” “Pure Confessions Deluxe Edition,” and “My Sheree Amore.” Jamila also participated in a poetic anthology called “The Sisters’ Fight: A Poetic Anthology of Awareness” in 2012. By profession, Jamila is a copyeditor and proofreader, freelance and for companies. She is also pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in English at University of Phoenix Online and is Chairwoman of SUT Book Club. Jamila plans to own her own editing/proofreading company by 2013’s end.
About “My Sheree Amore”
Sheree Carrington has little time for dating, or anything else, being a hard-working paralegal in Missouri. And the time she does have, has up until now, been spent with the wrong types of men. Being fed up with looking for “Mr. Right,” all Sheree wants now is buddy -- a buddy of the sexual persuasion, of course. All work and no play has made Sheree a very dull and extremely horny girl. Little does she know her sexual needs would be more than met when she meets her new neighbor, Kane. Tall, caramel, and a true Latin lover, Kane was everything Sheree wanted . . . to sleep with. One last-minute dinner date leads to the first of many sexcapades between the two. Sheree finally found what she’s been looking for . . . or so she thought.
After the sudden passing of Sheree’s father, Sheree’s mother, Yvonnia, had become used to being single and alone; that is until the day she receives a delivery she would remember for the rest of her life. Enthralled in his essence from the very moment their eyes met, Yvonnia fell in love. From that moment on, Sheree and her mother had more in common than the two could ever imagine. Moments of weakness, passion, and betrayal forever change the dynamics of Sheree and Yvonnia’s relationship. But what they don’t know won’t kill them . . . or will it?
UBAWA: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
Jamila: My decision to delve into authorship was inspired by my friends. I'd enjoyed writing poetry since I was 17 and often shared what I'd written with my friends. I needed some extra money one summer, so I thought of the idea to put my poetry in a book and sell it. I had no idea that my words would touch so many people, so it became bigger than the money. The encouragement I got from the poetry inspired me to continue writing and delve into the world of story writing, and "Birthday Girl" was soon born and I haven't stopped writing since.
UBAWA: How did you decide on the idea for your 1st book? 2nd book? 3rd book, etc?
Jamila: My ideas come from my life experiences -- or things that I wish to experience in my life. My poetry is an extension of my diary, so I write about everything from my spiritual walk with God to love and relationships to heartbreak and self-esteem issues.
As far as my stories are concerned, "Birthday Girl" was written a month or so before my 29th birthday. It started out as just plans I'd wanted to make to celebrate and I thought those plans may make for a good story. Turns out I was right. "My Sheree Amore" was born out of curiosity of whether or not I could write erotica. So, it was really an experiment.
UBAWA: How long did it take you to complete your first book? What was the process like?
Jamila: "Pure Confessions Volume I" is a collection of poems I'd written over a three-year timeframe. I self-published it, so the process was fairly easy and only took about a week or two to complete.
UBAWA: What’s so rewarding about writing books and being an author?
Jamila: The most rewarding thing about my authorship is hearing that I've inspired someone else to live their dream. Not only have I inspired them to live their dream, but I've inspired them to feel comfortable with speaking their truth, whatever it is, and to not worry about the quantity of listeners/readers, but to appreciate the ones that actually do listen and read.
UBAWA: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up?
Jamila: Plenty. Discouragement had been my second home for a long time, and I have to make a conscious effort to not go back and visit. I feel like that most when I feel I'm not being heard or seen. But at the end of the day, I've had to put into perspective that someone is ALWAYS paying attention.
UBAWA: There’s more to being an author than writing a book. How do you manage to handle the business side of things?
Jamila: I will admit that I am nowhere near a master at handling that side of things. I have befriended people who know the business side like the backs of their hands and I am learning from them as I go along.
UBAWA: Do you have an editor or do you edit your own books?
Jamila: I do not have an editor for my poetry because I don't want anything taken away from my personal expression. But for my stories, I've had editors and extra sets of eyes to read over my work.
UBAWA: Who does the cover art for your book(s)?
Jamila: Junnita Jackson designed "My Sheree Amore." Deatri King-Bey designed "Pure Confessions Volume II," and I did "Pure Confessions Volume I" and "Deluxe Edition".
UBAWA: Do you ever encounter writer’s block? How do you get past it?
Jamila: More often than I'd like to. Inspiration for me sometimes comes in spurts and I don't like to force myself to create. I just wait for it to come.
UBAWA: How often do you write?
Jamila: Everyday. At least I try to write everyday. Most days I write, even if it's just in my journal.
UBAWA: Tell us about your last book signing.
Jamila: My last book signing was at a public library for "Birthday Girl" back in. It was fairly successful and I did have people come out and was very happy about that.
UBAWA: Beside social media, what other methods are you using to get the word out about your book(s)?
Jamila: I've sent my work out to different book clubs and specialty stores, done some magazine interviews (online and in print) and blogtalk interviews, and word of mouth. Social media, however, has worked the best for me thus far.
UBAWA: As a Woman of Color, what inspires you the most?
Jamila: Knowing that nothing can stop me. I've been given a gift from God and there's nothing anyone can do about it. No one can take it from me. That makes me want to use every ounce of my talent until I have absolutely none left.
UBAWA: Who is your biggest influence?
Jamila: My Granny. She was my everything. I wanted to be just like her when I was growing up. She always encouraged me to believe in myself and believe in my talents. I can only pray I'm making her proud of me.
UBAWA: Have you ever done something in the past you regret? How did you get through it?
Jamila: Yes I have. While I won't go into detail about what that something was, I will admit that I had more control over the situation than I gave myself credit for and I didn't use that control. The end result left me very unhappy, to say the very least. There is a sense of regret there because of wasted time and energy, but I learned lessons from it, so it wasn't a total waste. I surrounded myself with good people who made me laugh and lifted my spirits. Also, music is food for my soul, so I drowned myself in music. Cried a lot. Wrote a lot. And I'm better for it.
UBAWA: How do you get through the tough times in life when life throws what it throws at you?
Jamila: I have to take timeouts sometimes to get myself back. I have to stop everything, pray, breathe, and think about what's going on, what I need to do differently (or not at all), and get back up and try again. I have to always keep in mind that tough times don't last. I know God well enough now to know that when it seems like my entire world is crumbling beneath me, it just means that bigger and better things are being built around me.
UBAWA: What is one goal you want to accomplish for yourself in 2013?
Jamila: To be the CEO of my own editing/proofreading company.
UBAWA: What do you have planned next?
Jamila: I have a new book of poetry about to be released in early February called "Pleasures of the Unknown." It's slightly different from my "Pure Confessions" series with a focus on erotic poetry. There will still be elements of love, heartbreak, and spirituality mixed in, but for the most part, it's erotica.
I also have a book I've co-authored with Marques Lewis called "Good Men Still Exist," which should be out in April. I also plan on completing a sequel to "Birthday Girl" and "My Sheree Amore" by the year's end.
UBAWA: How can readers and others in the literary community reach you?
Jamila: I can be reached via Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamila.e.gomez. Follow me on Twitter at @author_jamilag. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow my blog at http://meditationofmila.doodlekit.com/home.