Growing up, I knew I had an overwhelming passion for reading and writing. But as a first generation daughter of Jamaican immigrants, and I knew my family had high expectations for my career path. I made murmurs that I wanted to be a writer, but they said you should want to become a lawyer, think of the steady money and prestige! Entering the fashion industry was a type of compromise between us. It was a decade later that I would come to realize, no…I needed to follow my first passion.
At the point in my life when I realized I seriously wanted to be a writer, I had already completed a rigorous graduate degree in fashion business. I thought heavily about doing an MFA and gaining the external redirection to the writing industry, but realized I didn’t have the emotional or financial stamina for another graduate degree program. I was confident, however, that I was a good student. I knew I had the internal focus to implement the fundamentals of writing a book. I just had to find or figure them out!
So, I created my very own guerilla style writing development program. I read books like Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and watched a ton of Youtube videos and podcasts, like The Writer Files, on writing craft. I went to writing workshops, including VONA/Voices and the Fortify Writers Retreat. I attended to tons of writing conferences, affording entry by volunteering. I went to author interviews and readings and lectures all around the Bay. I figured out where I was in the writing process, and then weekly would find events to help support me and my understanding. I was like a hungry wolf for writing advice, stalking whatever prey I needed.
My writing mentor, Valerie Haynes Perry, was instrumental in guiding my process. She is a writing coach and instructor, and over the years I have attended countless meetups and writing groups she has expertly led. I received so much advice from her, not only personally on my own work, but through witnessing her guidance of others, too. I am proud of the customized path I followed into writing. It feels exciting, knowing this book is born of so much passion and hard work. I am humbled when I look back and recognize what I’ve been able to accomplish. That my path to publication is so unique adds even more magic to the story of this book. I am thrilled my debut novel will be released in just a few days! I hope you enjoy the adventure. I know I have.