Thursday, January 22, 2015

Author in the Spotlight!

Hello, today we have Tumika Patrice Cain with us for Author in the Spotlight.

About the Author

Tumika Patrice Cain is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain & Say What?? Author Spotlights. A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but don’t have the resources for a full marketing campaign. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012).  To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and On the Pulse of Morning & The Heart of a Woman, both scheduled to release in 2015. Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

After chatting with Tumika and asking her questions, here's what she had to say.

1.) How did the author get started writing?

I was an early reader, so the love of words was already present. A second grade class assignment where poetry was introduced became my passion. I loved how I could play with words and express myself through them. It wasn’t until I was in junior high that I realized I had a gift.

2.) What did the author wish different about the book(s)?

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with my completed works. I can say that I gave it my best and wrote thoroughly. I do wish that I and my team had caught a few errors that slipped through, but I’m in the process of going through it again to clean those up before it goes into print again.

3.) How is your personal writing?

Different genres require a different process….at least for me. With poetry and most of my blog posts, the content comes quickly and in a flood.  With poetry, I prefer to write free hand.  With blogs, I usually type it up as the words flow.  When it comes to fiction, I like to create a character profile for each character. The perfect writing environment is one with a gentle breeze blowing, incense burning and depending on my mood, possibly music playing.  It’s very peaceful and relaxing…couple that with a comfortable chair and I’m good.

4.) Who is your favorite author?

My favorite is Maya Angelou. I was in grade school when I read her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It was the first time I had read anything like that. Her words and her delivery had a profound impact on me. Through her books, I not only discovered that I could have a voice, but that I could, and should, express myself. I found validation through what she had written.

5.) What do you do when you aren't writing?

I am a single parent, worker, daughter, sister, friend, confidante, publisher. There are a million and one things that vie for my attention. I write book reviews for a couple of sources, write a column for a magazine. When I have time, I enjoy cooking, hosting small dinner parties, interior design, reading for pleasure. I listen to music, exercise, go to movies, etc. I am a multi-faceted person who enjoys simple pleasures and rare moments when I get to relish in a quiet, unhurried moment in time.

6.) How do you market your work?

There are a number of things I do to keep my books present on social media – share excerpts, purchase links, trailers, as well as sharing other writings that I do. With hosting radio programs, I am also able to share on those broadcasts about the books.  I also use attractive promo cards that I pass out wherever I go. Things like interviews, blog posts, linking up with others in the industry, book signings, events, etc. are all ways to help keep the books circulating. Visibility is the key.

7.) What genre do you like?

I write fiction in the contemporary women’s fiction genre. I also write poetry and blog. At some point, I’ll branch into other genres.

I enjoy reading in a variety of genres: some fantasy, romance, women’s contemporary, historical romance, poetry, urban lit, self-help, relationships, literary fiction.

8.) How do you get over writer's block?

I write in multiple genres. Because of this, I can usually write consistently, even if not in the same genre. When I am blocked, I find that it’s an internal issue I am not ready to face. I allow myself to get quiet, then ask myself the real questions: what am I trying to not deal with? What am I afraid of? Getting to the root of those questions, will allow me to see what’s really going on, deal with it and move on and the writing can begin again.

Sometimes ‘performance anxiety’ can cause a writer to block. To which I say, give yourself permission to just write. It’s even possible to feel like you are in competition to write better than your last work. That’s too much pressure to put on yourself.  Step back a moment and realize that each character tells their own story the way they want to and that you are just the vessel the story is flowing through. Remembering that you are not in competition with the next person and that you have your own journey to walk, can be wonderfully liberating.

9.) What project are you working on now?

I am working on my second novel, which happens also to be the second book in the Seasons series, entitled On the Pulse of Morning. In my last response, I mentioned the pressure we put on ourselves to measure up to one thing or another. This book was scheduled to come out months ago. A glitch in my computer caused me to be set back for quite some time. I determined that I was not under any kind of obligation to have it out by a certain time.  I didn’t want it to be rushed. So I am taking my time. Now, it’s slated for release in June in time for my book club’s event, Say What?? Book Club Presents Brunch with Your Favorite Authors. I’d much rather give my readers a well-crafted, well-written story versus one that has been rushed.

I’m also working on a collection of poems, anecdotes and random Tekaisms that should be out by the first of March.  It’s entitled, The Heart of a Woman.

10.) What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer or indie author?

Be true to your authentic literary voice. Everyone has their own voice, their way of presenting a story and their own stories to tell. Don’t do what everyone else is doing.  Readers can tell when a story is being forced.  Vow to give them the best that you have each time. Decide what kind of experience you want to share with your readers and then brand yourself to be consistent. Learn as much about the business as possible. Get a mentor. Mentors can provide invaluable resources, advice and feedback. Develop tough skin. Not everyone is going to like your work and that is okay. Finally, have fun! Writing should be a pleasure, not a chore.

There you have it from Tumika Patrice Cain. Thank you for allowing me to do this interview. It was great meeting you.

If anyone has any questions for Tumika, please feel free to ask her.


Click below to purchase Season of Change.

Click below to purchase After the Rain...A Poetry Collective.

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