JALISSA CARTER is a poet, writer, and author of the new book “Poetic-Li.” She lives in a charming mountain town of Northwest Arkansas with her husband, their beautiful daughters and pet fish.
Jalissa Carter’s story begins in 1989 where she felt the wind beneath her wings in Southside Chicago. As a child she fell in love with words and how in a special way you could teleport to where the stories took place. She is credited with being an author focused on cultivating love stories through novellas, poetry, and her wedding business, Wedlope. Jalissa’s whole world consisted of writing or reading as a significant part of why God created her. Every fiber of her memories consist of her writing letters as a form of communication to her family, friends, and her now husband. She met her husband in his hometown in Mississippi where she was also raised. That was the start of her own real life romance. Then she got married, started a family, and moved to a small town of Northwest, Arkansas where her dream of becoming an author became a startling reality. Connect with @JalissaCarter on twitter.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Absolutely! I am grateful for the opportunity. My love for books is what inspired me to write. I enjoyed it so very much. I had to be about six or seven when I vividly remember enjoying putting a pencil to paper. It was like a magical experience for me. Fast forward to middle school where I realized that writing books in class could get me in trouble for causing a distraction for my fellow classmates. I used to bring my notebook filled with my W.I.P to class and my classmate would ask to read it. It got passed around by the students and I remember them saying how good it was. They were literally giving me the boost I needed to make writing something that would be a part of my life forever. My Teacher then trashed my notebook which broke my heart, especially since I was hoping to get it back but she never did. So, I am hoping that she sees me or has come across one of my published books. Because guess what? I realized my potential in her class and I’ll never forget that. Oh, and writer’s block is what frustrates me as a writer. Those moments when it’s just me and a blank piece of paper or screen (if I’m typing), I am sitting there like, uh…why aren’t my words flowing right now? That’s a place of frustration that I do not like to be in. But, it is to be expected in the life of all writers.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I’d love to! So, my very first self-published book is titled, “Testimonials, Tales, & Females.” It’s an African American drama about three friends who are going through different challenges in life. They all come from similar backgrounds and it’s quite enticing. Give it a read you can find it online wherever books are sold. I am actually releasing the sequel to “Testimonials, Tales, and Females”. The sequel is called, “Lipsody”. I will be releasing it on Black Love Day which is held on February 13th. You’ll find the couple from my debut novella going through a challenge that targets their marriage. This is a topic that is dear to my heart which you’ll find expressed in my other two books. You can find all of my books on my author page here: Amazon.com: Jalissa Carter: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
3) What projects are you currently working on?
My upcoming novella, “Lipsody” is the current project I am working tirelessly on. And there is one other project that will possibly be a special limited time only release. I cannot speak much about that one yet but I am loving where my creativity has journeyed me. As an Indie-author that has to constantly self promo. I am always looking for unique and effective ways to do that.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I find that being a published author is a wild achievement. I have always longed for the day I could officially call myself an author. I was surprised when I stumbled across a YouTube video that gave a tutorial on how to put a book on Amazon because in the beginning I was trying to get published traditionally and even opted to have it sent to a publishing company. I even tried raising money for the cost. I was not aware of the self publishing option and am so glad that I chose that path. Five years ago is when my dream of being an author came true. Lol. So, in the next five years I am hoping to still be alive, living the dream.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
To be totally honest, I remember receiving a rejection email from a small publishing company for urban books. And I didn’t let that sting me because I knew that someday my time would come. Also, being a person of faith I believe in being in the will of God. If it wasn’t meant for my book to be in a particular space I accept that. My books are my heart so I see the rejections as my hard work being protected.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I kinda like to go with the flow. I don’t want anything to seem written by force. So, when I write, it depends on my emotional and mental health. I also determine the time that I write based on my schedule as a full time at home mom and wife. When it comes to outlining, I partially do it. I’ll write down the ideas and characters for the book. I like to call this my brainstorming session. But, can I share with you a little secret? I have never written a novel.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I believe that the look and feel of success depends on the writer. I am inspired by the types of people who are determined. And if they decided to start later in life I personally don’t think it hinders their chances. They should be applauded just for simply having the determination to start.
8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I have always had my nose crammed inside a book. When I was first taught to read I was fascinated by words. I can’t even explain how happy it made me. The first book that moved me to absolute tears was, A Child Called ‘It’ written by Dave Pelzer. I was a bit re-traumatized by it when memories of my own childhood trauma resurfaced, but I am still grateful to have read a well written book that brought awareness to child abuse. I think that it was a necessary read for me at that moment and time in my life. My favorite author is Kimberla Lawson Roby who I am so honored to be twitter friends with. I just recently downloaded her ebook, “Copycat”. I have been a fan of her writing style since forever and I just love her personality and inspirational novels.
9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?
Oh gosh. At the beginning of the pandemic I was looking forward to being stuck in the house embracing my homebody lifestyle. My novella, Lipsody, was actually supposed to have been released the year that the pandemic outbreak happened. It really took a toll on my mental health because I had exciting plans for the book’s release. So, instead of using the lockdown as an opportunity to focus on my writing I actually focused more on my family and my mental health. I dabbled in freelance writing to occupy my mind, and was able to get some family things done. Now that we are in the second year of living in a pandemic, I decided to blow the dust off of that book I was trying to release and try again. Now, Aaliyah’s song, Try Again is stuck in my head. Lol!
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
I originally thought I wanted to be traditionally published because that is the only thing that I was aware of at the time. It seems that is what gets the most attention by the media. But, as I mentioned earlier I found that self-publishing was an option. And it seems to be the best choice for me because I am a super creative being and I don’t want my ideas to be tampered with. I understand that with the big publishing houses you lose creative control. Sure, I’d love to have help with publicity and advertising and be up there with all the famous authors, but right now I am enjoying my creative freedom.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I absolutely adore this question, because writing has always been like a healthy coping mechanism for me. In each book that I have written, I highlight real topics that are based on events from my personal life. You’ll find that some of the characters I’ve written about live their own lives with some emotional influence from mine. My purpose as a writer is to inspire people through my writing. It warms my heart to know that I have helped people in the same way that some of my favorite book authors have helped me.