Kadesha Powell is a high school teacher with boundless creativity. Aside from regular classes, she coaches students in how to shoot and edit video. They have won numerous awards for their work, and a trip to the White House, where the group met former President Barack Obama in 2014.
She enjoys reading in several genres, with her favorites being Christian romance and science-fiction. Her current writing projects include a novel for a high-concept series and a historical story set in her hometown. Powell has one son, two bonus sons and lives in Maryland with her husband, and their Yorkie, “Tookie”. She also loves to travel and has visited more than fifteen countries and counting.
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?
I’ve always been a storyteller and avid reader. I knew I wanted to write when I would think of ways to make the storyline better, I try to think of plots and storylines that we don’t see or hear. With my first published writing project, it’s my memoir, I share a different perspective not often featured in the media. The biggest frustration is finding a balance between life, work, and writing.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
In my, Amazon #1 Best Seller, Growing Up Joplin, I share my perspective about being one of a few African Americans, raised in a predominately white, small, mid-western town. It can be found on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, IBooks, and wherever most books are sold. You can also visit my website at KadeshaPowell.com or find me on social media as Kadesha Powell.
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/GrowingupjoplinBN
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I was invited to write in a series called Queens of the Castle, created by USA Today and Essence Best Seller, Naleighna Kai. I’m co-authoring with Erica B. Davis, and our Book, Queen of Bahia, will be released at the end of December. Secondly, I’m working on a book in a Grateful Hearts series, where I take a Biblical story and fictionalize it with life lessons, I’ve learned.
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 was excited to see my debut book become a best seller and the positive reviews and feedback, I’ve received. Within five years, I would like to write children’s book, a screenplay, and get into science fiction.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
My mindset about rejections is that my story isn’t for everyone but it is for someone. It’s also a part of the field. The beautiful think about self-publishing is that it helps to level the playing field. Rejection isn’t going to stop me from writing or trying new things.
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 don’t have an official schedule, I’m a high school teacher by day and that’s an extremely demanding job now. When I do sit at the computer, I use a timer so that I can stay focused, I turn off the phone and remove all distractions. I do outline with a story flow but I don’t write by book in order, I write in sections, starting off with dialogue then add details. It’s a bit crazy but it works for me. I was able to finish the first draft of my memoir in 30 days and with my debut novel, about 6 months and that’s with working with a co-author.
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?
No, I think when you’re a creative, you’re not fully happy until you create. I also shoot and edit video and that’ also what I teach my students. I’ve had my memoir on my heart for years and it didn’t come into fruition until the beginning of the year. I had the time, a book coach and accountability to finish the project. With age comes experience, wisdom, and knowledge, so when you focus on something you love to do and you get it done, the sky is the limit. I think the industry is looking to showcase diverse voices and writers so this is a great time to get your work out there.
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’ve been an avid reader since I was 12 years old. The first book that touched me was Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. It was the 1st book where I saw a black person on the cover, where I saw representation. There were not a lot of books featuring black authors and black characters during the mid to late 80s. It’s so hard to pick a favorite author, but I’m a huge fan of Beverly Jenkins, Anna Hackett, and Octavia Butler. I’m currently going through the Bible to decide on my next story.
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?
The Pandemic really helped my writing. Without all the physical and emotional demands of teaching, I was able to truly rest. I joined Naleigha Kai’s 30 day writing challenge and her Tribe Called Success. I was assigned a book coach, Karen D. Bradley, and had to check in with her daily. So after my school day ended, I tried to get out a chapter a day. I learned so much about writing, editing and publishing during that six month period. I don’t think I would have had the time to finish, if the pandemic hadn’t happened.
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’m a fan of self-publishing, again, it levels the playing field. I don’t have to wait years with a traditional publishing house. I’m not against a traditional house but to get out there and build up my readership, my preference is self-publishing.
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?
For me, I’m a high energy, bubbly personality, it shows in my writing. The memoir was very therapeutic because something happens when you put words on a paper. I was 100% my authentic self because there was a time where I couldn’t truly be me. I have a different black perspective that I haven’t seen or heard on the media. I want people to know that Black people are not a monolith, we have our own thoughts, likes and opinions and we don’t have the same experiences. I want to help normalize other types of black experiences, that aren’t always trauma based.