Jacqueline Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in Amityville and attended Long Island University and George Washington University, attaining a B.A. in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Education and Human Development.
Now retired from her career, where she worked as a Special Educator and Advocate for children diagnosed with chronic and terminal illness at one of the nation’s top pediatric hospitals, Jacqueline has turned her hand to writing.
Her debut book, By His Grace, is a memoir of her survival of childhood trauma. It is designed to show readers that they are not alone in their fight and can act as a stimulus for conversations that will encourage them to open up about their experiences and help them heal as a result.
Today, Jacqueline lives in South Hill, Virginia, with her sister’s granddaughters, Desirae and Daryl, whom she has adopted. She spends her free time power walking, drinking coffee, eating out, reading, and going to the theater and cinema. She also gives back to her community, having designed and run a free youth empowerment program, Who’s At Risk? for girls ages 10-20 who have experienced family trauma, bullying and low self-esteem.
In the future Jacqueline is keen to travel, both within the United States and internationally, to talk with other survivors and those who are undergoing the healing process.
You can contact or connect with Jacqueline Williams at:
Facebook: Jacqueline Williams
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?
Jimmetta, it is such an honor to be featured in Write 2 Be magazine Thank you very much for your support. So, I am a reluctant writer I enjoy writing, but I really never thought of this part of my life as a calling. I started writing a little poetry in high school. But honestly, I had other aspirations as. a young woman. Actually I wrote a children’s book first, but I felt inspired to release By His Grace. I started writing solely by inspiration from God. I love the very idea that my stories positively impact others. The most frustrating part of writing is when I’m unable to find the words to express my thoughts.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
By His Grace is about growing up in Amityville, Long Island. It is based on my memories of events in our childhood. Our story is not pretty but it does have a happy ending. The book is available on Amazon. I’m on Facebook Jacqueline Williams, Jackiesbiz on Instagram and email: email@example.com. My website is under creative construction. I find inspiration from God, always but I am also inspired by people I’ve met who have shared their awesome experiences of overcoming adversity.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I don’t use a schedule for writing. By His Grace was very tough to write because our childhood was so painful, but it was cathartic. The book was just released so I will be busy promoting it for a while.
4) 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? What projects are you currently working on?
I’m a free-flowing writer but I am learning to use an outline. I started writing By His Grace in 2006 but stopped and started many times. I was able to produce a finished copy during the pandemic. My children’s book will be coming next.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
The first book that moved me was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I was 13 when I read it and Dr. Angelou became one of my favorite authors. As an adult I read Woman Thou Art Loosed by Bishop TD Jakes and my life was forever changed. I have read every book he’s written. I’m reading The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama right now.
6) 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?
For me By His Grace was sort of like giving birth I just had a really long uncomfortable pregnancy, but it is and always will be a major accomplishment for me. II am hopeful that the book will spark conversations and connections even globally about the impact of childhood trauma. I would love to be in the fore front of those conversations and connections five years from now.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
I was blessed to have one of the best if not the best in the self-publishing business. My advice for a newbie like me or a seasoned writer the better you market your book the better your outcomes. Rita Henderson and the staff at Five-Fold Publishing kshare their extensive expertise so that writers learn and master the entire publishing process. As this is my first book, I haven’t experienced rejection. I have experienced a lot of love, kindness and acceptance.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
This is a whole new lane for me and yes, it is hard to juggle both sides of life as an author. Building up my author platform hasn’t been easy either but with Five- Fold Publishing it has been strategic and productive.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
By His Grace will probably always be hard for me to read.
10) 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 am 69 years old, and I’ve just published my first book so no I don’t believe that a late start will hinder or that age is a barrier.
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?
By His Grace is about the horrific domestic violence and sexual abuse me and my Sister endured. I can tell the truth now because I am free of the pain, shame, fear, and guilt. My authentic self tells the story now to help others tell their stories, with the hope that they will be set free too. I am a storyteller; it is an important part of my purpose.