Celebrating Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month! Celebrate with us as we recognize and highlight just a few women making a mark in the literary industry as we bring you...
The Real Housewives of Literature
They are mothers, wives, daughters, aunts and sisters, yet they have found time to make a name for themselves and pursue their dreams.
O.O.S.A.'s goal is to not only acknowledge African American women in literature, but to educate and encourage others. We hope that you will join us as we recognize, respect and applaud their efforts as these phenomenal women make history or in this case, HERstory!
Children: 3, ages ranging 5- 9
Sadeqa Johnson, a former public relations manager, spent several years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes. She is the award-winning author of Love in a Carry-on bag, which won the 2012 USA Best Book Award for African-American fiction, and has been nominated for the 2013 Harlem Book Fair QBR Wheatley Book Award for best fiction.
An inner peace advocate, Sadeqa Johnson is a meditation teacher, public speaker and motivational blogger. Originally from Philadelphia, she currently resides in the New York metro area with her husband and three children. She will be featured in the Motherhood Diaries by Reshonda Tate Billingsley, and is currently at work on her sophomore novel, Second House from the Corner.
Behind the Books:
Knowing the path you took to where you are now, what is one thing from your experiences that you wish to save other authors from experiencing (OR hope all authors experience)? I know it is very popular now to crank out a book in three months but for first time writers, I implore them to take more time. It took me over ten years to write my first book. I know that sounds like an incredibly long time, and perhaps I could have gotten it done a lot faster, but what I will say is that your first book is where you learn to write. You have all the time in the world to write your first book, and you never get a second chance at being a debut author so you want it to be the best that you are capable of offering. The first book is where you cultivate your voice and develop your style. Take your time to learn your craft. Take classes, join a workshop and surround yourself with like minded writers who can help you grow.
Do you have a special way to prepare before you sit down to write? If so, what is it? I meditate every morning for about fifteen to twenty minutes, then I grab a cup of coffee and head into my basement office to write. Lately, I've tried to write a page or two of long hand before I start typing away on my novel. This gives me a little creative freedom before diving into the structures of working on a book. I sometimes light a candle for lighting my creative path. I always listen to music when I'm writing. Right now I've been playing a lot of Marvin Gaye, Marsha Ambrosia and this indie artist my friend hipped me to named Bago.
When did the writing bug first bite you? I was always a major lover of reading. I read so much that my best friend in high school used to steal my books so that I'd pay attention to her during our lunch period. My first memory of really feeling like I could be a writer was in the seventh grade. I wrote an essay called "The Roof is on Fire" about the mayor of Philadelphia dropping a bomb on the Move organization, a ‘radical' group in Philadelphia. It was for a writing competition and I came in first place. I went on to become an actress, and actually my major in college was Theater Arts. When I graduated, I went to work for Scholastic, and it was there that I started working on my first novel. Being surrounded by so many wonderful children writers like Walter Dean Myers, Virginia Hamilton and JK Rowling, it was easy for me to put pen to paper.
What female authors have influenced you? I’ve been inspired by so many writers over my life. Maya Angelou was the first author I fell head over heels in love with. Zora Neale Hurston touched me so deeply that I named my first daughter Zora. Bebe Moore Campbell was my first writing mentor. Terry McMillan and Judy Blume were the first writers to inspire me to read their novels more than once. Right now I’m inspired by Tayari Jones, Lorene Carey, Bernice McFadden, Victoria Christopher Murray, Lolita Files and Ernesta Carter.
How do you juggle a career, writing and home? To be honest, it's an everyday struggle and I rarely go to bed feeling like I've got it all right, and all done. I'm a full time stay-at-home-mom first, so their needs, my husband's needs, the house’s needs, always comes first. But when I am not creating I'm cranky, so I aim to be up at 5:00am to get that morning writing out of the way before I wake my children at 6:30. There is something very magical about tapping creative energy that time of morning that really gets my day started and off on the right foot. When I write early, there is no guilt if I get sidetracked by the other areas of my life and don't make it back to the computer.
Stay tuned next week as we highlight another incredible woman!