Who are you?! What are your credentials? Where are you from?
My name is Jasmine N. McGhee; I’m from Mississippi. I have a B.A. in English, and I’ve been writing poetry for 19+ years now. I’ve been published in several literary journals and anthologies. In the past, I participated in a few poetry contests as well.
What book(s) have you written?
What is the title of your most recent book and how did it come to be named?
“Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image.” Long before I decided to publish a book, I used to think to myself, “What would be the title of my book?” As a little girl, I loved swings. My grandfather used to have one on his porch. I would swing for hours and get lost in thought. Then, as I got older, I began to question my purpose and who I am. Hence, the title of the book.
What does the cover look like?
A little girl sitting on a swing while looking back at the reader in a mirror.
Describe the book in 5 words.
image, identity, self, existence, and discovery
What genre(s) do you think it fits into or breaks?
Poetry. And it’s a mixture of fiction and nonfiction
What’s the synopsis for the book?
The story is told through the eyes of a child as she transitions into adolescence. She questions her existence and her purpose. Witness the struggle for identity. Experience the emotional rainbow as this individual desperately searches for self through pre-made images.
What is one thing you want readers to know about this book that the official synopsis doesn’t cover?
We are all the little girls and boys within this book. We are all trying to tell our stories, and we want to be heard. No matter what you are going through or have gone through, you are not alone.
Where can we buy the book?
Online Bookstores and Retailers:
Physical Bookstores: Lemuria in Jackson, MS. Barnes & Noble in Ridgeland, MS, Downtown Marketplace in Yazoo City, and the Keepsake Poetry & Collectibles, LLC in Jackson, MS.
Where did your main sources of inspiration come from for this story?
I don’t have specific sources of inspiration. Inspiration just hit me from what people say, walking to class, listening to music, or a word. That’s just how sporadic inspiration is to me.
Who is the book dedicated to and why?
For the most part, I dedicated this book to the people who believed in me over the years, supported my talent, and stayed by my side throughout this journey. Most of them are no longer here; they’ve passed on.
Then, I dedicated the book to the voiceless, to people just like me. They don’t know how to express what they are going through. They are silently suffering. They don’t know who to trust or where to turn to. So they just internalize it which causes people to die a slow death.
What three other books would you use to describe your book?
I don’t know any.
Why is indie publishing important to you and why do you think it is important to our culture?
When it comes to poetry, it doesn’t have many, if any, opportunities to be published or promoted. A company told me that poetry rarely sells. That response made me very angry. Poetry is just as important to the literary family as any other piece of literature.
It’s important to have opportunities when other people have rejected you, your vision, and your talent.
If you could choose one ideal reader – no matter who – to read your book, who would it be and why?
I just want a reader who is open-minded, willing to listen to the little girl’s story without being judgemental, and truly embody her “poetic blues.”
If your book was an animal, what would it be and why?
I guess a chameleon. Because throughout this book, the individual goes through various phases and creates so many masks interchangeably.
What is your favorite sentence from the book?
This may seem odd, but I don’t have a favorite sentence from my book.
If you were to collaborate with another writer, who would they be and why?
I really don’t know. I’m new to the published author life, so I’m still connecting with other creative individuals and learning.
What books do you think the world needs to read more of and why?
That’s a very interesting question. I would say we have the books already. We, as human beings, just need to take the time to read them. We’re so picky about what we don’t want to read.
What does diversity in publishing mean to you?
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to present authors with opportunities and possibilities. I think that having diversity is better than having specifics. Everybody has their own preferences. If you take that away from them or leave something out, one will never know what they are missing.
How have libraries affected your writing?
Yes and no. When I was younger, I loved to read. As I got older, reading faded a little; however, writing took its place.
What do you see as problems that need to be fixed in the traditional publishing model?
It needs to be more flexible. Most traditional publishing models compare your book to other genres or other books that are selling well. But if your book doesn’t have an audience, it’s quickly discarded or rejected. You have so many literary greats like Walt Whitman, Will Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Langston Hughes, etc. who left their mark by their literary works. Of course, a lot has changed since then.
What is the best piece of advice you got from another writer?
Connect and network with other authors, writers, etc. Be a sponge to absorb the knowledge that they provide. All of it may not fit you, but you pick what you want to try. Then, just try it for yourself. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Keep at it.
What indie authors have influenced you and how?
I don’t know. I’m friends with a lot of indie authors. We’re just in this together by learning from each other and sharing knowledge, so we all can continue to support and uplift each other on this journey.
Is the Amazon publishing model scary to you in any way?
Not really. I’m not too familiarized with Amazon’s publishing.
What is something you learned about writing when writing your most recent book?
How to allow myself to be open and heard. I’m not used to people listening to me. I have the inability to communicate or to express verbally how I feel. Writing became the only way to convey the chaos within.
What do you think of the focus on indie bookstores over indie authors and indie books?
I don’t know. As I said, I’m still learning the whole process.
What are some ways you think gatekeepers in publishing (literary agents, librarians, book bloggers) can help indie authors gain discoverability?
I can’t answer this question. I’m still learning the whole process. I will say that one has to try multiple avenues before actually finding one that works for them. That’s what I’m doing now.
What is one book that changed your life and how?
I don’t have just one. There are quite a few that contributed to the person I am today.
What is your favorite online resource as an author?
I guess Facebook Groups because they were a lot of individuals who are helping me learn the do’s and don’ts as an indie author.
How do you feel about authors giving their work away for free?
I don’t have any problem with it. I’ve done it.
What are you reading now?
Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battles Against Your Giants by Pastor Louie Giglio
What music do you write to or find inspiration in?
I’m an eclectic of music. But music doesn’t inspire me to write; it inspires me to think and feel. Just kind of “go with the flow” type of thing.
What roadblocks did you encounter when publishing your work?
Publishing was the easy part. It’s the promotion that gave me so much trouble.
What TV show are you watching now?
I don’t watch much TV these days.
Cat or dog or both person?
Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz – and why?
LOL, I love both. But I have to lean towards Alice in Wonderland.
Coffee or tea or both person?
Print book or ebook or both person?
Print. I love the feel of a book in my hand. It’s harder to put it down.
How do you see book culture changing, other than the ways it already has, because of ebooks?
I really don’t know. For instance, I’ve sold more paperback than ebooks. It all goes back to readers’ preferences.
How do you see book culture changing, if at all, because of indie publishing?
Change is a good thing. It will give indie authors a place, a voice in the publishing platform. Indie authors deserve to be heard too.
What is one thing you would like to say to millennial readers?
Keep an open mind, but be careful of the information you read.
What is one cause or charity you support and want to give a shout-out to?
Right now, I don’t have one. I’m somewhat of a naive, introvert. I live inside my mind. But I will send a shout-out to literacy, education, and all the resources for indie authors.
What is your biggest grammatical struggle to overcome in your writing, or what is your most common typo?
Misspelled words, commas, complex sentence structures…the list goes on and on.
Where can we stalk you? (What are the links to your social media platforms and blog?)
Stalk me? That’s hilarious.
Twitter – bluepoetevolves
FB Author Page: www.facebook.com/authorj.n.mcghee
My blog: abstractpoet87.wordpress.com
Thank you for taking the time to give us insight, Jasmine!
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