SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Well…let’s see. I am a professional speaker specializing in the areas of bullying, dating violence, domestic violence,
and discovering one’s personal best. I am the founder and CEO of Leading Lady Enterprises which is an umbrella organization
to four different sub-divisions: Leading Lady Publications, Miss Christian United States Pageants, Forever A Conqueror Productions,
and Worship Café (coming 2006).
Most important, I am a mother of one special little girl named Andraya (means Courageous),
who was my motivation for getting out of a very unhealthy marriage and work on my self-esteem issues. It is because of her
that decided to really look deep within myself and attack the issues that kept leading me to destructive relationship.
am also very excited to be engaged to an incredible man who is supportive and loves me just because I breathe. Isn’t
that what we all dream for ladies?
Tamika, the writer, is someone who has always been an avid reader! I love Romance!
Beverly Jenkins is one of my all time favorite authors; I have all of the books she has ever written.SORMAG:
Tell us about your current book?
“He Loves Me Not, but I Love Myself!” is a young woman’s
guide to understanding and conquering dating violence. At the age of fourteen I found myself in an abusive dating relationship.
A relationship packed with verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. Yes…I was only 14! I am from a good home and
background as both of my parents are preachers, but I still found myself in this destructive relationship.
specifically targets an area of dating violence: verbal and emotional abuse; sexual abuse, and physical abuse. Each chapter
begins with my own personal story and then gives factual information on how to deal with a certain aspect of abuse. The book
also includes a Parent’s Discussion Guide at the beginning of the book, as well as space for reflection after each chapter.
There is also a relationship inventory, dating bill of rights, and listing for all of the domestic violence coalitions in
“He Loves Me Not, But I Love Myself!” is written for the young woman 13 and older who feels
that there is something in her relationship that just isn’t right; this book is for the parent who wants to be proactive
and talk to her daughter or other loved one in her life about dating violence. This book is for someone who has a friend in
an unhealthy relationship and you want to know how to talk to her. This book is for the church group or school book club who
wants to shed some light on this growing issue. This book is for ANY woman who may be in an abusive relationship.SORMAG:
What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
Statistics tell us that for every three
teenagers you know, one of them with be a victim of dating violence before they get out of high school!!! It’s a lot
to swallow, I know, but the great thing is that statistics are always changing. I pray that parents and other concerned adults
will be inspired to converse with the loved ones in their lives; that the young women who read this book with say “HE
doesn’t have to love me, because I love myself!”
Once we open up the lines of communication and send the
message that “Love Shouldn’t Leave Bruises!” statistics will change for the better!SORMAG:
What do you do to make time for yourself?
I escape through good books! After I put my daughter down
to bed, I try to give myself a good hour of quiet reading. I am also a performer, having worked professionally as an actress,
dancer, and choreographer, I love to put on some good gospel music and dance before the Lord.SORMAG: Do you
do anything to promote family literacy?
Absolutely!!! Literacy is so important. I created a program
called “Spotlight: Learning on Center Stage!” which is a Performing Arts based program designed to promote reading
and interpersonal communication skills among elementary school age children.SORMAG: How did it feel to hold
your first book?
The first thing I did was drive over to my mother’s place of employment to
show her. Don’t we always call mama first? The moment was surreal. I would compare it to holding my daughter for the
first time, I’d spent nearly nine months cultivating this incredible project and when it was finally in my hands….it
was just beautiful. My publishers, Neshee Publication did an amazing job with the cover.SORMAG: What aspect
of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love getting lost in the story.
I have just completed my first Christian Romance Novel entitled, “Meet Me At the Altar,” which will be available
in September 2006, and I couldn’t wait to get to my computer each night and get lost in the lives of my characters!
I view my stories like a movie, I can hear the character voices, see their facial expressions…it’s great!
I hate most, is the editing process. It can be so tedious reading and re-reading one’s work to make sure the grammar
is correct and that the storyline flows. Oh my…it be so painful!!!SORMAG: What’s something you
wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?JOHNSON:
Oddly enough, I would say take your time and create a marketing plan. I was so excited to have my first book published, and
after it was in my hands I realized that I had not done much to promote the book. No one knew about it! Creating the marketing
plan has so many benefits as it makes you think about who are going to sell your book to, how you are going to inform them
of this, and your budget. Here are some good books to add to your personal library:Bestselling author Mary
Morrison has written a very comprehensive and FREE self-publishing guide on her website: www.marymorrison.com. It is a good
Kimberley Brooks, Author of “He’s Fine…but Is He Saved?” also has a self-publishing
article on her website: www.kimontheweb.com.
How to Self-Publish and Market your Own Book by African American Authors
Mack and Sara Freeman: http://www.sarafreemansmith.com/books.html
Christian Writers Market Guide, by Sally E Stuart
Your Book, by Jacqueline Deval (Dedicates a whole chapter to creating a marketing plan)
Also, make sure you file for
a Library of Congress Number. It’s free and must be done before your book is published. If you think libraries would
be interested in your book, you have to have one of these numbers!!
Distributors are another thing I would
tell self-published authors about. If you want to get your book into major bookstore chains, libraries, etc. You will want
to get a distributor(s) to help you do this. Some distributors that I have seen used over and over again are the following:Midpoint
(includes Ingram, Spring Arbor, and Baker & Taylor)
27 West 20th Street Suite 1102
New York, NY 10011
Lushena Book Distributors
1804 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
African World Book Distributors
2217 Pennsylvania Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217
What should a new writer know about the publishing business?
In addition to the information I just
gave, I would say to believe in the work you publish. You’ve got to believe that what you are publishing is great, if
you don’t you won’t be able to sell it.
I would also advise a new author to talk to other authors in the
business. I have obtained so much valuable information just by emailing a best selling author. You may not get a response
right away, but if you are patient you will make some great connections with those who have already made mistakes and want
to help you avoid them.SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Websites: www.tamikajohnson.com; www.misschristianunitedstates.com
Box 35, Worton, MD 21678