What inspired you to write Hoes In Da Hood?
The inspiration behind Hoes In Da Hood, actually came from one of my cousins. I was at a point in my life last year where I tried to self publish two books on my own, but they failed horribly. I felt like giving up. I felt like it was no point of writing anymore, because no one believed in me and I was in a really dark place. I went out of town one day back to my hometown to go see my family. I had a conversation with one of my first cousins, I’ve gained a close friendship with over the years. I briefed her on the disappointment, I felt and told her I was done trying to become a writer. She said to me (Don’t talk like that! You are the one that is going to make it. You are the one that’s going to break the generation curse we have upon us and you will make it for all of us. All you need is one moment to show yourself you are great at what you do.) She then says to me (You have a whole book right here in front of you just look around.) At that moment it was like a light bulb went off, she gave me insight on a few ideas. She gave me the vision while I gave her the words. With two and two together Hoes In Da Hood was brought to life in three months.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
I hope my female readers that’s stuck living in the same type of environment, like Foreign Gardens Apartments in my book will value themselves more. I hope they take my book and see the realness of how society paint a picture of women from the urban community, like myself being just another mouth to feed on welfare. Instead of being just another statistic, I hope they will use my book as a lesson to step higher over stones. Find a dream, find an ambition or a goal and make it out of the hood by any means necessary. But most importantly, I hope they realize and understand it’s not about what you come from, but it’s about what you can become.
Which chapter in the book is your favorite and why?
My favorite part in the book is part four. The introduction of “The Hoe Sisters”. The Hoe Sisters are four sisters living together, after being abandoned by their mother and father depending on each other to raise the next. The oldest sister has to be the mother to the younger three, the second sister is filled with hate, jealousy and envy of her own knee baby sister. The third sister is a bread winner by any means and my favorite of them all is the baby sister. Though she finds herself caught up from time to time in her sister’s mess, she is determined to graduate high school and go to college. Which brings me back to the whole what I hope my readers will take from this book. It doesn’t matter about the odds at all, overcoming them is the number one priority!
What part of writing do you personally find most satisfying and most challenging?
My most satisfying part of writing is getting into character. I actually get into character male and female, I have so much fun with it. It’s like I’m free from anything and all things when I write. The time stops and the clock stands still, I let my brain just go for it. The most challenging is not prewriting or not planning and strategizing. I like to call myself a freestyle writer. I don’t write anything down prior to me working on a book, I sit at my laptop and just start typing I visualize the book as I go.
What helped you get where you are today and what steps did you take?
Failing the first time is what helped me get myself where I’m at today. It was much easier to give up and just throw the towel in. I had to stand up and face the challenge, being a writer is everything I dreamed about since I was seven years old. I had to push that inside of my head, I had to pray to keep faith and remind myself the dream wasn’t going to happen overnight. I took the following steps of understanding what I did wrong the first time, learned how to proofread after the work is complete, accept criticism and use it to my perfection. The more I coached myself, the better I started to become at writing.
Tell us one good thing someone did for you that brought a smile to your face?
The day I received a copy of my paperback, the person I’m dating was with me. I was overjoyed at the feeling of accomplishing, publishing my book on my own, plus having the book turn out as good as it did. However, prior to me receiving the copy I told that person I had never had anyone buy me flowers or roses before. The timing couldn’t have been any better. To show me appreciation and to congratulate me on my hard work, that person surprised me with a dozen roses along with my son and my nephew. I was so happy, I cried so hard on the inside, because at that moment I felt blessed. I felt like someone was finally listening to me and actually hearing me. I couldn’t stop the feeling that was pouring over me. I smiled, I laughed and I cried, but all of that came from nothing but pure joy and happiness.
What is your favorite type of music?
My favorite type of music is Oldie Goldies. As a kid my grandmothers would wake me up on the weekend to do my chores and that’s all the both of them played. Wilson Meadows is my favorite old school singer and I love his music.
Would you rather spend five days exploring New York City or Disney?
If my kids are with me I would throw up the deuces to New York and enjoy Disney with my babies for five days. I’m alone without my children, I would definitely head to New York to enjoy myself.
Name one thing you changed in your life since the pandemic started?
I learned the importance of being patient! Patience is really the key to life.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Honestly I would probably play myself, lol. I don’t think there could ever be anyone to tell my story the way that I can.
What’s something that you were really into, but lost interest in?
Waiting for other people to accept me and congratulate me on my hard work. As long as I do it and feel I did my very best, that’s all that matters.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
Everyone can keep up with me on social media by following me on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook.com/authorjill.shawntayekapri and on Instagram @authorjillskapri .