Have you been writing for a long time?
If you count my very first book report in elementary school…then YES! In all serious, though, as I go through this journey with my new book, I’m remembering little things that brought me to this time in my life. Writing book reports and papers—every assignment and every little teacher’s note in the margins of my notebook paper—helped shape me as a writer, which I’ve officially been since the publication of my first book in 2000.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
Reading! My love of books and words and the art of storytelling. I was an avid reader, and fortunately, I eventually discovered that I could also write and tell my own stories. But it all began with my love of reading, which is why I’m so happy when I meet young readers. Who knows how many of them will grace us with beautiful tales in the years to come?
Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?
It was originally penned as a stand-alone, though I have decided to write a sequel. And if at the end of that book I realize there is still more story to tell, then I will write a third book. I think I have to let Kendra decide when she’s ready to stop telling her story.
Why did you choose this genre?
I actually did not choose the YA genre. In this instance, it chose me! I set out to tell a story that needed to be told. As I think about it now, I suppose it could’ve been written from the point of view of one of the adult characters. The Miss Wilson character, for instance, could’ve been the main character, and the book could’ve focused on her life and how she—among many other things happening in her world—helps a teen girl named Kendra, who is in crisis. The tone and voice of the story would’ve been entirely different, and the conversations would’ve been more grown up and perhaps not as appealing to—or as appropriate for—younger readers. But Kendra wanted to tell her own story in her own voice. And while her words do appeal to plenty of adults, she’s really talking to teens and young adults.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t let yourself be pigeonholed into being any one type of writer. Tell the stories you want to tell, whatever the genre. Just tell them authentically, and tell them well.
About the Book
Title: K My Name is Kendra
Author: Kamichi Jackson
Genre: Young Adult
Fifteen-year-old Kendra James’ life begins to spiral out of control with the return of her long-lost runaway sister Meisha, and the visit of a young celebrity uncle with questionable intentions. Things take a particular turn for the worse when that uncle exploits Kendra’s loneliness and untreated depression and makes a move on her that sends her world into a tailspin from which she’s not sure she’ll ever recover. Will she survive this tragedy…or will she hit rock-bottom before anyone even notices?
In addition to K My Name Is Kendra, Kamichi Jackson is the author of an eBook entitled Where Present Meets Past (originally available as part of the now-defunct Amazon Shorts Program), the middle reader book You’re Too Much, Reggie Brown, a forthcoming adult novel entitled The Brownstone, two unproduced screenplays, and several short stories. KJ has made numerous appearances in support of her work, among them the Baltimore Book Festival. When not writing, Kamichi is likely off somewhere singing karaoke. The South Norwalk, Connecticut native currently resides in Northern Virginia with family.
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