It’s April already? Are you sure? Okay then, we’ll move forward with this month’s featured author and poet, Jessica Sita.
Brief Bio: Jessica is the author of various poems and short works of fiction. Her most recent project is a book of poetry titled Outcry. A story-teller since early childhood, she now holds an MA in English/Creative Writing. Currently, she seeks to promote her writing and editing/beta reading services. She resides in Oklahoma, a setting that no doubt inspires her writing. Jessica is also an avid reader and lover of horses. If you are interested in learning more about Jessica Sita check out her blog Watchful Creature or follow her on twitter. You can also join her on her facebook author page. Don’t forget to check out her writing on goodreads.
On with the Interview!
Lit Chic: What made you decide to become a writer?
Jessica Sita: It was less of a decision and more like a “I couldn’t help it” kind of thing. I remember, writing and illustrating stories about horses since before I could barely form the sentences. They were on lined paper so I would staple them together to form books.(Lit Chic: Coincidentally, this is exactly how my sister and I started our writing career–writing and illustrating stories about horses on copy paper. Wild!)
Since then, my writing aptitude has been off the charts (if you don’t mind me tooting my own horn there, toot!). I showed the first poem I ever wrote to my sixth grade teacher and was advanced to the eighth grade creative writing class. I won awards for my poems and short stories (more awards than I’ve won in my adult years, heh). I fought for my major (English and Creative Writing) in college and went on to get my Masters in the same subject, not because I wanted to teach but because I wanted to be a better writer. Now, I’ve got my head in the game, ready to publish my first chapbook of poems, Outcry, very soon. Ready to market myself as a Writer with a capital “w”.
Lit Chic: Tell me about your current project, Quick Fix and Heartbeats. What was the inspiration behind that work?
Quick Fix and Heartbeats is a general fiction piece about a girl (Nikki) who is struggling with inner demons and interpersonal relationships. She is in a toxic relationship with herself, as well as her semi-ex boyfriend, and ends up meeting a girl (Madeleine) who offers real healing in her life through her friendship and her horses. But, just when Nikki realizes that she is half-in-love with Madeleine, her friend leaves the state with her new husband. Eventually, Nikki moves in with them, but realizes things are not what she expected. Madeleine’s marriage, even their old friendship, are not what they seem.
Lit Chic: Much of your writing and blogging focuses on mental health and depression. What inspired you to choose this topic?
Jessica Sita: I am not afraid to say that I suffer from mental illnesses—specifically from Bipolar Disorder and severe anxiety to name two. It is very important to me that I be “out of the closet” as a person with mental illness because I strive every day to break the stigmas surrounding the words “Bipolar,” “depression,” “crazy.” And so, it is important that I am open on my blog about these things, in my writing both memoir-type and fictional. I am looking to break through the darkness of mental illness and bring forth the light. Don’t get me wrong, I write about the truth of these illnesses, the down and dirty, not-so-pretty truth of these conditions. But then I write about the triumphs, the hope, the healing, the good things that can come out of having these conditions. I just want someone who doesn’t suffer to maybe understand better, and for someone who does, to find my work encouraging or at least relatable—knowing they are not alone.
Lit Chic: Tell me about your latest work Outcry and why you chose to self-publish?
Jessica Sita: Outcry is a chapbook of about 25 poems all written from female voices focusing on exploring the definition of the title. The poems inside deal with themes of mental illness, rape, abuse, censorship, etc—both the pain and triumphs. Some of the women characters are screaming to be heard, others are whispering, but they all have something important to say. I chose to self publish because the market for poetry is small, and I am not very marketable (yet). Also, I am impatient. I have an intense need to get these poems out into the world. I fully believe they will find their audience, their niche, the people who need to read them. I am ready to put myself out there and so self-publishing seemed like just the right thing to do. It should be out soon! My crowd funding campaign for it ends on the second of April. And then I shall be working my tush off getting it pushed through Lulu as an ebook and a print book.
Lit Chic: What are some of the benefits of self-publishing/draw backs?
Jessica Sita: Being the sole creative director of my work has been a definite benefit. And I’ve been surrounded by some great friends and support for the work. I don’t have to wait on a publisher to tell me when and where I can publish. But I do have to do my own marketing. And if you’re looking to make money, well, I suppose there have been some very successful self-published works, but you shouldn’t be in this business to make money. You should be in the business to share your stories, your voice, your view of the world.
Lit Chic: As the social media guru, what is your advice to other writers trying to break through?
Jessica Sita: I have the luxury right now of being a stay-at-home writer and housewife, so I can manage all of those social media platforms every day. Most people are managing full or part-time jobs in addition to writing. In order to market yourself, though, you are going to want to get on some social media sites. My advice, however, is to only join those you have the time to update quite frequently (every day is not a requirement, a couple times a week, yeah.) Take on only what you can handle and then make a schedule (as my friend Ericka Clay from Tipsy Lit so wisely advised me once). Spend an hour or two on social media every couple of days and the rest of the time, get off the computer and write! You’ll probably want to have a blog. That would be, in my opinion, one of the most important tools in a writer’s repertoire. And if you’re serious, you’ll want your own domain name (which I am planning to get soon). Twitter and Google+ are also good tools. You can send out tweets on when you post new blogs and get an audience that way, and on Google+ there are a ton of communities to join to unabashedly promote yourself.
Lit Chic: Speaking of Tipsy Lit, I see you’re attending a blog tour with Tipsy Lit’s Erica Clay. That has to be exciting! Tell me more about it.
Jessica Sita: Yes! It was my first blog tour. Ericka invited me to do it and I nearly squealed with delight. It’s the My Writing Process Blog Tour where you get to talk about your current work and your, well…your process. Then you tag three other writer-friends to carry on the torch a week after you. I’m hoping it brings me some more readers. I love my readers.
Lit Chic: What advice would you like to give to other writers in the blogosphere?
Jessica Sita: Be brave, my friends. I give you this line from one of my favorite songs Brave “You can be amazing you can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug….” – Sara Bareilles
That’s all! I hope you enjoyed this month’s featured author. Be sure to click on the links provided to check out her blog, author facebook page, and her twitter account. You can also find her on google+ and other social media sites.
Stay tuned for next month’s featured author. Who will it be?