Tonight on Literary Links we have B. Jackson; author of Somebody Else’s Blues
NefretitiM: What inspired you to write Somebody Else’s Blues?
B. Jackson: I honestly didn’t think about the details of this book before I started to write it. Truth – I just started writing and the story seemed to be just sitting at the tips of my fingertips as I hit the keys on the keyboard. I felt the unction to write late one evening after work. I began at 10 p.m. and by 2 a.m. several of the characters had been conceived. Perhaps this is because, as writers, we are always people watching and storing away images, ideas, and scenarios to be called upon later. Perhaps it is because many of our characters have a drop of our own DNA in them which makes them familiar to us in some way. In either case, once the characters were conceived, I had to keep writing just to see what would happen to them in the end.
NefretitiM: How did you come up with the title?
B. Jackson: Somebody Else’s Blues is a title born out of the mindsets and struggles that we seem to inherit from others. I call it second-hand bondage. Whether it be having a negative self-image because we were teased as children or leaving one unhealthy relationship only to find ourselves in another one the next time around, these types of scenarios seem to have one thing in common. They were seeds sown into our lives by others. These seed sowers imparted to us their negative experiences – we believed them – they reproduced in our lives in some form or fashion. In essence, we begin to live somebody else’s interpretation of what life is or who we are. We began to live somebody else’s blues.
NefretitiM: What genre does this book to fit into?
B. Jackson: I call this book an urban coming of faith tale, because it fits several different genres – It is urban fiction, women’s fiction, African American fiction, and because of its underlying theme of faith, it could be seen as Christian fiction.
NefretitiM: What influenced your interest in writing?
B. Jackson: I had two major influences. The first was the storytelling of my Aunt Brenda when I was a girl of about 8 years old. My imagination blossomed as I listened to the story’s that she would create and share with me and my cousins. I learned from her that well-crafted words were powerful in that thy could captivate your mind, inspire, and motivate you.
The other was my Aunt Betty. Because I had such a tumultuous childhood growing up, I’d often find myself on her doorstep in tears. I wanted comfort, but I was afraid to share the details of my home life in order to get it. In her wisdom, she didn’t press me for answers. She simply told me to never hold in my emotions. She said to make sure that I always got them out – even if all I did was write them down on paper and throw it away afterward. I took her advice, and found it to be quite therapeutic. I’ve been writing ever since.
NefretitiM: What is the writing process like for you?
B. Jackson: The writing process is not a difficult one for me, because I don’t search for material nor do I write when I don’t feel like writing. I don’t pressure myself to create. I do, however, make note of names that I hear that interest me, how they make me feel, what I imagine about a person with such a name. When I come across different events that occur, I may see that person with that name in the scenario and imagine their response to it. The characters, places, and events seem to marinate in my mind for a while – they seem to come together on their own. I write them out in the order that I see them and let the story become itself.
NefretitiM: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
B. Jackson: When I’m not writing I enjoy being outside in the sun every chance I get – I’m a sun junkie. I love to bask in the sun and be outdoors – barefoot in the grass. When I’m not doing that I like to spend time with my children playing board games, reading, and watching documentaries. I love to teach as well. I always say that I am set aside to write, but that I am empowered to teach. Those are my gifts.
NefretitiM: What tips or words of encouragement do you have for other writers?
B. Jackson: Just write! Don’t think about it too much – just do it! With the business of life and all of the responsibilities we have in a day, the margin for writing becomes very narrow. We have to seize these opportunities and do it from a place of leisure. Do all that you can to protect that space. For me, it means writing late at night when everyone in my house is asleep. The house is quiet, there are no interruptions, and I can just be one with my thoughts and a blank sheet of paper.
Thank You for joining us tonight. Pick up your copy of Somebody Else’s Blues by B. Jackson on April 29, 2016 at www.beewordz.com