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An award-winning author, radio show host, blogger, poet and motivational speaker, is the host of Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain and Say What?? Author Spotlights radio shows, as well as the founder of Say What?? Book Club . A second grade class assignment sparked an interest in what would become her raison d’etre. Addressing the complexities and frailties of the human experience, she aims to bring a refreshing and encouraging word that uplifts the spirit and aids in the process of living life abundantly. As an educator, she wholeheartedly believes that each one should reach one; each one should teach one. When she is not writing, she may be found teaching writer’s workshops, blog-ging, volunteering, and otherwise beautifying the world around her. Tumika’s works can be found in the following anthologies: Voices of 76 Women, Brothers and Others, ShadeTree, and Mirrors; as well as in a number of periodicals, newsletters and magazines. Season of Change is her first novel.
Seasons of Change -
AVERY AND ALICIA true lovers whose lives are as different as night and day, find what they have spent a lifetime looking for in each other. As unresolved issues from their past start to resurface, the couple finds themselves having to deal with parts of their lives they’d just as soon forget. Each is forced to reevaluate what is important and make the decision to stay or to go in search of a higher meaning of their lives. Season of Change is a gripping tale that draws readers right in, leaving them enthralled...until the very surprising end.
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1. In your book Season of Change, you write in the first person and with a chapter donated to different character’s perspective. Why did you choose to write the book in this format?
It’s interesting what happens when you talk to people about situations that have occurred…the stories can differ vastly with each telling. Perspective, life experience, emotions at the time can all attribute to the tone of what has happened. In Season of Change, each character comes to the story with his or her own background, their own baggage, their own needs and their own voice. In order to show a well-rounded picture of what was actually going on, this was best. Each person just needed a chance to tell their story without being judged because of it. It’s hard to not put your own spin on things when a story is written from only one perspective.
2. Alicia is a beautiful, savvy and successful businesswoman. To many it would be shocking she would be blindsided by love and romance. What would you say is her main flaw?
We each come into relationships with deficits that we hope (even unconsciously) the other will fulfill. It was easy for Alicia to be blind-sided. For starters she had lived a very sheltered life. Her parents went to great efforts to make sure that she had a life of ease; of comfort. After all, isn’t that what we do with trophies? Polish them and set them high on a shelf to be seen, but not touched? However, for all the worldly possessions she had, she was a very lonely and neglected person. Avery came in and met her at the place of her biggest need. And to be quite honest, no matter what was going on with them, it never changed right up to the end. He was attentive. He cared about her. Protected her. Sheltered her. Made her feel safe and wanted for the first time in her life.
3. Alicia and Avery’s romance seemed perfect in the beginning. What do you see as warning signs every woman should heed while starting out a new relationship?
Even with Avery and Alicia there were warning signs and things that rubbed her wrong. However, because he was so attentive, she blew them off. Some commons warning signs is dealing with someone who criticizes what you wear or eat; who calls you names and puts you down, even in jest; who needs to have an account of your comings and goings at all times; who criticizes your friends and family and encourages you not to spend time with them. And of course there are the blaring signs like hitting/shoving/pinching/biting/squeezing; making you miss work.
4. Avery at first is every woman’s dream, but soon turns out to be a nightmare, yet you write him with so much compassion and empathy. What message would you like to send people who may find themselves in a relationship that wasn’t as good as they thought it would be?
While we do have an obligation to accept people where they are, we don’t have to put up with their stuff. If someone is abusing you (see above), you need to do yourself a favor and get out. It only gets worse. And know that if a person can hit you once, they can hit you again.
In addition, although this is a hard pill to swallow, relationships are just a mirror of what’s going on inside of us. For as easy as it is to point the finger to what someone else is doing, but we do play a role in those behaviors. Being honest with ourselves and accepting some responsibility for what is going on is a huge key in breaking free from the bondage and entrapment of violence.
5. This book is about domestic violence and you get down to the nitty-gritty. What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve seen too much. And too many women I knew or had crossed paths with were going through these very experiences. In certain cases it was like it was expected. I’ve seen a woman being dragged out of her home by the hair while her abuser repeatedly punched her in the face and left her like trash in a heap on the street, as I was taking someone home one night. It was surreal. At first your eyes don’t believe you’re really seeing this. There was the woman who was being dropped off to work by her boyfriend who was beating her up on the lawn of the place where she worked. Can you imagine the embarrassment and humiliation of picking yourself off the lawn and having to face your co-workers and act like everything is okay? There were family members I’ve seen attacked up close and personal. And with each incident, inside I silently raged. Why wasn’t there anyone to stop it! And these were women from all different walks of life. Despite what the media tries to portray that only Black women or poor women go through this sort of thing, the tendrils of domestic violence knows no such boundaries. There are women in affluent neighborhoods with millions in the bank being abused the same as the women who are on welfare; same as the blue collar workers who are waitresses and factory workers. None of the ‘stuff’ means anything when they are living lives of torment, fear and abuse. And what about the children? It is impossible for children to grow up around such behaviors and not be affected by it.
So for many reasons this story needed to be told. It’s told for those who have yet to find their own voice. It’s told to break down stereotypes and judgments of those who have lived it. It’s told so that others can find their healing and hopefully break the cycle….
6. What are your main inspirations for your poetry?
To me, poetry is the purest expression of a writer. It puts you on complete display. There are no characters to hide behind. It’s just the writer, their pen and the audience saying “See me. Hear me. Accept this as my truth, even if you don’t agree.” My inspiration comes from experiences I’ve had that affected me deeply. Love; sisterhood and the need for women to stop seeing each other as competition and just love and build each other up; our connection to men and those we see as our brothers; social justice…or lack thereof; God. Whatever it is that moves me, can get my pen to flowing.
7. You have a radio show, “Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain.” What are some of the subjects you like to talk about on your show?
Living Abundantly is an extension of my writing. I wholeheartedly believe that each of us where created with a purpose, for a purpose and to fulfill that purpose. However, there are so many mindsets, beliefs and things we’ve either experienced or been told that interfere with our ability to live the life we were created for. So through Living Abundantly, I expose those things that block and hinder our ability while giving systematic steps how to reclaim our victory. And included would be topics such as relationships, finances, health, mindset, living your dreams, being truthful with oneself about what you truly need and want.
I take my time with it. Each week we have assignments. There are books and resources that I share so that people can take the teachings even deeper. They are rooted in Christianity, but sometimes we need something other than the Bible to help break it down and make it easier to apply. Occasionally I have on a guest speaker. It is a real blessing when someone reaches back out to me and tells me that what I was teaching on hit the bulls-eye for them.
8. You are the founder of Say What?? Book Club. Tell us about the book club. Why did you create it and how do you hope it will help other writers?
I went through a small publisher with my first book. There were many things I was left having to learn on my own with no help. At times it was like pulling teeth to get doors to open for me. Through persistence and grace to cross paths with the right people, eventually I started to make a dent in the direction I was headed. Say What?? Book Club is my pay it forward gesture. I started it to give both indie and traditional authors an opportunity to meet on a level playing field. We offer opportunities to help the authors get more exposure, make more sales through the featured readings and hopefully get more reviews.
We are a group of avid readers, seasoned writers, novice writers, poetry lovers, poets, you name it who come together online and sometimes face to face, to share ideas, give encouragement, pass along resources, and of course talk about our love of reading and writing. We are a group of people who understand the importance of helping others.
Through several programs, we give authors an opportunity to receive exposure. There are read & reviews, online interviews, the monthly radio show where our featured author is interviewed, the authors can choose to interact with readers in our facebook group. So many ways. I have a few other things up my sleeve that are in the developmental phases right now, but I hope soon to be able to share more.
9. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Firstly, believe in your own gift and in your ability to reach people. There will be others who will try to tell you that you don’t have talent. But you must believe in yourself first. Secondly, write. Period. And don’t stop writing. Thirdly, learn not just your craft (because there is always something to learn about writing. Take some classes, enter some contests, get a mentor, keep developing your gift), but also learn the business of writing. You need to know what is out there and how it ties in with the overall big picture you have for where you want to go with your writing. Despite how easy it may look, Best Sellers don’t just happen. Lots of time, money and resources go into MAKING them best sellers. Know what you are getting into before you pour all your effort into a venture. And if I hadn’t mentioned it, WRITE! And Keep on writing!!! Write because you have something to say. Write because you love writing. Write because without those words on paper, you feel somehow incomplete. But don’t write just for money. You have to do it for a reason far greater than that.
10. What do you see as the future of publishing and promotion for authors?
Years ago when I was first trying to get my books published, self-publishing was almost unheard of. And it was looked down upon. I am so glad to see so many authors who say, “I know I have a gift and I believe in myself enough to put my name and money into getting out there!” However, when things get easy like that, it also makes it possible for a number of others who are not serious about their craft to flood the market with, dare I say it, garbage. Serious indie authors will need to get more creative in their marketing attempts. Sellers, reviewers and readers will need to put their foot down and stop supporting subpar work, as it makes those of us who are serious about our writing have to work harder. It will be necessary to pool and share resources; and find ways to fill in the gaps.
I also think that traditional publishers will have drop some of their elitist ways as people are making opportunities for themselves that have been denied up to this point. Overall, it’s a great movement. As we learn more about the industry, fine tune our craft and make worthwhile connections, it is entirely possible that the playing field can become more level.