Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Jamila Davis to the blog today. She’s the author of The High Price I had To Pay. Please enjoy what Jamila shares with us in the following interview.
IBP – Tell us about your new release?
Jamila – My book is a memoir, written as a cautionary tale, that illustrates my early life influences which led me on what seemed to be a never ending chase to find fulfillment. Although I grew up in a middle class home and my parents groomed me for success, my desire to be loved and accepted by my peers led me down the road of life in the fast lane.
My memoir was created to be a reflecting glass. Although my readers may come from all different backgrounds and walks of life, many of us are guilty of not loving ourselves enough causing us to be influenced by people who truly don’t have our best interest at heart. “She’s All Caught Up” shows how easily one can be swayed from fulfilling their dreams by getting caught up into the fiery thorns of people, places and things.
IBP – What started you on your journey to be a writer?
Jamila – On July 16, 2008 I was sentenced to serve 12 1/2 years in federal prison for bank fraud. Sitting in my prison cell in total despair, I had nothing but time to think. Reflecting back on my life as a straight A student, who traveled the country in a leading role in an off-Broadway play, ultimately becoming a successful business woman and multi-millionaire by age 25, I needed to clearly analyze just where my life went wrong.
After joining a prison public speaking group where we went out into the community to help deter at-risk kids from crime, I was forced to do some soul-searching and pinpoint the issues that ultimately spiraled my life out of control. I realized by honestly sharing my flaws, not only was I am to correct my errors, I was able to captivate the hearts of teens who I spoke to. This led me to put my story on paper. It was the desire to share my mistakes, and the costly consequences of my poor choices, to warn others to take heed and avoid my tragic fate.
IBP – Who are your biggest cheerleaders?
Jamila – By far my parents are my biggest supporters. Despite my past mistakes, and the many headaches I caused them, they are still cheering me on from the sidelines. My mother started her own publishing company to ensure that my book get in the hands of readers who can benefit from my message. My parents unconditional love and endless dedication is what keeps me motivated to move ahead. They are my heroes!
IBP – Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?
Jamila – With the many spirals my life has taken and with the accomplishments I was able to achieve at a very early age, I always desired to write about my experiences. My challenge was I never had the time, nor did I know where to begin.
Trapped behind bars, I was finally forced to take a time out. I used this time out not only to reflect on my life, but also to learn about writing. With the help of my family and friends, I produced my first book “Unlocking The Prison Doors,” a self-help book for incarcerated women. Completing that project gave me the faith to continue to write. Writing has since become my therapy that helped keep me driven, despite my current circumstances.
IBP – What do you love about writing?
Jamila- Writing is my means of release. Instead of keeping my feelings trapped inside, writing enables me to put them on paper. This allows me to reflect on my life in a different prospective. Writing about life’s events force you to think. Sometimes we only see things from one side. But when we write about them, we can see life from a different angle, which is a gift.
Writing helps me to honestly evaluate life lessons, which gives me the ability to overcome my fears and be honest with the truth of my circumstances. I love it most because writing is therapeutic and nonjudgmental.
IBP – Where do you get your inspiration?
Jamila – God is my inspiration. By reading the many stories in the Bible, I quickly took note that God does not judge us by our past. Instead, He is more concerned with our present state. He loves each of us, no matter how severe our mistakes were in the past. It is His love that heals us and inspires us to move forward.
Falling so far from grace is not easy to cope with. It took daily dosages of love to revive me and keep me motivated to push ahead. It is my desire to inspire the down trodden, and those who have experienced major difficulties in life, through my writing. I want to share with my readers the same kind of love God has shown me. That is what inspires me to write!
IBP – What is the one book that you think everyone should read?
Jamila – “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill is my favorite book. This book changed my entire outlook on life. It altered my way of thinking and the way I view success. It is a MUST read for anyone who desires to experience true success in life. It is a very powerful, inspirational book; a real jewel!
IBP – How can readers stay in touch?
Jamila – My books are available at www.voicesbooks.com, Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. Readers can reach me directly at facebook.com/authorjamilatdavis, or on Instagram and Twitter @jamilatdavis. I respond to all my fans and readily invite them to ask questions.
IBP – Have you ever Goggled yourself?
Jamila – It’s crazy because in federal prison we do not have direct access to the internet. But, I recently received a printed Google search of myself and I was blown away! To see how many outlets have picked up my work and have mentioned my books on their sites is truly an accomplishment, especially from behind bars. It shows that anyone can take a bad situation and make something good out of it!
IBP – Are you working on any other project except writing, right now?
Jamila – Behind bars I realized the high impact of the epidemic of mass incarceration amongst women. Many of us in federal prison are serving decade plus sentences for non-violent crimes.
While incarcerated I became a co-founder of WomenOverIncarcerated to help address the issue of over-incarceration amongst women, and to provide resources to women in prison and female ex-offenders. Instead of just being a part of the problem, I decided I wanted to be a part of the solution. I am passionate about creating change within the U.S. criminal justice system. This project is a perfect fit for me, because it goes hand-in-hand with my writing!