Over my lifetime, the first people who come to mind are my mother and sister. I mentioned in the book how much their support meant to me as I became a single mom.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change (remove or add) anything in your book?
I worked on this book off and on for two years, and I believe I produced the best work I could at the time. There were so many things I left out of the book, but I may do a revised version in the future, adding my own experiences once I have begun raising my daughter as a teenager (she is only 8 now). What I will change with my next book is the way in which I approach the publishing process. I will form a more solid team and give myself more time to create the book without feeling pressured or not having a plan B if there is an issue with one of my service providers.
I wrote the book with teen girls in mind, and I have heard from teen girls that read it quickly (couldn't put it down), and enjoyed it. I'm also hearing a great response from women in their 20s all the way to their 60s (mothers, grandmothers and childless women alike), who also strongly relate and identify with the concepts in the book, especially regarding relationships and self-esteem. I've also gotten great feedback from women who say that the Reflections Journal (which contains workbook-style questions) is something they can use right now, even without having read the book. I firmly believe that the issues I discuss in the book that are not resolved when you're young follow you and often cause bigger issues into adulthood and that's probably why it is resonating with women everywhere.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
In this book I tell a lot of personal stories, and they're not always flattering, but that's the point. I'm just relaying messages from my past to teach. I don't divulge information just for the sake of shock value. I love bring up "taboo" subjects, or that people know is present but don't want to admit (e.g., the proverbial "elephant in the room." Denying that an issue exists does not delay or erase its effect. Once you expose something negative, it starts to lose its power.
I want to connect with people and be relatable, and the way I do that is by sharing pieces of myself that are relevant from a teaching/coaching perspective. I want them to see that I'm a real person that overcome some things, and I'm not ashamed to talk about it. I can admit my mistakes because I grow from them. That's how we all learn. I can't come from a standpoint of, "That's beneath me," or a platform of perfection. Everyone talks about "keeping it real," and I do just that. I'm pretty transparent and when I speak about my personal business to make a point of helping others, people respect me for it.
Do you have any current project, and if you do can you tell us alittle about it?
I am writing another nonfiction book that focuses on the perspective of single Black fathers in America. There is so much emphasis on single mothers in the Black community (which is fine—I am one and I identify), but I want to bring Black families together for those who want that. The Black community is struggling so much because of broken homes. I want to tell the single dads’ side of the story, through the many voices of the real Black America. If you are interested in contributing via an interview, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Daree I like to thank you for such a great interview, I honestly enjoyed reading your book and hope that readers enjoy it as much as I did.
Just being able to share is a blessing to me and I hope the book brings hope and inspiration to all who read it. Connect with me on the following sites:
Daree Allen is an authorpreneur, young adult esteem advocate, speaker, and goal-getter in Atlanta, GA. She has published articles on a variety of topics as a freelance writer and blogger, and is the author of the new teen mentoring book entitled, "What's Wrong With Me?" in which she discusses her own childhood dealing with self-esteem, premarital sex, family and personal relationships. Find out more about her work at www.dareesinsights.wordpress.com and www.DareeAllen.com.