Thank you for joining me for the eighth installment of Authoring Arrowheads’s 2020 Author Interview series. For August, I’ll be interviewing an Instagram friend and fellow Contemporary YA author, Shamika Lindsay. Shamika published her first novel, Popularity Rules, in 2019.
On the last Wednesday of each month in 2020, I will be hosting an author for an interview! These authors will range from indie friends I’ve made online to authors in my local area. Be sure to subscribe to never miss an interview!
Meet Shamika Lindsay
Growing up, all she knew was writing. Shamika has often said that writing gave her voice when she was mute. That was true, to some extent. In the written word, Shamika could transport herself to a place where her thoughts created trees and beautiful streams that birthed a number of living creatures. Before the publication of her first novel, Popularity Rules, she had already written (in actual notebooks) a number of books and was thrilled to share them with the persons around her.
After getting a push to take the plunge into the literary world, she did. Shamika Lindsay hopes to always create a world that transports, transports anyone who needs an escape and a chance to venture into something unknown, sometimes impractical, but always safe.
Follow her on her social media platforms for more details @shamikawrites.
Interview with Shamika Lindsay, author of Popularity Rules
Q1: When did you first realize you love writing?
I love this question, mainly because I’ve never really given it much thought. It has been one of those things where I feel like I’ve done it all my life. But if I think hard enough, it was probably around the fourth grade, I remember vividly wanting to be an author. In fact, a lot of persons would jokingly say they knew that was what I’d be. Little did they know that they were fanning the flames of my passion long before I took it seriously.
Q2: What inspired you to write Popularity Rules?
I started Popularity Rules when I was in high school. This is significant because I had written a lot of books over the course of my high school years. But for some reason this one always stood out to me. Sure, it could be viewed as a passion project but it was a lot more than that. I found it to be insanely easy to write, I didn’t have to dig deep to find plot points as I would previously.
The entire premise of the novel came from seeing the nuances of high school life and how the topic of popularity was nothing like I thought the first few years of school. Unlike the entertainment industry would have you believe (well, in my case anyway), popularity wasn’t that big of a deal at my school. However, there were often persons obsessed with the idea of leaving a legacy, of being known, of being the one the students would talk/think about for years to come.
When I started to look at them repeatedly, the idea blossomed in my head, in the middle of a test! Funnily enough, I forgot that this is when I started the first draft until I revisited Wattpad (where it was initially posted). I began to wonder what would happen if the rules were reversed. What if someone hated all the popularity that was thrown at their feet. Additionally, the main character was a male solely because I wanted to challenge myself writing from that POV. I’m not entirely sure how well I did with that haha. All of the little bits of the adventure were interspersed throughout because I could hardly write without some exciting thrill, be it in the background or forefront.
I love Popularity Rules so much because it resonated with me on a deeper level. I mean, yes, I’m not in high school anymore and a number of the persons who’ve read it aren’t either, but the core message is still the same. Be careful what you wish for, because your greatest wish can become your worst nightmare in the snap of a finger.
Q3: What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a sequel for Popularity Rules. Initially this book was supposed to be a standalone. But immediately after I was finished, I began toying with the idea of a sequel (worst idea of my life, just kidding lol no but really it was horrible haha). I think this book is so difficult for me to write because I’ve never done this before, I’m being pushed completely out of my comfort zone and though uncomfortable I’m trying to guide the reins at the same time.
Also, I have other book ideas that I can’t wait to get started working on. So, whenever I’m out of the red with Popularity Rules Book 2, I can finally sit down with something completely new. I can’t wait!
Q4: Which authors (inside or outside your genre) have inspired your writing?
I think I’ve said this so much, a lot of people can recite the answer by now. But, I’ve always been obsessed with the ghost writers of the Nancy Drew series. I loved them so dearly. The adventure piqued my interest in taking people on a journey as well, steering them so far from their normal lives that they’d have to take some time to come down from the high (at least I hope)
I always love Scott Westerfield, he is AMAZING! I have reread the Uglies Trilogy more times than I can count and it never gets old. I’m still bummed it wasn’t picked up for a movie deal. I’d be first in line at every one.
Q5: What are your go-to writing snacks?
I don’t normally write and eat snacks, mainly because I get so wrapped up in the story that I don’t want to step out into the real world. But if I’d have to choose, I’d probably go with some tea or a nice bottle of water after an intense scene.
Q6: What is your favorite part about indie (self) publishing? What is your least favorite part?
My favorite part about self-publishing is the autonomy and my least favorite part is the autonomy but let me explain.
Sure, I’d always dreamt about a book deal, but I spent so much time feeding into the doubts I had that I wanted to just dive in, without waiting the years traditional publishing would take (querying etc.). I loved being in control of everything, my book cover, the storyline. Everything. It all felt authentic, as if people were privy to me without the fuss and frills and absorbing something that I wrote. It is exciting doing all this by yourself because at the end of the day you can look back and be proud of what you have done.
On the other hand, autonomy sucks because you’re a one-man (or woman lol) band. You have to do everything yourself. Literally everything. You have no team to help you, you have to figure it out on your own with as much Youtube videos and articles as you can digest. The marketing alone can take a toll on you. So it’s a lot of learning skills alongside writing, which is good in its own right but so so difficult.
Q7: What advice would you like to share with first-time writers?
I’ve been answering this question a lot lately, but I’ll try not to repeat.
A lot of the times we are often stuck on labels of who are and who aren’t. I’ve seen so many persons say you aren’t a writer if… or you aren’t an author if… But the truth is, once you write and are passionate about it, you can be anything you want to. Regardless of if it’s traditional publishing or self-publishing. Both have their own pros and cons. At the same time, it is important to note that either is hard work, and if you’re not ready to commit, you can always take a step back and jump in when you’re ready.
If you have a story to tell, tell it. Don’t worry about the other bits and pieces, those will fall into place later when all your research pays off. Additionally, never think that who you are or where you’re from determines if you write or not. You’re a writer for a reason, embrace it. Fall in love with it. And enjoy the ride.
Thanks for stopping by, Shamika!
Connect with Author Shamika Lindsay at:
Her new website is coming soon!
Check out her debut novel,
Almost drowning in the struggle to reclaim his identity and to remove all that has been thrusted on him, Jason finds himself almost strangled by the grand puppeteer of his popularity. Just before he sinks, he gains insight into what the world outside of popularity’s cushioned forces felt like. But instead of sinking, he burns—slow and torturous, now it’s a race against the clock for all he once knew and for what he was now protecting.
Floating around in society and a bout of social unconsciousness, Avery makes a sudden move that affects everyone around her and brings the mistakes of her past back in the form of a gargantuan brewing monster, having the possibility of saving herself but destroying all those around her in the process. She thought she had changed but when tangible problems surface it’s indicative of the fact that her past is still very much present.
Is it too late for change?
View the Book on Amazon!
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
Have you read Popularity Rules? I’ve not had the chance to read it yet, but I’ve got it on my Kindle!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.