Behind the Scenes with Poet + Recording Artist Queen Majeeda
For those of you who know me, you'll remember that it's been almost two years since I've publicly jumped back into poetry--especially free verse. There's something freeing about taking snippets of personal experiences or beliefs and creating a short but powerfully written account about them.
This week, our special guest, Queen Majeeda, shares with us about her new book, Mountain Mover. A native of Jamaica, Karlene Hamilton, aka Queen Majeeda, is a musician and recording artist, poet, and educator. She has performed her poetry, given lectures, and taught poetry writing workshops in a variety of venues in Jamaica and the United States. She has worked as a journalist and currently teaches in Ocala, Florida. She holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in International Relations, and is listed in Who’s Who in Jamaican Arts and Entertainment.
Without further ado, let's jump into the interview!
1. What made you decide to pursue writing and how long have you been writing (publicly/privately)?
I've been writing since I was 15 years old. It's something I just found myself doing. I've written plays, short stories, poems, songs, newspaper articles, and now a book titled Mountain Mover. Writing has always been a hobby for me and then it became a career. I started out as a recording artist, setting my poetry to music and combining them with choruses. I released two CDs of my poems set to music. The first CD was released by Heartbeat Records and Tuff Gong Music and the second was self-distributed. My works have also been published in several anthologies. I would say I started writing privately as a teenager and publicly all my adult life.
2. What do you most enjoy writing about? Why?
I like writing because it's my way of expressing myself. I like the fact that I can address any topic through my writing. It's a form of relaxation for me but I also feel a responsibility to address social issues in my writing. Also, because of my relationship with God, I find myself writing about Him too. I believe there is power in the written word and writing allows me that voice to speak on behalf of the oppressed, it also allows me to vent, and also to meditate. I also enjoy what comes out on paper or the screen when I write. Sometimes, it's not what I planned and it ends up becoming a pleasant surprise by the time I'm finished writing a piece - whether it's poetry, an article or any written media - usually what I write ends up being more than I planned to express.
3. Who is your ideal audience and how does your work help them?
I would say probably college-aged readers/listeners because somehow that's usually the age-group that's drawn to my work. My writing motivates them as they're the voice of tomorrow. Also, they're faced with issues that affect the society-at-large and my writing covers those issues, and they're at the age where they're interested in what's happening in the world. I think they identify with my writings because it either echoes their sentiments and beliefs or encourages them to take a stand.
4. What was the inspiration for your upcoming book?
The inspiration came from my college experience where I was faced with situations in which I had to put God to the test. I found myself in circumstances where I couldn't get to the other side unless God intervened. I had the opportunity to prove Him. Things happened over and over in such unusual ways with seemingly impossible outcomes, that people would often say to me, "Girl, you have to write a book." So my story became my inspiration.
5. What can readers expect to read about in your book?
They can expect to read about my journey from being a Reggae artist who decided to pursue college and the interventions of a powerful God during those college years to the present.
6. What do you want readers to take away from reading this book?
Readers will go on an expedition and discover that God cares about every aspect of our lives. They will discover that nothing is too hard for God, that there is no circumstance they could ever face where if they just give it over to God and put their trust in Him, He will respond to them in ways they couldn't even imagine. What He's done for others, He'll do for everyone. Readers will find that God not only cares about our salvation but also about our earthly affairs. This book will motivate readers to pursue their dreams, to give up being satisfied with present circumstances and to develop their full potential. It will motivate them to walk through doors they were probably afraid of entering because situations seemed impossible. They will discover a God who can make the impossible possible if they just put Him to the test and challenge Him because He cares about every detail of our lives, even things we might think are too minor or even too major for anyone to care about or handle.
7. What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The most difficult part was deciding where to start because the book is a memoir and with a memoir, writers never start at the beginning of their story, they start at the most dramatic point. So for me, it was finding that point in my life where I would pull the reader in to want to read more and make sure I did this at the beginning of every chapter.
8. How have you grown as a result of writing this book?
Writing this book has made me realize even more the challenges that I had to overcome as I pursued my goals. I was re-reading it one day when the publisher sent it to me to go over the edits and I found myself with tears in my eyes, not sad tears but to read about the extent that God went for me all because I put everything in His hands. I have grown spiritually from writing this book and I have also grown professionally because now I can say I'm an author, and the experiences I faced in the book have given me a story to tell, which have put me in a position to be an inspiration to others because I am now a victor over my circumstances.
9. When will your book release and where can we purchase a copy?
Mountain Mover will be released this week, the first week of April and will be available in hard copy, e-book, and audiobook. It can be purchased here or anywhere books are sold, as well as on Amazon.
10. How can we stay connected with you?
I hope you enjoyed learning more about Queen Majeeda and her new book, Mountain Mover. Please support this incredibly talented writer by purchasing a copy (or two) of her book and sharing her story with others.