Here’s the situation… Like many other urban youths, you have a past marred by drugs, violence and ultimately jail. This prison stint would be your turning point in wanting to make a positive change in your life.
On the other side, you are a single mother who relocated with your family to the south. You meet the man who will later become your husband, but it is everything but a storybook romance.
On your collective journey to balance your relationship, and embrace adulthood, two motivational novels are born.
The Situation Room with Michelle Cuttino sits down with Demetrius & Jacqueline Irick to talk about A Husband’s Journey to Manhood and Making More Meaningful Decisions.
Michelle: Please tell us a little about yourselves.
Jacqueline: I was born and raised in Queens, New York. By age 20, I was a single mother providing for my daughter with some assistance from my parents and none from the biological father. Our family moved to the South where I later met Demetrius.
Demetrius: Proud father of two beautiful girls, married to the best women in the world, and enjoying the ability to transform the lives of others…my life is great.
Michelle: Deejak’s Publishing Company is the name of your imprint. What are some of the services you provide?
Jacqueline: DJP, is a self-publishing company that provides the author the ability to get their work into print, ebook, and distributed through the mainstream outlets such as Barnes & Noble, BAM, Amazon, Apple Ibookstore, etc. DJP also provides editorial services to ensure the quality of work for the author and our company.
Michelle: How did you two get started in publishing?
Demetrius: After unsuccessfully trying to get our book into print through traditional means, we discovered the self-publishing option. We decided to use Authorhouse as it was the largest self-publishing company. We had a horrible experience with them costing us time, money and grief, which led to the decision of us creating our own company.
Jacqueline: Demetrius originally started the process of getting his book published alone. I was not involved until I started asking Demetrius legal questions which neither he nor the publishing company could answer. I like to keep a paper trail and emailed a representative to ask questions, but my emails were ignored. From that point, we decided to do this on our own. This experience motivated us to provide services to clients, in addition to educating the author along the way.
Michelle: Demetrius, your debut novel is a memoir titled I’m Finally A Man, A Husband’s Journey to Manhood. Why did you choose this title?
Demetrius: I wanted to reflect on the journey it took growing into a man. I realized that it was a process, and that I made plenty mistakes before I felt confident enough to consider myself a man.
Michelle: What will we learn about Demetrius Irick from this memoir?
Demetrius: The book is riddled with the poor decisions an adolescent makes—from drug abuse, drug dealing, shoot outs and drive-bys to joining the military. I went from a prison cell to sitting in the board room with CEOs, Presidents and key leaders in corporate America. I then moved on to being an author and motivational speaker to entrepreneur. Life is about the decisions and the consequences thereof. We have to make better decisions to position ourselves where we want to be.
Michelle: Jacqueline, your debut title is Live with Purpose: Making More Meaningful Decisions. What is this book about?
Jacqueline: This book is edgy because there is no filter. It touches on subjects such as self-worth and how some women today give a certain perception, in which she carries herself. Mainly, the book tells the reader to self-reflect and find a better way in how we deal with circumstances, and obtain a meaningful outcome through our choices.
Michelle: What prompted you to write this type of book? Was there one significant turning point in your life, or was it a result of numerous situations?
Jacqueline: The challenges within our marriage caused me to do more soul searching and self-reflection. I was not the best communicator. As a matter of fact, I was a horrible communicator inside the home but great in public. People respected what I had to say and came to me for advice, but my words fell on deaf ears with Demetrius. I knew Demetrius valued my opinion but I was not reaching him. This made me focus my day-to-day energy in modeling a balanced perception with all whom I come into contact.
Michelle: Demetrius, you have a bit of a checkered past. How did you turn your negatives to a positive?
Demetrius: It started with a decision that I no longer wanted the life I lived prior to my incarceration. Being trapped and having my freedom taking away was the defining moment in my life where I said I was at my worst or lowest level and I would never be there again. From that point every bad or poor decision I made was used to better myself to avoid making similar mistakes.
Michelle: Please tell us about Breaking Thru Chains Coaching.
Demetrius: My coaching is designed to help people transition and reach their goals in life—whether it’s career changes or advancement, financial stress, marriage or relationship or just personal development. Our main focus is the development of youth into future leaders and decision makers, to be self-confident and to explore their dreams and potential.
Michelle: What are some of the things offered through your youth coaching services?
Demetrius: Our programs include stress and time management, dealing with peer pressure, family, teacher stress levels, self-love, self-empowerment, dealing with bullies, effective communication, leadership development and goal setting, to name a few.
Michelle: Tell us what elements are involved in your parent and family coaching sessions.
Demetrius: Multiple dynamics are involved from making the decision to work on a particular goal. I first focus on the youth and getting them to open up freely and discuss what is at the heart of their problems. Many time teens feel they cannot be open and honest with their parents therefore putting up a barrier that eliminates free communication. My job is to break through that barrier and create an opportunity for families to communicate effectively. Parents will never fix a problem if they do not know that there is one and what it is!
Michelle: Being both motivational as well as husband and wife, what is Demetrius and Jacqueline Irick’s overall message?
Demetrius: Our message is that we are the sum of the decisions we make. We can’t make excuses for not reaching the goals or levels of success we dream of. We believe that as a unit we have each other’s back more so than any friend, family member or entity. We are in this together!
Jacqueline: I want people to make better choices, which in time will prove to be valuable to their overall being. We should seek self-awareness and change the things we can control. Above all, I want to encourage people to look beyond their own needs and help others as this is the gateway to our own blessings.
Michelle: What are some of Deejak’s strategic tips for branding and marketing/promotions?
Demetrius: I must admit marketing and promotions are my weakest areas. It’s my desire to surround myself with individuals that are stronger than I am to assist me in the branding of our businesses. We are continuing to learn by trial and error and that is one thing I would do differently earlier in my life. I would learn more marketing plans and objectives and maybe even get a job doing it to gain the experience.
Jacqueline: Our marketing strategies could use improvement. However, I am a firm believer that if Demetrius and I provide excellent service and are genuine with our clients, word of mouth will prove to be an invaluable marketing tool—courtesy of our satisfied customers.
Michelle: What else can we look forward to from Demetrius & Jacqueline Irick in the future?
Demetrius: We have another book. Motivationals for Dirty ChristianI, will be released in July 2014. We also will be more focused on our Deejak’s Personal Chef & Event Planning business. We are looking to continually brand the DeeJak name in 2014.
Jacqueline: We have our hands in quite a bit right now but my focus in 2014 is to further promote my book, be a blessing to others and concentrate on my catering business.
Michelle: How can we contact and/or follow you?
Demetrius & Jacqueline: We have several ways to contact us.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Tel: 980-253-4441, 980-272-1166 or 704-905-6949
Website: www.deejakspublishing.com, www.demetriusirick.com and www.jacquelinemjohnsonirick.com