Here’s the situation… At the age of 21, Tamika Newhouse founded Delphine Publications and has since become a self-published, bestselling author. She has appeared on various bestseller lists and won Self Published Author of the Year at the 2009 African American Literary Awards only nine months after her debut novel. In 2010, she was inducted into Who’s who in Black San Antonio and she landed a major publishing deal without an agent and still continues to write independent projects. In 2011 her company Delphine Publications won an African American Literary Award for Best Anthology, and Tamika won for the second time for Self Published Author of the Year. She was also nominated by the National Women in Business Association for the 2011 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. In 2013 she was honored with the Author of Distinction E. Lynn Harris Award. Her latest award is for the 2013 African American Literary Award for self-published author of the year.
Along with Delphine Publications, Tamika is the founder and President of African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) – an online book club and radio show catering to avid readers across the nation. She is also CEO of Obsessive Soul Media. With future projects in the works from short films, stage plays and much more, Tamika is a young woman on a mission. She has been featured in Uptown Magazine, Essence, Hello Beautiful, Juicy Magazine, and in Vibe Vixen Magazine.
Tamika presently tours the country speaking about overcoming her teen pregnancy to fulfill her dream, as well as teaching aspiring writers the publishing ropes. A former radio host, she hosted her own internet radio show (AAMBC) for over three years and continues to expand her brand. She is currently living in Atlanta with her son and daughter and is currently working on her next novel.
The Situation Room with Michelle Cuttino had the pleasure of catching up with Tamika to discuss her myriad successes as well as her latest novel, The Words I Didn’t Say.
Michelle: You are a force to be reckoned with in the independent publishing arena. How did you get started with self-publishing?
Tamika: I had launched a book marketing platform called AAMBC. Presented to the public as a book club, I was able to promote authors under that platform. I ended up meeting a lot of writers, publishers, agents, and those alike and studied the art of publishing. I mastered it and launched my own company, Delphine Publications in 2008.
Michelle: You’ve done so much in such a short period of time. What factors do you attribute to your success?
Tamika: I am obsessed about this and I genuinely love it. I am a natural born writer and I love storytelling, so the mere fact that I love this is an added bonus. Plus I am consistent. I rarely quit. I may have some slow down moments to regroup but quitting isn’t an option.
Michelle: Of all the novels you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
Tamika: Cookie a Fort Worth Story is my favorite simply because it reflects my life the most. I poured my soul into that book and it’s the best life I ever allowed people to get to know.
Michelle: Being nominated for the 2013 Author of Distinction E. Lynn Harris Award was humbling enough, but actually winning the award must have been surreal. What did that particular accolade mean for you?
Tamika: E. Lynn Harris was a groundbreaking writer who set the tone for many of us who are also fortunate to be writing for a living today. To be given an award named after him was beyond humbling, because I felt my work not just as a writer but a trendsetter was being acknowledged.
Michelle: You have been nominated for and have won myriad awards since your 2009 debut. Many feel that all literary awards are based on a popularity contest. What’s your view on the subject?
Tamika: Sometimes it is based on popularity but how popular can you be to get awards after awards. I personally don’t even have a circle in this industry. I am a loner by trade but my work and my hustle has been heard through the grapevine. I am and will be a voice to be heard. Beings can state it’s a popularity thing all day but if that person’s numbers and overall influence overshadows that then the naysayers can be quiet.
Michelle: Your latest release is titled The Words I Didn’t Say. What is this book about?
Tamika: This novel is based on a love that was short lived because pride and selfishness got in the way. I wanted to create a relationship that was life changing. These people loved each other but fear of being hurt and their own selfish desires were crippling. In real life we tend to not express our true feelings, because we are afraid of the outcome. In this novel I show what can happen if you choose to not speak up. Sometimes there are no second chances.
Michelle: Janet and Denim sound very relatable. Did you draw inspiration from your personal experiences, or is this book completely fictional?
Tamika: This one was definitely from personal experiences and then I channeled some of my friends heartaches and created this story. The characters are fictional, the situations are fictional, but all lies are based off of some truth right?
Michelle: With juggling motherhood, running a business, publishing other authors, scheduling and appearing for tour dates, etc., how did you find the time to write this novel?
Tamika: I challenged myself to finish this book. I wrote most of it in a 5,000 words a day challenge putting out thirty thousand words in a week. That made it very possible to finish this book.
Michelle: What is your writing process—do you outline or free write? Why did you choose this writing method?
Tamika: I do a short outline and a bio for my characters. In other words, I have to get to know the people I am about to write about before I can actually write about them. I give them a look, age, background, family, a personality, etc. Then I have specific plots I want to have in my stories but I do not map out a timeline for the story. For example, I know one character will get pregnant, that’s my notes I’ll write down, but how she will get there I won’t know until I write.
Michelle: You’ve co-authored novels with both Anna Black and Ni’cola Mitchell. How do you all collaborate on projects?
Tamika: I like to write with likeminded individuals and writing with these ladies was ideal because we are personally connected too. We understand each other and we vibe very well. I wouldn’t write with anyone I couldn’t relate to in person.
Michelle: Please tell us about some of the authors you publish under your Delphine Publications imprint.
Tamika: I have published the talents of Anna Black, Saundra who wrote the series Her Sweetest Revenge, Johnie Jay, Lakisha Johnson, Shewanda Pugh, and a host of others. I have published nearly sixty titles. I will debut four more new writers within the year as well.
Michelle: Are you currently accepting submissions? If so, what is the submission process?
Tamika: No I am pretty closed on that end. I recently signed four new writers and am pretty much done signing new talents as I focus on putting out more of my own projects over the next couple years.
Michelle: It has been rumored that the AAMBC Literary Awards will become a live event in 2015. Is this true? If so, can you give us any details on the ceremony, date and venue?
Tamika: I had wanted that to be true but my focus isn’t on that any more. I have done so many events for other writers and it has been unappreciated, negative, and so much more. And for the most part these events are paid for out of my pocket. Right now I am more interested in my own career and publishing house.
Michelle: What else can we expect from Tamika Newhouse in the future?
Tamika: I plan to tap into more entertainment, marketing and branding, and plays and movies. I have aspirations and I plan to meet them all.
Michelle: Please let us know how fans can contact and/or follow you.
Janet had been there and done that when it came to love. After a broken heart, love was no longer an option for her. No strings, meaningless sex, and random dates were now her top choices. Besides, keeping men at a distance and away from her heart was safe right? You can’t get hurt if you don’t let anybody in.
But what happens when you suddenly meet someone who just gets you?
The moment she met Denim she knew it was something different, something she couldn’t control. And from day one she fought that four letter word, love.
Denim had loved and lost and vowed to never feel for anyone ever again and that had worked for years. A successful music producer, but a womanizer by nature, the day he met Janet his quest to be unattached was challenged. Janet and Denim both fought what was evident, that they both wanted and needed each other.
Vowing to just be in the moment and not commit to one another, tension grows as their emotions can’t be controlled. Random sex want do, the endless dates with unfamiliar faces is getting old, and everyone is compared to the one that matters, each other.
But when Janet fears confessing her deep feelings for Denim will push him away; things change. Denim although loves Janet is unwilling to commit and it is his the lack of effort to change on his end that ultimately changes them.
Words go unspoken as this romantic, sexy, dramatic novel unfolds leaving two souls lost within each other. And when a broken heart can’t be mended it seems that their love will be lost forever without a real chance at happiness.
A love story not based on a fairy tale, but solely on the fact that sometimes we run from the very thing that will make us happy.