Literary Stardom is a spotlight for 'New Authors' that has 5 or less books under their belt. This new feature is targeted to highlight new authors because many new authors are often overlooked and readers don’t want to take a chance on purchasing a book by someone ‘new.’ However, many readers are missing out because these new authors have a lot of fire spitting from their pen! Some of you seem to forget that your favorite author was once new & you took a chance with them. So, my message is to stop overlooking these talented authors and give them a chance! Our 2nd Literary Star is Keisha Simpson-Baker.
Newly released author, Keisha Simpson-Baker, is originally from Compton, CA, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Her hometown knowledge of the inner city of Los Angeles is reflected in her writing. Keisha also spent time living in Wisconsin where she attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Other than writing, Keisha enjoys spending time with family, cooking and baking.
Chatting with Keisha Simpson-Baker
I had the honor of sitting down & chatting with Keisha about her literary career. Tune in to hear what she had to say.
My name is Keisha Baker and I’m originally from Compton, CA. I still live in the Los Angeles area with my son and husband. I enjoy reading, writing, traveling and spending time with my family.
Your publisher is Pleasure Principle Publications. Why did you decide to sign with them?
I signed with Pleasure Principal Publishing because I liked the fact that it is a black owned company and deals specifically with urban fiction. I felt like they would be best to market my specific book. They specialize in online kindle versions of books and I’ve had quite a bit of success in that area.
Who is your targeted audience and what message are you trying to relay in your writing?
My targeted audience is African American young adult/new adult. I am trying to tell a great entertaining yet realistic story that people can relate to.
With thousands of books being released each day and new authors steady emerging, how are you going to stand out? Why should readers give your book(s) a try versus others in the same genre?
I think readers will really enjoy the story I’m telling mainly because the main character Imani is so relatable. She’s the type of girl that we all know and love, and has the timeless tale of a high school relationship. I really hope readers give me (and Imani) a shot!
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I would have loved to been responsible of “Roll of Thunder: Hear my Cry” by Mildred Taylor. It is a wonderful piece of historical fiction, and one of the first books of that genre that I’ve read as a child. That story has stuck with me for many years.
I'm sure you're a reader as well, who are some of your favorite authors and what's on your ‘To Be Read’ List?
My favorite authors are Sister Soulja, and Lisa See. I always love a great historical fiction story so that is what grabs my attention and what is on my “to be read” list.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how long has it been since you published your first book?
I am a part time writer and I published my first and only book in January 2016. I am working on completing my second hopefully by this summer.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I absolutely love to read but this past year I had been on a lull on finding great stories, so I said to myself, “you know what I’ll write the type of book I want to read,” and I did just that.
So tell us, what books have you written?
The book I have written is 'A Compton Love Story.'
What genre is ‘A Compton Love Story’ and why did you choose to write in that genre?
It’s an urban fiction, coming of age story. I’m not yet 30 years old so it’s easy for me to imagine a coming into adulthood situation. I also lived and grew up in a predominately black urban environment so there’s a lot that I can draw upon.
Give us an insight into your main character(s). What does he/she do that is so special?
Imani is a high school senior from Compton, California, and she's on the fast track to success. She has everything she thought she ever wanted until she meets and falls hard for a young man, Braxton Carter. I think the readers will love going through Imani’s story and seeing the decisions that she makes while her relationship progresses.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from ‘A Compton Love Story’?
An actress I see playing the lead character would be Yara Shahidi.
How do you connect and interact with readers?
I have an active Facebook author page “Keisha Baker.” I also respond to email Keisha.firstname.lastname@example.org
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The editing was hard. Constantly re-reading and stressing on every sentence was hard- especially with the dialogue because it’s something that has to be realistic. I was constantly questioning myself, “Is that something a 17 year old girl would say?”
Do you think that giving away books for free works? Why or why not?
It does help to start off a writing career, it gets your name out there and will leave people wanting more.
Why do you feel that you will be reader’s next ‘favorite author’?
I hope to produce entertaining reading material for a black audience. I hope that my writings fill a void that I had felt when I first started writing. I like that my work is current and fresh and takes into account a lot of today’s social media and technology issues into the storyline which is something you won’t get from earlier writings.
Where do you see yourself in your career as a writer in 5 years?
I hope that I continue to produce great quality stories that my readers love, but I also hope to cross over into historical fiction which is my favorite choice of reading
Based off what you’ve learned in your writing career, what advice would you give to a new and emerging author about the publishing industry?
I would say to write the story you want to tell and not to give in too much to what publishers want. You’ll find your audience. I also say look for the small independent publishers that specialize in your specific genre. My publisher Pleasure Principle Publications has been terrific in helping me navigate through this world.
How do you think the publishing industry will be in the future?
I think the publishing industry will be much more directed by the people telling publishers what they want and having more interaction with publishers.
What can readers expect from you next?
The next book will be a continuation with the characters from my first book. They’ll face new challenges through their lives and work through them.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Imani and Braxton are a young couple from Compton, California simply trying to make it work. College bound and both from loving homes, they make decisions that completely alter the course of their lives and struggle to keep things afloat.
Imani is a high school senior from Compton, California, and she's on the fast track to success. She has it all; the grades, good looks, family and friends that love and care for her. She has everything she thought she ever wanted until she meets and falls hard for a young man, Braxton Carter.
Her excitement of having her first real boyfriend is short lived after Braxton's ex-fling Kayla comes to surface and publicly announces her displeasure. Even worse is when Imani finds that Braxton's family doesn't care for her, and her own mother warns her about taking their teenage relationship so seriously. The adversity seems to bring couple closer together instead of tearing them apart.
As their relationship progresses, Imani and Braxton find themselves in a very difficult situation. They have to go against the people they love the most in order to do what they feel is the right decision for their lives.
Genre African American Urban Fiction, African American Romance
Publisher Pleasure Principle Publications
Release Date January 18, 2016
Print Length 172 pages
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out Keisha Simpson-Baker’s new release! Leave a comment below to let Keisha know what you think, if you have any questions & if you will be purchasing this hot novel! If you loved this post & want to be notified of new posts, subscribe to my blog! Also, subscribe to our mailinglist.