...writing is more than just a hobby; it's a part of me. Writing is Who I Am!
Jill Kapri is one of the latest and rawest voices taking the literary world by storm. The Sassy Writer was lucky enough to have the opportunity for a sit-down and get to know just exactly who is Jill Shawntaye Kapri and how a viral sensation emerged a voice with a gripping story to tell.
TSW: It's common for writers to write under pen names, in fact, I personally write under a pen name! Do you write under an alias? If so, what prompted the name change?
JSK: Yes, I started out using Shawntaye-Shawntaye as an alias name to write that didn't fit me or my personality. Then I started using Author Shawntaye; I felt that it was too plain and too simple. I needed a pen name to represent me, and my pen while keeping my origin nickname (Shawntaye) alive since it comes from my first name. I wanted to keep a side of my true self in my alias, or should I say a part of my pen name. I chose Jill Shawntaye Kapri because it was a name that built a new me while keeping the old part of me alive, Jill Kapri is the better version of Shawntaye, especially when it comes to writing. I needed a change, a new image, and the perfect alias to be recognized in this field. Jill Shawntaye Kapri is the unexpected version of what people expected Author Shawntaye to be.
TSW: Nice! When writing under an alias, it gives you a superpower, almost. I mean, there is the opportunity to re-invent or invent yourself. Because, let's be honest, everything is in a name, right? The interesting thing about not writing under your given name is that your pen name becomes synonymous with who you are on your creative journey and the meaning and attitudes you reflect through your works. I love how you measured the evolution of your journey when deciding. Shawntaye- Shawntaye was dropping classics, and Jill Shawntaye Kapri is going to be doing the same! You mentioned that you were a part of the Twisted Writing Challenge on Facebook. I remember reading many of those and being blown one way or another by the twists and turns. It's exciting to actually chat with someone whose work was amongst the participants. Tell me, What was the general response, and Where can we find it?
JSK: My short story, A Twisted Story, was about a young girl named Miss Lexxy. She found herself stuck in the middle of her mother's husband being in love with her, while she fell in love with his business partner, her mother furious and upset blamed everything on her. She began to create all type of lies, it wasn't until tragedy struck everyone at once, multiple times, that they set out to find the truth to the twisted lies that were continually reappearing. The thrill of it was amazing. I didn't write an entire book because it was a last-minute short story I came up with to join the Facebook Challenge that was going on at the time. Before the challenge, I would write small short stories here and there on Facebook that didn't get me much attention, some wanted me to beg for support, and I just could not. Still, once I wrote that story, the story itself opened up doors for me as far as gaining the right attention from people to show them, I really have what it takes to be a writer. My short story challenge was created on one of my old Facebook pages I no longer use. I may reintroduce the story and publish it, but as of now, A Twisted Story has been put to sleep.
TSW: Jill, don't do us like this! We, the people, your readers, demand the Twisted Story to be brought back. I mean, seriously, it's a popular demand here! We won't badger, BUT we will be checking in from time to time to see if you changed your mind! Haha! So, You mentioned that you'd been writing short stories before, without much engagement, it had to have been a fantastic feeling to give the thing you love a go, out of sheer love, and feel that breakthrough you've been looking for. Had you ever envisioned writing for the masses or just a hobby?
JSK: At first, it was just my hobby because I worked a fulltime job and had to be a mother full time. I couldn't give it my all, but once my passion and love grew for it. I knew the art and body of it was bigger than "Oh, this is just something I want to do." Though I write urban fiction right now, I am also releasing a book titled A Shameful Pain, which is a book full of true trials and tribulations. So to me, writing is more than just a hobby; it's a part of me. Writing is Who I Am!
TSW: I love it! You write across genres. I find this a beautiful thing and brave. I feel a lot of times, authors limit their abilities by keeping their creativity and passion to one genre. When In actuality, there is a call to share further. However, this isn't anything new for you. I understand that you are no stranger to poetry. Do you remember any of your poems from childhood in its entirety or a single verse? Share it.
JSK: Absolutely, I wrote a poem when I was fifteen titled Misunderstood, My favorite verse in it was
"People look at me and judge me without understanding me. People Look at me convincing themselves they see right through me, but how could that be? When no one really understands me. A lost soul so broken and so confused. I wish people really knew my truth. I feel abused and misused. They don't even know I only own one pair of shoes. If I take this shirt off right now, they would see the bruises. How could I be the one that they are choosing to crucify, dehumanize, and beat alive? My heart beats slowly, hoping someone would come and rescue me. Not control me, and mold me but hold me."
TSW: Whoa! Girl, you are a force – been a force! The emotion and power spoken in these verses alone are insane. Judging from your poem's intensity, is it safe to say you tap into yourself to produce such strong words? How do you establish your writing sessions?
JSK: I really don't establish my writing sessions because I work so much, I am rarely home, and when I am home, my job then is being a full-time mother of three. So, I actually write as much as I can when I have the time. But God also put me in a better place to be able to write and self-publish my books on my own timing at my job, so I cannot complain about that at all.
TSW: I applaud you pounding the pavement and still churning out your dreams. That is inspirational and a showcase of determination. It is always great as well when your 9-5 is conducive to making a dream come true. I can understand how you stay hungry and motivated. In the efforts of making yourself better, if given the opportunity, who is one author, you would choose as a mentor?
JSK: Oh my goodness, that's such a hard decision because it's so many great authors It's no way I could choose just one, but I will say this Wahida Clark was my green light to myself to say "I can do this, I can be as great as she is, and I want to be just like Wahida as an author." On another note, the moment I read Dirty Money by Ashley and Jaquavis Coleman as well as her The Prada Plan series, I completely fell in love with Ashley as an Artist/Author. She's incredible. If I had to choose which one to mentor me, I can't just have one or the other lol I need both of them. Those are my girls.
TSW: First, let me just say, I don't think the literary world give Wahida Clark enough love, because honey when I read Payback is a Mutha, I literally lost it. She is a trailblazer. As for Ashley, does it really need to be said? Hands down, she is a force. You can't go wrong with either! Switching gears a second and touching on you and your latest, Hoes in Da Hood. First of all, the title moved me. I was ready to find out what really was good. Reading through the synopsis, Cousin Woo caught my attention, and for some reason, I feel like she is significantly memorable. Why is Cousin Woo so significant?
JSK: Cousin Woo is so significant because She speaks her truth, she is going to tell you like it is, whether it hurts your feelings or not. You can not help but love her character; she's as real as it gets.
TSW: So, basically, Cousin Woo is that someone that we all need in life to remind us of the reality of it all. I bet writing Cousin Woo was liberating, writing without a filter, dropping gems, and giving life. Whether it's one of her scenes, or not if you could be a part of one scene in your book, would it be?
JSK: Honestly, I would be a part of Shonta Marie, and Shantelle's over the phone friendship clash because I know on a personal level how Shantelle's character feels. I also know on a personal level how Shonta's character feels. I would have loved to be on a three-way phone call with both ladies, giving my advice.
TSW: You have got to stop doing this to us! Talk about a cliffhanger. Now, we all need to check out Hoes In Da Hood to find out what happened between Shonta Marie and Shantelle! Perhaps we can get back with you for one-on-one and hear the advice you would have given them! Jill, it has been great catching up with you, and we are going to wrap it up, for now, However, before you go – You guessed it! Fire round: Brunch or dinner?
TSW: Beyonce or Rihanna
TSW: Favorite urban Lit book:
JSK: Mine will forever be the Cartel Series I tell any and everyone who has not read it to get on it.
TSW: This was the series in which I fell in love with Ashley and Jaquavis! So, yes, I second that! One more thing -How can the people reach you?