Tamika Newhouse defies odds. She is one of those women who walks into a room and emits power because she was born with something many of us don’t have. Audacity. How else do you explain losing a parent just as you are beginning your adult life, and moving on to write, self-publish, and market 3 best-selling novels. Tamika Newhouse not only lost her mother to death, but also lost her husband and sister temporarily to other life circumstances and has become a sort of magician in her ability to raise two children, and bring ideas to life in novels she birthed all by herself. Parlé Magazine found out more about her as she told us her story.
Parlé Magazine: Hey Tamika. Talk to me about your background, growing up, what was that like.
Tamika Newhouse: Well ever since the day I could write, I’ve been writing. I have every single short story I ever wrote packed up in my garage somewhere. But I always had this dream of having a published book. I used to see the books in the bookstore and I used to admire people like Terry McMillan back in the day and I used to say “I want that to be me. This would be great if this was my publisher.” That was my dream and being young, I used to look at it like a record contract. Like that was a farfetched dream. That’s how getting a book deal was for me.
Parlé: So when did you finally get to writing that first novel?
Tamika Newhouse: Well, I actually wrote my first novel when I was 19 when I was at the lowest part in my life. That was “The Ultimate No No,” which I actually ended up publishing. I freehand wrote “The Ultimate No No.” I wrote it in about 30 days in the month of October. In September, I had lost my mother, my husband ended up going to Iraq and I discovered I was pregnant for the second time, like, 20 days after the death of my mother, and then my only sibling ended up being sentenced to jail for a whole year. So at this point in my life, I look around and everybody I talked to everyday was gone. Everybody was gone. My husband was in Iraq. My sister wasn’t here. And my mother wasn’t here. So I’m feeling like I was really at my lowest point. I was depressed. This was the worst time period in my life. The only thing I could think about doing was writing. So that’s when I actually sat down and wrote The Ultimate No No. So that book is full of drama. It’s full of…it’s pure entertainment. It’s not anything inspiring, what you’d think I‘d be writing since my state of mind was so off the wall. But I was really just wanting something to entertain me because my life was just pure crap at that point. So fast forward two years later, umm, I had written a book. It was in a journal. I put it on my bookshelf and really didn’t think anything of it. But my husband went to Iraq again for the second time and as you see my creative cycle here, when he goes away, I do something creative. So, all of a sudden I got an idea to start a myspace page and put up the books I was reading. By this time I was reading a lot and I started to enjoy reading. I wanted to be in a book club so I was posting books and telling people about them without knowing that what I was doing was called a book review and I was actually doing a really small amount of book publicity for these authors and then before I knew it, all these authors started emailing me asking me to review their books. They thought I was this huge book club and it was actually just me. And I took that and I said, you know I can do something with this. I can read these people’s books because a lot of them were self-published authors who I never heard of. A lot of my books I got from Black Expressions and there are always the same old authors in there and I thought that those were the only authors that existed, and here I discovered there are hundreds and hundreds more. And through these authors I learned the business. How to self publish and how to market. So I kind of got a crash course. And that’s when I got my next bright idea to publish my book “The Ultimate No No” that I wrote two years earlier.
Parlé : Very interesting. Where did the inspiration for “The Ultimate No No” come from? Was it born from any real-life experiences?
Tamika Newhouse: Well, I wrote from my experiences growing up. I was young when I wrote it. I was like 19, so it really reflects on some of the things that I know and I’ve seen. Remind you, I had my first child at 16. My life had been pretty boring. I really didn’t do much. I ended up marrying my high school sweetheart and the father of my child when I was 18 so a lot of the content in my books are pure fantasies. The what-ifs or some of my sister’s drama that I picked up and put in a book. None of it is anything I’ve been through.
Parlé: Did you name Delphine Publications after your mother?
Tamika Newhouse: Yes. I birthed Delphine Publications in late 2008. The reason why I named it after her was because I wanted it to be unique and have a true meaning and I wanted to publish all genres and I felt that my mother was a Christian. She read the Bible every day, but yet she’ll cuss you out. She loved romance, she loved drama. She was all of the above so I felt like Delphine defined everything I was trying to write. Delphine Publications was the perfect title.
Parlé: Tell me about your most recent book?
Tamika Newhouse: “Cookie” is a book I’ve been promoting for like two years now. Unfortunately, because it is based on truth… It is a true story…it’s taken me so long, but in that process, I brought a new authoress into Delphine Publications and I was working on her book, publishing her book, so I kept pushing back “Cookie.” I didn’t write on “Cookie” for like a whole year. But it’s coming out in the summer of 2011. I’ve been completing the “Ultimate No No” series with a third book, coming out Valentines’s Day of next year and that’s the third part of “The Ultimate No No,” titled, “Will Love Ever Know Me?”
Parlé: How do you get your ideas for your stories?
Tamika Newhouse: I can be anywhere. I usually get a lot of my ideas when I’m laying in bed supposed to be going to sleep. But my mind is still going. All of my titles are original. I always make sure nobody else has my titles and so far I have achieved that goal. Most of my story lines are romance but I like to tell people no love is perfect. You have to work at it to stay in love. There’s always drama. There’s always something going on so my books are full of drama because that’s what goes on in life. It’s never picture perfect. So I just make sure it’s realistic. I make sure there are some breakups and some makeups. When you love someone, you love them, but you know they’re not good for you. But you can’t let them go.
Parlé: How do you sustain your own marriage?
Tamika Newhouse: (Laughs) Nobody has ever asked me that question. That’s a good one. I’m one of those people who is so independent, I’m so strong minded, where if you refuse to support me, I’d rather not be with you because I don’t want to be one of those people who has that what if moment. I want to go through life knowing I did everything I wanted to do. And not just be a stay at home mother taking care of everybody else, and then when everyone is grown, here I am stuck with nothing to do. So my husband has really supported me. He understands that I need this. I breathe this. This is part of me. I’ve been with my husband since I was 14. We have this constant communication. I talk his ear off constantly. I’m honest and he’s honest with me. We’re both human so we definitely don’t shy away from our true feelings and if I have a problem or he has a problem, we let each other know. The most important thing is communication. You can never talk enough. I say talk too much versus not talk enough and you should pretty much make it.
Parlé: What advice do you have for a new writer?
Tamika Newhouse: I would tell a writer that first of all they really need to do the research and take the time to do it right because there are so many steps to publishing a book and then once the book is published you have to set time aside to market the book and get it out there. If you can find a mentor who is already in the business, do that. This industry is like any other industry, music, movies, anything. Any industry that deals with money, you have those vultures that can really eat you alive if you don’t know what you’re doing so you really need to learn all aspects. This is a business. Writing the book is the talent part. That’s the craft. That’s the easy part. After you write the book and published the book, this is when the business starts. If you’re not obsessed about this business and if you’re not committed, you’re not going to make it. So be consistent and do the research.
Parlé: Aside from writing, what would you say to someone going through what you’ve been through. You told me you’ve been through a lot in life. Your mother died, your husband was sent to Iraq, your sister went to prison for a year. What would you tell someone going through a similar situation, the death of a loved one? What would you tell them to give them encouragement or inspiration?
Tamika Newhouse: Some people just like to be depressed for whatever reason because they like for people to feel sorry for them. But if you can get up out of that slump, take that energy and gear it towards something you really enjoy. Use those people’s memories, the ones you have lost or the ones who have left as motivation. Say, “you’re not here, but I can still do it, I can stand on my own.” I tell people that “I can’t” is not in my vocabulary. I’m constantly saying, what else can I do. I always tell people just do it. And then they say, well, I have to do this, I have to do that, I don’t know, maybe I’ll start in a little while. But then I say, well, what is your true reason to not do it and you’ll be surprised that they have no answer. They’re just lazy. Why not do it. Why not put in the work. Why wouldn’t you work 5 years, hard, don’t eat, don’t sleep, whatever you have to do for 5 straight years to have, like, several years of bliss? I don’t understand why people just want to struggle for their whole life. Go to school. Work real hard for 5 or 6 years and for the rest of your life you’re set. (Laughs) That’s a good deal. I would take that. Wouldn’t you? We have to live on this earth anyway, so I think I want to have fun while I’m down here.
“The Ultimate No, No” and “The Ultimate Moment No Regrets” can be found in bookstores nationwide and Amazon.com.
Readers Also Liked:
From Acid Rap To Coloring Book – The Rise of Chance The Rapper