Kimberly Smith, who writes poetry under the pen name JustasPoetic, has always used writing as a form of self-expression. It wasn’t until an 8th grade Creative Writing class that she realized that she had a passion for writing short stories and poetry. From then to now, she has been committed to pursuing her life-long dream to become an author. The publication of her first book, “Pieces of My Reflection” in 2016, was a dream come true. With her first writing project complete, she has now turned her attention to her second love, children’s books. She founded Peppermint Publishing in 2015 and is working diligently on a series of books for ages 4-8 about characters inspired by her 3 children.
Kimberly was born and raised in Mississippi, but moved to Indianapolis, IN in 2000. She is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and owns a company called Eskay Footprints, LLC, which provides virtual bookkeeping services to small businesses, non-profit organizations, and churches. Kimberly continues to reside in Indianapolis with her husband, Sherwin Jr., and their 3 children, Kyndal, Saniya, and Sherwin III.
“It is more than my name on the cover of a book. It is my purpose, my dream, and aside from my family, it is what gives my heart it’s greatest joy. It is creating characters that are memorable and writing stories that are relatable to my audience. Being an author is God’s purpose for me.”
BLAQVERSITY MAGAZINE: How did your journey as an author begin?
KIMBERLY SMITH: My journey as an author began in the small town of Woodville, MS. As an only child, I had a lot of free time. I spent that time reading and creating stories of my own.
BLAQVERSITY: Was becoming a writer something you always wanted to pursue? Who motivated you?
KIMBERLY: Becoming a writer has always been my dream, from the time I was 7 years old. My mother was my biggest fan and cheerleader. She would listen to all my crazy ideas for characters and stories.
BLAQVERSITY: What are some of your favorite authors out right now?
KIMBERLY: My favorite author is Kimberla Lawson Roby. Other authors I have enjoyed over the years include James Patterson, Toni Morrison, Rachel Hollis, Crystal Rhodes, Victoria Christopher Murray, and the late Dr. Maya Angelou and E. Lynn Harris, to name a few.
BLAQVERSITY: Since becoming a published author, what challenges have you faced if any?
KIMBERLY: One of my greatest challenges are work/life balance. Being a business owner with a husband and 3 young athletes can be challenging at times. I tend to pour my all into either one or the other. I am slowly learning how to give myself grace, how to prioritize both my family and my business, and that making time for myself is not at all selfish.
BLAQVERSITY: How many books have you written? What is your genre?
KIMBERLY: I have written 4 books: one book of poetry and 3 children’s books. I haven’t necessarily tied myself to a specific genre.
BLAQVERSITY: What message do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?
KIMBERLY: My children’s books center around characters inspired by my 3 children. Those books are intended to be relatable to children grades Pre-K through 3rd grade. They are fun and entertaining with subtle messages. My poetry book is a contemporary collection of poems written over 10 years and explores love and loss through my eyes and the eyes of others.
BLAQVERSITY: Do you have any writing tips/suggestions for any new author who wants to write their book but doesn’t know where to start?
KIMBERLY: Start writing! As you begin, know your purpose and believe in your story. I would also encourage them to connect with other authors and ask questions. Do your own research. Know your audience and learn how to engage them. And most importantly, take your time.
BLAQVERSITY: Are you currently working on any new book projects? If so, when can we expect them to be released?
KIMBERLY: I am currently working on two new titles, one of which is the first book in my new children’s book series for my son’s character. The other title I’m working on I am unable to share at this time. I am working diligently to get both titles released by Spring 2021.
BLAQVERSITY: What does being an author mean to you?
KIMBERLY: It is more than my name on the cover of a book. It is my purpose, my dream, and aside from my family, it is what gives my heart it’s greatest joy. It is creating characters that are memorable and writing stories that are relatable to my audience. Being an author is God’s purpose for me.
BLAQVERSITY: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
KIMBERLY: In 5 years, I see myself continuing in my purpose, prayerfully as an established writer with faithful readers and a successful publishing company. By this time, I hope to have passed on my bookkeeping business to focus more on my writing career.
BLAQVERSITY: Have you ever thought about being an author full-time?
KIMBERLY: Yes. Everything that I am doing now is so that my dream of writing full-time becomes a reality.
BLAQVERSITY: If you could co-author with any author in the world, who would it be and why?
KIMBERLY: Without question it would be with my favorite author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. I have been following Kimberla since my mom and I met her in 2003. She was the first author I had ever met and I was drawn to her. She is a phenomenal writer and an amazing person. She is my role model and I know that I could learn so much from her if given the opportunity to write with her.
BLAQVERSITY: Tell us about your marketing strategies as an author? Do you find it to be challenging at times when promoting your books?
KIMBERLY: Marketing is a daunting task but one that I am determined to keep working on. It is definitely challenging, especially when you are a self-published author. I struggle with social media, but I get the most results at events and readings. I love in-person interaction. However, I am working on improving my strategies for online marketing and promotion.
BLAQVERSITY: How can readers connect with you and support you?
KIMBERLY: Readers can connect with me on Facebook, @PeppermintPb and IG, @peppermintpb_books. I am also on Twitter, @peppermintpb. My website is www.peppermintpb.com and my email address is email@example.com
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