Black Pearls Magazine: Meet Nikkea Smithers
Nikkea Smithers is a spoken word artists and Essence Magazine Best Selling Author She has performed on stages in front of thousands. Her literary work often speaks to issues in the community that are often under-discussed. Her readers have fallen in love with her ‘tell it like it is’ approach to writing making her readers lifelong fans.
Intimate Conversation with Ella Curry, CEO of EDC Creations
Ella: Hello Nikkea! Introduce us to your book, On The Flip Side.
Nikkea: On The Flip Side deals with a situation that many men face but little light is shed on. We often hear the story about the single mother doing it for her kids on a daily basis. While I would never want to take anything away from them, what we don’t often hear about is the single father who is standing up to his responsibilities and being burdened with social issues beyond his realm of control. What if the mother is not the one holding it down? What if the father has the kids but the mother has the greed? On The Flip Side deals with a different kind of baby momma drama and show that real men are fathers and not just baby daddies.
Ella: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?
Nikkea: Tavares was on the path to be a very successful young man. A one night stand turns his life up side down and he finds himself in a position where he has to be accountable. As he struggles to be a respectable father the mother of his children does everything in her power to break him down. The twist to this tale is he just isn’t just a single father, he is also paying child support as if his kids don’t live with him and in two different states.
Danica is a very interesting woman with a serious God complex. She truly believes that she is better than everyone around her. Not only does her complex cause her to throw stereotypes around like they are going out of style but it causes her to play the role of karma. The problem with playing karma is that it’s bound to come back on you if you aren’t living right.
My favorite is Tavares because he is the epitome of real man. He immediately steps up to the plate and makes things happen. As you read the book you genuinely feel for him. His kids come first, plain and simple. Who doesn’t love a man like that?
Ella: Are your characters from the portrayal of real people? What inspired you to write this story?
Nikkea: The characters aren’t based on real people but are influenced by conversations. I love talking to people and my husband and I often throw these parties where there are debates on different topics. Of course one of the most popular topics of debate is child support. The men thought they paid too much. The women thought it wasn’t enough. One man talked about how he was paying support in both NY and VA. He talked about how neither state would take into consideration the order in the other state. This blew my mind!
My mother was even present and shared her views on the subject which opened my eyes even more. I see story lines in the strangest of things so I thought, what if was the other way around? What if the man had his kids and was still paying child support? So I wrote the poem On The Flip Side and was surprised at the response it got from men that were going through this very thing. Then a friend of mine and I were talking after she saw me perform the poem and was telling me about a friend of hers going through this only his child’s mother left the kids at the hospital after birth! I immediately thought oh this needs to be a book! I then took the poem and turned it into this book.
Ella: What issues in society have you addressed in the book?
Nikkea: Child support is the obvious issue addressed in the book but there are several subliminal messages. I love dealing with subliminal messages and try my best to place a few in every novel I write. One issue is accountability. Society is really hard on women in regards to promiscuity but men don’t always get the same scrutiny. I want to show young men that they have to be responsible for their actions as well. That one night of passion could mean kids with a woman you don’t know or worse, a death sentance of H.I.V. Another issue that is addressed is karma. We really need to understand that what we throw out into the universe will come back to us pressed down, shaken together and running over.
Ella: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
Nikkea: I love to break down barriers and talk about things that no one is talking about. At least not in this sense. I wanted the roles to be reversed and stretch my imagination. Especially with Danica’s character, I had to dig deep for her because she is so far from me and what I would naturally do. I wanted this book to be true to the characters and show them for who they are regardless of the outcome. I love being able to uplift my brothers and say kudos to those doing the right things. Through Tavares I get to connect with readers and share with them the story of a good man.
Ella: Thousands of books are published each year. What sets your book apart from other books in your genre?
Nikkea: It’s all about the message. My work is educational but entertaining. I want to enlighten people. I want them to finish one of my books thinking about the subject matter and want to take action. How can we change things if we don’t start by talking about them? I actively strive to write away from whats popular and get to the bottom of social issues that need to be addressed.
Ella: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Nikkea: When I’m not writing I love to read! I’m the biggest book worm. My husband and I joke that our house looks like the Library of Congress. I don’t discriminate. I have poetry from Langston Hughes to Nikki Giovanni. I have nonfiction from George Jackson to Steve Harvey. I have fiction from John Gresham to E. Lynn Harris. With me being a self published author I am also a huge supporter of self published authors because I understand their grind. I also enjoy culture. I love museums, art viewings, jazz clubs, and poetry readings. I love the movies too!
Ella: What does your family think of your writing?
Nikkea: My family is very supportive. My husband has a prized collection of all of my books in his ‘man room’ that he shows off to all his friends. He gets the first copy in every edition of all of my works. When he sees something has discouraged me he tells me to shake it off and keep doing what I do. My mother buys my books in bulk like she doesn’t know me! They are my two biggest supporters. I appreciate being surrounded by positivity and they keep me inspired to keep on writing.
Ella: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Nikkea: Do your research, stay positive and value the message over all else.
Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. Nikkea: I was excited to find out that two of my books (Keith’s Story and Attitudes of a Woman) were awarded with the Literary Hallmark & Legends Top Books 2009 award by Black Pearls Magazine. That honor was one of the highlights of my year!
Within the next year I have three more books that will be released. I also look forward to touring and performing. I want to dedicate my time in the new year connecting with my readers. Book clubs who select my book as their book of the month can reach out to me so that I can make plans to either be present or available for a teleconfrence.
~ by blacklitmedia on November 19, 2009.