Intimate Conversation with author Kia DuPree
Kia DuPree, a former assistant editor at St. Martins Press, received the Fiction Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for her debut, self-published novel, Robbing Peter, in 2005. Kia's short story, Lost One, was recently included in #1 Essence bestselling author Shannon Holmes' anthology HOOD 2 HOOD, which was released in March 2008.
Kia holds a B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University, as well as an M.A. in English from Old Dominion University. Kia currently resides in Washington, DC.
I was inspired after viewing a documentary about teenaged prostitutes. I wanted to write about how I felt these young girls ended up on the streets, desperate and lacking guidance from loved ones. I thought about my own sister and worried if I didn't continue being a positive force of encouragement and support, if she too, could've ended up in the same situations as these other girls.
Q: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
I've always loved to write and read, and I realized a common thread in the stories that drew me. Most of the stories centered around family, and the multiple disjointed parts of broken homes and hearts. When I began writing DAMAGED, although I'd never experienced such trauma as the protagonist Camille, I felt like she was a real person, someone who I cared about deeply and I wanted her to overcome the tragedies in her life. I believe people who come from adverse circumstances can overcome their obstacles, with adequate support, be it emotional, financial or physical. DAMAGED tells of a girl who never gave up.
Q. What impact will this book have on the community?
I hope Damaged will shed light on two serious problems in our community: Sub par foster care systems that exist and the horrible effects of child abuse. Although there are thousands of loving foster parents, sometimes negligent and monstrous ones slip through the cracks and prey on children who in turn feel the repercussions over a lifetime.
Q: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I'm not writing I enjoy spending time with my family, just relaxing and living life. Although, I'll admit I'm a sucker for reality TV shows. There's something intriguing about the interactions of people forced to live with each other after being thrust into the homes of millions.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
The best piece of advice I have, is one that was given to me over and over from prolific authors I've met: read, read, read. And don't just read what you LIKE to read, open yourself up to new ideas and experiences from other genres. Also, don't call yourself an "aspiring" author, once you put ink to paper, you are officially an author. :-)
Q: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Please visit me at http://www.kiadupree.com/ for more information. Readers can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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