Intimate Conversation with Jasmine Sheffield
Jasmine N.H. Sheffield, a loving mother and wife, is a resident of Virginia. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University where she received a B.S. in Computer Information Systems. She went on to receive her M.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois Springfield. Freshmen Fifteen is Jasmine’s debut novel. She has also written a self-help book titled Journey after School: A Guide to Starting Your Career and Managing Your Finances. She has enjoyed the writing process and has other books on the horizon. You can visit her website www.ourjourneypublishing.com for more information.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special?
In Freshmen Fifteen, Laila who is graduating from high school has planned to lose her virginity to her boyfriend. But, on graduation night when it is all set to happen her boyfriend is arrested. With her boyfriend away, Laila goes to college a virgin. Throughout the book, Laila meets different girl friends who have had different experiences with losing their virginity. Of her friends, Nicole is my favorite. She’s a free-spirit and not afraid to tell it like it is.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in Freshmen Fifteen?
For many virgins, the details of sex can be daunting especially around topics not covered in sex-ed. In Freshmen Fifteen, Laila transitioning from high school to college is an age range where these topics are most convoluted. To avoid the “Just don’t have sex” vibe many adults try to force into the heads of the youth, I want to provide a glimpse into the reality of sex.
BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I’ve never been a writer, nor wished to publish a novel. It just so happened that my first book, Journey After School: A Guide to Starting Your Career and Managing Your Finances, was an idea suggested by a friend. Then one day, the idea of Freshmen Fifteen popped in my head. I’m a strong believer that God has a plan for us that may be different than the plan we have for ourselves. I’m being obedient and following His path.
BPM: Why did you choose an HBCU as the setting of the book?
I attended Florida A&M University, and my HBCU experience was amazing. By choosing an HBCU as the setting for Freshmen Fifteen I am able to give a glimpse into that experience. Hopefully, those who have a negative perception of HBCUs will be enlightened.