What inspired you to write this book?
I was watching the news one day and I could not believe my eyes or ears when one brave woman, who had been sexually abused in the workplace, stood up for herself and told her truth. Before long the media exposed a cornucopia of people in power who have gotten away with rape, molestation, and sexual bullying in the workplace, in Hollywood, the Catholic church, and in politics. I was impressed by the women who spoke up, proud that they found the courage to take a stand. I thought, finally these men are being exposed.
As time passed there was a nagging thought that would not leave my head and heart. Child molestation, sexual stalking, and sexual bullying happens in families too. For generations the little girls are shamed and shunned if they dare to tell and therefore the victims are too scared to speak up. These same girls grow into women who then do the same thing, hide the truth, mute the whistleblower, shame and shun the young ladies who dare to speak their truth; to the next generation. No one wants to be alone in this world. Who can you count on in this world when your own mother says it happened to her, when your own grandmother buried the truth, when your own aunts swept it under the rug, when your own family refuse to stand by you? No one wants to be looked at as if they are damaged or broken or dirty.
I wrote this book because the ugliest truths are found in fiction and child molesters and the people who protect them need to be exposed. When I did my research, I found that women have turned against their teenaged and preteen daughter as if they were competing for a man. They fight their own flesh and blood. They get hostile and angry and protect their relationship with the child molester as if child molestation was an extramarital affair and their daughters, nieces, neighbors, god children, etc., were the competition. Girls need to know, don’t tell one person, tell everyone who will listen until someone steps in and saves you. If the people in your family won’t protect you, tell a teacher, the principle, your doctor. Blurt it out even if you are afraid of your mother or the child molester getting angry. No child should have to just shut up and endure. You are not alone. Tell your truth.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t let no one discouraged you from reaching your dreams and don’t procrastinate about things you are passionate about. Make your moves in silence until you are living your best dream come true. Unfortunately, in this world, no one wants you to do better than them and therefore, most people will offer the worse advice possible. Often times in life, your haters are the closest people to you. They are the closet haters who standby and watch you and then whisper in your ear as if they are only trying to help, when in fact they are fanning the fires of your fears. When you hear people say that you are stuck up, just know, you have standards. When you hear people say that you should do to technical school and get a job, know that an eight-year college education is well worth the time and effort. When you hear people say investing in your future is a waste of time, know that person does not belong in your everyday life. Love people at the safest distance possible and never love anyone so much that you harm yourself.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Investing time and money in writing and publishing my book. I contracted with B. T. Books publishing company, www.btbks.com, and they assigned Tracee A. Hanna as my Author Consultant. She was a godsend every step of the way. After I wrote my book and submitted it I left the rest to the professionals. We spent hours rewriting and revamping and getting it right. After the manuscript was finished, Tracee brainstormed with me to create the cover I couldn’t be happier. With the grace of God, I made my dream came true and I am loving every minute of living my dream.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The kind of research I did was done in stages. I looked to see how many books were out there like mine. I needed to know if there was something out there that little girls could read so they would know that they were not alone, and they did not have to wait until they were adults to tell their truth. Sadly, I did not find much. I spent about a month researching the characteristics of a child molester. I watched videos of young ladies who struggled to expose the truth and therefore they posted the proof on social media. I read case files of men who were imprisoned for the rape, molestation, and even murder of children. I spoke to women who had been molested as a child to get insight and found a lot of commonality. When all was said and done, I was shocked, saddened, and more than ready to write my book. I researched a month before I began and almost every day while I was writing from beginning to the end. I would say, I researched for a total of nine month. My book is my baby.
How many hours a day do you write?
I spend two hours a day writing, more whenever I can. As a mother of a son who is not quite two years old, I do my best to sit down at the end of the day, while he is fast asleep and dedicate myself to my craft. Dreams don’t come true without putting in the work.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene to write was when AJ Rashond had to tell her truth to her father. Writing a scene where a man could not protect his own daughter as she endured all those years of being sexually stalked and assaulted in her own home while her father, a police officer, was right there at home too. Exposing the molester as his best friend, the only man who ever really came to their house, was not easy. Conveying the pain of betrayal and balancing it with the want to make it right was very hard.
What is your favorite childhood book?
My favorite childhood book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Andrea Jones is a Milwaukee native who moved to Phoenix, AZ to start her new life. She is a fighter and a survivor who dared to tell her truth. Even when beloved members of her own family turned against her, she perseveres. Ms. Jones is a mother of a lovely son and works in the medical field. She started writing just for herself to work through the heartbreaking tragedies of her childhood. As time passed journaling became cathartic and before she knew it, she had a story that needs to be shared. Andrea is an excellent mother, a wonderful friend, and an all-around good person who has overcome one of the worst experiences in life without it defining her or further hindering her future.
Tell your truth!