Regina Duggins is the author of 3 self-published books entitled “Black Magic,” “Black Coffee; No Sugar, No Cream” and “New York Styles, What Time Is It?”, I am also the founder of Charleston Black Pride Organization-(LGBTQ+ of Color), educator, and a warrior. I was born and raised in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, NY. I am the guardian of 5 children and a Grandparent who enjoys spending time writing, watching dramas and family-friendly movies, planning and participating in community events, and spending time with family. Despite the adversities I have endured throughout my childhood, I’ve learned to persevere and put my hurt, pain, and trauma back into improving urban neighborhoods. I am a true believer that representation does matter. With my strong belief in God and the love and support from my mother, I believe that was the only way I survived it all.
My book’s core messages are about overcoming trauma, loss, being Black in America, and learning how to make a difference in someone else’s life. It’s also about the impact of giving back to the community, which grew you into becoming a better person. You are not the product of where you came from, and you can always make a change in your life and others. I have faced childhood molestation, the loss of a parent (dad) at the of three, and the loss of three of my close siblings, as well as learning how to walk in my truth when society constantly places the LGBTQ+ community under attack by lawmakers, many religious people, and those who don’t understand that love is love.
First things first, how did we develop an interest in writing?
I developed an interest in writing when I was in the 7th grade. My 7th-grade teacher asked me to complete a writing assignment; from what I can remember, it was after then that she encouraged me to keep writing and dig deeper into my emotions. I have always enjoyed reading since I was a little girl. I loved learning new words and using them with my older siblings, mainly my older brother Gregory. I’ve always considered Greg as my wordsmith brother. He’s brilliant and has an intuitive mind.
When did you realize you had a story the world needed to hear?
I realized I had a story that the world needed to hear when I learned that words can heal others. I dealt with childhood traumas and didn’t know how to express my emotions until I realized I could heal through writing. Many of my traumas and listening to others’ stories sounded familiar and similar to mine, but my story needed to be told so I could help heal myself and show others how to heal through the experiences I had gone through.
What was the writing process like? Did you develop your title and build around it, or did the manuscript come first?
The writing process was relatively easy. I came up with my title first for most of my poems and two self-published books. During the writing of my 2nd self-published book entitled “Black Coffee; No Sugar, No Cream”; the process was different. I compiled my poems, took the best one, and named the book after it. For my other two books, I started with the title first. I’d build around the title, which made me comfortable about opening up about my purpose, feelings, and messaging that I wanted to convey throughout the books.
What is the message behind your title?
The messages behind my book titles are about women’s empowerment, Black is Beautiful & All-Powerful, perseverance, healing after trauma, creating futures for our youth, and paying homage to our ancestors.
Can you share three takeaways you would like women to take away from your book? The three takeaways from my books are “Never be silenced,” “Women of Color, not being afraid to sit at the table or creating their table,” and “that it doesn’t make you less powerful if you fix another women’s crown!”-supporting each other.
At any moment during your writing process, did you experience writer’s block? What tips do you have for overcoming it?
Yes, I have experienced writer’s block, and it usually occurs when I haven’t decided on a title for my poems or books. The tips I have used to overcome writer’s block are listening to inspirational gospel music or watching a drama-filled movie. The storyline intrigues me and brings me back to where I left off in my writing. Also, I would re-read what I have written to keep myself on track to what I wanted to convey. After I have found my title, my writing tends to flow freely.
Take me through the first moment you held your book; what did that feel like for you?
I felt accomplished the first moment I held my book in my hand. I felt free. I was finally allowing others to share in my life’s journey. I felt like I had released many pent-up emotions about the topic that I was writing about, and now I could tear down the walls that once left me feeling closed in and emotionally bound.
What would you say was the most challenging part of your writing process?
The most challenging part of my writing process was deciding if I painted a clear enough picture for my readers to understand what I had endured and felt. I wanted my readers to walk in my shoes, experience my truths, and know what I felt at those moments, whether it was happy, sad, or angry times in my life. I wanted to convey realness and transparency for my readers to draw a connection to where my trauma lies and how I got my strength back.
What essential tips are you for marketing your book and getting it out to the masses?
My essential tip for marketing my books is word of mouth, asking my supporters to leave reviews and comments about my book on Amazon. I have also participated in web talks/literary series, book signings, and speaking engagements through festivals, bookstore readings, or literary events.
What audience is your book written for?
My books are written for teenagers, young adults, adults, older people, LGBTQ+ individuals, women, men, activists, feminists, grassroots individuals, and same-gender-loving individuals. Anyone is able and willing to seek knowledge from a female perspective.
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