Asia Williams is an English teacher turned assistant principal for NYC. For 15 years she has dedicated her life to building and uplifting children while raising two of her own. Her son, Kamari who attends Howard University and her daughter Khloe that is beginning her school career as a kindergartner. Asia was very reluctant to share her story, but she believes that being transparent about her life has the potential to help millions of children and adults who are going through a similar situation.
While Asia was reluctant to share her story, she knows that her transparency has the potential to help millions of children and adults who are going through the same situation.
As an educator, Asia wants her students to not only take advantage of the education that they are receiving, she wants them to be good people. She instills that same way of thinking in her son, who is currently a freshman at Howard University, and her daughter, who soon begin kindergarten.
As an English teacher turned assistant principal for the NYC Department of Education, Asia has dedicated fifteen years of her life to ensuring that her students receive a quality education.
Black Pearls: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Outgoing, nurturing, and particular.
Black Pearls: Is writing your full-time career? How much time do you spend writing?
My full time career is in the field of education. I am an assistant principal. I carve out 3 hours a week for writing.
Black Pearls: Tell us about your first published book. What was the journey like?
My first published book is a collaboration with 15 other authors sharing stories of growth and healing. It was an interesting journey because I was given the opportunity twice before and I did not take it, however with the third request I felt that it was time that I share my moment of healing. I did it hoping it would have a positive impact on someone else.
Black Pearls: Introduce us to your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
My first and only book so far is Delayed But Not Denied. The women that wrote with me all have something to share. My story shares the trauma I experienced associated with my father’s consistent incarceration. This is something I kept masked and bottled up for 20 years.
Black Pearls: Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
In spite of my father’s imprisonment he has managed to build a strong relationship with my daughter who is 5 years old and my son who is 18. I think this is an additive to the trauma knowing now that this has an impact on their lives as well.
Black Pearls: Give us some insight into your speakers. What makes each one so special?
In my older age I realized that the absence and longing for my father had adverse effects on so many parts of my life. It impacted my choice in men and how I dealt with people keeping my guard up because of the constant fear of disappointment. It is also the root of the way I deal with conflict, which is to escape it or act like it is nonexistent even when it comes at me head on.
Black Pearls: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
From writing about this experience I learned more about myself and the way I deal with my emotions. My biggest takeaway is that writing this book pushed me to be reflective in the way I handle conflict, my emotions and trauma. It also helped me examine my relationship with my ex husband and identify mistakes I made and how to make those same mistakes moving forward.
Black Pearls: Is there a specific place or space that you find inspiration in?
I am inspired off the cuff. My writing is usually based on an emotion or experience that I am overwhelmed by or elated by. The setting doesn’t impact or drive me creatively.
Black Pearls: When developing a new story, what comes first, the plot or characters?
I usually think about the message I want to convey and the audience I want to reach, then I generally focus on the characters/people and my actions.
Black Pearls: What did you enjoy most about writing and developing the characters for this book?
I enjoy writing about the characters, I wish I could have developed my father more to not paint him in a negative light, but as someone who just had a lapse in judgment.
Black Pearls: Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you use a computer or write out the story by hand?
When I write it always begins in the Notes on my iPhone. Mainly because my phone is always handy and as an avid texter it is more natural than typing on a computer. I don’t like the idea of pen to pad because in order to share my ideas with others and to publish I need to type it eventually. Efficiency is key!
Black Pearls: When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood?
Usually I’m in a creative mood already when I start to write. I generally journal and write about something filled with emotion so the words tend to flow naturally. I often put myself back in that space and tend to feel the emotions all over again whether it is positive or negative.
Black Pearls: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips self-care for creative folks?
In my line of work self care is essential and writers always tend to have things moving around in their head. I love fun activities where your mind is in that activity, like exercising, bowling, going to the movies, or even playing with your children. I have recently began traveling more, going on mini vacations as a get away.
Black Pearls: How do you personally deal with emotional impact of a book as you are writing the story?
I have learned to feel the emotion when I am writing. That is the best way to make sure my writing is authentic.
Black Pearls: How much thought do you put into audience reaction before you start writing?
Before writing takes place I think about how the world will receive it, but most importantly I think about my students. Over the years I have had students that have shared some interesting things with me about themselves. They were braver as middle school students than I was as an adult to share their truths and stories of growth. When I was an English teacher, it was one of my greatest joys to share special moments with my students. So I think of them when I write, their bravery and how great the world would be if we all shared that strength and displayed bravery.
Black Pearls: What period of life or topics do you find you write about most often?
I most often write about real life experiences that we can all learn from. Experiences that many people don’t tend to share so that they know they are not alone.
Black Pearls: How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
It’s funny because in my excerpt I wrote about my feelings towards my dad’s incarceration and my sisters were not happy that I decided to share that part of my life. My father was also a little upset. I know he disagrees with what I wrote, however what I say to him and others who may have the same views is that you cannot disagree with my reality. You cannot get upset with me for feeling the way I do about a topic, my emotions belong to me and if you make them about you then we have a problem.
Black Pearls: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
Sharing my truth was the most important part of my journey, not only sharing it but living in it. Allowing the situation to not become me. My journey is my journey because I had to go through the valleys and hills of emotion to get to the peak. The peak, the highest point being that I now understand my emotions.
Black Pearls: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
The major challenges I faced by sharing this story was how it would be received by my father, because he is incarcerated I didn’t want him to feel attacked or “air out his dirty laundry” But I had to realize, I am not telling his business, I am sharing my feelings and my life.
Black Pearls: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
While researching this book I met a woman who was also an educator and her daughter’s father was imprisoned for years. She hid it from the world, but had to support her daughter simultaneously. She talked about how difficult and emotionally draining that was for her and her daughter.
Black Pearls: How has writing impacted your life?
Writing has allowed me to be free from ridicule and not worry about judgement. Writing has always been a vessel to share and push forward. I have millions of notebooks with writing in them, but the fear of sharing kept me away from publishing but it’s time for me to be brave like those middle-schoolers I taught to use proper grammar and to share their truths.
Black Pearls: What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success looks like me not just selling books, but helping others. Letting them know that the shame and embarrassment of having a parent who is incarcerated is not your burden to bare. Letting them know the statistics surrounding their success rate so they can fight that much harder so succeed in spite of the odds. Fatherhood.org has some great data on that topic.
Black Pearls: What projects are you working on at the present?
Currently, I am working on a book outlining the 10 most important factors in raising a physically, mentally, and emotionally strong young black man.
Black Pearls: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Please follow me on:
Twitter: @awillteach or https://twitter.com/awillteach
Purchase Delayed But Not Denied 3: Real People Sharing Stories About Healing and Growth
Website to Purchase: http://www.delayedbutnotdenied.info/asia-williams
Delayed But Not Denied 3: Real People Sharing Stories About Healing and Growth
(Book complied by Toni Coleman Brown and Julia Shaw)
Co-Authors and their chapters in Delayed But Not Denied Book 3 are:
LEMONADE by Kristin Vaughan Robinson
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES by Asia Maddrey
DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL by Asia Williams
MISS TOOTSIE’S CONSTITUTION by Julie Ann Fairley
MY AMAZING LIFE EVOLVING: PART II by Maria Dowd
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? by L. Renee
MY PLANS GOD’S PURPOSE by Norma L. Brown
THE BISHOP’S WIFE by Lady Walikqua M. Johnson
MY FAITH IS BIGGER THAN MY FEAR How I Survived Breast Cancer Three Times by Deneen Cooper
LOSING MY WAY WHILE FINDING MY PURPOSE by Dr. LaWana Richmond
MALWARE SCARE AND A PRAYER by Toni Coleman Brown
THREE STRIKES AND I’M STILL NOT by Janelle Rollins-Johnson
SINGLE MOMS RISE! Overcoming the Emotional Challenges of Being a Single Parent by Julia D. Shaw
THE HAPPY RETIREMENT by Janette “Justice” Carter
SURVIVING GASLIGHTING: LIVING YOUR TRUTH by Dionely Reyes
BROKEN CRAYONS STILL COLORING by Kathleen Greely
About Julia D Shaw (Compiler) and Toni Coleman Brown (Compiler)
Julia D. Shaw is a passionate entrepreneur with more than thirty years of professional experience. Julia’s current business venture is the Collaborative Experience, Inc., a life empowerment company with business partner Toni Coleman Brown. As publishers, they have compiled a series of Amazon bestselling books and created the opportunity for more than fifty writers to become published co-authors.
The series includes Delayed But Not Denied 1: 20 Stories about Life and Resiliency, followed by Delayed But Not Denied 2: Real Stories about Hope, Faith, and Triumph, and Delayed but Not Denied Book 3: Real People Sharing Stories About Healing and Growth.
As a freelance publicist, Shaw’s client list included Iyana Vansant, Michael Biased, Circle of Sisters Expo, and the International African Arts Festival, to name a few. Julia consults with the National Black Writers Conference, the Small Business Bootcamp for Women, The Network Journal Magazine’s 40 Under Forty Achievement Awards, and the 25 Influential Women in Business Awards.
Julia is a contributing author to the Amazon bestseller Network to Increase Your Net Worth, compiled by Toni Coleman Brown, and she was featured in Stepping’ Out with Attitude: Sister, Sell your Dream by Anita Buckley.
Shaw is the proud mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three, she resides in Queens, New York.
Toni Coleman Brown is an author, coach, marketing expert, and motivational speaker. She is also the CEO and founder of the Network for Women in Business, an online community for women business owners who seek affordable cutting-edge training and the ability to connect and advance with other like-minded individuals. The motto for the Network is “We EDUCATE to ELEVATE women in business.”
Toni is also the host and creator of the Small Business Bootcamp for Women and the Online Marketing Mastermind Live events.
Toni has been featured in the New York Amsterdam News, the Network Journal Magazine, Our Time Newspaper, Black Enterprise Online, Working Woman Magazine, and WPIX 11’s Working Woman Report.
She is the author of Quantum Leap: How to Make a Quantum Leap in Your Network Marketing Business and the compiler and co-author of Network to Increase Your Net Worth and Delayed But Not Denied: 20 Inspirational Stories of Life and Resiliency.
Toni is on a mission to fulfill her God-ordained purpose of changing the lives of millions. She lives in Queens, New York, with her husband and two daughters.