J. Christina Henry (JC) became a writer, when she was 12 years old. JC had various reasons the two most important now are:
1. She always told herself stories. They were her bedtime stories. Original stories or additions to her established favorites, JC later learned that it was called fan fiction.
2. The year before in 6th grade she committed plagiary. She felt very guilty about it but could not admit it until she was older. She needs to redeem herself and create an original story.
Fueled with the stories of the Sweet Valley High series, anything produced by Harlequin and Silhouette romance, Greek mythology and fairy tales. JC knew she could write a story with the same feel of her idols. JC began to struggle with a Cinderella type story and character development. It was an arduous process. Since JC knew nothing about writing.
JC told everyone she knew that writing was her calling. She had dream of becoming an acclaimed author and a movie deal. It didn’t seem impossible for a young girl from Brownsville, Brooklyn. Then a relative read her work out loud without permission. JC was devastated. She wasn’t ready and the story wasn’t either. The story was really bad, not worth printing. It was the worst moment in her life. JC couldn’t fix the story and the desire to continue writing had died. She believed she was done with it and considered a career in teaching or librarian science. Although it was seriously wounded the inclination to be a storyteller was strong. It was seriously wounded but came back. JC found a new possible story. She delved into epic fantasy, leaving the genre which would be called later young adult romance alone.
In the 1990”s JC was in high school. It seemed to her that there was type of black writer’s spring. Many new African -American writers debuted. JC was exposed to Terry McMillan, Bebe Moore Campbell, Sandra Kitt, Rochelle Alers, Brenda Jackson and Valerie Wilson. JC read stories in every genre and believed that she had an original idea in each. But she wasn’t consistent. Then she found Octavia E. Butler and later in the decade Nalo Hopkinson. These writers inspired her to write paranormal/speculative fiction.
JC has worked in this genre for many years. That bad reading experience made her wary of showing her work. For many years she worked without critical feedback to guide her work. As a result, she most likely got lost on decent underdeveloped ideas and couldn’t get back on track with them and lost interest. She had a day job to support herself and small family. She told herself that she didn’t need critical acclaim, notoriety or a movie deal. She doesn’t need to be a literary great or a newly recognized one. JC writes now for the pleasure of the word. The understanding that although her stories may sometimes seem similar to others ( Another fear that stunted her work), her stories are her own because no one can tell them like she can. With this epiphany, JC began sharing pages of her work with a writer’s group in Atlanta. JC and family lived there for a few years before moving back to NYC. The first writers group was a great experience. It took her longer than expected but JC found a group in NYC. She attended faithfully for a summer and learned helpful tip for her work. She also read her work out loud for the first time. It was frightening but positive. She didn’t wow her audience with her brilliant story; they let her finally notice problem areas.
Some might wonder what is the point of all this. This blog was renamed the Flagship. It has been active for almost 4 years or more. JC cannot recall posting her work on this blog. She has whined about not being read (no ever really comments), skinny, employed. She may have complained about being single, having writers blog or reader’s block etc. She will also attempt to be self -deprecating and optimistic. She may have attempted to write reviews on the things she likes books, movies, anime etc. But not her stories. So coming soon (mostly at the end of February), JC will post some of her fiction on this site. She hopes it will interest, entertain and attract readers. She has no illusion that it will catch a book deal but if that should happen she will not throw it away.