Stephanie Helms Pickett’s life has been reflected by Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh within us.” Reared in Chicago by her mom, her biggest inspiration, Stephanie fell in love with writing at an early age. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Radio & Television Broadcasting from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; and a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University. She is the Director of Assessment & Professional Development Programs in the Division of Student Affairs at Duke University and Visiting Professor in the Program in Education. Stephanie serves as the Coordinator of the Anointed Soles Dance Ministry at Wake Chapel Church, in Raleigh, North Carolina, under the leadership of Pastor J. Jasper Wilkins Jr. She is a member of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In August 2009 the Lord blessed her union to Charles Pickett, Sr,. Their blended family includes two teenagers, Charles Pickett Jr. (19), Niani, (18) and two dogs, Diamond Star and Gypsy. They reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For more information about Stephanie and to purchase her book, please visit: drhelmspickett.com
Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?
Stephanie: I have been in love with writing for as far back as I can remember. More specifically, over the course of the last 10 years, I have flirted with writing a book. In January 2012, I declared that I would commit myself with action to my dream to share divine insight on challenges and triumphs I experienced, particularly those in academic environments as a means to encourage, assist and affirm others. I thought publishing would be a primary and significant method to share my message.
RARA: What titles have you published to date?
Stephanie: I have published, “Later Never Came Until Now.” “Later Never Came Until Now” is a 47,000 word faith-based reflective narrative designed to empower from both a scholarly and scriptural perspective exploring elements that came “nigh my dwelling.” As a child, I was told “you may not understand it now, but you will later.” As an adult, I realize that I missed so many opportunities to apply what I was being exposed to and learning in the moment.
The main character is me, the product of a single parent household from the south side of Chicago, who was perpetually interested in everything but school, yet surpassed obstacles to eventually attain a doctorate degree while holding ever connected to faith in God. Through narratives from age 9 to 40, this book will take the reader on a journey through laughter and tears to fully appreciate turning tough trials into triumphs and struggles into successes.
RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?
Stephanie: I’ve been working with The Jaxton Creative Group to develop the branding and marketing strategy for my book. I premiered Later Never Came Until Now at Wake Chapel’s Church’s Women’s Retreat in Virginia Beach in December 2012. A Facebook site under the name of Dr. Helms Pickett is operational by which I share daily insight and communicate with followers. The book was featured on an episode of Brand Newz, an online program hosted by Christopher Martin in March 2013, followed by a book launch at LabourLove Art Gallery in Durham, NC. In July 2013, I was featured on Literary Nation Live, a radio talk show highlighting artists and authors hosted by Patrick Oliver where I shared insight about the book and advocacy for parents in navigating the educational arena. My website is presently under construction and will go live in September 2013. Finally, I have several speaking engagements scheduled in the upcoming months. Each of these efforts has afforded the opportunity for connection and with other venues and people. I have a way to go, but small, intentional steps have continued to open doors and provide access.
RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?
Stephanie: I found Oprah’s Life Lessons website to be incredibly useful and inspirational. Although it does not specifically address publishing or authoring, it is formatted from a curriculum and instructional foundation, as well as constructivist format that appeals to me as an educator and assisted me in processing how I could reflect in a manner which assisted me to conceptualize my thoughts into action. When I decided to self-publish, I found Mira’s site to be easy to navigate and answered many of the questions I had as a first time author.
RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?
Stephanie: The greatest challenge for me in self-publishing has been the funding. As the parent of two college students the practice of setting resources aside to print my publication has been challenging. I did not want to go into debt, so printing the book has often moved slower than I desired. I am hopeful and I am a believer in the messaging of the book so I continue to remain motivated and determined to continue. I don’t believe I have exhausted all of the tenets of self-publishing to date.
RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?
Stephanie: Interestingly enough, with only one book under my belt (and another in progress), I get this question more than I imagined and I am appreciative to share what I’ve learned thus far. As a new and aspiring author, it is critically important to remain focused on the prompting for writing. You cannot get discouraged and compare yourself to someone who’s been in the game longer than you. As authors, we strive to have a tangible, final product. The effort, pitfalls and loopholes one narrowly escapes or overcame to reach the end are not visible to the naked eye. Be persistent, be authentic and be purposeful and you will attain your expected end.
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