Today's feature is on Ms. Juelle Cadette. I have read 2 short stories from her collection; Boutine: Another Man's Blood and Under the Mango Tree and people I must say I was caught up in the stories. It was like I was there in the story witnessing everything going on; I was very impressed and will be reading some more of her stories.
ML: Tell us about Juelle Cadette?
JC: I think that I am two people wrapped into one: my mother, who is quite shy and reserved, and my father who is more of the extrovert; I am a reflection of both of them. Growing up I was always one to have big dreams, and I always decided on what I wanted to do and go after it, and I dared anyone to tell me no, lol. In Standard Three, I decided that I wanted to find a cure for cancer so I read through my sisters Biology Textbook because I really wanted to save people. I have always been this very bubbly person, very passionate, ambitious and outgoing, headstrong too, but there is also the side of me that is quite reserved. Now that I am entering into the third decade of my life and finally comfortable with who I am and my true purpose, I have slowly released some of the more humbling qualities to me which has enabled me to see and appreciate life in a totally different way. I also consider that I am a product of enduring friendships. I pride myself on having wonderful friendships with some great souls who I cannot see myself living without and who inspire me every day.
On the flip side, whilst I am not an environmentalist, I am quite passionate about issues affecting our planet and specifically, wildlife conservation.
ML: Briefly, what led up to you writing?
JC: If someone told my 9 year old self that I would be writing short stories, I would laugh at them. Writing is something that has always come naturally to me and I never realized that this was my true talent. I went through school and always did well in English, extremely well, but I had bigger dreams. When I failed at becoming a doctor, my life went down a long tunnel. I considered doing anything at this point and for years, I was lost. Some of my friends saw my talent for writing but I still wanted something bigger, until one day I hit rock bottom. I prayed to God and it is so amazing how he has planned life down to the little details. Even though I had failed so many times in life, every single failure was so necessary because the experience enabled me to do so much that I didn’t have the money to pay for.
He heard me. I just started to write, and here I am seven stories later.
ML: How many books have you written?
JC: I haven’t written any books as yet, only short stories, but I am working my way towards that. Publishing a book is my first goal, but also I want it to be a great read, so I am writing towards that.
ML: Where do you write from? I have always heard of so many writers having writers block, have you experienced that and does your environment play a role in your writing?
JC: Physically, I write from home, in my room, away from everybody at my desk. Mentally, I am all over the place, I am wherever the story takes me.
When we read great works of literature we see just the finished product without realizing the kind of effort that is needed to begin and finish a piece of art. I think it is greatly misunderstood and under-appreciated. The process of writing is sprayed with glitter, many people think it’s glamorous, but it is not. I do get plagued with writers block and sometimes it can be a physical thing. During that time I cry immensely, I doubt myself frequently and I just don’t know what I am doing. It’s hard wanting to finish something but you just can’t. It’s maddening. I think a change of environment can help but I am yet to explore that in depth. For now, I use social media it helps me stay consistent; even though no one maybe reading I put it out there, I give myself a public deadline, so it must be done and it must get out. In time maybe, as I get deeper into writing I will figure it out.
ML: What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?
JC: Procrastination and writing past the middle part of the story.
ML: Best piece(s) of advice for writers trying to break in.
JC: There is much I could say but for me, these are the truth:
- Get a mentor, someone who has experience and who genuinely wants you to do well. I am not sure where I would be today had it not been for my mentor.
- There is no rush. To be a great writer you need to read and write. Immerse yourself in the craft. Read from all genres of literature. Read the classics, look at the form. Unless you’re some genius, your first pieces of writing won’t win you a prize but you should know that writing only gets better by writing.
- Set goals for yourself and then list the steps in how you expect to achieve them. Like completing a novel in year by writing 500 words every day.
- Learn to accept criticism. Learn to trust your own judgment.
- Stay focus and listen to your heart.
- Meet people. Have conversations. Go on adventures. It will all make the process of writing much more worthwhile.
ML: What was the first book you wrote?
JC: I am working towards my first book but the first short story I wrote was From Hattie in just under two weeks. It was written for the Commonwealth Short Story Competition. It tells the story of an enslaved woman who was accused of practicing witchery and her journey through unexpected love and rebellion.
Cover of her first story
ML: Are you self-published, if so why? What are your biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the whole writing or publishing process?
JC: I am a self-published writer and it came down to cost. It’s easier and cheaper to do it on your own. I do have hopes that one day I am signed to a publish house but one story at a time.
Writing has done much more for me as a person than I have done for it; with every story I grow and this journey has made me respect literature so much more and also come to understand people. I have come a long way and I have writing to thank for that.
I still get shocked when I meet people, whom I do not even know and they are like, “Good Job!” I mean I know I put my work out there, but it really surprises me. I don’t know if I will ever get over that.
ML: Something personal about you people may be surprised to know.
JC: My baby pillow is still on my bed, I am miserable without it. Its name is Pillsy. My mother hates it, but she’s just jealous because it was love at first sight. Lol.
ML: Where can one purchase any of your books/stories?
JC: All books/stories are available on my website www.juellepcadette.wix.com/stories and most are free. You can find the rest on Amazon, links are on my site.
ML: Do you do any kinds of motivational speaking, if so where can you be reached or contacted?
JC: For now, no I don’t.
ML: What's next?
JC: I do not know where writing will lead me. I know what I want out of it but God has his own plans for me. For now I am just going to write. School is a goal and of course, a novel here and there.
Some cover pics of Juelle's short stories:
You can see a short trailer of Under the Mango Tree here: Trailer: Under the Mango Tree
I hope you all enjoyed this feature and please go visit Juelle's site to read her short stories, trust me they are juicy.
Juelle I wish you the best and looking forward to reading your first book, but so far I am loving all the short stories. Continue to do what you do and all the best once again.