Tamara Allen, otherwise known as “Queen” lives in Dallas TX, but was born in Tulsa Oklahoma and raised in Wichita, KS. Tamara has always had an interest in poetry, but her interest heightened in her late teens. She experienced much grief in the loss of peers due to gang violence. She began to focus on her environment, locally, and globally, and found herself putting her pen to the pad quite often to channel her feelings on a variety of issues: love, loss, rape, murder, politics, and much more. Tamara is a very passionate person and cares deeply about the world around her. She speaks out on injustices and wants desperately to empower her peer group and others.
“I Crowned My Damn Self” is a concept Tamara internalized knowing that she is a descendant of Great Kings, & Queens. Tamara hopes that this book of poems will give you some insight into her world and her journey. You will not find a standard style of poetry in this book. What you will find is a freestyle form of poetry. So sit back, and open your mind, and share the journey.
About “I Crowned My Damn Self”
I crowned my damn self
Bloodlines will not trace me to My Throne
I said I crowned my damn self
The seeds that grow into roots
Dissolved in someone else soil
Queendom is a state of mind
Only a certain kind dares to claim
This is not the Daughter of King George III
But, My name is Tamara
I aim at the crowds
Know thy self, don’t always focus
On tremendous wealth
So many of you just don’t get it
Knowing self is similar to winning the lottery
Not knowing is just plain robbery
Shit we can’t convict the thief
I told you before
Crimes against humanity has no real repercussions
We have a president to claim
Still no reparations
Obama’s last name traces back to Kenya
Not no damn Virginia
So is the dream fulfilled, they continue ask
I say Hell NO
I had to Crown My Damn Self!
DP: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
Tamara: I decided I wanted to be an author in high school, when I discovered I liked writing poetry; English was always my favorite subject. I remember going to college at Langston University taking a broadcast journalism course with Professor Pitts, and after about two weeks in the course he advised me that I needed a creative writing course and that structured writing was not for me. I agreed with him. I knew at that point I was going to write books one day, but they would be what I wanted them to be about, in my style of writing.
DP: How did you decide on the idea for your first book?
Tamara: I knew I would compile my poetry into a book one day, so I began writing poetry to self-remedy the pain in my life, growing pains, and the death of family members and friends. I also began reading more, observing the world the around me, and writing poetry about my observations. In doing so, I picked the chapter names of my book based of the various topics discussed.
DP: How long did it take you to write your first book?
Tamara: The book is compiled of poems I have written throughout my life
DP: Did you self-publish or are you signed to a publishing company?
Tamara: I went with AuthorHouse.
DP: How did you decide on the cover for your most recent book?
Tamara: The cover of my book represents the entire civil rights movement and is what I attempted to do in abstract ways. The black and white back symbolizes the history of black and whites; the famous wicker chair represents the militant minded people who fought for freedom; the afro is in relation to black pride; and the Bright Red dress stands for the blood shed for our freedom. I decided that this was going to be the theme of my cover when I randomly seen a pic of Huey P Newton sitting in the wicker chair! I debated holding a gun in my photo as well but decided not to.
DP: Tell us about your writing style. Do you write on a schedule?
Tamara: I write freelance poetry. It doesn’t always rhyme nor does it have a certain number of stanzas or lines. I don’t write structured poetry because my thoughts are free; they are not bound by rules.
DP: What makes your writing unique?
Tamara: What makes my writing unique is one thing: originality. My writing is my truest thoughts, some people thoughts are borrowed.
DP: As a writer, what motivates you?
Tamara: Music, my past, the news, pictures, art work, random thoughts, my present, the future in general, short term goals, and the world around me in general.
DP: How do you balance your writing and various responsibilities that come along with being an independent author?
Tamara: (laughing)I must saying my job comes first, if not then I will not have a house to sit down and write in! I must admit my writing often suffers due to being unbalanced with responsibilities, however I do make time for networking. I’m currently working on my first novel, so I’m always multi-tasking between still selling my fist book, working on a new book, and working! Somehow it all collides together.
DP: When you’re not writing what are you doing?
Tamara: When I am not writing, I am most likely traveling. I work full time for Delta Airlines, so it is easy to move around. Which makes it easy for me to sell books on the road and visit book stores in other states and see if they will sell my book in there store. I have a few book stores in San Francisco who carry my book. If I am not traveling, I’m partying with my family and friends somewhere.
DP: What’s a typical day like for you?
Tamara: Waking up, thanking God for breath, cooking me some breakfast or lunch, chilling around the house, and then clocking in to my computer from home for 10hours and taking customer service phone calls! I work third shift so I log in at 530pm to 4am! If It’s my off day, I’m most likely at the bookstore or library researching more effective ways to sell books!
DP: Tell us about your last book signing.
Tamara: I am yet to have a book signing party, but I have did a few poetry readings and sold and signed books there. I am new to the whole author world, and because getting book sales has been hard for me, I have decided not to celebrate until I get more book sales.
DP: Do you have contests or giveaways?
Tamara: No not at this time
DP: Many independent authors find it hard to get readers to buy their books. How did you handle the challenges that come along with being a first-time author in a competitive and ever-changing market?
Tamara: I just continued to create rapport with all my facebook friends, twitter followers, and new friends on Instagram. Whenever I stated I was looking for book sales I was guaranteed to get a few buyers just from social networking!
DP: What did you do on your 2nd book that you did not do in your first one?
Tamara: I am currently working on my second book as we speak, and this time I will try for a book deal, instead of self-publishing. I think, that is still up for pondering.
DP: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming author, what would it be?
Tamara: Be ready to sell your own book out the trunk of your car!
DP: Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?