SKII: Alisha, tell me a little something about yourself?
Alisha: I’m one of four children. I love doing hair. I love to write. So approximately three years ago, I came up with an idea to write a book titled Can a Girl Get a Break? I write under the name SunShyne B. This is my first published book. I’ve been a published author since I was 17 years old. I wrote for the Dorchester Community Newspaper. And, in 2008 I wrote for Hot Stepz Magazine, which was an online dance, music and fashion magazine. I always wanted to be an author, and to write a book that would keep people interested. That’s when I decided to become an independent author. So, I said to myself, let me take a chance and write this book. So, I began writing the four-part series, Can a Girl Get a Break? I was actually going to delete the book, but then I prayed a little bit about it.
I didn’t want to do a tell-all book about myself. So what I did was take from a lot of my own personal experiences. I like to call it, “Realistic Fiction”. Just something everyone can relate to. Last year, I released Part Two of, Can a Girl Get a Break? So far, the book has been getting great feedback! People from all different walks of life have read the book and they’ve all said the same thing. That this book reminds them of their life. It’s relatable. I can’t wait for the next book to come out! I feel like it is a book [series] that can make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think about some things. So, after I wrote the book – enough for the response that I was getting – that’s when my brain started working. I decided that, Can a Girl Get a Break? will be more of a movement, than just a book. I wanted to bring the characters in the book to life!
Then last year in April, I came out with the online store. I started making scented candles named after each character. And, then from there, I started making beaded jewelry. Next, I came out with a lip balm with all-natural brand ingredients. All are made with Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Aloe, and Honey to make the flavor taste good. Everyone’s been having a great time with it.
Can a Girl Get a Break? is a really catchy name! I got the name incorporated and trademarked so that no one else can take it. I have a Can a Girl Get a Break blog as well so It’s so much going on. I also plan on getting into the public school system to do a mentorship on the book. I know with me, I’ve always loved writing. In the world that we live in today, everyone is into technology. I think the kids that love to write get looked on as being geeks. For me, writing is a form of expression.
Before I had my kids I was really shy so writing was the way I expressed myself, then. I can relate with a lot of girls out there who want to express themselves, but don’t know how to do it. I want to start the mentoring program so our young girls can see that their lack of income, growing up in the hood, or rough circumstances shouldn’t be an obstacle that holds them back in life. I want them to understand that if they just keep working hard they’ll make it in life!
My goal really is just to keep this movement going. I want to watch it grow. On the website, we actually had our first international sale of, Can a Girl Get a Break? It was in Canada and I was very surprised by it. The people are slowly starting to get a buzz about my book. It started to finally catch-on! It’s a really good book and I’m just going to flow with it. In October we did the Breast Cancer Walk. That was our first year doing it, ever. We were team, Can a Girl Get a Break? (of course) and, started off with $1000 goal. We raised $600-$700! And, we’ll participate again, next year. We’re just going to keep it going. People always ask me, “Alisha how did you get into this?” Actually, I don’t know how I got into it, but I knew that I loved writing.
With all of this, I was still doing my thing. I have two children, I’m married, and I was working full-time. I had lots of sleepless night. Once the kids went to bed, that’s when I’d write. I’d do research for my corporation and I write. I didn’t have a mentor. I’m self-driven. I started with only four followers on twitter. I told my husband that nobody likes me. I was upset. BUT now, I have over 800 followers! On my blog I went from having 23 views to over 8000 views! So it’s happening. It hasn’t even been three years yet, and it’s doing so well! I know, there are bigger things coming my way. I’m just so excited about, Can a Girl Get a Break? I know people are enjoying the book. This year, Part Three (my 3rd book in the series) is coming out. Next year, 2016 – book four. We will see where it goes from there. Maybe a movie! Who knows? Just keep dreaming big and your dreams will become a reality. I never let anyone tell me that I can’t do something. I love the challenge and that’s what makes me work even harder.
I’m 32 years old and I remember being pregnant and homeless. I got pregnant in high school. My family wasn’t too happy about that and there was a lot going on so I ended up on the street. When I tell you I was homeless…I wasn’t sleeping on someone’s couch or inside their home. I was out on the streets in the peak of winter and it’s been quite a journey. Everyone has a story. And, if I didn’t go through what I’ve been through, then how can I mentor someone? They wouldn’t be able to relate to me. I did a lot of praying and this journey has truly been amazing. I don’t regret it. You know there’s been a lot of woman out there who are homeless. They gave up because of the situation they were going through. But, not me. I just kept going and I would never let anyone tell me to stop. Even while being homeless with my child, my firstborn, I just kept going. It’s okay if you’re on Welfare. My oldest son’s father told me that I will never amount to anything, because I was on Welfare. And this was said in the courtroom. He looked me right in my face and said that. Yes, it hurts at first, but you should never let that stop you. And, I said under my breath…”Oh, yeah? Watch.” So, here I am. Whatever you’re going through you can make it out. I want my kids to understand this. I want them to see positive things. And, they are. I tell my kids, “No matter what we’re going through, we must keep our faith”. That’s it.
SKII: Where were you born and raised?
Alisha: I was born in Arkansas, and I was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. My mom moved me to Boston, Massachusetts with her when I was a year old. My mom also had it tough. She was raising three children on her own. It was really hard for her, without any help. Our ages at that time were 1, 2 and 3. It was rough for her, too.
SKII: What’s the name of your children?
Alisha: Javaun is my eldest. Actually, Javaun is my miracle baby. He’s the one I was pregnant with while I was homeless. I had pre-eclampsia. I was swelling up really bad towards the end of my pregnancy. I had lots of stress and high blood pressure. When I tell you I was stressed, I was. I was in an abusive relationship that I wasn’t going to stay in, anymore. I had to get out of it. That’s how I became homeless. My [last] abusive incident was when he’d choked me out and that was the last straw. It was enough! I’d rather sit on people’s doorsteps, than to go through what I was going through. I started having contractions called, Tetanic Contractions – when one contraction last for 8 to 12 minutes. My blood pressure would go up each and every time.
The next thing I heard was their saying that, “they were losing the both of us.” At 19 years old I ended up in the operating room having a C-Section. They actually ended up cutting his face, too because they took him out so fast. He’s my little miracle baby! I have a 10-year-old with my husband, named Joshua. My husband’s name is, Peter. With Peter, I found love again. I never thought I would, but I did. It’s true what they say, “True love is out there“. He’s a great man. He is very patient with the kids. He knows what I’ve been through. I actually tried pushing him away from me because he was too nice. But he wouldn’t go away. He just kept telling me he wasn’t going anywhere. My husband recognized in me years ago, what I’m doing now– with Can a Girl Get a Break? He stood right by my side, even after knowing about everything that I’d been through. He believed in me when I didn’t. He put the faith back in me. We’ve been together 12 years now. We’ve been married for seven years. It’s been great. We have a fairytale story and I love it. I met him at a house party I wasn’t supposed to have been at. I was 16 years old, when I met him he was, 19. We flirted with each other and we dance with each other, all night. And after that I didn’t hear from him for about two years. One day, I went to my uncle’s house, he lives in Springfield, Massachusetts. As soon as I walked into the door of my uncle’s house my uncle forced a phone into my hand and said, “Here, he wants to talk to you”. I hadn’t spoken to Peter in two years, but when we spoke, it felt as if we’d spoken to each other every day! After telling me he was coming to my uncle’s house for me, he never showed up [that night]. Two years later I went back to my uncle’s house, and the same thing happened. Again, my uncle said Peter wanted to talk to me. I told my uncle he didn’t want to talk to me especially since I have a baby now. While speaking to him he told me to wait at my uncle’s house, and he was coming for me. And, sure enough as I’m speaking to you right now, he showed up! The rest of the story – is our fairytale wedding.
\SKII: What schools have you attended?
Alisha: I’ve graduated from Dorchester High School. I didn’t go to college, because I had my son. When I moved to Springfield, Massachusetts I went to school to become a medical assistant. I knew that wasn’t for me; being a medical assistant was not for me. I began thinking about what it is that I loved to do. So, I went to K. Harvey Hairdressing Academy. And, that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. My husband Peter, and I, along with the kids, came to North Carolina for vacation. I fell in love with North Carolina. That was 2012. North Carolina just felt like home. We moved to Indian Trail, North Carolina and bought a house. We also have two dogs. We rescue them from the Humane Society. We love doing stuff like that! My mom lives in Boston and my dad lives in Arkansas. I have siblings all over the place. With my mom, there’s four of us. Now, with my dad, you know that song…Papa was a Rolling Stone – that song was meant for my dad. I truly don’t know how many of us there are; but, the last time I’d checked it was about nine, or 12 of us, total. It was like, every time I looked at my Facebook account – I had a new sibling. And, out of all of us, I’m the only writer in my family.
SKII: What motivated you to get into writing?
Alisha: My trials and tribulations is what motivated me to start writing. I started writing poetry and short stories, here and there. And now, Can a Girl Get a Break? is becoming a huge success! Right now, writing a book basically shows that I can write from a young girl’s point of view to an adult’s point of view. Everyone can truly relate, because it’s about everyone. It’s a book about mothers and daughters in regard to bridging that gap of communication, between the two of them. I’m starting a book club and I went on Amazon the other day, someone I never knew never met read my book on Kindle, from Amazon she’d said, “I LOVE your book, so far…I can’t wait to continue reading it!” That touched my heart. There is another lady, (I don’t know) who’s read my book and said, “God has some things, some great things that you’re going to be doing”. So, I don’t know what it is that God has in store for me, but I know it’s going to be great! So, I’m humbled and thank God for everything that I’ve been through, and everything that I’m going through, right now. I’m just trying to enjoy life and I will continue to stay humbled.
SKII: What are your inspirations, in life?
Alisha: My kids are my inspirations, in life. My oldest child is into the arts. He was diagnosed with comprehension and learning disabilities, on top of the ADD. I know when they diagnose you they make it seem like there’s something wrong with you. They make you feel like you’re not going to be as successful as everyone else. They stated, that his disabilities are going to hinder his career. I don’t feel that. I feel that it’s going to be different. He’s going to have a different path, but he can still be successful. So, for me, I just want my kids to be successful in everything they try to accomplish. My youngest so just made the Honor Roll – 20th time in a row! His goal is to become a teacher. He wants to attend UNC in Chapel Hill, NC because he wants to be a TarHeel …that’s his goal. He said, “Mom, I have to continue to get great grades in order for me to become a UNC Chapel Hill student”. His room is painted the school’s color. He lives for that school. So, I think he’s going to make it. Actually I know he’s going to make! it is amazing. They both are amazing! And, I just want to see who they’re both going to turn out to be.
SKII: What would you tell a younger you, if you could go back in time?
Alisha: I would just tell my younger self to hang in there. Don’t give up. It may seem hard at first but better things are coming your way. When people tell you that you’re nothing, remember who you are. When people are bullying you, remember this: that they were probably bullied, too and you will get through it. I looked a certain way, as I was growing up because my mom couldn’t afford better clothes. She was a single mom, as I mentioned earlier that things were hard trying to solely raise three kids. That’s why some of the kids bullied me, because they didn’t see me like the rest of the kids. However, as I said, you’ll get through it. I face my enemies and tell them I may be struggling right now. And, it might seem as if I want to give up on my life but I won’t give you that power over me. Whatever you’re going through right now, you will look back at it and you will say, “I’ve made it through”.