Sunday, March 6, 2022

Interview With Inspiring Poet & Unique Artist Nicole Asherah On Her Debut Book


 Every generation discovers its voice, and perhaps today’s 20-somethings can find a friend in Nicole Asherah. An artist and poet, she has penned her debut book to critical acclaim from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly Booklife, and Clarion Foreword. She focuses on the gritty and conflicting emotional process involved with healing in her powerful, moving debut book, Life Cycle: A Guide to Healing and Rediscovering Yourself (March 14, 2022).


While many would consider Nicole young at only 22 years old, she carries the wisdom of many lifetimes lived. Based on Nicole’s journal from three years ago when she was 19, A Life Cycle

takes us through a full year of transformation in her life after being sexually assaulted, revealing

hope for a new generation.


I have had a chance to get to Nicole, as I am promoting her to the media, I am deeply impressed

with her ability to take her personal experiences and convey them to others in a way that her

writings are really about the reader, and not herself.


Below is a thoughtful and provocative interview with Nicole:


  1. Nicole, what inspired you to write your debut book, A Life Cycle? A Life Cycle was inspired by one of the darkest years of my life. I never planned on writing a book while I was writing it. I simply was writing poetry in my journal throughout the year like I always do. The book begins in February 2019 when I started backpacking around South
    East Asia. After about a month and a half of traveling, I arrived in Lombok, Indonesia, for a volunteer homestay helping children learn English. On my second day, I was sexually assaulted by the local man I was staying with who had created this program. My sexual assault brought all these wounds from childhood to the surface in more vivid detail than ever before. The four sections of A Life Cycle follow the year of my life after my sexual assault. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted most of the time but by writing these poems, going to therapy, and releasing old trauma, I became a person I never imagined I could be. I became a person I am so incredibly proud of. The truth is I felt so alone during this process of transformation which is why I decided to publish A Life Cycle. There have been many books in my life that have given me the words I needed just when I needed them but there was nothing for me during this dark period of transformation. I know that my words can now offer something I lacked for others who are experiencing any kind of emotional turmoil and deep change.


  1. What challenges did you overcome or confront to pen your book? If we are speaking in the technical realm, finding a publicist seemed impossible for weeks; formatting my book was one problem after the next; and hiring people to work with caused me to learn a lot about how to set good boundaries in work relationships. If we are speaking mentally, the last year of putting my book together made me have to truly learn to believe in myself and value what I bring to the world. It also made me learn to ask for help from others. I put a massive amount of work into A Life Cycle, but it would never have become anything without all the work my family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances put into it.


  1. One of your poems reads: “Kindness will leak through. Humanity is most beautiful when we could choose to be our worst but decide to be our best.” Can you elaborate on what you mean here? I think people forget balance exists in the universe for a reason. It is a concept that I dive into throughout A Life Cycle. Pain exists because there was happiness. Happiness exists because there was pain. We can never fully appreciate an experience until we understand the work it takes to get there. In the last few years, there has been so much pain and despair throughout the world that people want to remark on. But on the other side, there has been a boom in pregnancies, community mutual aid, the citizens of different nations banding together against worldwide injustices. Despite how twisted and cruel humans can be at times, we always band together for survival as a species. This makes us beautiful.


  1. A number of your passages revolve around pain. How do you handle pain?  It would be silly to say I enjoy pain because no part of me wants to experience pain, but I have learned to accept pain for what it is: a chance to do better. I find myself falling into different kinds of sadness, anxiety, and loneliness all the time. When I find myself slipping into these states of mind, I try to pause and discover what it is I am truly lacking. Negative emotions simply mean there is something we are still yearning for in our hearts. I see it as a chance to both become a better version of myself and be better to myself. Pain is inevitable but what is infinite is the way we can learn from it.


  1. You also touch upon the theme of forgiveness. Are you referring to forgiving others – or ourselves? I am referring to both. During “The Healing”, I was at some of the worst points in my relationships with family members. I was tearing them apart, so they could learn to treat me better and I could learn to forgive them. But I am always a person learning to forgive herself at her core. At our core, humans will either tend towards blaming themselves or blaming others. I was someone who always blamed myself. I still do. I don’t think we are taught growing up how to acknowledge mistakes and apologize and accept the consequences well. I think it’s why so many of the good or bad actions adults take are spurred from guilt.


  1. And, with pain and forgiveness, can healing follow? Of course, but I don’t think it has to be so linear. This is what I tried to show in my book. No one wakes up one day and forgives themselves and is healed. Your pains have been ignored and layered on top of each other to coalesce into who you are. This means healing is a process of stripping back beliefs you had and ways it has leaked into all facets of your life. I worry people are too hard on themselves when trying to heal but I also worry that people want a quick fix that will never happen. Life is messy. You cannot witness such high highs without lows. Life needs balance.


  1. Two lines from your book seem to not only summarize how you feel as a young woman lost in a complex world but are perhaps how many of us feel? “I don’t know how to save the world. I don’t even know how to save myself.” I think it is something every decent person struggles with throughout their life. I’m not sure there is ever a perfect answer, but I think that is where we can find some of the joy in it. We can always keep striving to be better to ourselves and better to others. Now how do we live with the guilt that follows not being “good enough”? I at least found it is about recognizing all the ways you are trying and all the ways you admit you can be better in the future. Admitting you are not perfect while still striving to do good leaves room for further growth. Perfection is never achievable, growth is.


  1. As a young woman who has been through some real-life challenges, do you feel you can be the voice for other women – or as an inspiration to others? No, I am not nor will I ever be the voice for women because there isn’t one voice. There should never be one voice. No man gets asked if they are the voice of men because that sounds absurd. Yet anytime a member of a marginalized community tries to claim their systematic struggle as a portion of their identity, people try to make them the voice for systematic problems. I am happy to be an inspiration to people. I didn’t have many inspirations growing up because everyone seemed to have such simple stories. I could never relate. I always felt complicated. If I can make people feel less alone and afraid of the intricacies of their life then I would most certainly love to.


  1. Your book is inspired by the healing process after trauma. For you, the specific trauma was your sexual assault. Do you think this book is specifically for sexual assault survivors? No, not at all. While I think sexual assault survivors would find my book a great friend and tool during their healing process, I think this book is meant for everyone. I know trauma is such a trigger word, but the literal definition is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. I would be shocked if there is one person on earth that hasn’t had a deeply distressing experience. This book is for anyone who has been hurt; anyone who is healing; anyone who is learning to find joy in life; anyone who is learning to love. A Life Cycle isn’t really about me and what I went through, it is about what everyone goes through.


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Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 



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