Self-published author Eugenia Jefferson released her book, Confessions of a Frustrated Millennial in Jan. 2017. Jefferson was a frustrated millennial, but she eventually found her passion and purpose as a writer and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications. I interviewed Jefferson on the book and on her as on author below.
1) Can you talk a little bit about your book, Confessions of a Frustrated Millennial? If you could tell someone why they should read it, what would you say?
My book, Confessions of a Frustrated Millennial is about three black millennial women who are operating through life post-college. Their stories don’t intersect, but they’re all frustrated with where they are in their lives. Natasha wants to climb the corporate ladder, but she’s in a dead end job with a bad boss. Danielle wants to be a Broadway actress, but has been rejected from roles over and over. Jayla is a lawyer that can’t find a job after graduating and passing the bar. I think my book is perfect for anybody who feels uncertain in their lives and while it highlights “millennials”, I think many people from each generation – especially Gen Z after millennials - can understand and empathize.
2) I loved this story because it told about three different women reaching for their dreams and the highs and lows that come with that. Why did you decide to write it from three different perspectives?
I think I wanted all of them to be extremely different much like all of us are on different paths. However, I wanted their commonality to be “frustration”. I wanted readers to see themselves in one or all of the characters and know they’re not alone with their “adulting frustration”.
3) Is there a character in the story that you relate to the most? Why is that?
It’s funny because I relate to all of them. They all were a part of me. However, if I had to choose it would be Jayla. Her going through job hunting, being rejected and seeing other peers succeed (in this case her cousin) can be much like putting salt in a wound. I’ve experienced it both times when I graduated with my undergrad and grad and job hunting is not for the faint of heart so I could relate to her a bit more.
4) What advice would you give someone who wants to write a book?
I would say to write from the heart – whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. You can worry about editing later, but if you have a great story, set time aside to write it.
5) Where did your love of writing start? What were the earliest things you remember writing?
I loved writing from a very early age. I think by time I knew how to read books, I was trying to write stories. I remember writing stories when I was 7-8. They were short and most didn’t make sense, but I loved fictional stories.
6) How did your experience working as a journalist shape you as an author?
I think journalism was good because it made me more observant. I observed people a lot more to capture emotion. I did that a lot when I was a feature writer in school. Also, I do a lot of research. Some of my characters have been places and done things that I’ve never done, but through research I made it believable in my writing.
7) Your writing feels just as much non-fiction as it does fiction. From the first chapter, how you write about office work-life is very relatable. Can you talk about how you adapted real-life to create a fictional world?
Haha! Well, that was actually my own thinking, lol. Most of the things from my book either happened to me or something similar in form so it wasn’t hard to adapt it to the fictional part – except it’s coming from my character’s mouth and not my own.
8) In a sense, this book reminds me of the book, So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo. There is a chapter in that book all about African-American hair, and a paragraph about people wanting to touch it and the insensitivity behind that. So, it reminded me of this when I read Natasha’s story in Chapter 4, “This is what I hate about being the only black person in the office-everybody wants to touch and pet your hair like you’re an animal in a petting zoo. Just because I have a different hair texture does not give you the right to touch me.” Talk about the importance of African-American culture seen through the eyes of these three women.
I wanted to give an authentic look through the eyes of an African-American woman. I think there are things that we go through and obstacles that we face that unfortunately many others can’t or don’t understand. The thing with the hair actually happened to several of my friends and it’s sad because people try to normalize the “touching hair” thing when it’s not normal. It’s an invasion of space and privacy. I think unfortunately too, there isn’t much representation when it comes to black women in certain situations – office settings or even job networking, etc. Representation matters and while I can’t speak for all black women, I do believe that ALL our stories and not just one type of story, are important.
9) What are your goals as a writer and an author?
Hmmm, I think I want to write as much as I can. I’m exploring screenwriting as well so I want to get to tell as many diverse voices as I can.
10) When did you get it in your mind that you wanted to write a novel? Where did you get your idea to write Confessions of a Frustrated Millennial?
I wrote the book when I was in a “frustrated place”. I got fired from my first job after grad school and it was unfortunately not a great working experience. I felt bullied and felt I was treated unfairly until they got rid of me and on top of that I was job hunting again and things weren’t panning out the way I expected. I wrote Natasha’s story first and then I decided to create the other characters later, but the book was birthed from my own “frustrated millennial” self.
11) Is there anything that you would like to share that I didn’t bring up? What else have you written or what do you plan to write next maybe?
I’m currently working on my second book. I admit I’m a bit of procrastinator when it has come to this, but it’s coming along. I usually don’t release any information of what my next book is about until it’s finished, but I think it’ll be on the same lines as my first one. I’m also exploring a little bit of screenwriting which is a different beast for me, but it’s fun because I also like film. So stay tuned :-)