Welcome back to our blog y'all :) Jenn Silverwood here! You may know me as that gal from Texas who replies to your e-mails. Or the one who talks about kidlit and Qamber Kids. What you may not know is I've been with Qamber Designs & Media for a little over six years, and I love my job. I came to meet Naj as an author looking for a cover designer, but I found a friend and eventually a way to spread my literary passion through Qamber Designs. That's the short version. Wanna know the full story?
Here’s what I know…
I was raised in the heart of Texas, but spent a good portion of my childhood at the family farmhouse, exploring the surrounding woods. Dragonflies were really fairies in disguise, and the piney forest was enchanted, and it was the perfect place to read books. This is what I remember. My mother reading books aloud to me, while my father made up stories and songs. My grandparents taking me to libraries and cemeteries for genealogy research. I wrote my first stories using my grandpa’s typewriter. When I was nine, I wrote stories about kids crashing on an alien planet. In 2012, I decided to self-publish the first novella based on that series, Qeya.
I have had dreams of being an author like Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, and Robin McKinley, for as long as I can remember. So I knew I was willing to do whatever it took to make my dream reality. I stumbled across an amazing editor, and likewise, while browsing Deviantart, I found Najla Qamber’s portfolio. Her photo manipulations captured that same sense of magic and wonder I believed in as a child. So I reached out to her to commission my first book cover. She took a piece of pastel/charcoal art I had illustrated and made a digital painting with it. Naj has covered (and recovered, bless her) everything I’ve done since.
And then what happened?
2014 was a big year for me. I had two secure jobs, as an office/personal assistant. I got married, then a few months later, accidentally pregnant. We lost that first pregnancy, and I was surprised at how devastated I was. At the time, kids weren’t even on my radar. But after that, we agreed to stay open to the idea. If it was meant to be, it would happen, right? My next doctor visit, we found out the pregnancy I thought we had lost, had somehow survived. But the heartbeat was very low. I dared to believe in hope. The visit after that, we found out the baby hadn’t made it. If I thought I hurt before, it didn’t compare to this time. I felt lost and it took me a bit to recover not just physically, but emotionally. Unfortunately, I also failed the night classes I was taking at the time, and then I lost my day job. Through all of this time, I was still attempting to write and publish books. But at this point, my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I was desperate to climb out of my funk. I felt lost.
Najla and I had kept up an e-mail correspondence through all this time. We learned early on we had similar tastes in fandoms and became close friends. So I kept her in the loop through these highs and lows. It was Naj who suggested I could work for her, freelancing as a virtual assistant. I was surprised and relieved, but mostly grateful. I loved the hours I was able to help organize her social media, and run through back-logs. All that tedious, time-consuming office work that bores most people, I thrived off of. The fact I was able to contribute to the Indie community, gave me a sense of purpose again. Little did I know how much the business would grow in the following years, or how my role would evolve with it.
What we can become...
Today, I’m the project manager for Qamber Kids, and a business support manager for the rest of the company. I don’t want to come off as too dramatic, but I mean it when I say working with Najla and Nada, has saved me in so many ways. Most of all, it has taught me how to believe in myself again. That even when I hit rock-bottom, there is always a way to climb back up.
I have since published more books, and it’s a joy to help Qamber Designs bring other authors’ books to life. It’s an honor to serve you all, however I can. My favorite thing about this community is how we support and build each other up. I’ve been very excited about this blog, because, as a fellow author, I know how difficult finding exposure in the market can be. I hope that as we feature your books, as we share our favorite covers and favorite authors, you are encouraged. It’s hard to have faith in this negative world, but we’re in this together, through thick and thin. We are one big, loving and messy family, and we’re on this journey together. :)