An Interview with Author and Creator Lauren Tate

In the spirit of being a part of the Her Campus platform that works to create spaces for women to share their voices, I believe it to be important to do the same. Lauren Tate is a self-published author who not only shares her words with the world but also creates an environment for other Black women to share their written creations as well. In a society that rarely offers a seat at the table for Black women to share their narratives, Lauren Tate took it upon herself to just create her own table and then some. So, I decided to conduct an interview with Lauren about that process and what her experience as a young Black woman author has been like! 

Lina: So, why don’t you start by telling the people who you are and what it is that you do?  

Lauren: Hello! My name is Lauren Tate. I am an author/writer and podcast creator/host of "The Lost World of Short Stories." 

Lina: As a Black women writer, why is it so important that you share your stories and narratives with the world? 

Lauren: It is essential to share my stories because representation is important. I want to see people who look like me in literature and on television. I want to see diverse representations of Black people, especially Black women. 

As a Black woman writer and a Christian, sometimes it's hard to see Black female characters that are wholesome and relatable. People seem to think that because you are a Christian, that limits you to telling corny stories with wacky characters. But everyone struggles. Being a writer, I hope to share stories of everyday Black girls and women who may seem unimportant or forgotten. I want to shed a light on their stories. By adding my stories among all the beautiful Black narratives that have fought their way on bookshelves and television, I am helping our community extend and expand what it means to be a Black girl or woman. 

Lina: In addition to being an author, you also host your own podcast. Why did you decide to use that medium to create your platform? 

Lauren: Funny thing— I had no intention to do a podcast! But one day, I woke up with the idea to do a podcast on my heart, and it just made sense. I love hosting and writing for "The Lost World of Short Stories" because it's an opportunity for Black girls and women to tell our stories. I've always enjoyed the medium of podcasting. It's powerful to hear Black women's voices—society tends to shut us out in many narratives. However, when people tune in to "The Lost World of Short Stories," they have no choice but to listen to powerful and extraordinary Black women telling their stories from their perspectives. So many times, as a minority and as women, people snatch the pen from us and write our stories, and I'm sick of it! We have these beautiful, unique, and cultured stories about our people and our history. It's about time we fill every space we can to tell them! The podcast welcomes Black women to do that — to encourage each other and love each other with their work. I've had so many women message me and tell me how thankful they are for the platform and the content. Our stories are important. Our stories are needed. 

Lina: You also invite other Black women creators on to your podcast, what made you decide to do so? 

Lauren: Yes! I wanted to, specifically, turn the spotlight on other Black women writers who are self-published or with smaller publishing houses because they deserve more recognition, more readers, and a bigger audience. Usually, big companies and mainstream media are so quick to hit the reject button because certain projects or ideas are unheard of or because they have not seen the project or idea that fits their standards of what is acceptable. All you get is a big fat no. I understand that taking risks can be...risky... but we need more brilliant and fearless thinkers. We need more creatives that think outside of the box. That is what being an artist means— to create, to give birth to the impossible. 

To be an artist or creative is to let people see the world in a different light. If we become numb and start creating what everybody else is creating simply because it’s convenient, how are doing our jobs? We have a responsibility as artists, and a lot of people have been asleep too long. 

As to Black women writers on my podcast, I say to them: “you are not cast aside, or here for a diversity pop up. You are not a token. Rather on "The Lost World of Short Stories," you are important, you are cared for and you are celebrated.”

Lina: Your podcast is titled "The Lost World of Short Stories," tell me about the creation of that title and what it means? 

Lauren: I created the title "The Lost World of Short Stories" because Black women’s stories are usually forgotten and retold by white people. The title is a tribute to our voice. It's a world of our stories as Black women. Our voices have been lost in translation for far too long. I’m taking my pen back— I’m writing my own story. 

I encourage people who are not Black women to listen and support the podcast because as important as it is to create our mirror of identity, it is also important to learn things outside of your own culture and history. That is how we all learn and become better humans— ones of kindness, compassion, and empathy. 

I try to encourage people to take time to listen to each other's stories, even if we don't agree. It's not about agreement, it's about kindness and compassion. That is why I end every episode on the podcast with my motto "You are important. You are loved and Your story deserves to be told". Because your story, no matter who you are, is the greatest one you are ever going to tell. 

Lina: As a self-published author, tell me about what that process has been like for you? 

Lauren: Challenging! Haha! I'm not going to lie. When I first published my book "Fragments of a Full Memory" it was a wreck! I had no idea what I was doing and I was afraid to share my truth about my life and relationship. That was five years ago, and here I am five years later with a published book that I’m confidently sharing with the world. 

I actually learned a lot about the self-publishing process through Amazon. I edited, I let someone else edit. I wrote, I rewrote, and rewrote, and rewrote...and rewrote! It takes a lot of mental energy to be a writer, but oh is it rewarding! Through self-publishing, I have full agency over my voice and my work. That's power for me, as an artist, writer and woman. Sometimes I wonder how it will be when a publisher wants to publish my book— I will never sacrifice my authentic voice. Trust me when I say that I've prayed for the right publishers if someone is meant to be on this path with me because my freedom of expression is very important to me. Self-publishing granted me that freedom and let me grow in my own time. It was there for me, and I'll always be thankful for that. I encourage other Black writers to self-publish as a starting place, especially if other avenues just aren't working. 

Lina: What challenges do you think you have faced as a self-published author and how have you overcome them? 

Lauren: Sharing my work with other people, plain and simple. I’ve never struggled with creating a story but sharing it! That used to be a huge fear. When you self-publish your work, you have to have the drive for everything— marketing, selling, telling people about what you’ve created. That was hard for me! I’m writing about broken relationships, sexual abuse, pain and grief and now you want me to share that?! So, yea that was a fear I had to overcome. I had to understand the impact of being a writer and if I wanted to succeed in this field, I can’t apologize for telling my truth. I can’t minimize my words to make other people feel comfortable. As long as God approves, I am going to press on. That change in mindset and habit has done wonders for me because I am able to grow as a writer and as a woman. I am able to connect with my readers and show up as myself. 

Lina: Who are some of your literary inspirations?

Lauren: Sarah Kay, Alysia Nicole Harris and Haruki Murakami. 

Lina: Finally, if there was any advice you could give to other Black women writers or those who want to be published writers, what would you say to them? 

Lauren: Get to work! With diligence, discipline, determination and sacrifice. 

Lauren is also accepting submissions for Season 3 of "The Lost World of Short Stories"! She is looking for Black women writers of poetry, spoken word, short stories, memoirs, and skits! (of any genre). You can send up to 3-5 pieces. And all submissions can be sent to her email [email protected] 

You can also find Lauren on her website and Instagram: 

Website: laurentatebooks.com 

Instagram: @laurentatebooks