A Tale Worth Singing with Jeemah Jefri
Interview with Jeemah Jefri: Author of A Tale of The Unsung Tailor
1. Thank you for taking some time to talk to us. Let’s start with who you are and what do you do?
My name is Jeemah Jefri but you can call me Jeems. I’m a writer. Currently, I’m working as a writer and editor at a publishing company in Brunei. Through this job, I have met amazing and talented creatives and writers, who inspired me to pursue writing. Besides that, I’m a book lover. If I’m not writing, I’ll be reading.
2. How long has writing been part of your life? Did you ever envision yourself being an author one day?
I’ve been interested in writing as early as nine years old. I remember because I loved to collect cute notebooks to be kept as my diary. I’d scribble some thoughts between break times in school and before going to bed at home. Writing is like a fuel for me to go through my day, and like oxygen for me to breathe. It helps me to reflect on my feelings and it has been an essential coping mechanism for me to maintain my mental health well-being. Aside from that, I love the art of story-telling. You can venture into different worlds, meet different people (real or not) and learn a lot of life lessons. Writing isn’t just a career to me, it’s a lifestyle that I chose. I’ve always wanted to be an author ever since, and when A Tale of the Unsung Tailor made its debut, it’s like a dream came true.
3. Let’s talk about your book, A Tale of the Unsung Tailor. What is it about?
It’s about a woman named Kamalia, who’s longing to have a child of her own but she can’t. The story follows her journey in accepting her faith of being childless. It heavily focuses on the area of womanhood.
4. How did you come across the inspiration for A Tale of the Unsung Tailor?
Prior to A Tale of the Unsung Tailor, I’ve been writing non-fiction, typically drawn from real life experiences. One day, I thought, I wanted to challenge myself as a writer by learning to write fiction, a story that is made up from my imagination. Thus, A Tale of the Unsung Tailor is my first attempt at writing fiction. My main inspiration for this book is my childhood experience growing up in Kampong with my late grandmother. It felt as if I had lived another life; a quiet, serene and happy moment being raised by a strong woman, my grandma, before I moved to live in a different district and start a new life. As a modern woman living in a fast-paced world, oftentimes I too wondered about my roots and who I really am. This identity crisis allowed me to revisit my past and relive those moments when life was so much simpler.
5. How did it feel when A Tale of the Unsung Tailor was published?
Happy, nervous and overwhelmed. I’m happy to see my words printed on paper. I’m nervous to see what other people think about it, especially as a first-time writer. I’m overwhelmed by the support that I have received from those who have purchased this book. I need to ensure the book is safely arrived in their hands, with much love and care!
6. Do you have any messages to the general public or anything you want to share about your book?
I hope to share the story with people, especially women and to highlight what really matters: self-acceptance and love. It’s really easy to get distracted with a lot of things in today’s constantly moving world. Sometimes we forget what really matters and sometimes we lose ourselves.
And to the young and aspiring writers out there, start writing and keep on writing. First step matters. Allow yourself to learn and make mistakes. Don’t get discouraged by criticisms, rejections, lack of support or uncertainty. Believe in yourself and always be open to learning. Never stop learning. If the door is closed, look out for the windows. And give yourself enough time.
7. How can people interested in A Tale of the Unsung Tailor find a copy and what’s the best way to get updates on any future plans you have?
You can get a copy of A Tale of the Unsung Tailor via @qnph.bn on Instagram and do follow the page for updates on books and publications. You can also follow my writing Instagram account @jeemswrites.bn where I share all sorts of goods from writing to reading and everything about Art and Creatives! Thank you for giving A Tale of the Unsung Tailor a chance to read.
Author’s note: At the time of publishing this article, A Tale of the Unsung Tailor has been made more readily available at your local book store so be sure to drop by and grab a copy!