TAEM- The literary field is vast and has many facets to it. One such area has to do with wellness and empowerment which has become a recent phenomenon. The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has decided to explore this book genre and the name of author Jillian Bullock had immediately popped up. Jillian your writing career has spanned several decades, and you are a freelance writer who was a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Tell us about your career here and your choice to develop into the world of freelance writing.
JB- Freelance writing gives me the freedom to write about issues I care about, i.e., health, fitness, women’s issues, self-defense, martial arts and boxing. When I was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal I only wrote about business, which wasn’t where my love was, but it definitely helped me become a great writer. I had to focus on deadlines and interviewing skills, and of course grammar, AP Style of writing, and much more. I also had to do extensive research on the person or company I was covering for a story. These wonderful skills carried over to freelance work. I write for various on-line publications including, Flourish Over 50, Divine Caroline, TheMMAZone.con, ProMMANow.com, and others. I also have two of my own blogs – fightingspiritwarriors.net and hereistandthebook.com.
JB- When I was growing up I always had visions of becoming a writer. I often read one book a week and wrote short stories. Since age 10, I’ve kept a journal of my dreams and goals. Writing actually helped keep me sane when I was homeless at age 15. Although I had to resort to using drugs, criminal activity and prostitution to survive the streets, writing in my journal and remembering my goals got me through those horrific experiences. When I got off the streets and kicked drugs, I got back into high school and focused on getting my grades up so I could go to college. I majored in Communications and English at La Salle University in Philadelphia.
TAEM- Tell us about your early years as a teenager and the type of life that you found yourself in.
JB- As a young African American girl, I grew up with my mother, Janet, my older brother, Rob, and my white stepfather, Jake, who was a member of the Philadelphia Mafia. Jake and I spent a lot of time together. Although, Jake taught me all about the Mob, he also taught me about movies. He was a big movie buff and every Sunday he’d take me to see a movie. He knew what every person did on the set, so we’d sit and watch the credits roles and he’d break down the job of every crew member. It was Jake who told me that I could one day become a screenwriter and director. That was his dream for me and eventually it became my dream. He wanted me to work with his favorite actor, who was a young Robert DeNiro at the time. I’m still working on making that happen. I may be an award winning writer and filmmaker, but I am still working to fulfill Jake’s goal of working with DeNiro someday.
TAEM- Tell us about your book, ‘Here I Stand’, and what inspiration drove you to write it.
JB- The book talks about my life growing up with the Mob and how different a life that was from most little black girls. I witnessed my first Mob hit at age nine and Jake taught me how to shoot guns at age 11. Plus, it highlights my life on the streets after my mother left Jake and kicked me out of the house. I decided to write the book because many people learned about my story from interviews and they said it was so inspirational all that I had gone through and yet I was able to overcome tremendous obstacles to fulfill my dream of becoming a report for the Wall Street Journal, an author, a screenwriter and an award winning filmmaker. I want to help others learn how to fulfill their dreams and goals despite the odds and obstacles against them.
The book has garnished attention from few Hollywood producers, who want to turn it into a feature film. But I have to make sure I align myself with the right producer who understands the vision of the story.
TAEM- We understand that you have written articles directed towards young girls in aiding them during times of crisis. Please tell us about these.
JB- I write for various on-line publications, as well as my blogs. My articles are geared toward all people, but especially girls and women. I write stories that I hope empower people to be victors, not victims.
JB- I’m actually still writing the sequel entitled A Warrior’s Heart. It picks up where HERE I STAND ends when I am 20 years old. I just got an internship at the Wall Street Journal and I entered college. The sequel goes from age 20 to present day and it focuses on working toward achieving my dreams and goals even while I battle emotional demons from my past, trying to stay drug free, letting go of the criminal and prostitute mentality, and how I deal with raising three children as a single mom. This book will again help empower people and let them know that one’s past does not dictate what their future will be.
TAEM- Tell us about the other writing that you have done that are centered on sports and fitness.
JB- As a former competitive martial artist and boxer, I hold two black belts – one in Tae Kwon Do and one in Wing Chun. I currently train in mixed martial arts (MMA). Along with that experience, I am also a certified personal trainer, a group fitness instructor, a kickboxing instructor, and a mixed martial arts certified trainer. I use my education, skills and knowledge to write articles on MMA, fitness, health, boxing, self-defense, and wellness.
TAEM- Please tell our readers about the company that you have formed that involves your work.
JB- I am the CEO of two companies, Jaguar Productions, Inc., a film and sports entertainment company and Jillian Bullock Enterprises, LLC, a fitness, wellness and empowerment company. Through Jaguar Productions, I have written and sold two scripts, The Champion Inside, in 2010 and A Scar Across My Heart, in 2011. I have also produced two independent films and won awards for screenwriting and filmmaking. I have worked on my own projects and other people’s projects as a writer, director, producer, fight choreographer, and actress. I got my start in filmmaking when I interned on the set of Spike Lee’s movie, Malcolm X, in 1991. I am also a screenwriting judge each year for the Greater Philadelphia Film Office Shoot in Philadelphia Screenwriting Contest. Through Jillian Bullock Enterprises, I created Fighting Spirit Empowerment programs, which help empower people to be victors, not victims, by changing self-defeating and negative behaviors to obtain success and greatness. I am also the creator of Fighting Spirit Warriors, a fitness for self-defense for girls and women.
TAEM- Jillian, I must applaud your great efforts in helping people overcome their difficulties, and we want to thank you for the time you spent for this interview with The Arts and Entertainment Magazine . We certainly wish you much luck in all that you do.