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Memphis-born author writes book to help teenagers put love over fear

“I just wanted to give the Memphis teenagers a story that didn't remind them of the struggle, you know, of, of Black teens," said Kelis Rowe, Finding Jupiter author.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis native and author is spreading a message of love, particularly among Black teenagers.

The Crystal Palace skating rink is closed, but the memories open the doors to a Memphis born love.

“I from Memphis. I had my first love in Memphis, and my big love. I met my husband 21 years ago when I was 18 in Memphis, so obviously it has a special place in my heart,” said Kelis Rowe, Finding Jupiter author. It is a special place that Rowe carries with her daily in her family, work, and goals.

“In 2015, my good friend, she's also a writer and author, Yolanda King. She was like, we should make a vision board. Let's, you know, let's decide where we want to be five years from now,” said Rowe. 

On that board was to grow her family and write a book.

“Two years after the vision board, I started writing in 2017,” said Rowe. “I feel like putting it on a vision board really just helps you keep the energy focused.” Thus, Finding Jupiter was born.

“I call it a modern classic romance told from the point of view of two black Memphis teenagers,” said Rowe. “They meet at the Crystal Palace and the summer it gets interesting for both of them.” The two main characters not only find love but navigate grief and loss.

“I just wanted to give the Memphis teenagers a story that didn't remind them of the struggle, you know, of, of Black teens, or, you know, the lens that kind of is placed on them in their entertainment,” said Rowe. She is familiar with that struggle. Rowe had difficulties getting her book published.

Credit: Kelis Rowe

“I was going to self-publish because publishing wasn't checking for books like mine at the time. And honestly, I feel like after George Floyd's death, after his murder, I feel like there was kind of a tide shift in publishing specifically, where all of a sudden books that focus Um, Black, people's humanity became important,” said Rowe. She won a contest on Twitter receiving an agent. Later, she was able to publish her book.

“What I want is for Memphis teens who read my book, for every teen who reads my book of any race, to leave the experience knowing that they can show up in the world as they are,” said Rowe. “If they face fears or insecurities that stem from childhood wounds or losses…They can show up in life and in love whole, or closer to whole and as they are and just experienced big love earlier in life.” It is a love that glides through memories held dear.

 

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