Kennesha Buycks just wrote a book. As a fan, I am extremely excited to have a piece of her writing in my home to read during an unplugged Sunday of self-care. As a creative, I get the little bug in my ear that says “Okay, now I really want to add that to my five year goals. It would be so great to write a book.”
But would it, actually?
It’s been two weeks since The Restoration House Book has been released and it’s become the newest coffee table it-item for the interior design set, she’s currently on a book-signing tour and a quick glance at mentions and reviews will tell you quickly that it is almost unanimously loved.
But Kennesha will be the first to tell you that success is subjective, non-linear and not as glamorous as the blog-to-book stories of this Instagram age would have us believe.
I sat down with Kennesha just before her launch and she shared with me her thoughts on the book’s conception in the wake of tragedy, the process of working with a publisher, the many “you’ve gotta be kidding me” moments in the process, and what she wishes people would stop asking her about the book.
The Restoration House Book Was Born in a Dark Moment:
Writing a book wasn’t on Kennesha’s five year plan or the intention when she was writing her blog posts. The inital seeds of the Restoration House Book were planted in in a dark moment- and she was insulted by the notion.
I lost my mom five years ago in December, and the day that she passed away within an hour I just felt a voice that I know to be the voice of God say that I am going to write a book.
I remember that moment and thinking how stupid it was and stupid is such an elementary word but that’s how- I just felt that not only that but inconsiderate, but it angered me. Because I just thought, ‘how could you in this moment share something so insignificant with me. I don’t care about a book.
It just seemed so random. So of course, I just moved on. I continued crying out to God in that moment and did as we all do in a moment of loss- we go through all the crying and the memories and the woulda coulda shouldas- So all those bigger things so all that was happening in that moment.
On How She Began Writing Again After Her Mother’s Death
Kennesha stopped writing for a bit after losing her mom unexpectedly. Then, one day, it all came back to her.
I was scrolling Instagram a few years ago and one of my friends posted something- I don’t even remember what it said or any of the details, but what she said and whatever picture she connected to it was profound to me that day. To explain it, I always liken it to just a fade-in of color- likethe color faded out when my mom died. That's what it felt like. Like every bit of soul that I had in me drained out.
But then that day, with that post it all came back. It was like literally like a breath of not even fresh air. That's not even heavy enough. It was just a breath of life. I don't know and all the colors faded back in there and it was almost like this instant moment of inspiration, all the creativity.
The desire to create came back. So that was the moment that I decided to start writing and I wanted to relaunch my blog and kind of rebrand a little bit. I think that day was also the day that I wrote the post about my mother's death and her life and what her life meant to me and how her death had affected me negatively and positively, and that was I want to say that was my first post back into blog world.
Restoration House isn’t just About Her:
I wanted to bring clarity to that moment that God shared with me that I would write that book which seemed trivial to me at the time, so a few weeks ago I was sitting down just thinking about that moment. Because honestly, I still didn’t get it. Like why would God share something like that with me in such a vulnerable moment. I don’t know where you are as far as your faith or what you believe in, but I talk to God so I just asked “what was that? Why would you do that?” and he says “If I didn’t tell you then, would you remember that I started it?”
And I was like “Wow. wow, you’re right.” (I mean, of course you’re right, who are you?) but I absolutely wouldn’t have. There had to be this contrasting, messy moment where these two things converge to remember that it hapened. I probably wouldn’t have remembered that he said it to me- It had to be in that moment. And here’s why that is significant. Because honestly, that still doesn’t make it make sense, like why does he need to tell me anyway? But through this entire process of book writing over the two-year span from the time Molly emailed me to final manuscript then it’s release, there have been a lot of common themes and one of them is that it’s not about me. This book isn’t about me, and my writing has never been about me. I need to move as far as I can from this and allow God to use me because at the end of the day, who wants to just write a book?
Nobody needs to know how to choose a color- like, yes, we love it, we want to know how to make our houses look better. But at the end of the day, that’s a shell of a conversation when it comes to how meaningful and impactful and how purposeful our homes are meant to be and what the source of that fulfillment is. I don’t need to be the center of that conversation but for whatever reason God wanted to use me to host the conversation and I’m thankful for that and grateful for that but it’s not about me and that moment was significant and God Brought it full circle for me because he wants to continue to remind me and he wants to continue to remind us that it's not about us it's not about me; it’s about Him. People are wanting to hear that they have significance, they want to hear that they have purpose they want to hear that they have truth and far be it from me to get in the way of anyone being able to receive any of that.
So I thought that moment was very significant and that was honestly a good reminder for life.
On the business side of things, the Restoration House Book has brought surprise opportunities, new lessons for this stage in her career and seemingly counterintuitive feelings about the whole process.
On Thinking Her Publisher’s Initial Outreach was a Prank:
I got an email from a woman named Molly at Harper Collins and the email was very simple. She introduced herself and she said I’ve followed you for a while and I read your blog often and love your writing and your style and have you considered writing a book?”
I just pushed my laptop to the side and said “this is a joke. Who is messing with me?” I mean, when I think back to it, I think ‘You’re silly. Nobody does that, this isn’t a hoax’ but it was even more surreal because it was a reminder- I was taken back to that day where He said “this is going to be a part of your story, you are going to write a book” those were the exact words.
And so I was like “I can’t even right now. Nope, don’t wanna do this. Nope, no thanks.” So I sat on the email for 24 hours, I obviously did respond to her. I did not tell her that I had not thought of writing a book, because I know that had already been spoken over me but I just said “I would love to talk to you” and we connected maybe a couple days later and we connected and fast forward two more years, here we are. And I have written the book.
On The Pressure to be Excited:
As far as the way that I feel right now, there are so many layers. I feel like the last thing I feel is excited. More than anything I think what I’m experiencing is a lot of fear. But I’m not afraid of it and I don’t think I’ll stay here but I think it's kept me in a healthy place honestly,
It’s intimidating for me when people who know I’m releasing in a few days so people expect you as an author to be excited and there are a lot of knowns that I can be excited about, but there are unknowns. So I’m choosing to focus on what I know and what I can do try not to think about the rest.
What Not to Ask Someone About to Release A Book
I also hate when people ask about the numbers. I think that’s really awkward and weird.
I think there are a lot of when people who don’t understand publishing or the book writing world ask me how I’m ranked when the book isn’t even released or ask how many pre-orders I have.
Honestly, I don’t know why they’d ask that. If I’m thinking about the individuals that ask about that they're just business people and it would be an automatic thing for them to ask about numbers because it’s how they’re wired.
I think the struggle for me when people ask these questions and it comes across as condescending- I’m not saying this is their intention this is the way I receive it because of my own insecurities- but it makes me second guess whether I’m doing something right or something wrong or maybe I’m not doing enough.
When She’ll Be Able to Sit Back and Enjoy This Accomplishment
No joke, probably next year. I’ll be in the bed, sit straight up hit Larry and say, Babe, oh my gosh! Can you believe I wrote a book?”
And he’ll be like, “Yeah, like last year.”