Stephanie Guerilus has just published her first book, By Any Means Necessary. This exciting, easy-to-read book targets a younger crowd using high school slang and more than ordinary gossip.
Guerilus is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., and went to high school in Philadelphia, where she based the book. She is a journalism major in her third year who has been active in several groups on campus such as Temple Association of Black Journalists and The Temple News. She had to take a break from her involvement to write the book for four months and type it for six months.
“It was a lot and something had to give,” she said, so she chose her book.
She has been writing all her life: One of her essays was displayed in the governor’s house and one published in a 2005 issue of “Soap Opera Weekly.” Guerilus carries a notebook and pen with her at all times and is constantly scribbling down ideas which often turn into short stories.
“When I start to write I just can’t stop,” she said. She is inspired by writers such as Sister Souljah, Omar Tyree and Alex Haley among many others.
Her idea for the book was out of the ordinary. “[I was] pissed off at my ex-boyfriend and I could not take a baseball bat and smash his car in.” She started to write a short story that later turned into a 400-page book.
She said the biggest problem she encountered was being indecisive on which direction to take the story.
“I don’t want it too overdramatic or boring. It’s hard trying to find a medium,” said Guerilus. To get her book published, she had to first find a publisher and reputable firm while being her own public relations person to get her book out and to “make sure it’s the best product I could get out there.” She said a writer also has to accept criticism and that she uses the feedback to improve the book.
After writing this book, she had to make two major changes before getting it published. One was changing the name from “To Thy Own Self Be True” because it was too much of a tongue twister to “By Any Means Necessary.” This new title also explains the book more accurately. The other change was to break the 400-page book into two editions which required her to write 10 more chapters to satisfy the first book’s ending.
Guerilus put pieces of herself into the character, Stephanie, the conscience of the story who helped the main character and was an aspiring writer.
“Little elements of me are in the main character,” Guerilus said about Chante.
She is currently working on two other books which she plans to publish when she is finished writing. “Reach of Faith” will focus on religion and the problems people have with trying to live holy lives. “Dangerously in Love” will tell the story of three women and how dangerous and abusive it could be to fall in love.
Guerilus hopes her book will be sold in major bookstores, especially those at Temple. With her profits, she plans to start a foundation for sexually abused children. She said it could “be a beginning of a new empire. If Oprah could get one, I could too … I have big dreams.”
Nicole Rudder can be reached at Nicole84@temple.edu.