Jennifer Barnes Maggio – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Overwhelmed: The Life of a Single Mom is my autobiography where I share in raw, gut-wrenching detail my personal journey through the death of both my parents, sexual abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and ultimately teen pregnancy. It is a book written to raise awareness on issues that the more than 13 million single moms in the country face. It has been heralded as the “…..real version of what the single mom’s journey looks like.” It not only bring to life issues such as abuse, poverty, and emotional stability, but it gives you very practical information on how to overcome those challenges, such as “How do I get through the teenage years parenting alone? How do I make ends meet? Will it always be like this?”

Tell us something about yourself.

At 17, I found myself a homeless, unwed, teen mom with little hope or future. I was parenting alone, had nowhere to go, and had little help of any kind. I had already been through years of abuse and this was the final blow. I felt desperate. I journeyed from impoverished teen mom to successful executive in Corporate America for one of the country’s top Fortune 500 companies. In light of the recent economic times, my story needed to be written to encourage and inspire those struggling that they can make it. I spend my days counseling and mentoring hundreds of single mothers in my local community, while working with churches and non-profits across the country in launching their ministries for single parents. I travel sharing my story. I reside in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with three beautiful children and wonderful husband. .

What inspired you to write this book?

I have worked with hundreds of single mothers, personally. I lived that journey for seven years. I know the financial burdens, the emotional stresses, the parenting woes. As I began to look for books on single parenthood, there were few to choose from. And the ones on the shelves oftentimes weren’t even written by single moms! . I wanted to simply share my story, share with raw intensity those thoughts that held me captive and be vulnerable with the reader. I wanted to write a book that the unwed teen mom could identify with, but also the divorcee or the widow. Less than 2% of all single parenting books on the market are written from a Christian perspective. I wanted to get something on the shelves that shared by story, but didn’t leave you there. I wanted to take the reader through how I actually survived it all — through my faith.

How did you choose the title?

Overwhelmed seemed like such a natural title for this book. As a former single mom, the word “overwhelmed” was the first word that came to mind when I thought of my journey through parenting alone and the word that was the recurring theme for many single moms that I interviewed for this book.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I wrote the book in 90 days and had three contract offers 90 days after that! That is not your typical publishing story. However, for me, it was total confirmation that I was supposed to write the book and that there were thousands waiting to read it. My biggest problem was deciding which contract was the right one for my family and me.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Unlike many authors, I am not a life-long aspiring author. I began the journey of working with single moms more than three years ago. Upon counseling, mentoring, and befriending hundred of single moms, there were so many things that began to burn in my heart for them. I wanted not just the ones I worked with locally to know, but all single moms to know, that they can make it. From that burning desire birthed the book.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I like to sit at a local coffee shop in a corner and just write, uninterrupted for two-three hours. I enjoy hearing the soft sound of music playing in the background and just writing the first thoughts that come to mind, sipping on hot coffee, oblivious to the world around me.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am currently spending my time writing articles to raise awareness on single parent issues from a Christian perspective. I have written articles for, The Right Choice, Christian Magazine, Family Life Ministries and many more. There are many more to come. In addition, I have been writing a “How-To Guide” for churches and nonprofits on how to launch single mother’s groups in their communities and what to do to maintain them.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Write about what you love. Do not write to be published, but write from your heart. The publishing will come later.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

The perfect reader for Overwhelmed is the 19-year-old unwed mom who thinks she cannot make it, the 42-year-old divorcee who never expected to be parenting alone, the 35-year-old unexpected widow, or the married mom who secretly feels like she is alone and doesn’t know what to do. Overwhelmed was written to inspire a nation of 13 million single moms to succeed, to achieve, and to have hope for their futures, from someone who has been there.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Readers can visit my website at or purchase the book at, Barnes and Noble, or any major retailer.