What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
God Is Always There published in 2007, is an autobiography, Christian Inspirational book, chronicling my life of childhood abuse, self-mutilation, depression, and suicide tendencies until it cost me custody of my oldest son by the time I was 23 for the next 15 years. It is my journey from the deepest, darkest pit I could have been in, feeling like I was nothing and important to no one. I felt like a desperate failure to everyone who I was around, until the point I was so distraught I laid down in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, praying for a car to run me over. Now some 17 years later I am in ministry, we own our on business, we help others from addiction and prison to restoration of a new life. We have healthy and vibrant lives but not without struggles.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am from a small country town outside Hattiesburg, MS but now reside in Hattiesburg. I am from a home with two sisters, one older and one younger. Our parents had us very early in life so they struggled with what it took to raise children healthy. I have been writing and drawing since the earliest I can remember. I went from drawing storms and tornadoes as a child to writing my fears and pains into words that couldn’t judge me or run from me. Writing was the only other thing than cutting that would help me process my emotions. I am extremely passionate about helping others in need but I have learned to be wise in it because I have found that we can waste our efforts on some when they are not ready to change their lives and conditions. But there are those out there that are starving for someone to come and give them a hand up in life and believe in their potential.
What inspired you to write this book?
I began just to journal my life as a continued way to tell me story. I wanted to let others know that they are not alone in their secret struggles. I see people all day wear masks, hiding their pain, and hiding their struggles and rotting on the inside. People hold on to bitterness, unforgiveness and most are genuinely ashamed of bad choices that they have made but want no one to know for fear of rejection and ridicule. I wanted to be real with people so that they too can learn they are not by themselves and that there is hope after the pain.
How did you choose the title?
I chose the title because I know that in my despair being so deep and something no man could touch, that God alone had the power to heal. He had never left my side and He cried every tear right along with me. I just chose not to see Him in it. I know without the healing that I received from Him that I would be much worse now. As I looked back on my story, I realized all the times that miraculous things happened to save me and that God had always been there for me.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
You know, in our journey we will have many nay-sayers telling us that it will never work, that it will never get published…etc. People so much see the impossible instead of the possible. I had people tell me that I would never get it published and that even well known authors were turned down 20 and 30 times before their work was published. But I believed that God had not put it on my heart to write it for it to not be published. I searched on line day after day and learned that most of the well-known publishing companies do not take unsolicited manuscripts. So basically if you don’t have ‘connections’ you struggle, unless you have God on your side. So one day I did another just basic search for publishing companies and one appeared on my screen that i had never seen before and it was a Christian publishing company out of Mustang, OK called Tate Publishing. They took my manuscript on line. Funny thing is, it seemed so many forces were fighting against me on this because on more than one occasion, when I would sit down to work on my manuscript, my program had rearranged my pages and wording. At two different points I had lost a few chapters that I thought I had saved. I just prayed that in all the difficulties that if it was God’s will for it to be published, it would happen and it did. The CEO and Founder of the company called me and offered me a contract. I was elated to say the least.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I actually didn’t know I wanted to be a published writer until it was over half way finished. It began to be more drawn out than any journal entries so I began to turn them into chapters. My desire to write up to that point had been for a healing process for myself but once it was offered to be published, I realized that it could help others also. In high school all I wrote about was the pain but now that I’ve learned that there can be joy in and from the pain, that is what I chose to write about now.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Prayer is my only ritual. Oh, and trying to find a quiet place away from phones, children, people etc. so I can concentrate and hear my thoughts. Most of the time, it comes to me in a flood of thoughts that I have to get out of my head. I am constantly making notes as thoughts come to me. I keep notes on any piece of paper that is in my reach sometimes. I’m always ‘jotting’ down thoughts.
Did you use peoples names in the book that are in your life or did you change them?
I only used names of people that had a positive influence on my life so that I didn’t dishonor anyone.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
Yes! I learned a lot. I learned that the widely held belief that once your book is published it just automatically goes into stores nationwide or worldwide, is not true. Marketing the book is harder than getting it published, even when you have a great publishing company backing you. They are not going to do it all for you because it is your own work. It’s something that you have to constantly chip away at. Bookstores and people want to know that you believe in your work. That is more important to them than the publishing company pushing it.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I love reading Max Lucado and Beth Moore books because they inspire me to think of things in different and better light. I like reading things that make me want to be a better person.
Are you currently working on another book?
Yes, actually I am working on two other books and a bible study book that goes along with one of the books. One deals with people who have became so caught up in their bitterness or pain that they can’t see anything else. It’s called, “Wearing Your Sorrow as a Crown.” It is a compilation of real life stories of people who have had bad things happen to them in their life but they have chosen to trudge on with the positive aspects and use their pain to grow and help others that go through similar pain. It also covers fiction stories of people who have had terrible things happen and they have let it control their lives to the point of destruction.
The other book is called, “Hand in Hand with the One and Only” and is practical steps on how to change your focus from the bad to the good. It’s all about learning to apply principles that generate a healthy mindset and spiritual attitude.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
It’s important for writers to stay focused on their plan and find the niche for their marketing. Writers need to understand that the work belongs to them but the work involved must come from them more than anyone else. It will not be just handed to them. Every book has it’s direct audience. They need to know that everyone doesn’t like ‘every’ book. So find the marketed audience that their book will mean the most to and focus their efforts on that. Believe in their selves and their writing talents. Be willing to take constructive criticism and learn from the wise advice and the junk advice.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Mostly teen and adult women are the target audience for my books. They are for people who are struggling and want encouragement that their lives can be better. It’s for people that are hurting so they don’t feel like they are alone in their pain.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?