Q. Where have you been after you dropped out of the current writing scene?
A. Following a severe life-threatening illness, I laid on the ropes, rested, and healed for a time, but I still wrote short fiction, reviews, and magazine articles. I had to retool my thinking, refashion my writing skills, build up my endurance. At first, my writing was only passable, but I kept at it. Only now, I can finally get back out there. I’m blessed to be here.
Q. Was this the period where you learned to trust God?
A. Well no, I was raised in the church. Still, I lost my way until my illness and recovery. As one of the doctors said to me at the time, you’ve got a gift, another chance. I took my opportunity and ran with it. I re-welcomed God into my life.
Q. How did you come up with the idea of the Gift series?
A. In my darkest hour, I felt as if prayer wasn’t working for me. I think most folks can identify with that. I thought God wasn’t picking up the phone to answer me. The Gift series came to me when I was very sick. At the hospital, I remember a man telling me that he’d lost everything, his wife and his children, and his cushy job, due to bad choices. But he said he still believed in God and His mercy. From his experiences, I discovered the story of Reverend Clint Winwood, a holy man marked by unspeakable tragedy, in the novel, Gift of Faith.
Q. Gift of Revelation is the third in the acclaimed series. How did you settle on Sudan as the locale for the reverend’s new adventure?
A. Although the Ebola epidemic is everywhere in the news, it was the humanitarian crisis in Sudan that caught my attention some time ago, with its mindless violence, disease. famine, and countless refugees. Writing Reverend Clint and his beloved, Addie, into this hell was relatively easy. One of my African friends said me that black Americans know very little of what goes on in their motherland and that was true. I’m still learning. Also, it made sense after my last novel where the pastor and Addie had confronted the evil rednecks and greedy planters in Alabama in their support of black farmers in Gift of Truth. Gift of Revelation focuses on the prickly theme of religious prosecution and intolerance today in Africa, most notably Sudan.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I’m a writer so I write. I’m finishing up a novel about the complexities and complications of sexual and racial politics. Also, I’m in talks with a publisher about a non-fiction book on the flaws and consequences of trial by jury and plea bargaining. You know, reporting and researching always give me great joy. I can’t wait to get back on there on the writing circuit.