1. When did you decide to write this book? How long did it take and is it your first book?
I had this book on my heart a couple of years before I actually put pen to paper. It took me 5 years to complete Blues to Blessings — far longer than I ever expected. No, this isn’t my first book. I self-published an affirmations book in 1997 titled Moments of Truth. This one is currently out of print.
2. What were some of the problems and/or difficulties you ran into while writing Blues to Blessings?
Getting to a place of peace about exposing my deepest secrets, struggles, flaws, etc. for all the world to see and likely judge. I also wanted to tell a truthful story without hurting my family members. For example, if I tell readers that my parents were never married and my father played no role in my upbringing, I am also telling my mother’s story that she had a child out of wedlock — a taboo for her generation. This is why in the acknowledgment section I say something to the effect — “Thanks to my mother, husband and family members for allowing me to tell their story, so that I might tell mine.”
3. How did you come up with the title? It fits the book perfectly.
Thank you. “Blues to Blessings” was the second affirmation in Moments of Truth and it was the one that seemed to resonate with readers the most. After the affirmations book, I knew that my next book would be about transformation and ‘blues to blessings” seemed to be the perfect fit. The alliteration also didn’t hurt.😊
4. I don’t usually read self help books and I have to admit I’m agnostic, but despite those things I thoroughly appreciated Blues to Blessings. How do you explain that?
First, I am so glad to hear that you really appreciated Blues to Blessings! It was not written for the devout religious. One evening I was attending my small women’s group (a group of women who experienced some form of abuse during childhood) when one of the participants, Marilyn shared that she had been raised as a Catholic but no longer believed in a loving God. She simply reasoned what loving God would allow a little girl to experience the horrific pain and trauma that she had endured.
Personally, I believe the measure of a good book (especially a non-fiction book) is enlightening the reader’s perspective…inspiring them to think and act in different ways. That night, I tasked myself with writing a book for the Marilyns of the world. If I could inspire Marilyn even in the slightest way to see her relationship with God differently, I had written a good book.
Rather than write a religious or spiritual book that was centered around me telling others what they should and shouldn’t do, I was much more inspired to use my vulnerable voice to write about my own transformation and to show how God’s hand was riddled throughout my process. I consistently hear from Amazon reviewers that B2B was hard to put down. I think it’s this aspect of the book that draws the reader in.
By the way, Marilyn ended up giving me a quote for my 1st edition:
“Suzette’s book immediately captured my attention. It helped me find what I was seeking – insight into my relationship with God. While Blues to Blessings focuses on the author’s beliefs, each of us experience God, our Higher Power, in our own way, myself included. This book challenged me to re-evaluate my beliefs, gave me new perspective and helped me see that God has been and will be right next to me, guiding me as I go through life.” Marilyn D., Chicago, Illinois
5. Your consulting company is called LOM (Light of Mine). Could you explain how you started it and what it’s all about?
When I finished college, all I wanted to do was enter the corporate world. After spending several years there, all I wanted to do was leave it. I had been conforming and dancing to everyone else’s tune for far too long, and it was time for my little light to start shining. After earning my MBA at Northwestern, at a minimum, I knew I could consult — hence, Light of Mine (LOM) was born on my knees at my tub.
Today, LOM is actually a small manufacturing company where we supply lights for armored vehicles. I also speak as it relates to the book and re: women’s issues. I often say that I am in the world of lighting and enlightenment.
6. How has your family reacted to you writing this book?
Initially, they were concerned that I would tell too much of their story, but they are all very pleased and supportive of the final product.
7. New Orleans is your hometown and you speak candidly about the tragedy of New Orleans after Katrina in Blues to Blessings. How do you feel about how the city is developing since the storm.
Unfortunately, I have only been back to New Orleans a handful of times after Katrina, so it’s hard for me to assess just how much the city has changed. Although, I will say that some parts of the city were unrecognizable to me given the new developments.
8. Do you have any plans for writing a second book?
If so, what subject matter would it treat? Would it be nonfiction or fiction?
I think another non-fiction book may be in my future, but I really want to maximize the exposure of Blues to Blessings to as many potential readers as possible. I recently received a 250+ word 5-star review on Amazon and I often think there are a million more readers out there just like that reviewer in search of a book like B2B. I have been razor-focused on finding those readers. This has been my #1 priority before embarking upon a new project. A new book would likely be non-fiction but I haven’t given the topic much thought.