Interview with Suzette Webb the author of Blues to Blessings: Moving from Fearful to Faithful

I had the pleasure of reading Blues to Blessings:  Moving from Fearful to Faithful by Suzette Webb at the beginning of this year.  I don’t usually read books like this which would be classified as self-help, but this one I found interesting and I could see how it could be a big help to a lot of women who are in doubt of their paths and looking to revive their lives in the right way.
Blues to Blessings is written in a diary format in the author’s first person point-of-view.
We follow Webb’s search for herself and her eventual reconnection with God.  Through the book, we see how she struggles to find herself in her work and family life  present and past, as well as how she finally opens up and faces everything head on.
I found this book helpful in getting me to reflect on a lot of things about my work and family life past and present.  Moreover, I was still interested even though I’m no longer particularly religious.  I especially enjoyed the diary sections because Webb’s honesty about aspects of her past were moving to read.   Each chapter ends with a Coming Full Circle section where she analyzes what was discussed in the chapter and ends on a quote from the Bible which relates to it.
After finishing Blues to Blessings, I was drawn to the idea of getting an interview with Suzette Webb to find out more about the book and what’s to come.  I urge you to follow Suzette Webb on here different social media platforms where she gives great motivational talks regularly.  You can find her on Instagram, YouTube, and of course on her website.  Click the video below to here one of her motivational talks.
Blues
Interview with Suzette Webb:

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.ūüėä

 

4.  I don‚Äôt usually read self help books and I have to admit I‚Äôm 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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.

 

 

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The Last Thing You Surrender – Leonard Pitts, Jr. Live Discussion

This was a great discussion to end Black History Month. ¬†We were also blessed to have Leonard Pitts, Jr for the second half of the discussion. ¬†He’s really brilliant! This live discussion contains spoilers so if you haven’t finished reading you might want to wait until you do. Enjoy!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge - Days 25 & 26

Day 25 – Drink & Book(s)

Today I decided to take a picture of one of my favorite mugs (New Orleans – Bourbon St. mug) and a nice chunk of my ReadSoulLit shelves. ¬†It always makes me very happy to drink a great cup of tea and to read a good book. ¬†Nothing can beat that. ¬†This last week has been colder and raining and being sick hasn’t helped. ¬†If anything I’ve definitely got the reading in. ¬†February is coming to a quick close and hopefully ReadSoulLit books will continue to remain in our minds for the rest of 2020. ¬†What do you like to drink while you’re reading?

 

Day 26 – Happy Feet & a Book

I couldn’t resist. I had to take a picture of some great books, my J. California Cooper collection, and my Dr. Marten dupes. ¬†Those books are so underrated. If you haven’t read a short story collection from Cooper, what rock have you been living under. Go out right now and get your hands on one of her brilliant short story collections. ¬†You won’t be disappointed. ¬†I recommend Homemade Love. It’s one of my favorites.

 

ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 23 & 24

Day 23 РEternally Classic 

Phenomenal Woman Four Poems Celebrating Women is definitely eternally classic….. The video below is of Maya Angelou reciting Phenomenal Woman. ¬†It’s hard to believe she isn’t here anymore. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† img_2258

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

 

Day 24 – Starts with the First Letter of your name

img_2266Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore ¬†is not one of the titles I hear readers speak about from Walter Mosley. ¬†Released in 2014, its provocative cover attracted me immediately. ¬†I was curious and even more intrigued about reading it. ¬†Debbie a famous porn star tries to change her life, after her husband is found dead in a hot tub at their home. ¬†The novel revolves around her attempts to change what is expected if her and how the adult industry and fans react to her change. ¬†Mosley really tries to put himself in a woman’s shoes. ¬†It’s an interesting exploration on life change and how difficult that can be to succeed. ¬†This is one that flew under the radar but that was a lot better than I thought. I rated it a 3,5 stars and am anxious to read more books by Mosley with female main characters in stand alone novels. Great video below of Mosley talking about Debbie Doesn’t Do it Anymore. Excellent!

 

 

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 21 & 22

Day 21 Р December Wrap Up

img_6461My December 2019 ended with a bang because I was lucky enough to read The Nickel Boys, Red at the Bone, and In West Mills. All three were five-star reads for me. ¬†The Nickel Boys was saddening but a wonderfully told story shedding light on the horrors that took place in a real reform school in Florida. ¬†Red at the Bone explored how an unexpected pregnancy affects an entire family. ¬†Beautifully written and slightly melancholic, ¬†Jaqueline Woodson manages to paint a meaningful portrait of a black American family. ¬†Lastly In West Mills is a story of community and how community can become family and how living one’s life freely can be difficult in a small town. ¬†Short and sweet In West Mills has unforgettable characters and lively dialogue. ¬†It’s amazing how much De’Shawn Charles Winslow says in this novel in so few pages. ¬†I highly recommend all three books. ¬†Check out the video below to hear what Roxane Gay’s Book club thought aboutRed as the Bone.

 

Day 22 – Single Ladies

The Blackbirds was the first novel that came to mind when I thought of single ladies. ¬†Kwanza, Indigo, Destiny, and Ericka will have you smiling, laughing, and shaking yourimg_2250 head throughout, despite their individual troubles. ¬†Eric Jerome Dickey doesn’t leave anything out from ¬†a cheating ex-fiance, crushes, alias, illness, etc. ¬†All of that is glued together with a little erotica. ¬†This book was surprisingly longer than I’d expected – just a bit over 500 pages. ¬†I read it and rated it five stars but found myself missing Dickey’s writing style from his older novels which I feel are written so much better.

 

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Days 19 & 20

 

Day 19 – Celebrate Good Times

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate good times other than with friend, family, great food and drink. So this cookbook Jubilee: Recipes from two centuries of African American Cooking by Toni TiptonMartin came immediately to mind. I have a thing for cookbooks. I can read them like novels. Cooking I feel is a great way to get to know someone, understand how they function on many different levels. However this post is about celebration and Jubilee is the cookbook to bring some serious flavor to the festivities. A few of the recipes I’m interested in trying out on my friends and family are the orange biscuits for a nice brunch, the braised lamb shanks with peanut sauce for Sunday lunch, and the moist rich Devil’s Food Cake for afternoon tea. Of course there are many more interesting recipes as well as some historical information through recounting all about the tradition and background of the different recipes. She even cites other cookbooks she used to do research to choose these recipes for the book. I highly recommend it. The video below Tipton-Martin discusses her first hit cookbook called The Jemima Code: two centuries of African American Cookbooks.

 

https://youtu.be/W6ZSryGTjyE

 

 

Day 20 – Published in September

I thought I was going to have to comb my shelves for ages to find a book published in September, but actually I remembered that both Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home were both published in September. Even though I decided to look to see how long it would take me to find another book published in September and sure enough four books later I was holding Dear Haiti, Love Alaine in my hands. I received this book from a book buddy, Forsaken707, Kesha as a birthday gift. haven’t picked it up yet but can’t wait since I’ve noticed its format is epistolary, notes, emails and text. Love when authors use letters to write stories. The special thing about this book is that it’s written by two sisters who are Haitian-American. So I suspect it will contain themes about integration, immigration, Haitian culture, and race. Once I read it I’ll surely be back to let you know what I think about it. Check the video below where the authors talk about what their goals were in writing Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

 

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 15 & 16

Day 15 РCuz This Is Thriller! 

Thrillers aren’t the genre I go to the most but they are starting to be the ones that I go to to img_2143decompress from all of the serious reads I pick up. ¬†I chose Blanche Cleans Up (The Blanche White series #3) by Barbara Neely and A Little Yellow Dog (The Easy Rawlins series #5) by Walter Mosley because these are the two mystery series that I need to finish and to get moving along on. ¬†The Blanche White series sadly only contains four books. ¬†Once I’m finished with book four I know I’m going to miss reading about Blanche.

Easy Rawlins is another series that is full of surprises since with each book time is passing and the secondary characters are becoming more and more fascinating and Easy is taking us along on his more and more unpredictable cases, while we follow the changes happening to him and the other prominent characters.  This series contains a total of 14 books, so I hope to be able read a bit more from this series.  Next month for #MarchMysteryMadness, these will fit in perfectly with theme being the number 5. Check out this video to hear more about it.

 

Day 16 – Last Finished

img_2155What can I say. ¬†The last book I finished was the incredible epic ReadSoulLit Readalong novel, The Last Thing You Surrender. And I surrendered everything! Lawd! That novel took me through all kinds of emotions. ¬†It’s a brilliant story with larger than life characters who you aren’t likely to forget. ¬†I’m still missing reading about Thelma, Luther, and George. ¬†If you haven’t decided yet about picking this book up there is still time to start and finish it before our live discussion on Saturday, February 29. ¬†I highly recommend this great American masterpiece. ¬†It’s a hidden gem that has literally not been talked about at all that was released last year. ¬†Check out this video where Leonard Pitts, Jr. talks about something that he illustrates very well in his novel The Last Thing You Surrender. Brilliant storyteller!

 

 

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 13 & 14

Day 13 – Biography or Memoir

img_2118I chose the memoir by Michaela De Prince called Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina. ¬†After hearing her story on television many years ago, I was motivated to read her story. ¬†I haven’t yet read this one but I have a feeling it’s going to be very interesting. ¬†After living in an orphanage in Sierre Leone where she was badly treated because she suffers from vitiligo and was called the devil’s child because she was the least favorite, she was motivated by a picture she saw in a magazine of a ballerina en pointe that she found outside the orphanage. ¬†That picture gave her something positive to focus on. ¬†She was eventually adopted by the De Prince family and she’s become an excellent dance with hard work and dedication. ¬†She currently dances in a Dutch company.

I’ve always loved ballet and did ballet from age 5 to 17 years old. ¬†Back in the day thereimg_3574 weren’t any black ballerina’s. ¬†I would have liked to be inspired by a black ballerina, so it’s nice to see there are more of them today. ¬†It would be nice to have even more of them, especially in the States. ¬†The picture on the right is me in my ballet class. ¬†I must have been about 12 years old there. ¬†Click on the video below to see Michaela De Prince dancing. ¬†It’s absolutely beautiful!

 

Day 14 – Black Love

Today is Valentine’s Day! ¬†So I went rummaging for a title of a black love story that maybe wouldn’t come up on the Instagram feed. ¬†Something different. ¬†I found quite a few obvious ones like An American Marriage and Loving Donovan, but in the end I decided to go with another TBR book, a romance called Zachary’s Wings¬†by Rosemarie Robotham. ¬†This is the story of Zachary and Korie who have a passionate love affair despite their different upbringings. ¬†Zachary is a social worker from a working-class family and Korie is an Ivy-league-educated reporter and Jamaican born. ¬†Clearly there relationship will be tested but hopefully it will survive. ¬†The story covers themes of race, class, and sexuality, so it sounds right up my alley. ¬†This book was published in 1998 and was Robotham’s debut novel. ¬†So let me know down below if you’ve read this one or anything else by her and what you thought of it. ¬†It would be nice to read this one after a heavy read.

 

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 11 & 12

Day 11 – 2020 Newbie

As every year there are so many new releases and new authors appearing on the scene img_2113and 2020 is no different. ¬†I decided to go with Stateway’s Garden by Jasmon Drain, gifted to me by Penguin Random House. ¬†This debut work is a memoir of connected short stories that take the reader into a housing project on Chicago’s South Side. ¬†For the moment I’m finding it very interesting but will be back with a review once I’m done. ¬†Jasmon Drain grew up in Chicago in the Englewood neighborhood. ¬†He was a Pushcart Prize Nominee in 2010 and 2011. ¬†Having never heard of this literary prize I want to their website to find out more about the prize. The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize¬†which¬†honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays, memoirs published in the small presses¬†over the previous year. “They¬†welcome up to six nominations (print or online) from little magazine and small book press editors throughout the world. ¬†They welcome translations, reprints and both traditional and experimental writing. ¬†The nominations are accepted between October 1 – December 1.” (pushcart prize.com)

 

Day 12 – Musical Genius¬†took me a little more effort to find a title. ¬†I originally thought of James McBride’s Kill ‘Em and Leave: ¬†Searching for James Brown and the American Soul,¬†however it was impossible to find it among my books. Trying to combing throughimg_6439 when you have as many books as I do, you find forgotten treasures. ¬†That’s when I fell upon Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is #3 in The Century Cycle by August Wilson. ¬†Now I really want to read all 10 plays in order but sadly I only own this one and the first play of the series called Gem of the Ocean which I read and enjoyed a few years ago. ¬†I think I gave it 3 stars. ¬†Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is about a legendary blues singer so fits the photo challenge perfectly. ¬†Just from reading what this play is about I’m sure it would be fantastic to see at the theatre. ¬†It covers themes of self-hate and racism. Check out the videos below where you can see a few scenes being performed.

 

 

 

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 9 & 10

Day 9 – Word

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates was the best representation of Word. img_2074¬†This letter written from a black father to his black son is a poignant must-read from Coates. ¬†It was recommended by Toni Morrison, who deemed it to be required reading. ¬†I hadn’t realized but apparently Coates is reading the audiobook. ¬†I feel like the next time I pick this one up I’ll read and listen to it simultaneously. ¬†Just to get an idea of this book, it begins like this, “Son, Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body.” (Between the World and Me, p.5). It’s only 152 pages but you’ll be moved reading this emotional letter.

 

 

Day 10 – Heavy Read(s)

These are a few of the heavy reads I could find in my stash. ¬†I highly recommend three of the five in the stack – Heavy by Kiese Laymon which started my 2020 reading with a bang. ¬†Excellent! ¬†I read Hunger and simultaneously listened to the audiobook read by its author Roxane Gay. ¬†What a poignant read that made me feel all kind of emotions as well. ¬†The third book on this list is Beloved. ¬†I really remember how this book made meimg_2077 profoundly sad. These three heavy books will surely become modern classics because they take readers to raw realness. ¬†Now The Darkest Child we already talked about, very heavy but I will definitely be checking it out, especially since a lot of my followers over on Instagram highly recommended it to me. And last but not least Medical Apartheid which was recommended to me by a friend. ¬†This one should be a must read for everybody so they can learn about the contributions black Americans have brought to the medical field. ¬†Despite the heaviness of this book I will be checking it out in November for Nonfiction November. ¬†Can you think of any other heavy books that you’d like to recommend? ¬†Let’s chat below.

 

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