I continually tell my readers; I write the stories that come to me—and this story blindsided me. The protagonist, the leading character in my latest novel, Winter’s Lament, showed up in my life during a blizzard. It literally snowed for ninety days. I couldn’t go outside. Friends came and shoveled my sidewalks and driveway only for me to watch the snow accumulate again within hours. Therefore, when Reese Thompkins began talking to me, he touched my heart in a way I didn’t understand. He was struggling with the consequences of choices he’d made, dedicated to serving God, attempting to move out of his own way, and figuring out why someone he’d once care about was set on destroying him.
The more Reese talked, the more intrigued I became…Releasing Winter’s Lament entailed a long journey of discovery, not only about my characters, but my capacity to stretch myself, step outside my comfort zone, and really listen to my characters without continually putting up walls. Writing/Telling this story was difficult because each character had so many layers to release. I spent hours researching, talking to people, and asking questions so that when the book was published, I could adequately respond to inquiries from the readers.
This young, charismatic pastor transformed a struggling congregation into a megachurch. When he’s not preaching and teaching, he’s singing and producing music with an internationally recognized Gospel Choir. By his side is his beautiful wife, Sister Kamilah, renowned children’s author and artist. To the Christian Community, the power couple is a sterling example of marital harmony and evangelists that can change lives through the mighty Word of God.
However, Pastor Reese’s life is incredibly complex. He has an ability to connect with people, a repertoire of musical skills, and an unshakable belief in God. Despite his gifts and graces, the characters are regretting the choices they’ve made. The pastor is harboring secrets that could ruin his life and the life of others around him. And as we know, secrets don’t remain hidden. Another person knows some of the secrets lurking behind the church doors. She can’t believe anyone is naïve enough to buy this fairy tale. Her salacious revelations will propel her to the top of a media empire.
An unexpected winter storm blanketed the character’s words, just like the one swirling around me while I was writing.
Set against the backdrop of a horrible winter storm that paralyzes transportation systems, closes cities, and forces people to spend together
Winter: especially, long winter with frequent snowfalls, became a natural extension of the book’s characterization. Almost every scene had “the Hawk” nipping at the characters’ faces and pulling/pushing them along. The characters often ended up fighting to stay on their feet literally and metaphorically, falling down and getting back up. Lament literally means a passionate expression of grief. The main characters (plural) are regretting choices they’ve made.
I was in unchartered territory, writing about a fascinating yet controversial set of actors. Reese could only release his demons through serious truth-telling and dialogue with the other persons surrounding him. He poured out his regrets about the decisions he’d made. My lament is that it took so long for me to share his story.
Truthfully, several people read the first drafts and looked at me with side-eyes. Others asked if I’d lost my mind.
Eventually, I found an editor who helped me to focus on and reshape Reese’s story. I found supportive friends who encouraged me to move forward. I’m proud of this book and pray you will purchase and read it…
The weeks leading up to Release Day represented an emotional roller coaster for this author. Although I’d gone through the birthing pains of writing, editing, rewriting, and finally publishing, the finished book is no longer mine. I must let go of my baby.
Letting go of these characters has left me drained, anxious, and ready for a long nap. I explored sensitive topics and essentially put a stake in the ground. I believe the book delves into important issues and will educate some people. Writing and releasing Winter’s Lament has been a journey of discovery. I’m attaching the link so you can purchase and read it for yourself. Happy Release Day to me.
For more info on this book visit Amazon link: Winter’s Lament
– Joyce A. Brown
Joyce Brown is a motivational speaker and author who uses her creative energy to give voice and meaning to the challenges women face in all walks of life. She grew up in Rockford, Illinois in a household of strong women. She graduated from Bradley University with a B.S. and M.A. Her professional career expanded her reach into Peoria, Illinois; and Battle Creek, Michigan. Joyce obtained a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University.
She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served as a direct services worker, executive director, program director for a major foundation, and an entrepreneur. Joyce has experienced many uplifting moments as a professional and as a dedicated parent and strives to bring those events and lessons to life through her characters in contemporary fiction novels she pens.