Life can throw many over whelming unexpected life altering events your way that can tear you down and break you. It’s how you rise from the ashes that make you strong and triumph like a champion. Queen Kay, a rising new author wrote about her inspiring story and SayWhatNews sat down and spoke with her in-depth about her darkest hours and how she overcame them to write her first novel:
SayWhatNews: Good afternoon Queen Kay. Thanks so much for sitting down and talking with us. First tell us who is Queen Kay?
Queen Kay: I am a mother of two amazing young boys, an entrepreneur, a visionary and someone who believes that no matter what cards life deals me, I have an opportunity to make the best of it.
SayWhatNews: “The Reconstruction and Transformation of Queen Kay is your debut novel, please tell us about the book?
Queen Kay: The book is based on my life story. The most compelling part of the story is meeting, falling in love and losing my late husband to cancer and how I have risen above the ashes and not just surviving but making a pact with myself to thrive through the grace of God.
SayWhatNews: How did you come up with the title “The Reconstruction and Transformation of Queen Kay”?
Queen Kay: The title came to me in a dream. I had been struggling with what name to give this book which had so much to do with rebuilding the chattered pieces of my life. Through writing it, I not only was under construction but my mind was being transformed in the process.
SayWhatNews: Queen Kay you were sexually abused as a child. Besides the loss of your husband what other things inspired you to write an empowering/inspirational story about picking up the broken pieces of your life and transforming the bad into something great?
Queen Kay: The abuse was something that happened to me at a very young age and I never dealt with it. I didn’t even know how. I grew up in a developing country. No one talked about things like that. Not to mention the perpetrator scared me into believing if I told anyone, he would kill my family and me. I didn’t think anyone would be able to protect me. Somehow, I found myself going through life positively in spite of the abuse.
It was not until the grieving of the loss of my late husband that most of the buried memories surfaced and I felt my story would only be half told if I didn’t examine the entire process of how I came to be who I am now. I pray that people would connect with it but not see it as a sign of weakness but draw strength from it and grow and heal.
SayWhatNews: What were the challenges (literary, psychological, logistical and etc.) in bringing your first novel to life?
Queen Kay: Wow! The Challenges were indeed huge. Could I really write this novel? How was the story going to come together? What was the main point of my story? These were some of the questions that plagued me as I struggled with how to delve into this process. I had days that I couldn’t find the emotional strength to write anything. I had many distractions. I am a single mother, I run a very busy specialty food store, and so on and so forth. I couldn’t find enough excuses to give as to why I could not finish the book. How was I going to publish it and beyond?
I didn’t know a thing about the literary world. The more I researched, the more scared I became. I decided after a serious talk with my mentor (who also wrote the foreword to the book), to “just do it”. In my experience, 90% of doing anything is showing up and doing it. If you overthink it, it may never get done. I did. Here I am today talking to SayWhatNews and reaching people I would never have imagined ever reaching.
SayWhatNews: Wow, inspiring—what you just said should inspire many who allow the fears and uncertainty to keep them from going after their dreams/goals. The key components in your book are faith, persistence, self-love and hard work. What lessons do you hope/want readers walk away with after reading your story?
Queen Kay: For me, it is simple. Love transcends all races, nationalities and creed. It is the fundamental thread that unifies us. So many of the people who have read my book and have never met me touch me with their words in a way no amount of money could. When someone says, “Your book touched my life, has impacted me in such a deep way, and has changed my life….” I don’t even know how to take some of the comments I have received in the last several weeks. Another key lesson would be in the power of forgiveness. Being able to forgive has opened up so much peace in my heart and so much opportunity to live a more authentic life. Life is precious and fragile. There should be no room to waste on being negative. I am all about LOVE.
SayWhatNews: Once you began the writing process what was the hardest part of writing your book?
Queen Kay: Definitely when I wrote about how my husband took his final breath. That was truly very hard. It took me several days to write it. The scene played out in my head fresh like it just happened. Oh my, it was hard.
SayWhatNews: Abuse and tragedy can cripple people for a lifetime. What are some of the best coping strategies/mechanisms you used and recommend to your readers?
Queen Kay: Honestly, I don’t know how I coped except by the Grace of God; coupled with the amazing unwavering love of my mother. She did the best she could to make us feel loved and she provided all our needs and set the right foundations for us. That being said, not everyone has such good fortune to counter abuse of many kinds. How do you have faith when you don’t even know how, right?
I sincerely believe there’s spark of hope/light in every one of us. We are intricately designed to attain the highest greatness possible and our spirit yearns for this kind of connection. If someone can just take a chance and take a step forward towards getting better, it can make a world of difference. There are so many forms of counseling and therapy available in the United States even some paid for by the government. Being surrounded by positive people is a very strong coping mechanism. The wrong people can tear what’s left of you down. Building a strong sense of purpose is so important towards the healing process. It won’t happen over night but every little step counts towards the healing process.
SayWhatNews: Is there any other key advice you would like to give to people struggling with abuse and/or loss?
Queen Kay: My key advice would be for them to get help. No one should have to suffer alone. Abuse whether it’s sexual, physical, or emotional etc., can tear one down to the lowest possible denominator. Picking up the pieces of ones life can be next to impossible. Getting spiritual help is key to your healing process. Most religions have a grief counseling process to help people understand and cope with loss. It’s not enough I think. It is also important to get into a professional counseling environment, where people are trained to systematically work with abuse victims and those who have suffered a loss to cope and thrive with the rest of their lives.
SayWhatNews: What is the first step people can take to start their journey of healing?
Queen Kay: The first step is recognizing that you are wounded and need help. Some help comes over time from within. The soul wants to heal and rise above the ashes. If we are willing, we can get better. Through prayer, counseling and positive environments, healing can occur.
SayWhatNews: Some of your books proceeds are donated to the “Charles Emeka Amamgbo Foundation”. Tell us about the foundation and its mission?
Queen Kay: The foundation is in its infancy, however has a lot of potential to help make a difference in a strong way. The mission of the foundation is to bring awareness to the type of blood cancer that claimed Charles’ life and focus on preventative measures and research breakthroughs that bring about more successful treatment and perhaps a cure in cancer as a whole.
SayWhatNews: What books have most influenced your life most?
Queen Kay: Books by Maya Angelou, Obama’s Audacity of Hope, Fiction works from Author’s like Nicholas Sparks always get my attention. I am an avid reader and love to read books that stir my soul and spirit to do better with my life.
SayWhatNews: Being a new author yourself, are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Queen Kay: Erika Gilchrist is one of the new authors that have grasped my interest as well as Onyi Anyado.
SayWhatNews: Queen Kay you also collaborated with 23 other female authors on “The Unstoppable Guide to Emotional Well-being”. Tell us about the book and how you became part of this project?
Queen Kay: Well, that book and being part of the process was truly divinely orchestrated. Erika Gilchrist is an acclaimed author and motivational speaker/trainer in her own right. A mutual friend introduced me to her. He thought with my story of triumph and survival, I may be able to work with her. I took a leap of faith and reached out to her not really knowing what the outcome would be. She was so pleasant on the phone and immediately told me about the project. She asked me to send her a copy of my book and I did and the next thing I know, I am introduced to these incredibly amazing women from all over the globe.
We connect via google hangout and all the social networking sites available to discuss our projects and it truly is like gaining a new set of sisters of all races and nationalities. The work speaks for itself and covered every aspect that deals with emotional wellbeing. It is so relevant in today’s age. The book was released January 1st, 2012
SayWhatNews: You are a Mother, Entrepreneur and Author. Tell us what are your secrets of success when it comes to juggling multiple projects and family life?
Queen Kay: Ah….It truly is a juggle. I go through a lot on a daily basis to try to maintain a sense of balance. My boys are still very young and impressionable. I do my best to give them the attention they need and raise them with a lot of integrity. It shows in the way they behave at school and in the feedback I receive from their educators. I make sure to create a work/play balance with them so they can appreciate all facets of life. Running my own business has not been an easy fete. I inherited the store African Caribbean Food Market in downtown Oakland when Charles passed on. Prior to then, I worked in corporate America and had limited knowledge of how to run the business. I guess when faced with adversity, you can choose to sink or swim. I chose to swim.
So far, I have been doing incredibly well and I am praying for another successful year. The title Author is new but I guess one that I have always been but only came out when compelled to write about my experiences. It is more credible being that so many other projects have my name on it as an Author. It feels like I am right at home.
SayWhatNews: What’s next in the future for Queen Kay?
Queen Kay: I am working on another book about staying UP when you have defined your path and how to deal with the challenges that may come to knock you out. I do not have a title yet. I have been approached by a few screenwriters and film producers about adapting the book into a screenplay. They believe that my story is the perfect fit for a movie adaptation. I am not rushing into anything but I am keeping my options open and staying positive.
Queen Kay Website