Exclusive Interview "L. A. Davis"
L. A. Davis earned her Doctor of Education with an Emphasis in Organizational Development in 2018. She was born on the island of St. Thomas as is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.
Thanks Please tell our readers a little about your most recent book “Where Are My Children?!”
Good morning and thank you for allowing me to participate in another one of your blog interviews. My new book “Where Are My Children?!” is a story that I wrote as therapy to help me express the emotions I was feeling during the time Irma was demolishing my island home. It is also my peaceful protest about things going in this current political climate. I sat down and made up a story of why Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria came because to me those storms were so different. In my story, they had personality and no amount of prayers was going to change what they wanted to do. With that big vast ocean out there, why couldn’t those storms shift? They came for a purpose and with a message. I have never seen anything like it before and pray that I never do again. I don’t mean only in the Virgin Islands; I mean for anyone else that was affected. It is a bit complicated to write about the entire story but in a snapshot, three hurricanes came because the souls of dead slaves, prayer warriors, and wailing women in the Americas, The Caribbean Sea, The Atlantic ocean, and in Africa started calling out to heaven and Mother Africa for help because of the direction this country was taking during 2016 and 2017. The storms were guided by the souls of slaves lost in the Atlantic who told them which way to go. Their goal was to find the children that were crying out to them from the Americas and other places mentioned above. The souls in the ocean flowed into the hurricanes to not only guide and propel the storms but to be taken back to Africa where their souls could finally rest in peace. Irma came to find her children and destroy; Jose was on a recognizance mission and to pick up her children. Maria came to deliver the final punch while picking up her children and looking for others. Maria figured out why only souls in the ocean would answer when they were called but the ones who were buried on land wouldn’t.
"Where are my Children?" seems to be a bit of a departure from the theme of your first book " So You Want To Be A Doctoral Learner Huh?" What inspired you to go in such a different direction and write "Where Are My Children?"
Yes, it is. My first book was about my experience as a doctoral program which was traumatizing at best. This country has a huge problem at the doctoral and Ph.D. level with academic hazing in an attempt to weed out those who others feel are unworthy. We also have an issue with online universities that gouge learners by telling them that their program cost a certain amount of money and they can obtain the degree in a short span of time. By the time you have figured it out, all of your financial aid money and more is long gone and you haven’t finished. You have to decide if you should continue and put yourself in additional debt by going into your pockets or drop out of the program. More than a half of the people you start your program with will never finish and they are left with a huge amount of debt with nothing to show for it while the university makes millions a year. That book was nonfiction and tailored to the Ph.D. and EdD learner which is not a huge population in this country. This second book is for everyone to enjoy because it is historical fiction. It was fun to write because I could allow my mind to stretch as far as I could allow it to go. This book also came from a traumatizing experience of watching my island home being demolished my Hurricane Irma with another threat by hurricanes Jose and Maria. I noticed that both of my books so far came from something that traumatized me emotionally. Maybe there is a message in that for others who want to find a productive way to express themselves in a positive way. Good always comes out of tragedy if you put the focus in the right place. At least that is how I feel.
What kind of research, if any, did you do while writing your book?
I did a lot of research on hurricanes and how they are formed. I even did research on tropical storm and hurricane flags which make up the face on the cover of my book and the silhouette on the back of it. I contacted the NOAA to be certain I could use those flags on my book and was glad when I was cleared to do so. I did research on the slave trade on the East Coast of Africa and a little on the slave trade on Madagascar. I did research on the Triangular trade, in particular, the middle passage to include the makeup of ships, how slaves were chosen for the trip, how slaves were packed, and how they were fed. I did a lot of research on Caribbean history and I didn’t scratch the surface on any of it. Though I started writing this book right after my first book was released, I did a lot of intense research in each of these areas and more.
Did you interview anyone, read other books, etc.?
I did not interview anyone, but I did read a lot of books and empirical articles to gain a better understanding of what I wanted to write. Much of the information in the book is historical with some of it being fictional. Of course, I do not believe that hurricanes are filled with slaves that tell it which direction to go but it was a lot of fun to write it that way.
You touch on slavery a bit in your book, correct?
I touched on it more than I care to admit. I had to become every character I spoke about in the book and it was emotionally taxing. I had to pretend that I was a woman chasing slaves to catch them and yes, there were female slave catches. I had to pretend that I was being chased by a slave trader who then captured and transported me to a fort where I had to wait until I was boarded. I had to pretend I was a white, male slave trader who was beating the slaves, all the way down to his sweaty skin and dingy clothing and hat while being onboard a slave ship. In my mind that is how I saw them. I had to pretend I was a male slave who was shackled in the tween decks and packed in different positions. I had to pretend that I was throwing up on someone due to seasickness and having the person furious with me for doing it. I had to pretend that I could not reach a relief bucket and releasing my waste on myself and others in shame while they did the same to me. I had to pretend I was a woman who was stuck in the holds and forced to sleep in the bed and have sex with the captain or crew. I had to pretend that I was having a baby that I couldn’t breastfeed because I was too malnourished to feed it. I had to pretend that I jumped with my baby into the ocean to escape the harsh travel and treatment. I had to pretend I was drowning which was beyond hard. My other option was to pretend that sharks were eating me, and I couldn’t make my brain do it; I just couldn’t. I had to pretend that I was a child who was traveling with my mother but had the ability to take news back and forth to plan insurrections with other slaves. I had to imagine being a woman who was pregnant and walking with elephant tusks on my head who had to make the choice to stay behind and be killed with my child because my child who I was walking with hindered my speed. Even in my imagination, I was not going to allow anyone to make me abandon my child. I stayed behind and took the bullet or the knife, no problem. I had to pretend that I was part of an insurrection and killed slave traders. What scared me the most about that was, I felt pride in doing it. I had to go to a very dark place in my mind to write a lot of this. When you read my book keep in mind that everything written, I myself had to mentally experience it. It doesn’t matter if I wrote about a man or a woman. It was difficult and I don’t want to have to do that again. Even though I tried, it was impossible to be those people because the reality is, it had to have been way worse than I could have imagined.
I know students of color don't often learn much about their history in school. What do you believe students can learn about slavery from your book?
The biggest lesson that students can learn from my book is that slavery was real. In some parts of this world, it is still real. Take some time to read about your history. Do not allow anyone to teach it to you verbally without you taking the time to read on your own. Some people will never tell you the truth. It doesn’t matter who started it or who participated in it. What matters is that is your history and no matter how painful, you must embrace it. I never thought I would see grown men walking around in formation with tiki torches proudly displaying their beliefs publicly. This is not the time to discard your history because too much is at stake. I do believe eventually things will work out, but we must be aware right now. I believe if student focus on their history they will better understand how privileged they are to be here. Millions didn’t make it to give their descendants a chance to live. They should take that honor and live a good life. It doesn’t mean that they have to have monetary riches. Many of us may never see that, and riches come in many different forms. Your life should be worth living so that your ancestors did not go through what they went through in vain. Lots of the history will make them angry when they read it, but we are not the only people in history that suffered. There were many others who did, so don’t allow it to make you a bitter person. Always be kind, try to find the best in yourself and others with the awareness that no matter how hard you try, some will never feel that you are as good as they are. Yet, remain assertive, knowing your value and your worth and always remain humble.
With global warming being a current concern, do you see your book as a cautionary tale, or simply a good read?
It is a cautionary tale. Nature is not playing with us anymore. She is not going to allow us to destroy her, it would be impossible to do. Pay attention to the weather and it will tell you what she is trying to say. Have you ever seen hurricanes with such strength and frequency before? Have you ever seen such volcanoes and flooding like this before? Look at the fires and the summer heat. Look at the poles and the suffering animals that live there. Whether or not we believe in global warming or climate change, it doesn’t matter because anytime nature goes out of balance, she will find a way to fix it. Unfortunately, we are often in the way of it and we have to pay the price. This is the only planet we have to sustain us; we have to take care of it.
For new authors coming into the profession, what advice would you offer them?
Anyone of any age can write a book. We all have a book inside of us, we have to decide if we should write it. Write from your heart and with a purpose even if the purpose is just to have fun. Do not concern yourself with whether you are going to sell a lot of books or not. What genre, would you like to write in? I still haven’t figured it out yet, but I am going to write until I do, even if I write one book in every genre there is. Well, everything except porn and maybe horror. I won’t allow anyone to force me to write in one particular genre. When I am more seasoned, I will get it. There is no limit on how long it takes you to write. Some people take years to write their first book and some people are able to put out a book every 4-6 months. I would love to be able to put out one book each year. If you do what you are supposed to do and sell at least one book, then you have done a lot. Pay attention to where you purchase your ISBN. That is the number on the back of every book we purchase. That is extremely important because that number will tell you if you will be stuck selling your book in one place or if you can sell your book wherever you choose to sell it. Find a good publishing house, find a good cover designer, find a good editor. Indie authorship is the way to go when you are starting out because you have complete control over what you write. Traditional publishing is much harder, and they control what you put in your book and they will not market it for you.
Whatever you do market, market, market your book. I have heard people say that you can publish your book and it won’t cost you any money. If you want a jacked-up book out there, yep that is true. If you want a good book, it is going to cost you something unless you know how to do everything on your own. My best piece of advice is to have fun! This is a stressful business that to me is a science, but it is so much fun that in the end, it will be worth it. You might aspire to write one single book like I did but then inspiration might hit you and allow you to write more.
What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
That you should allow your imagination to take you and your readers through a wonderful adventure. I am so proud of this second book because my imagination took me to a strange and wonderful place. Someone told me that I have issues. Well, maybe I do but that is how I saw those storms in my mind and I am not ashamed of that. Watching my home being destroyed was not easy and writing this story was my therapy. I don’t call myself the blue M&M for no reason.
Are you currently working on any other books?
Yes, I am currently working on a book of poetry that I hope to publish next year. I would love to do some research to find out if the triangular trade continued during hurricane season, if they stopped and moved to the East Coast of Africa during the season, or if they suspended it until after the season died down. Poetry is so much harder to write because it has to come to your soul and sometimes my soul is not ready to speak. It is going to take some time so I will work on both of those at the same time. The last book I want to write would be a children’s book for my grandbaby. Unless I have another brilliant idea or an opportunity is afforded me, I do not think I will be writing anymore in the near future. I want to get into research before my dissertation becomes old.
Where can readers find you online?
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
My blog page is https://drladavisblogspace.blogspot.com/
If you would like to follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/youcancallmedrd/
Be aware that I mostly use email so if you would like to contact me please contact me there.
Where can readers purchase your books?
You may purchase “Where Are My Children?!” at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733718257
You may purchase “So, You Want To Be A Doctoral Learner Huh?” at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1642545503
Both are in Kindle and Paperback book. If you download the kindle, please read it. Many do not know that we only get paid when you read the book. Amazon knows exactly what day and how many pages you read and that is how we get paid.
If you had to promote your book in a tweet (140 characters) what would you say?
“Where Are My Children?!” #1 New Release in three categories during pre-sales.
Twenty seventeen was one of the worst hurricane seasons in history. Some blame the erratic changes in the weather patterns on climate change, global warming, or mother nature getting herself back into balance. But what if it was revenge for crimes committed against humanity centuries ago? In this tale of historical fiction. L.A. Davis creates a story of imagination that explains why hurricane season 2017 was so destructive!