Author interview "Tanisha D. Mackin"
Tanisha D. Mackin was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Tanisha is an Author, Bereavement Coach, Writing Coach/Publisher, and Founder of Mackin Miracles formally known as the Mackin Project and is the owner of The Destiny Collection. Tanisha used her tragedies to help and motivate others through their pain. Tanisha knows all too well about violence and how it can affect the lives of family members. Tanisha was inspired to not focus on the negative and focus on the positive of her heartaches. She started the Mackin Miracles, formally known as the Mackin Project to assist widows and children who've recently lost a spouse or parent to violence. Each year, Tanisha and her children sponsor a family for the holidays.
When asked what inspired this colon cancer survivor to work hard, Tanisha has to look no further than her two beautiful children. A recipient of the 2013 Utopian Euphoria Making A Difference, 2016 Metro Phenomenal Women, 2016 Black Women Are Award for survivorship, the 2016 IALA award for Memoir of the year for her book, My Testimony, I Don't Look Like What I've Been Through and the 2016 Rising Star Award. Her experiences led Tanisha to write several books, write for several magazines, and appear on radio and television shows. It also led Tanisha to help others share their stories through writing by becoming a writing coach and publisher. She has worked on several books and book tours including a book tour for Pastor Rhonda Henderson and 4x Grammy award winning and reality star Stevie J. Tanisha is currently working on a project with Actress Kim Coles. Tanisha is here to be an encouragement to others who may be going through the hardships of life. Like a butterfly, Tanisha represents the never ending cycle of life.
It’s obvious from your book My Testimony that family means everything to you, so let’s start there. Please tell us a little about the Mackin family. My family is my world. The Mackin family are all very strong individuals that have been through a lot, but we pushed through, and we continue to stand strong. I am a single mother of two amazing children, ages thirteen and seven. My son is an author who wrote a book titled Fatherless Son, and my daughter loves gymnastics. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, my boyfriend, son, and I relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2006 to escape the violence in Buffalo, New York, after I lost a family member to gun violence. We wanted to raise our son in a different environment. In August 2009, my boyfriend and I became husband and wife. In 2010, I gave birth to our second child, a baby girl name Destinee. We both had great jobs at a financial institution, and we were raising our children until sickness and tragedy hit.
My Testimony handles some really tough topics, such as losing your husband to gun violence and your colon cancer diagnosis. Was it difficult to write about some of the things that happened? 2010 was a very difficult year for my family and I. The birth of our daughter in January was the highlight of my year. But in March our happiness was short-lived when I was diagnosed with Stage II colon cancer at the age of thirty. When I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my husband was shot and killed along with three other people on our one-year wedding anniversary and a few hours before our wedding reception was supposed to take place. What was supposed to be one of the happiest moments in our lives turned into the worst day of our lives. Our weekend trip to Buffalo, New York, turned into our names being associated with the worst crime in Buffalo’s history. I learned that writing my books was a healing experience. I laughed and cried as I wrote my books, but I felt blessed to be able to share my experiences with others. Writing became my therapy.
Did you always want to be a writer? To what extent did your tragedy influence your decision to become an author? I always loved writing but never thought about becoming an author. I always had the entrepreneur mindset. It wasn’t until I lost my husband in such a horrific way that my friend suggested that I write about my life and my experiences. When I wrote my first book, Still Standing, writing became my passion. I loved it and made a business from it. My tragedy basically started my writing career and profession.
It’s clear that you haven’t allowed your circumstances to define you. Where did you find the strength to get back to living a life filled with purpose? After my husband passed, I was in a dark place in my life. Between grief, chemotherapy, and two children, I did not know which way to turn. But between God, prayer, and my children, I received the strength I needed to get back on my feet and face the world. It was hard but I asked God every day to “Please remove this pain from me.” Eventually, I realized that I was the only parent my children had left, so I got up and put my life back in order. During my time of need, I received a lot of help and support, so I wanted to repay the community. I started the Mackin Project (now the Mackin Miracles) because of the love that was shown to my children and me after I lost my husband and their dad. The Mackin Miracles was designed to assist widows and children who’ve recently lost a spouse or parent to violence.
You’re also a bereavement coach, correct? What advice would you give a writer who would like to author a story about their own personal tragedy? I started this organization after several women contacted me after they experienced losing their spouses, boyfriends, partners, or children’s father to violence. I would lend a listening ear, give advice, and I even wrote a book called Words From a Widow to help. Writing a book and sharing your story with the world can help someone else. There are people who are afraid to write. I tell them if this is what they want to do, go for it. My advice is to never worry about the next person’s opinions. If they haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, they have no reason to judge.
Can you share with us any feedback that you got about your work that inspired you to continue moving forward? I remember when I wrote my first book, when I had my book signing there was a line out the door. But this one lady stood out to me; she expressed to me how much I inspired her. I never thought that I was inspiring people; I wrote the book as a healing process for myself. People tell me how strong I am and my strength is amazing. These are the things that keep me going and motivated. I love helping others, and I love being an inspiration to others. I am truly humbled to be seen in this way. I came from a hurt place to helping others who are in a hurt place. Things like this helped me find my passions in life.
If you could give one piece of advice to those with and having survived cancer, and or those plagued by gun violence, what would it be? Cancer Patients and Survivors – My advice is to keep going and continue to have a positive attitude. I think that’s what helped me. I believed that I would get better, and I enjoy every day that I am here on this earth. Life is too short. Fight to live. Gun Violence Victims – It is hard, and it will be hard for the rest of your life. This is something that you will never get over but continue to pray, find an outlet, and push through. Have your moments when needed, and don’t be ashamed of what you went through or going through. It is a process, a life process.)
What are you working on next, in lit and in life? Currently I am a writing coach and a publisher. I believe that everyone has a story, and I am here to help them get their stories published in a book. Most of my clients write books to help others who are going through the same thing or as a healing mechanism. My job is to help my clients bring their stories to the light. I am also the proud owner of the Destiny Collection Boutique in McDonough, Georgia. The Destiny Collection is a line of encouraging and inspiring stationary such as journals, notebooks, notepads, coffee mugs, candles, and et cetera. The boutique has my stationary line (inspired by my daughter Destinee), and we have event space available. I am so happy with what I am doing.
Violence has been a part of Tanisha's life from the time she was 7 years old up until 2010, when she watched her husband take his last breathe. Tanisha has felt pain like no other, but decided to turn her trials into triumph. Tanisha has had her share of joy and pain, ups and downs, sadness and happiness, but the loss of loved ones has weighed on her heart. The author of Still Standing and Still Standing Pt. 2 has been encouraging and giving others hope for the past 5 years. Now she bears her heart and soul into her 5th book. This is Tanisha's testimony, and she definitely doesn't look like what she has been through.
Connect with the author:
Fackbook: Tanisha D. Mac-kin