1. What is your background? Tell us a bit about yourself and where you live and work.
Currently, I am a full time author and entrepreneur, but I have had a very interesting work history. When I first graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Virginia, I wanted to be a veterinarian. However, I found out I couldn’t stand the sight of blood, so that wasn’t an option. Next, I went into the Engineering field and worked for a major corporation for several years. The job paid well, but wasn’t fulfilling for me. After I left that company, I obtained a counseling degree and went into the field of social work. I felt that I still had not quite found my niche, so I decided to teach math at a local high school. That lasted about a year, and then I finally got a job with the navy teaching and counseling sailors about their finances. I loved working in that position because it allowed me to marry my math, counseling, and teaching backgrounds harmoniously. After that, I worked a few years for a major credit union as a financial counselor. Finally, I left that job to become a full time author and entrepreneur.
2. How did you come to be an author?
I love to write, and I have kept journals and written poetry since I was a teenager. My teachers in high school told me I had a writing gift. However, I never thought about being an author until about five years ago. In February of 2011, I was forced to leave my job due to health reasons, and the idea came to me to pull out my poetry folder in my file cabinet and write a poetry book. That’s how I came to be an author. I was given a window of opportunity by God to pursue my dream, so I took a chance and went for it.
3. How did you come to know Jesus?
I “joined the church” and was baptized at ten years old, but had no idea what I was doing. I had no real understanding of why I was walking up to the front of the church, or why I was dunked under water at the time. But two years later, a new youth pastor at our church explained the plan of salvation in a detailed manner that I fully understood. I truly accepted the Lord as my personal Savior at the age of 12, although I really didn’t grow spiritually until I got into college; I wasn’t discipled in the things of God until my college years. After I understood what baptism was all about, I got baptized again at the age of 30. I am so thankful to have the Lord as my “Daddy” and my friend. I honestly don’t know how anyone can live without Him.
4. What do you want the reader to get out of your book, Oasis for My Soul? How can your book help people?
There are several things that I want readers to get out of Oasis for My Soul. My desire is to:
1. Help them to deepen their intimacy with God and encounter Him in a new way;
2. Give them encouragement and comfort;
3. Help facilitate their emotional healing;
4. Challenge them to focus on where they are in their spiritual journey;
5. Help and encourage them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to aggressively pursue wholeness.
Ultimately, I want them to know that through a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, they can find healing for the wounds in their souls and be made whole.
5. What was your goal in writing your second book, The Exceptional Man?
The Exceptional Man consists of love poems that highlight the positive qualities of good Christian men. I wanted to celebrate the exceptional brothers that are out there. We hear so much about the bad guys, the players, those who refuse to care for their children, the deadbeat dads, etc. I feel we need to put the spotlight on good, solid, Christian men who are loving their wives, taking care of their kids, working everyday, bringing their paychecks home, fighting for their families by staying on their knees in prayer, and staying connected to the Father. Those are the individuals that we should celebrate and showcase whenever possible. I wanted to celebrate those exceptional men that we don’t hear about. I also wanted to give women a way to appreciate and affirm the good men in their lives. Finally, I wanted singles to have a tool to prepare themselves to have a successful marriage and to know what to look for when they want to choose a good partner. I feel if relationships are strengthened, families will be strengthened, and the body of Christ will be strengthened. When the body of Christ is strengthened, then we can be about the business of expanding the Kingdom at a more rapid pace.
6. What is your favorite poem you have written, and why?
My favorite poem I have written is entitled, “Die Empty.” I know that sounds morbid, but I mean it in a positive way. God has deposited gifts and talents in all of us. It’s our responsibility and duty to do everything possible to make sure all our gifts and talents are used to benefit the body of Christ before we die. That is my philosophy in life. To die with untapped potential is not good. We need to leverage our gifts and talents for the Kingdom of God.
7. What would you like people to know about you?
I would like people to know that I am human just like everyone else. Sometimes, we look at people externally and think they have no problems, struggles, or issues. God has done a great work in my life, but I came from a background of having low self-esteem. I didn’t love myself, and I had some emotional wounds in my soul that resulted from various circumstances in my life. However, through the love of God and the Word of God, I have been healed. That is the message that I want to people to hear. I am not perfect. I am not where I want to be, but I am certainly not where I used to be, thank God! I want to be a walking billboard for God’s power. That’s why I write, and that’s why I tell my story. My ultimate goal is to encourage, uplift, and inspire.
8. Why are you called “The Purposeful Poet?”
I call myself The Purposeful Poet™ because when I write, I have an express purpose in mind. I do not seek to entertain, nor am I attempting to paint a picture with my words to move people emotionally. The poetry I present is not for the purpose of creative self-expression; I want my work to be an expression of the heart of God. I endeavor to add value to people’s lives through my poems, and to accomplish that desire, I must be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, people can’t just come up to me and say, “Write a poem about XYZ,” because if the Spirit doesn’t download anything to me, I really have nothing to say. My ultimate purpose for writing is to challenge readers to grow in some way, do something, or think differently after reading what I have written. I seek to encourage, uplift, and inspire people to be their best for Christ.
9. How are your books organized?
Oasis for My Soul and The Exceptional Man are organized in such a way as to challenge readers to think deeply about the poems they read. After each poetic entry, there is an inspirational passage that explains what prompted me to write the poem, my thoughts on the topic at hand, or maybe a challenge to think or act differently. The thought-provoking questions that follow the paragraphs that expound on the poem are designed to help people apply the principles presented. Finally, each piece ends with a prayer, and God is asked to help with spiritual and personal growth. The goal is for readers to interact with the material and, hopefully, they will easily be able to integrate the principles into their spiritual repertoire.
10. Who is your audience?
I understand that everyone will not gravitate towards this book. My audience includes Christians that want to grow spiritually and be their best for Christ. I also want to minister to those who love Christian and Spiritual poetry.
11. What inspired you to write Oasis for My Soul?
I just wanted to share with others the spiritual insights God gave me. I hope that through my writing, I can help someone else. These poems are life lessons that God taught me, some of which I am still struggling to master. As I wrote each poem, I felt the lessons the Lord taught me solidify in my soul. I hope that others can glean spiritual and personal lessons from the poems in the book also.
12. How are your books different from other poetry books out there?
I like to refer to each of my books as “Poetry with a Twist.” The “twist” highlights the novelty of the books which contain inspirational passages, thought-provoking journaling exercises, and prayers for the development of the spiritual attributes that are cited in each poem. Readers will be challenged to reflect on the passages and apply spiritual principles to daily living. Prayerfully, I hope that through this unique format, people will be challenged to grow spiritually, and the poetry will be that much more impactful.
13. Who are your favorite authors?
Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, John Maxwell, Ron Carpenter, Jr., and Jentezen Franklin. When I read a book, it has to be something that I can apply to my life. I only read spiritual or personal self-help books.
14. What projects do you have in the works right now?
Right now I am contemplating writing my next book. I am writing all of the time. However, I have to organize my work and package it. I am waiting for the Lord’s leading on what my next project should be.