Intimate Conversation with Noni Carter
Meet author Noni Carter
She has been featured in many articles and has been afforded the opportunity to spread inspiration and carry a powerful message of striving towards goals and learning from history to many different schools in both the Atlanta and Boston areas including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and even a few colleges. Cornell West has publicly endorsed Noni’s novel saying that her greatness has already manifested. She has been touted the next Alex Haley of her generation because of her historical fiction slave narrative story.
Noni has also been trained as classical piano, a journey she began at the tender age of four. She graduated from high school in the top five percent of her class, spending the last two years of her high school experience as a full-time student at Clayton State University. Noni maintains a high GPA. She hopes to concentrate (or major) in history and literature with a focus on postcolonial studies and its intersection with African studies.
Good Fortune description:
Good Fortune is an inspiring story of an African-American slave woman in the early 19th century. Brutally kidnapped from her African village and shipped to America, Ayanna Bahati struggles to come to terms with her new life as a slave. Rising from the cotton fields to her master’s house, Ayanna is threatened by the increasingly dangerous world of the plantation. Risking everything, she escapes and makes her way north to freedom and an education, but can she shed the chains of her harrowing past to live the life she has longed for?
She struggles with the concept of emancipation verses freedom, praying for miracles to manifest in her life, and finally understanding the importance of her homeland, engrained into her soul through her name: BAHATI, or Good Fortune.
A stirring debut novel from a young talent, Good Fortune traces one girls’ journey from slavery to liberation, and details how she finds her true self along the way. Through this account of Ayanna’s journey through slavery; through her dreams of honest freedom; through her aspirations; and through her love, sorrow, pain, joy, readers will find that Good Fortune will inspire and stimulate many to keep the memory of these ancestors alive.
BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I have a commitment to make every experience in life a spiritual one. I try to seek out myself in other people- to share with, and understand others by recognizing people as reflections of love. I carry these concepts into my writing- I try to connect with my readers, and impart certain aspects of life I wish to share with them through my character’s eyes. Within that- in delighting the mind, but really reaching to touch the heart (like some of my favorite authors do so beautifully and eloquently)- I feel, as a writer, very powerful.
BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
I have many mentors who influence different aspects of my life. For example, in writing, I consider individuals such as Zora Neale Hurston to be mentors. I turn to people who have the ability to share stories like I aspire to do. There are also people who have been a significant part of this writing and publication process, such as Kwame Alexander, who have played key roles in this journey of mine. There are, of course, the mentors that have significantly shaped me into who I am today. There are the teachers who have played important roles in my life, my sisters, my parents, most definitely, and the person I look up to- my brother.
Lastly, I have found over the past couple of years that there is a mentor inside of me that plants seeds of inspiration, that invites my ancestors into my space to move me forward, that pushes me to more challenging places, teaching me to let go of fear in writing, in creating, and in living my life!
BPM: Introduce us to your main characters.
In Good Fortune, I would say there are five main characters- Anna (or Sarah, or Ayanna), John, Daniel, Mary, and Mama. These characters, all representing family in one aspect or another, shape and carry the plot of the book.
BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
When I was around twelve years old, my great aunt sat my family members and I around our kitchen table and began telling us stories in our family’s history. Now at the time, I was a writer, and a young person very passionate about learning my history and the stories that explained where I came from. I recall a story my great aunt told us that evening- one in which my great great great grandmother, Grandma Rose, stood on the banks of the Mississippi River, herself only twelve years old, and watched as her mother was sold away on a slave ship, gone forever. I recall listening intently to this story, running to my books, my paper, my computer MS document on which I had already begun what I thought would be a short story on slavery, tears streaming. I sat there, those seven or eight years ago, and made a dedication to share the spirit of Grandma Rose with others- to be the vehicle or the vessel through which readers, particular young adults, could reach out and touch a piece of the past so that this present could be made better.
BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within? How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
My goal is to reach as many people as possible with the book- young and old, female and male, African American as well as those of a different race and background. At the same rate, with the publication of Good Fortune in January of this year, I found an opportunity to put into action something that has always been close to my heart, and this is inspiring other young people with the messages Good Fortune has to offer.
Young people are reading Good Fortune, and not only learning about facts and aspects of culture in history, but also gaining knowledge on what it means to strive hard for something until it is accomplished, and the value of learning and gaining knowledge in this world. Walk into any classroom I have been able to speak to, and you may hear a recounting of something I like to call my 3 E’s (now expanded to 5)- three words and subsequent concepts students and scholars learn about in talks and workshops that tie in lessons from my characters lives with their own personal lives today- the significance of emancipating themselves “none but ourselves can free our minds” (Bob Marley); the importance of education; and the value of earnestness. If anything, I feel Good Fortune can and is serving as a tool of inspiration for young people.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I would love for readers to consider the value in learning about and understanding history. The West African symbol- the Sankofa Bird- represents the message of going back and taking meaning that we cannot move forward today unless we go back to yesterday and understand the lessons the past has to teach us. I hope Good Fortune inspires readers to reach inside themselves and examine their responsibilities as beings in this Universe- their relationships with others, with themselves, their willingness, however young, however old, to leap beyond the bounds of limitations, doubts, and judgments this world throws at us from time to time, and to reach out to grasp what truly moves our hearts, what inspires our souls, what makes our spirits sing. If any of these things are accomplished, I feel Good Fortune will have done its job.
BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
Readers can find me at my facebook fan page Noni Carter Author. Also, please feel free to visit my website, www.nonicarter.com, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have also done a few radio interviews including NPR’s OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook in January and Cover to Cover, have been reviewed in several articles including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and am currently traveling and/or skyping with schools across the country, sharing the values and lessons Good Fortune has to offer. We are looking for sponsors who will support this Good Fortune school tour. Please feel free to check out this journey, this site, and to connect with me! Blessings.
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