#BondingThruBooks Speaker - Alexandra Lane
Alexandra Lane was born in Fayetteville, NC but due to her father’s military career she has lived in various states and countries. To have the opportunity to become familiar with other cultures and their traditions was an uplifting and educational journey. One she was glad to have participated in.
She later returned to Fayetteville where she attended Fayetteville State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Management. Upon graduation she worked in the financial world of banking. Although she enjoyed her years as a Banking Center Manager she wanted to devote more of her time to writing and telling compelling stories. This is her first novel. She is currently working on her second.
BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book.
A Vision of Angels: The Battle Begins is the story of a woman name Minty, a slave and Jack, a slave hunter. Both their lives are shattered beyond what most people would be able to bear.
Minty will make a decision to run away to save her life and Jack and a few men will pursue her in the dark swamps of Maryland. However, Jack is unaware of what he is about to encounter at a place called, Little Canyon. Unimaginable, is how I would describe what happens next. Evil is amongst them, but more than anything, it is very aware of these two souls.
This story is a looking glass into the world of Angels and the incredible feats they performed for the sake of these two lives. This is a story of hope in the face of hopelessness and redemption even when one feels there is none. Of course, you will have to read the story to understand why.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?
The idea came about one day when I was watching a daytime talk show. There was a man on the show that described an incredible situation where he survived a paragliding incident that should’ve robbed him of his life. But thankfully, he lived. However, he went on to say he was incredibly “lucky.”
I saw it different. I saw his angels safely guiding him to earth because his purpose had not yet been fulfilled here on earth. So I wondered how amazing it must look to see our angels in action. How does it look when they’re doing extraordinary things behind the scenes for us? Like saving us from danger, protecting us from harm and even guiding us through life? That is when the story was born.
So far as plot or character driven, I would have to say that this is more character driven because I wanted to focus more on the people in the story. Who they are, and what made them that way. We are all flawed in some way, but there are some people who have more challenges and bigger road blocks in their lives. As a result they develop certain “defenses” to help them cope with the more strenuous obstacles of life. It makes for some very interesting outcomes.
BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Well the main characters are Minty, Jack and Red. What makes Minty special is her spirit. Even as a slave she doesn’t lose hope. She never stops believing that she can, one day, be free. Even when everything around her, the environment, the other slaves and her husband, says NO YOU CAN’T.
Jack is special because his life started out one way but made a drastic turn when his parents died. He tries hard to fight the dark emotions that try to rule over him but it’s difficult. He actually has a good heart but it worthless to him. So, he just drifts through life trying to run from a past he hates but realizes it follows you wherever you go.
Red is different. He was born with these awful, menacing eyes that frightens everyone. But as he gets older and begins to partake in some unsavory acts, those eyes are not only frightening but they become occupied with something more sinister than himself.
And I don’t want to make light of Patty and Melinda because they are both instrumental in the story as well. Patty is the owner/madam of a saloon. Her reason for becoming a madam is very interesting.
Melinda is a young woman who was taken in by Patty when she was kicked out of her aunt’s home. However, things begin to take a turn when she and Jack meet for the first time.
BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
Yes. Although this story takes place in 1849 around the time of slavery, I picked this time to show that even in the direst situations, there is still hope. Keep in mind slavery can come in many forms. Sometimes we are enslaved to our environment: Poverty, crime, drugs, domestic violence, abuse and the list goes on and on. Sometimes when it's all you know and you don't see a way out, it's easier to give in and accept it as your fate. (Just as the other slaves did in this story) But I strongly believe you can change your outcome.
A Vision of Angels is a story about hope, looking beyond your circumstances and what everyone else is saying and doing and fighting for a better life. Start preparing, set a plan in motion, study hard, hold onto patience and above all have faith in God and follow your angel that He has assigned to you. Do these things and you can make it out of whatever hell you may be in.
Is it going to be easy? No. Are there bumps and bruises in attempting to free yourself? Yes, many. But how great is the reward that awaits when you’re finally free.
BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?
Psalms 91:11 says, “For He shall give His angels charge over thee in all thy ways. The translation of the word “angel” is “messenger.” Simply put, Angels are God’s messengers. What I want people to take away from this story is that we have all been assigned an angel...or two. (Smile) God sent them to help guide us on this journey, therefore, we need to listen when they are trying to do their job.
Whenever you hear a still, quiet voice in your spirit saying, Take her some food and Buy the child some clothes or sometimes a strong urge may come over you to call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in years. Do it, there's a reason for it. And in some cases they have messages of warnings. For example, you’re getting ready to take a ride with someone that maybe you just met, but all of a sudden this overpowering feeling/warning comes over you and you know you shouldn’t get in that car or Stay away from that place. This is your angel trying to guide you in life as well as protect you. Each act we perform or obey takes us closer to fulfilling our purpose.
And have you ever noticed that when you “do” listen, you’re so glad you did?! Sometimes, it is revealed to us later why we were told to do what we did. Makes you smile. Makes you feel really good inside.
BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author?
When someone calls you or leaves a message and tells you how much they loved your story. As an author, at least for me, it’s not always easy putting a story together but when you finally complete your story, that is the most gratifying feeling. But what’s more exciting is when others read your book and get just as excited about the story as you did when you were writing it. When they say it made them feel good or how they really liked a certain character. When I hear the words, suspenseful, inspirational, blessing or better yet, it made them think. To me, that is success! A wonderful feeling to have.
BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
Yes, yes and yes to all of the above. Writing in a different time period is a challenge in itself. You have to research the clothes, the words, everything. You have to stay in that time and not forget that there are certain words we say today that were not used back in that time. Certain mannerisms and behaviors were more acceptable back then but not today. So, I had fun learning about those little details that we don’t really think about every day.
BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on a personal and professional level. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
Actually, there are several points in my life that I can reflect on that shaped who I am today but I will address this particular one. My first trial in life came when I became a divorcee and I had three children to raise on my own. Whew! That was a tough one. I had to move to a place that my kids weren’t use to living in, but that was so I could go to college and hopefully provide a better life for them. I had always wanted to go but I didn’t have the money or any scholarships or rich relatives. LOL. I honestly didn’t know where to start.
So, I went to the college and spoke to the administrators and they were wonderful in guiding me on where to begin. But in pursuing this journey, I had to “back up” in life in order to go forward and I also had to be patient and stay focused on the end game and not my current situation. You realize how strong you are as a mother and as a person when you have very little to live off of and nowhere to pull from. But when I finished college and walked across that stage to receive my degree the REWARD was far greater than the struggle and the pain I endured.
I can’t find the words to describe how it felt to get a good paying job and what it felt like to move your family into a better home and neighborhood and comfortably provide for them.
One day, while sitting at my computer and thinking back on my life, I wrote this short poem for myself. Of course, I titled it, New Beginnings:
**A new beginning represents the journey and transition of a woman. Her struggles through difficult times and the transformation she undergoes. Strength is the gift given to each woman that has had to start over in her life, for her choices were few, and her path reset. And for every dramatic change she endures, like the butterfly, she emerges stronger, wiser and more beautiful. When you thought you couldn’t run any further, you now realize you have wings…and you can soar. **
This poem hangs on my wall in my room as a reminder of what I was brought through. Thank you, God.
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