Intimate Conversation with Brookita R. Braxton
Brookita R Braxton, an Air Force Veteran and a government employee, has always been intrigued by the mother/ daughter relationship dynamic. After being given up for adoption at an early age and losing her adopted mother to a terminal illness, her curiosity evolved into story lines. Brookita lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She attends church and spends time with her family and friends. Maternal Secrets is her first novel.
BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I am where I am because of my father and my faith. I had a very structured upbringing. As I child I was labeled with a reading comprehension problem. My father didn't allow them to place me in a special class. Instead he started me on a reading program of his own. I read books and completed book reports outside of my normal school assignments. Eventually I grew to love reading and writing. By sixth grade I was reading and comprehending on college sophomore level.
My faith has sustained me through the process of writing and publishing. Over the last seven years I've had a lot of setbacks but my belief in writing as my God ordained purpose kept me from giving up.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I believe my body of work speaks to women who are at different stages in their lives. Some of the topics include caring for elderly parents, sibling issues, dating, religion and personal choices. I don't think an author is a role model. I think we're messengers. Our purpose is to get you think and see outside of your own situation, good or bad.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I started writing Maternal Secrets in the year 2007. I woke up from a dream with a melody in my head. I actually start writing my first chapter to the melody. The hook was simple "Why are you peaking into my dreams?" From there Coldra Ashe introduced herself then her mother Lauren came to me. Lauren has twin sister named Karen. Initially they were the same person but Karen became the antagonist of Coldra and Lauren.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing Maternal Secrets?
I enjoyed when the characters spoke to me. It felt like I was interviewing them.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
My book ideas come from my meditation time and dreams. I see scenes when I am sleeping; when I awake I will make a note on my phone. Other times they come when I'm meditating. A character will make one statement. Then over a few weeks different elements are revealed. This particular book is character driven because it focuses on personal choices and consequences. Everyone makes mistakes.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters in Maternal Secrets. What makes each one so special?
Coldra Ashe is a young woman who thought her life was going as planned. She never paid attention to the obvious even when it was in her face. When reality hit her, she went back home to her mother, Lauren. Lauren is known to have all the answers all the time. She is a respected mental health professional. Unfortunately Coldra learns that her mother doesn't have the answers and her life isn't as neat as she would like it to be. Both women want to be understood by each other even though their choices don't reflect that fact. Coldra and Lauren are on the same journey to healing whether they realize it or not.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
Maternal Secrets touches on the family dynamic of going against tradition. It has been my experience that exploring religions outside of a family's tradition is frowned upon. Lauren faces this because she gave up her family's religious practices to marry her husband. This book also touches on the decisions families make when dealing with a chronically ill relative's fight to remain independent.
BPM: How does your book relate to your journey?
I was adopted and then lost my mother two years later. This book helped me to heal in ways I would have never thought possible. It also allowed me to get to know my deceased mother because her friends would open up to me after hearing about my book. During the time that I was writing this book I found out that I have two sisters and reconnected with my biological mother. The story has evolved with me over these last seven years. I would say that this journey has brought me into a new awareness of who I am. I was new to the process of writing when I began this novel. Through trial and error I've learned and am still learning about the craft of writing.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, Maternal Secrets?
The biggest lesson I learned from writing this book is that life will give you another chance if you allow it. You can't control people but you can control the choices you make. You won't always make the right decision but always look for an opportunity to make a wrong decision right.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I wanted to finish the book. This is my first novel and I am excited because I didn't allow fear to keep me from moving forward.
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