Genre: Christian Living, Inspirational, Memoir, Nonfiction
Author: Mary A. Pérez
Publisher: Chart House Press, LLC (January 28, 2015)
Mary A. Pérez was born in the Bronx, raised in Miami, and now resides in Texas with her husband of twenty years. Her award-winning essays have appeared in La Respuesta and Sofrito for Your Soul.
“More than a memoir—this book is a promise of hope for anyone who was abandoned as a child, to anyone who woke up hungry and went to bed hungrier every day, for every wife who has loved a husband who left bruises on her heart and on her body.”
Somewhere between stealing cold cuts from stray cats and watching a stranger leave her mother’s bed after breaking in through their bedroom window, Mary figured out that her family was dirt poor. Worse than her empty stomach, she was hungry for acceptance and love. She thought she found it when her baby sister was born and she became her “mommy”, taking care of her needs as best she could at the age of seven. Then she had to say goodbye over a small white casket.
Mary’s grandparents, first generation immigrants from Puerto Rico, took her in and gave her a glimpse of faith and stability. For a brief, shining spell, she had a real home—until they decided that Mama needed her. They may have been right, but Mama needed more than a little girl could give and Mary lost her way again.
Just out of Juvy Hall, Mary found a knight in shining armor to take her away. She became a teenage bride to a man twice her age—a man as deeply enslaved to booze as every “step-dad” she’d had as a child. She loved him anyway, even wearing the bruises he gave her, even when she tried to leave him to give their children a better life. Despite her fear and loneliness, she never imagined it would take a gunshot in the middle of the night to teach her courage. She was even more surprised when rediscovered faith paved the path to forgiveness after so many years of pain.
Running in Heels is a memoir of the grit and grace that carried a young girl through the shadows of her mother’s choices and on through an abusive marriage. Mary A. Pérez narrates an incredible story of survival in the face of hopelessness, and learning to forgive against all odds.
A story of coming of age, and coming into grace.
Interview by Karl Haughton of The Caribbean Current
Theresa A. Campbell is the author of the captivating novels, Are You There, God? and God Has Spoken. She hails from Clarendon, Jamaica and migrated to the USA 16 years ago.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College, and a master’s degree in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Theresa has had a deep passion for reading since she was a child. Her years of studying at business school have helped her to become a formidable writer.
Growing up in rural Jamaica without electricity until she was about 11years old made her read a lot. “I would sit by that little kerosene oil lamp and I would lose myself into those characters,” Theresa says.
The lack of modern amenities did not detract from her creativity, in a sense; it improved her ability to see the ending of a story from a different perspective. “I always had an alternative ending to most of the books I read. I would rewrite the stories in my head with different situations and outcomes. I knew even then that I wanted to become a writer and this feeling only intensified as I got older,” commented Theresa.
She wanted to be a writer. “As a teenager I started with dozens of love poems that were for my eyes only, but I always dreamt of being an author,” she says blushfully. Becoming a published writer proved to be a difficult task for Theresa. As time went by it seemed so farfetched because at that time she knew nothing about self publishing.
The untimely death of her beloved uncle intensified her desire of writing a book. “I incorporated over 60% of my life into my first book —Are You There, God? — It was very therapeutic for me,” she said.
Her professional career as an Administrative Manager is quite demanding and tends to lend challenges to her daunting desire to write. She balances her time by writing late at nights to the wee hours of the morning, and on weekends. She says, “Sometimes I’ll take a few vacation days, lock myself away from the world and hammer away on my laptop. You have to try and find that balance somewhere, but I must confess that my writing often suffers because of my job obligations. But I do the best I can, and I’ll always be writing because I so enjoy doing it.”
Theresa’s Christian faith has been the major inspiration for her to continue writing. “It is my deep desire to inspire readers by writing stories from the heart to uplift their faith in God” she said. As a Christian, Theresa says, “I’ll be the first person to tell you that I make mistakes all the time. However, we serve a merciful and forgiving God who loves beyond our faults.”
Her sense of purpose is entrenched in the belief that, “God is always there for us, and I know in my heart that I have to share this with my readers, but most importantly, I know this is what the Lord wanted me to do,” says Theresa.
It’s important for me to keep it real at all times, because even though we are Christians, we are still human and we live in an imperfect world,” Theresa told Karl Haughton of The Caribbean Current.
As is the case of many successful authors, Theresa, sometimes have writers block. However, coping with it is easy because of the many life lessons she learned from her mother, uncle, and grandmother who she lovingly calls Mama. “Mama believed I could be anything I wanted to be in life despite our humble surroundings,” Theresa said. “She taught me to be confident in myself and my ability to be a successful and strong woman.”
“Relaxing with a good novel or watching one of the many shows that are taped and waiting for me on my DVR, and listening to music, especially some songs that I haven’t heard in a while. I mean some good, uplifting, ‘got me shaking’ music,” are some of the ways in which Theresa says she balances the rigors of writing a good book.
Her journey from the hills and valleys of Clarendon to the US has been more than she could have imagined. Her struggles and successes have made her a better person. A few years ago she thought that being a published author of two books was beyond her reach, “I would never have believed it. Having written “Are You There, God?” and “God Has Spoken” is so different than what I imagined. It is actually more soul fulfilling. I’m very proud of my books, and I know that readers will enjoy them as well.”
What’s next for Theresa? Yes, you guessed it — she is in the process of finishing her third book and hopes to complete the first draft by the end of 2014. Her books are available at Amazon (paperback and eBook), Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and book stores nationwide.
Positively impacting lives is her greatest desire. “I would like to continue to write stories that will not only entertain but will inspire and uplift readers. It’s my prayer that I will develop a good reader base, and I’ll always grow as a writer and be recognized as a good one too,” Theresa said confidently.
“Seriously, I just want to live a happy life with a purpose,” commented the gifted and inspirational author Theresa A. Campbell.