When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing at the age of 11. I didn't know it then that it was my greatest indwelled gift from God. I was just inspired to write short stories and poetry. I remember even way back then how I could visualize stories in my head, almost like watching a movie, and then I would put pen to paper. It's very rewarding. I encourage everyone to seek the gift/talents that God has given them, as it is not so much for us, but for us to be a blessing to others. God reminded me one day - He said to me, "It is my responsibility to take care of you, and for you to feed my sheep.”
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I actually considered myself a writer as a young teen. I knew it was the one thing that I did well. It just came naturally to me. As I got older, God, you could say, "watered my gift,” and it has grown as He has elevated me for his glorification.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I've been writing for some 35 years, but I never could have imagined having my manuscript in print. Approximately 5 years or so ago, when God instructed me to write "The Table's Edge", he told me that it would be published. I must admit I was a little doubtful, but I persevered, and wrote on the topics in my book that were not so easy to write because of the content. My book touches on child abuse, neglect and abandonment, rape, domestic violence, STD’s and AIDS. Some of these topics are very close to my heart. This time, my writing wasn't about what I wanted to say, but what God instructed me to do. It is necessary that the enemy be exposed. It is necessary that we help people to unveil the masks they wear in their day-to-day lives. People must get back to communicating and stop allowing the enemy to cause separation by texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I pray that my novel series, "The Table's Edge" and its sequel, "The Table's Edge 2", which will be released this December, will do just that.
Please tell us your latest news.
Right now I am in the process of working on a reprint of my debut novel, The Table’s Edge. I am working on my sequel, “The Table's Edge 2”. I don't want to give anything away. The Table's Edge is a cliffhanger. Readers will have to wait until the sequel is out. I've gotten a lot of comments saying, 'I can't wait until the sequel’ or ‘What happens next?' A third novel, “In the Absence of Man”, is also in the works.
I have been blessed to be televised twice already this summer, and have attended 2 conferences in Atlanta: The Hank Stewart 9th Annual White Linen Affair, where Kendra Norman-Bellamy hosted The Literary Cafe, and The Black Chocolate Social Affair hosted by Ella Curry. Additionally, I've been asked to speak at Durham's Center for Employment Training "CET" on entrepreneurship and for the "Women of Essence" about the topic, "What Is Breaking Me". This presentation will be televised on our local community calendar, channel 18, in 2 weeks on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
I have a lot to be thankful for. God is working it out not only for my good, but for the good of others that I can bless. I give him all the glory!
Do you have a specific writing style?
When I write I get into my space and be still. I listen quietly and wait for God's inspiration, and then it just flows freely from my hand to the paper.
How did you come up with the title, “The Table’s Edge”?
Actually I didn't. The Table's Edge was spiritually inspired and when I pray about the title to my work and characters, I seek from the Holy Spirit. So when I heard the words The Table's Edge, believe me when I say I had to ask God - "Am I hearing you right?" When God revealed to me the message behind the title, it makes sense. The main character in the story, Charlotte, finds peace and comfort from the turmoil of her home underneath the table's edge in her mother's kitchen. It’s also because people live their life on the edge, and that there are some people who will go to great lengths to push you over the edge.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes - communication and rebuilding relationships. Because of the in-depth content, my prayer is that after reading my novel series, parents will validate their children so that they don't seek it from the world, that people will seek Godly counsel before getting married, that children will stop having children, leaving some of those children being unwanted, that it will help someone that has been raped, abused, abandoned and just basically unloved or lost to have a closer walk with God and their family.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I believe that all authors write on some of their experiences, but my novel is fiction.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The ending. It’s hard to close out because your product is like your baby, and when you're done its like it’s over, but it’s good to relive my joy of writing it with my readers when they have finished reading it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Having to expose some of myself and my life in the content. Also having to put domestic violence into words. I remember asking God, “how do you put a man beating a woman into words.” He quickly answered in-kind and said, “I will put the words into your mouth.” That was the hardest part.
Who designed your book cover?
It’s funny that you ask that. You know my cover begins with a sketch. God created the design and placed it on my heart. I can't draw, but my cousin's son, Rodney Coffin, Jr. is a wonderful sketch artist. God said do something different. Everybody's cover tends to look the same, but my cover tells the story. I heard from several that I wouldn't be able to get it [the cover] in print from a sketch, but the devil is a liar. Alex Johnson, who lives in Atlanta, GA, took my sketch and made a wonderful book cover – better than I could ever have imagined. You can reach Rodney Coffin at firstname.lastname@example.org and Alex Johnson at email@example.com.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I tell you, God brought about a healing for my soul, as I am certain that it will do for the readers. I came out stronger, wiser, and able to put to rest some of my own demons - and to forgive those who had wronged me.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That's a hard question to answer because not only do I love to write, I love to read. I can say that Jacquelin Thomas and Terri McMillan were two that inspired me. Terri McMillan's book, "Mama", is actually my favorite. I also like the writing style of Eric Jerome Dickey, but I wouldn't actually say that I consider them as mentors; however, I do like their styles of writing.
What book are you reading now?
I'm not. I don't read when I'm in the process of writing or editing my work. Even if I did, I wouldn't have the time.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, most definitely. Myi-shanka McMillian. She wrote a book entitled "The Little Girl Inside of Me". This is a powerful and heart wrenching story. She wrote of the abuse that she went through from age 3 to age 14. It moved me so, I actually had to stop and pray after reading it. If she could forgive those who had abused her, then I must forgive them as well. I can honestly say that her book, which includes her poetry, is a must read.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The first thing that I say to anyone who has just started to write or has a passion for writing is to keep a pen and journal handy at all times because you never know when the inspiration is going to hit you and you want to be prepared. I would also say to them to be encouraged, no matter how hard it might seem. This process is not easy, but the reward is great. I must have cried a thousand tears when my finished product arrived by UPS. So I say to them, 'the easiest thing to do is to give up, so don't.'
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. Please go to my web site: www.sandraboykin-online.com and leave me a comment. I would also like to let them know that I will help any 1st time author get started in the process. And of course to say "thank you for your patronage and support!"
About the Author
Sandra Boykin is a native of Baltimore, MD, now residing in North Carolina. She is a devoted mother of two and has one grandchild she loves dearly. She is a trained peer counselor, mentor and motivational speaker. She believes God has charged her with the task of reaching out to lost souls and bringing them back into accordance to His plan and will for their lives. She accepts the challenge eagerly and willingly.
In addition to her family and professional lives, Sandra serves with great dedication at Triumphant Tabernacle under the leadership of Pastor Billy T. Russell and First Lady Drusilla Russell.