Today, I am pleased to welcome the lovely D. Bryant Simmons, author of “How to Knock a Bravebird From Her Perch”. It is a dark family tale of domestic violence.
Welcome D! It is a great pleasure to have you here today!
Thank you Fros, the pleasure is all mine!
So tell us about “How to Knock a Bravebird from her perch”. What made you write about domestic abuse?
It is because it has plagued my family for more than 3 generations. I’ve seen how it can destroy family units and relationships, even between victims. I wanted to find a way to reach out to women in that situation and let them know that they are stronger than they think they are. And to say that they have a right to stand up for themselves.
What was your inspiration for the book?
“How to Knock a Bravebird From Her Perch” is inspired by my great-grandmother. She married a horrible, mean man and had 9 kids! Her story ends much differently from the book but she was still the major inspiration for it.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently in what I call writing-only mode, which means no reading and no editing. It’s by far the most fun for me. When writing new material, I generally work on several projects simultaneously. I’m jumping back and forth between the second and third books in The Morrow Girls Series. Both are sequels to “How to Knock a Bravebird From Her Perch”. The way I have the series structured I’m able to work on the third book without finishing the second because each book has a different main character. I also need a mental break from time to time so jumping between them keeps me fresh.
Sounds like you’re keeping very busy! Well done! Tell us about your blog. What will readers find there?
Well, I have two blogs actually and they are both about female empowerment. I write about violence against girls and women. I write about parenting and self-defense and anything else that I feel can help us make tomorrow better than today. You can find out more at http://www.dbryantsimmons.wordpress.com or http://www.dbrayntsimmons.blogspot.com.
If you could choose another profession, other than the one you are in, which would you choose?
That’s easy. I would go back to education. I still plan to someday. I want to put together a curriculum that is empowering for girls and people of color. So much of the education system, in the US at least, is organized through the prism and perspective of white patriarchy.
What is the Morrow Girls Fan Club?
It’s basically an all-you-can-read buffet about the series. Members get exclusive access to extra scenes and chapters, alternate endings, character diaries, and my thoughts about the writing process. Each member also gets email alerts when I have an event or there’s a new book in stores. The basic membership is always free and includes limited perks but the premium membership is $15 per year and also includes novellas and short stories about the characters from the series. Plus premium members have access to the Fan Club website where they can chat amongst themselves and with me.
Who is your favorite poet? Quote a couple of lines from your favorite poem.
Favorite poet…hmm…Well, my favorite poet is Maya Angelou. She’s also one of my favorite writers. But my favorite poem is Mother to Son by Langston Hughes. Here it is (by the way you have to imagine it spoken with a southern accent):
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Thank you for that – it was beautiful! What about your workstation? Can you describe it? And are there any favorite objects you have placed there for inspiration?
My desk is a mess. A complete utter mess. I’m currently writing in two notebooks (my attempt at being organized), so they’re on my desk, plus a few sheets of paper I tore out but haven’t thrown away yet. Credit cards. A bottle of lotion. A microphone, for when I get around to doing a podcast. My computer, which I adore (I’m a mac girl all the way), with framed photographs on either side. A black and white of my daughter when she was 4 months old. And a portrait of my father before he passed away. I have a strange attachment to both. I moved and for a few months couldn’t find the photo of my dad and I thought I was going to die. I had a similar reaction when my mother accidentally gave away my photo of my daughter to a family friend. Luckily I got them both back. They center me. It’s a bittersweet love, I think, which is generally the place that all my best writing comes from.
If you could have one super power what would it be?
Easy. Time travel.
Naive and blinded by grief, Belinda “Pecan” Morrow agrees to marry the up-and-coming boxing sensation, Ricky Morrow. Her first daughter arrives within a year of the marriage and suddenly Pecan finds herself on the receiving end of Ricky’s violent temper. Scared for her life, she hunkers down in this marriage of convenience as the babies and fists keep coming. Will the abuse ever stop? Will Pecan and her girls live happily ever after?
How to Knock a Bravebird From Her Perch is poignant and hard-hitting. You will be touched by Pecan’s courage and resilience. If you love dynamic female leads and succinct yet poetic storytelling, this novel is for you.
D. Bryant Simmons was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has earned a B.A. in Sociology and M.Ed. in Elementary Education. She is a mother, entrepreneur, and advocate for women’s rights.
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