Who does God say you are? How do you know when He has called you to something? The guiding or edging of the Lord may come as a still small voice, then gradually escalate above the decibels of the human voice, and finally, combust into a loud thunderous sound of “I have called you to this.”
The launching of her first Christian fiction novel, Sister Nadeen’s Ways, is an example of Author Felicia Kelly-Brookins heeding the voice of the Lord, and stepping into roles and positions she never dreamt. From play writer, director, literary award winner and now published author, her multi-faceted roles continue to unfold just as Sister Nadeen’s character at Greater Trials MB Church.
Sister Nadeen’s Ways has been described as “Christian Fiction but it’s really Christian Reality.” As the head usher, Sister Nadeen is quick to release her wrath on anyone that refuses to fall in line. The only individual that stands toe to toe with Nadeen is her mother, Ruth.
Speaking with Author Felicia Kelly-Brookins, she shares how every church, no matter its denomination, has a Sister Nadeen. Read below as she shares about the book, the Write the Vision-Writers Conference, and the Inspired Resources Writers’ Club.
Q: You are a very busy woman. You are an author, founder of Inspired Resources Writers’ Club, member of Zeta Phi Bets Sorority, Incorporated, Alpha Delta Zeta chapter, member of 100 Black women, mother, and minister’s wife. You won your first Literary award with Southern Laced. How does it feel to now be featured for your book Sister Nadeen’s Ways?
FB: I think it’s still a little surreal for me. It’s just like when it first comes in the mail and you open up the box. You’re holding it in your hands and you’re thinking, “Did I write this? I wrote this!” Every time I pick it up, I’m still amazed that I actually did it. The idea that I had was manifested into this book.
Q: The book is called Sister Nadeen’s Ways. Growing up in the church, we all knew a couple of Sister Nadeen’s. Where did you get the inspiration?
FB: Fiction always has a sprinkle of truth on top of it. There have been people that I have been around and come in contact with in my life that helped to create this character. I just built upon each person’s personality and character. I also used a lot of my imagination for how I wanted this person to be. It is partly just encountered with real-life people who say, “On Saturday, I”m gone cuss you and everybody else in this house out, but on Sunday, I’m gone put this uniform on – or this dress with that hat and these shoes on – and before we go up in this church, I’m gone have a cigarette in the car.”
Q: How did your husband, the minister, react to you writing this book?
FB: He loved it. He was like, “Baby, you did great.” He understood that there was a platform in this book. One of the things we talked about was that some women have a religious spirit. They don’t understand that ministry begins at home. Sister Nadeen has the image of Christ, but not the light. I recently posted something on Facebook that says, “You call it fiction. I call it Christian reality.
Q: Who are some of the other characters in the book?
FB: Well, you have her husband Kenny. Poor Kenny… (laughs) He is a man that’s not allowed to be the head of his household mainly because he already has a burden that he’s carrying, which is alcoholism. He’s also having to deal with his wife, who is being used as a weapon as opposed to being someone who can be a helper to him. She has his pants, belt, and drawers. So he’s not a man in his house.
Then, he has three daughters. The oldest girl is named Patsy. They are essential in the story because of the other message in this book. When you think of the role of women and mothers in the household, you think of the word nurturer – someone who is loving, warm, and attentive. In this case, you have to think about what type of nurturer you are. Nadeen is not a nurturer, but she nurtures fear, arrogance, hypocrisy and other negative toxins inside of these three girls. Even though her husband tried to tell her, Nadeen is clueless to this because she’s so familiar with it.
You can be so close to something that you don’t recognize what it is because you’re used to it. This brings about another dynamic of the book, which is generational curses; the passing down of her ways to these girls. Where did she get those ways from? She got them from her mother. Nadeen doesn’t see anything wrong with it because it’s just the way that she is. It’s the way that women are in her family.
Q: You recently posted something from the second book. Tell us about that.
FB: Yes. It was just a little teaser from book two. It’s actually spread out on my coffee table right now. Over 200 pages… It’s actually a part of a trilogy.
From this book, I have created a three section workbook. I’m only going to release from one section at a time. This workbook is going to go along with the book as a self-evaluation/transformation tool for women, men, and children because it’s a family thing. From that workbook will come my first family conference. So there’s a lot of things coming from this book around Spring 2018.
Q: I see that you’ve been featured on WTOK Television Station, book reads, Cynthia Austin Show, and the Joy Bookclub. Currently, you have a clothes donation for socks. You also have a Mother and Daughter Luncheon on the horizon. Tell us about Inspired Resources.
FB: Inspired Resources is my LLC name for Write the Vision Writer’s Conference. One of the things I like to do is contribute to the community. That is really important to me. In April (2017), the presenters and the attendees donated to the Children’s Abuse Prevention Center. This Fall, we will give socks and gloves to the homeless community. I really like tying that in with the writer’s conference.
Q: Tell us about some of the plays you’ve written. Your bio talks about how you’re a successful stage play writer and director for three plays, such as What About the Children and Rebecca’s Eyes.
FB: Those were Gospel-centered plays with a message. The very first one, I really wanted to reach out to teenagers and young children. It comes a time when they will be held accountable for their ways because they know right from wrong. So I wanted to get the message across that teenagers need to be concerned about their relationship with God.
Q: Looking ahead, you’ve been featured on several different platforms. Where would you like to be featured next?
FB: There are two things that are really important to me at this stage – networking and getting more visibility for the book. I would love to be on a platform where there are a group of women with an international audience to deliver the message and dynamics of the book. I’m open to whatever talk show or city I need to go to. My husband said, “Baby, you just tell me where we need to go.”
Q: Where can our readers purchase your book?
FB: They can purchase the book on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle edition. Whenever I have some in stock, I post it on social media. I’m able to mail them out. Until the end of the year, I am offering a promo cost of $18 for an autographed copy of my book.
To find out more about Felicia Brookins, visit her on Facebook at Felicia Writer/Author Brookins, Nadeen’s WAYS, Felicia Brookins Social Promo Events, Inspired Resources Writer’s Club, and Felicia Brookins.