She didn’t ask if he was guilty, she simply asked “why?”
Everyone looked at her as Keith looked at the floor. Suddenly it all made sense. His mom must have known about his sick attraction for little girls all along. Incredible, I thought, trying to put everything into perspective. If she knew her son was capable of such horrible things, why didn’t she do something to protect us? The silence was uncomfortably thick, and then all of a sudden my grandmother made a statement that was barely audible, but I heard her.
“Aw shucks, y’all stop all this nonsense. That boy is just like his granddaddy. Peabody was the same way.”
I couldn’t believe it! Just like that he was justified. Recalling a scene from The Color Purple, I guess Miss Sophia was right when she said, “a girl child just ain’t safe in a family of men…”
“Sure was,” my grandmother’s sister chimed in.
Finally, my mother spoke.
“Sierra, how could you let him do that to you?”
This would become one of the worst days of my life. It is permanently etched in my mind and replayed on a daily basis. I never know when the thoughts will come and I haven’t determined a specific trigger. The images just suddenly appear and I’m held captive by my own mind until they fade away.
Dr. A.L. Smith read her first full-length novel (The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner) in the third grade and it spawned her passion for reading. According to Dr. Smith, the hallmark of a great story is the resounding presence of a character that transcends the final pages of the book.
Dr. Smith is a native of Frierson, La. She attended Grambling State University on a basketball scholarship and later joined the school’s Army ROTC program. Upon graduation in 1996, she became the university’s first Army ROTC cadet to receive a commission in the Army Nurse Corps. She’s a practicing Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree from Texas Wesleyan University. Her research study (“Evidence-Based Selection of Sedation Agents for Patients Undergoing Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography”) was selected for publication in the 2016 edition of the Journal of Gastroenterology Nursing issue 39 volume 2.
In 2010, she participated in humanitarian relief efforts during the devastating earthquake in Haiti and provided anesthesia services to a countless number of victims, many of whom were children. This experience would have a profound impact on her views concerning socioeconomic disparities here in the U.S. and countries abroad. She’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and takes seriously the organization’s motto “Service to all Mankind”. “In as much as you’ve done to the least of the…” is her personal motto.
Get to know Angela:
1. What was the inspiration for your first novel?
Some years ago, I attended a book club meeting in Atlanta Georgia, where I was surrounded by a group of extremely intelligent and successful women. Ten women were present and nine of them shared personal stories of childhood abuse. Surprisingly, a majority of the women were sharing their stories for the first time. Fear and shame were the common denominators which led these women to suffer in silence. This would become the primary inspiration for writing my first book.
2. What process did you use for character selection?
The characters are largely a product of my imagination but they were created specifically for the purpose of demonstrating some of the potential effects of childhood abuse, which include drug and alcohol addiction, low self-esteem/promiscuity and relationship dysfunction.
3. Is there a particular character that you identify with the most?
Alex, hands down. I found myself channeling many of my personal ideas and emotions concerning dysfunctional relationships through her character.
4. The urban fiction genre is an extremely competitive market and seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. What are your thoughts concerning the future of the industry?
Competition is essential for growth in any industry. The urban fiction industry is overflowing with an abundance of talented authors and avid readers. I believe the urban fiction market has the potential to sustain itself.
5. What are the keys to success for urban fiction authors?
Capturing and maintaining your audience is most important. I’m still new to the author side of the industry and still trying to build my brand. However, I listen to the readers. Currently, the most critical commentary is related to the issue of repetitive story lines and a perceived lapse in the overall quality of finished products. The urban fiction genre is extremely unique because it embraces a particular set of characteristics, issues and circumstances that are consistent with urban life. Therefore, it stands to reason, these stories will be repeated time and time again. In light of this reality, an author’s ability to recreate these stories in a unique fashion with attention to detail and quality will ultimately determine individual progression and long term success within the industry.
6. What is the primary message for the Behind Closed Doors Series?
According to recent statistics, one in five girls and one in twenty boys are subject to some form of childhood abuse. Sexual abuse is often hard to identify due to the lack of physical wounds and the veil of secrecy which further obscures the crime. Without a doubt, my primary goal is to increase awareness concerning this issue and provide victims with a platform for healing.
What are your future plans as an author?
Behind Closed Doors 2: Redemption is scheduled for release in the coming weeks and I’m currently working on my third project which is a stand-alone urban fiction/medical thriller. The production of my trailer for Behind Closed Door 2 was an extremely exhilarating experience for me. I’m currently exploring some ideas concerning the production of “movie-like” trailers for other authors.