About the Book:
Dream Angelou is a college-educated, single mother hailing from Santa Monica, California striving to make a better life in D.C. with her son, King. Dream is as vulnerable as she is guarded with her heart after experiencing lost love. She engages her new energy into building a great career as an executive in the nonprofit field. However, she recognizes that there is a deeper power that speaks to financial freedom and independence that she cannot suppress.
As Dream’s career is on a fast track to entrepreneurship, her love life begins to heat up too when she meets the charismatic and edgy Kenya Harris. “We were so opposite from the beginning that our differences became our attraction,” Dream describes her crazy-in-love romance. The fairy-tale life that Dream envisioned came with an empire, beautiful babies, a big house with a ranch-style fence, and a strong Black man for a husband—but then reality hit. Dream becomes embroiled in an intense battle with Kenya, wrestling with mental health, addiction, his yearning for the street life, and a postpartum medical mishap that almost cost her life. Will the unbreakable bond Dream forges with Kenya prove to be the downfall of everything she built? Author Brandi Forte pours her heart and soul out in her most riveting story to date about Black love, family, betrayal, forgiveness, and healing that ultimately proves what doesn’t kill you . . . will make you Stronger.
Check out an Excerpt from the book:
“He was Amistad Black yearning to be sankofafree. A Mandingo warrior enmeshed with a Zulu swag. He was Shakastrong and immortal, it seemed. He wasn’t aesthetically beautiful, but he was continental beautiful—African beautiful. His ancestors could have come from perhaps the same West African village that my great-great-great-great-grandfather came from.
His eyes were Asiatic slanted. His nose was broad. His face had the roundness of the moon, and he had one dimple indented in his left cheek. His back was broadly arched, and his shoulder blades were shaped like pyramids. I knew upon meeting him that there was a destiny connection; just wasn’t sure if it was for a season, reason, or lifetime.
Kenya was a breath of fresh air for a sista like me, who had experienced concaved darker days and ratchet-life staircases. There were no “crystal stairs” in my life. More like wooden stairs wearing and tearing on the bottom of my bare feet, making the journey callous. The corns on my pinky toe would never disappear. The pain was mine, but so was the happiness.
Our immediate connectivity was that he accepted me for me. I may have been the perfect Picasso to him with all my flaws and hidden baggage; however, he witnessed a perfect imperfection in me that I couldn’t see in myself. In Kenya’s mind, he had found a rare ruby that had been exposed to a raging fire. Fiery “Ruby Woo” that had been tarnished and tried but unbelievably unscathed. Yet, he was like a li’l boy who found something so profound that he would savor it for a lifetime. I was—and still am—The Ruby.
Using the tips of my nails, I dug deep and found a diamond covered in coal, covered in soil, covered in a blackness that protected its shine from the diggers sent to make a profit off of something so scarce. It may have been best that Kenya remained deeply hidden in a realm where no woman could find, and no man could recognize his value. For if the coal were removed entirely, strangers would rob, kill, and steal for a diamond, and, yet, I understood this. My goal was to rinse off the coal, the subtleness of the dirt, and let him shine forever. His aura was protectiveness, understanding, and real love—nothing else was missing in my mind.
About the Author:
Brandi Forte is a powerful and inspiring mother, trailblazer, visionary, and entrepreneur. A highly respected and renowned author of four published books, Forte is a native of Santa Monica, California, and a proud graduate of Howard University. Forte’s commitment to transformation and service to undeserved communities for two decades has led her to creating her own legacy as the founder of a non-profit and an adult trade school in the District of Columbia. A true humanitarian, Brandi Forte is a passionate leader who believes in equipping, empowering youth, families, and communities nationally and globally.
Join Us for a Sit down with Brandi:
What inspired you to write this book and name it Stronger?
What inspired me to write the book is because I felt like I was being challenged in so many areas, but I was pushing through the turbulence and I became Stronger mentally, spiritually and physically. I was operating in the spirit of resilience and realized that I needed to name my book Stronger. The title spoke volumes to my soul. While it is a fictional novel, the events and characters are based on my life story.
Did writing this book give you a different perspective on your life?
Yes, I saw myself in the most raw, unapologetic, and naked self. I realized how human and vulnerable I am, and how I will see things until the end.
Why did you decide to fictionalize your book as opposed to writing a memoir?
Whew chile I had to protect folks. The book is too heavy. There is too much detail and folks may not be ready to go down or glow up. So I changed the names to those who aren’t ready.
When writing Stronger, did you become emotional reliving the challenges you had to face to get you where you are today?
Yes, midway in the book I became extremely emotional because I realized that I had been through so much and it was aha moment! I had so many triggers in writing the book. It was hard for me to sleep after writing so many chapters. However, I had to tap into that part of the story and make it amazing.
When writing this book, what would you say was your biggest/most difficult challenge?
Writing the last chapter was so hard. It was a burden lifted. I reserved seven days to write the last chapter because I felt in my spirit it was gonna be intense. I ended completing it on my porch at 4am. It felt so good.
How long was your process from when you started through completion?
The writing process took me about two years. I wrote from 2016-2017. From 2018-2019 life happened and I didn’t write at all. I was grieving and healing. But when COVID hit, I vowed to myself that I would take 90 days and use the time of reflection and being home in solace to wrap up my book.
What was easier writing Free or Stronger?
Both of them were extremely hard to write! But I have 4 books published so I would say the 4thone, Stronger, was the hardest because I was writing during a period of devastation.
Here’s where you can find Brandi and her book: