Interview with Alberta Lampkins
Alberta Lampkins insightful debut novel has it all and takes the readers on a heart touching ride. It’s a triumphant story about faith, friendship and forgiveness.
Set out on a train ride from Buffalo, New York headed to Virginia, “Teach Me How to Fly” is a contemporary story of Jocelyn Hamilton, wife of a retired Army Sergeant Major and coffee shop owner in Buffalo, New York, who receives a strange phone call after the death of her mother. The phone call strikes questions about her mother’s past. Jocelyn is curious and determined to uncover the mystery, so she travels back to her mother’s hometown of Martinsville, Virginia to meet the one lady who can give her the answers she is looking for. However, while Jocelyn is busy putting the pieces of her mother’s past together, her friend Angel Medina, a fashion designer working downtown in Buffalo, is desperately seeking to keep her long-ago life tucked away. Angel soon comes face to face with the one person she hoped she would never see again. What happens to a broken soul left untreated? Can you really escape what lies behind you? How do you learn to forgive? Jocelyn and Angel find strength through their unexpected friendship in Teach Me How to Fly.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
First, let me start by saying thank you for giving me this opportunity to connect with readers – it is truly a blessing! As for a little about me, I am an avid reader and have been since I was a young child. I grew up in an urban neighborhood on the east side of Buffalo, New York. It was there where I discovered my love and interest in everyday people’s lives. I found joy and humor in what the outside world would consider chaos and misfortune. That genuine interest in the world around me has shaped my entire life. It is no surprise I went on to obtain a Master’s Degree in Sociology. I am a proud Army wife with two wonderful adult children and one handsome grandson. I am an advocate for children and adults – I believe everyone deserves to be treated fair and I have no problem speaking up for those who may need an additional voice to speak on their behalf. I have worked in human services, in one capacity or another for over 20 years. I love reading, writing, traveling and unearthing new things about people and places.
When did you begin writing?
That is an interesting question. I must have sensed early on that there was some kind of power in pen and paper. At age 11, I wrote a letter to the local newspaper in my hometown presenting them with a problem. I wanted to be an actress on a television show, I apparently believed I could sing and act (smile). The editors of the newspaper were so intrigued by my letter; it was posted in the arts and drama section asking producers around the globe to contact me if they ever needed an 11 year old actress. I had forgotten about that letter until I published my debut novel. I guess the love for writing never left me.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Yes, Teach Me How To Fly is the story of Jocelyn Hamilton, a coffee shop owner in downtown Buffalo, New York and Angel Medina, a fashion designer. The two ladies have different lives and two very different stories, but somehow they find strength in their unexpected friendship. Jocelyn sets out to uncover the story of her mother’s past and Angel tries desperately to keep her past hidden. Jocelyn unearths a town secret and Angel soon comes face-to-face with the one person she hoped she would never see again. They learn that life is not always perfect, but if you have faith, good friends and can learn to forgive, better days are ahead.
How did you get the idea for the book?
For the most part, the storyline is fashioned after my own life. The added storyline featuring Angel, came about from meeting people along the way who held on to hurt and pain in their lives, causing them to be guarded. I wanted to show that no matter what you experience in life, holding on to the past will only prevent you from moving forward. Learning to forgive and let go is freeing!
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
You would think it was Jocelyn, the character fashioned after my own life, and however, it is Angel Medina. In a way, she represents many people and I believe there will be more to her story. You may learn to forgive, but you never forget. Her road to recover from the ills of the past will be an interesting journey in my next novel.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Great question! Honestly, it was thinking that people will not understand the message of my story or that they may not even like my story. I just simple had to get over that fear and write and tell the story as it flowed from my soul. All I can do is pray that the readers will forgive any mistake and know that it was written purely from my heart.
What is your primary goal as an author?
My primary goal is to first, follow my heart and then hope to write captivating stories that will make people, laugh, and cry and be inspired in one way or the other.
What projects are you currently working on?
Thank you for asking - I am working on publishing a book written by my husband, who is a Command Sergeant Major in the Army. He wrote a story about his experience as a leader in war. The book is titled, Suicide in the Mountains of Afghanistan. We are looking towards an Fall or Winter 2014 release date. Additionally, I am working on a book project titled, Mixed Bag: A Cultural Journey around the World – it will feature people of diverse cultures who are now living in America and a book project with teen and young adult expressions titled, Our Voices Matter: Through the Eyes of A Young Adult.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Never, ever give up. Write the story your most passionate about and write it following your own heart!
About the Author:
Alberta is a proud Army wife and has been married to her husband Command Sergeant Major Al Lampkins for over twenty-five years. She is the founder of A.L. Savvy Publications and has been working toward publication for over five years while working as an Adult Services and Child Protective Services Social Worker. In addition, she completed her Master of Arts Degree in Sociology from Fayetteville State University in 2012. Her graduate research project on HIV testing among African American women has been accepted for scholarly publication in the Journal of Research on Women and Gender, Texas State University. All roads have led Alberta to following her dream of writing and publishing her first novel.
Alberta is the Project Coordinator for the book Messages to Our Children and the author of her debut novel, Teach Me How to Fly. She is also the Project Coordinator of the book, Mixed Bag: A Cultural Journey Around the World, which will be released the fall of 2014 by A.L. Savvy Publications.
Alberta founded A.L. Savvy Publications, an independent publishing company, after realizing how much she enjoyed listening and reading stories about everyday people. She wanted to create a platform for others to share their stories in print.
Alberta is a native of Buffalo, New York, however, currently resides in Tennessee with her husband and their son.
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