In this post, we review Dr. Angela Lauria’s Book Journeys interview with author Maxine Brown, author of Years of Tears.
The inspiration for the book was Maxine’s ten-year experience with a minister who turned out to be a psychologically, verbally and emotionally abusive husband. By the end of that experience, Maxine was so thoroughly cowed, depressed and suicidal that she could not protect her children, particularly after her husband began physically abusing one of her daughters, and wound up abandoning the latter. Maxine began rebuilding herself after leaving the minister, involving herself in a survivors’ task force of domestic violence and she essentially wrote the book to share her experience so that others would see the red flags in the relationship that she had failed to see.
Maxine had already created a structure for the book based on the Power and Control Wheel, which is a diagram that illustrates the eight different tactics that abusive people use on their victims, and Maxine experienced all eight tactics during her ten years of marriage with the minister. This meant that she told her story not from a chronological perspective, which Maxine admitted she was most probably unable to do, given her “shattered” memories, and to add to her book she interviewed people around her who had been involved in one way or another, such as the minister’s brother and Maxine’s daughters. Not everyone who initially agreed to be interviewed agreed in the end, and Maxine respected this.
Maxine wrote the book out in a period of eight months, waking up at 4am to start writing and finishing before she left for work. She didn’t write everyday, and one of the hardest things she experienced during this was transcribing her interview with her abused daughter. She didn’t go with a writer’s group, as she knew that, if she received the slightest negative feedback, she would have given up writing the book, and only distributed copies of her manuscript to people close to her to review.
Given how sensitive she felt about the book, Maxine didn’t go through the route of traditional publishing, with all of its inevitable attendant rejections. She self-published the book and was guided by a two-minute video on YouTube which explained the steps in publishing a book. She worked on the cover design and ISBN number, and the publisher she went with walked her through the process, which was a good experience for her.
Where marketing her book was concerned, Maxine got a mentor through a newsletter, and based on her mentor’s advice she began working on social media platforms, starting with Twitter and then going on to Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. Maxine said that she wouldn’t start advertising on yet another social media platform until she was confident with the platform she was already advertising on.
The most exciting thing for Maxine, after the book was published, was the energy she felt from people all over the world, as well as the invitations she got to work with some of these.