Teach Me How to Fly by Alberta Lampkins

A.L. Savvy Publications
July 5, 2014
Paperback

“Settle down and take a journey through a heartrending story of faith, friendship and forgiveness as secrets unravel and the truth unfolds.”

Teach Me How to Fly is a true to life story of Jocelyn Hamilton, wife of a retired Army Sergeant Major and coffee shop owner in Buffalo, New York, and her friend, Angel Medina, a fashion clothing designer. Jocelyn sets out on a train ride headed from New York to Virginia. She is determined to find the truth behind a secret her mother never shared. Jocelyn thought she knew everything there was to know about her mother – that is until she received that phone call.

Jocelyn’s curiosity leads her back to her mother’s hometown of Martinsville, Virginia, to meet the one lady who can give her the answers she is looking for. While Jocelyn is busy putting the pieces of her life together, her friend, Angel Medina, is desperately seeking to keep her past 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 escape what lies behind you? How do you learn to forgive? Jocelyn and Angel find strength through their unexpected friendship in Teach Me How Fly.

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  1. Interview with Author Alberta Lampkins on her novel, Teach Me How To Fly

    Q: What inspires you to write and who are your favorite characters? What is your writing schedule?
    AL: I am inspired to write because I love the development of creating and capturing characters and storylines that others can relate to. I am also genuinely inspired by everyday people, their lives and their stories. I wanted to create a platform to share stories that are real and relevant and to stir up people to move forward in life and pursue their dreams.

    Q: When did you decide you wanted to write?
    AL: During the winter of 1996 I decided I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t actually begin writing it until about five years later. In 1996 my oldest sister, Agnes passed away, leaving her three year old daughter behind. I thought, my niece will never know her mother’s story – and I wanted to write about, not only my sister’s life, but my father who passed and my aunt. Their lives mattered and I wanted to share their stories in a creative format.

    Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
    AL: I like to write about very real issues, those that can or have affected everyone at one time or another. I am inspired by what I see happening to others and in many cases what I have experienced personally. In Teach Me How To Fly, I based Jocelyn’s character on parts of my own life and I patterned Angel’s character after a mixture of cases I worked as an Adult Services and Child Protective Service worker.

    Q: What made you decide to write a story like Teach Me How To Fly?
    AL: I decided to write about faith, friendship and forgiveness with ordinary people because, unfortunately, too many people hold on to things that happened to them in the past and allow those things to hinder them from being happy and moving forward in life. I realize that there are some really great people in this world, but many of those people are consumed with regrets, mistakes and hurt and are unable to see the best in life. The characters are a compilation of many people I know of, but there situations may not be identical to those of some of my characters.

    Q: In Teach Me How To Fly, you wrote about domestic violence, is that an issue you feel needs to be addressed in the black and other communities?
    AL: Yes, I do feel that domestic violence is not discussed as much as it should be. Especially, since so many women are experiencing it. I think it is very easy for any of us to overlook what is actually going on if we are not in that sort of situation ourselves. But what we really need to do is become more aware and figure out what we can do to help those who are victims.

    Q: Why did you choose to self-publish your first novel? What was that experience?
    AL: Well, I asked God to teach me how to fly and I set out to learn everything I could about the publishing business. Once I learned how to design a book cover, how to set up files for print and eBook publication and how to market my book, I decided to not only self publish my book, but start my own publishing company, A.L. Savvy Publications. I completed a book project titled, Messages to Our Children, where I enlisted twenty-two others along with myself to write encouraging messages and thoughts to our children. The purpose of that project was to come together as one to help uplift and encourage our children and all children to move towards success in life. I believe we must be the example for the young people following in our footsteps. It was an amazing project – everyday people coming together for a super great purpose. It was thrilled to self publish such a positive body of work. Self-publishing involved a lot of time and a lot of hard work, but it was very well worth it. I look forward to seeing where this venture takes me.

    Q: What authors do you admire?
    AL: There are, but to name a few, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, Pearl Cleage, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Terry McMillan, Victoria Christopher Murray, Danielle Steel, Walter Mosley, etc.

    Q. What is one of your favorite books you have read?
    AL: As a young reader, I would say one of my favorite books was A Sidewalk Story by Sharon Bell Mathis – she told a great story of a young girl who tries to save her best friends things from getting wet after the family was evicted from their apartment – it was heart touching and I was able to relate to how much that girl cared about her friend. As an adult reader, I have to say, I Wish I Had a Red Dress by Pearl Cleage is one of my most favorites – in the story the main character is an advocate for young girls and tries to help the young ladies overcome everyday experiences in life. As an advocate for adults and children, I truly enjoyed the human service aspect of the story – it is a great read.

    SC: Did one of them inspire you?
    AL: Most certainly, it was Langston Hughes – I believe he was far beyond his years; he was a dreamer and saw a better tomorrow. That is what life is about, seeing a better tomorrow.

    Q: Is writing your only passion?
    AL: Right now, it is one of my primary passions, but there are also other areas of interest I plan to pursue in the future. Like, building A.L. Savvy Publications and helping to discover amazing new writers.

    Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    AL: I would like to continue to work on mini book projects, such as Messages to Our Children and other collective works. I would like to see A.L. Savvy Publication as one of the foremost
    independent publishing companies in the industry. I’d also like to see my novel Teach Me How To Fly produced as a national stage play and as a movie.

    Q: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
    AL: Please write at least something every single day. Even if it is only a page or two in your journal or manuscript, make a habit of doing it daily. Also, follow your heart and write the book you would want to read.

    Q: What would you like readers to learn from your stories?
    AL: That they life is an amazing journey and that they are not alone in dealing with their particular circumstance in life and that obstacles can always be overcome. And that even when we are not able to overcome them completely, we can find a way to live with or deal with them and then move forward in our lives. If we have faith and begin making the right choices, we can still find peace and joy at the end of every road.

    Q: What upcoming projects are you working on?
    A: 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 October 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.

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