When I first read Pat's post below and learned about some of the spiritual "coincidences" she experienced, there was no question she has an anointing on her to write her current series. But when I realized the subject matter of her blog included facts from her genealogy that trace back to pre-Civil War slavery, my heart skipped a beat. Call it coincidence if you want, but when I realized I'd inadvertently scheduled Pat's post for today -- the same week as Martin Luther King's holiday -- I felt it was more anointed than coincidental. So please join me in welcoming our very special guest today, Pat Simmons, a truly "anointed" addition to Martin Luther King week.
I’m so happy to share the testimony about my first book deal. Guilty of Love was actually the third novel I wrote, but the first one that was published. The amazing thing is I didn’t want to write the story because of the subject matter: abortion. After I gave it some thought, I realized that I could write ten novels and none of them would be successful until I wrote the one God told me to. Let me tell what Jesus did. That book broke sales records for the imprint that year. It also established my writing career. The Guilty series now called the Jamieson Legacy will probably go to seventeen books. Look at Jesus. What would have happened if I didn’t say, yes, Lord?
Prior to starting that book, I became interested in my family’s genealogy. I decided to incorporate some of my family names into the stories in hopes of tracking now-distant relatives who might pick up the book and recognize names.
I chose "Charlotte" for my main character’s mother. Charlotte was my maternal grandmother and my maternal great-great grandmother. Then on to the last name. I needed something that had a distinguished ring. Somehow "Jamieson" stuck, thus creating Parke K. Jamieson VI. He and his brothers became the strong, successful and confident men who were the tenth generation descendants of a royal African tribe.
My maternal grandmother’s last name was Wilkerson. I located Charlotte Wilkerson along with her two sons: William (my great grandfather b. 1866) and his brother Samuel (b. 1868), on the 1880 census. I hit a wall when I went back to the 1870 census. I couldn’t locate them. I turned to other genealogy enthusiasts to help in the hunt for Charlotte Wilkerson and her two sons who would have been four and two. It’s amazing how savvy some of these sleuths are. A few days later, they came back with information that made me hold my breath.
It appears that Charlotte’s last name was actually Jamieson. Eerie, huh? I had no idea I was giving my character the exact FIRST and LAST name after an ancestor.
Since 1870 was the first year blacks were counted as free, I searched the 1860 slaveholders’ schedules. Sure enough, Robert Jamieson was the slaveholder over my great-great grandmother. In his household, there was a guest and teacher in the academy, John Wilkerson (my white great-grandfather).
So for six years, the Guilty series has captivated black and white readers alike with its positive strong black family and historical facts that are weaved into contemporary storylines. This month under a new publisher, the Guilty series presents The Jamieson Legacy.
My encouragement to every aspiring author is to listen to Jesus when you get that first offer. It may not be the publishing house or advancement you want, but we never know how God will cause a seed to grow, once we’ve planted a story.
SYNOPSIS: Guilty by Association is a Christian fiction meant to entertain, educate and fascinate readers with true historical facts like Sinner’s Hotel in Maryland where Africans were auctioned, The Good Ship Jesus that transported Africans to the Americas, or the 1860 Mississippi Morbidity Book where slaves who didn’t bear their slaveholder’s last name were given "Negro" to be buried.
In Book I: Guilty by Association, Boston bad boy Kevin “Kidd” Jamieson suffers from the “angry man” syndrome. It’s plagued him since childhood when his phantom father never married his mother, but was arrogant enough to insist his two sons carry his name. What’s in a name? As far as Kidd is concerned, it’s worthless. Kidd’s resentment is tangible, and the bitterness plays out in every area of his life where he carelessly leaves a trail of destruction. Things change after distant cousin, Parke Jamieson VI, tracks Kidd down while researching the Jamieson family tree. The two strong-willed cousins bump heads within minutes after meeting. Kidd is about to get a history lesson whether he wants it or not; a love lesson from coworker Eva Savoy whose remedy for his condition is accepting his bloodline with Jesus; and a nursing home resident, Mrs. +Valentine, who rattles off facts about the 1800s as if she lived in them. Suddenly, Kidd’s outnumbered. Leave it up to the three strategically placed Christians, and Kidd’s going down. And when he gets up from his knees, Kidd will be a changed man of God.
Pat Simmons has been married to Kerry for almost twenty-nine years. She praises God for a good marriage. Pat has converted her sofa-strapped, sports-fanatical husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, and GPS-guided chauffeur.
Pat Simmons describes her Christian walk as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. She is a baptized believer who is always willing to share her testimonies about God’s goodness. She believes God is the true Author who advances her stories.
Pat has a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA. She has worked in various media positions in radio, television, and print for more than twenty years. Currently, she oversees the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions. She has been a guest on several media outlets, including radio, television, newspapers, and blog radio.
She is the award-winning author of Talk to Me, ranked #14 of Top Books in 2008 that Changed Lives by Black Pearls Magazine; she also received the Katherine D. Jones Award for Grace and Humility from the Romance Slam Jam committee in 2008. Pat is best known for her Guilty series: Guilty of Love, Not Guilty of Love, and Still Guilty, which was voted the Best Inspirational Romance for 2010 by the RSJ committee. Her 2011 release, Crowning Glory, was voted the Best Inspirational of the year. Fans are giving her January release, Guilty by Association, five stars.
PAT'S WEBSITE ... CHECK IT OUT!!
Pat has graciously agreed to give away her latest book (with the INCREDIBLY hunky cover!!) to one lucky commenter, so please leave a comment for Pat along with your e-mail in a spam-free manner (i.e. janedoe(at)freebook(dot)com). GOOD LUCK!