INTERVIEW | Tracey Michae'l Lewis

Tracey, describe yourself for our visitors.

I am many things. I am a wife, a business owner, an educator, a consultant, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. All of these roles are very important to me but at my core, there is only one title that defines my true purpose. I am a writer. Better yet, I am a scribe for the Kingdom of God. I have been gifted to translate into many forms (fiction, non fiction, or poetry) the decrees of the King (Christ). When everything passes away, that will be what’s left. My writing will be my contribution to the earth. I know that may sound a little over the top or maybe a weird way to describe myself but it has become increasingly important to me that readers understand this about me; that I’m identified by my purpose.

How do you find time to connect with God?

Finding time I think is the most interesting part of this question. I seem to always be in search of time to spend with God when in actuality any time is probably the right time. For the most part, I connect with God in silence. Whether it is the stillness of the morning while still lying in the bed or sitting in my writing space or experiencing nature or while staring out of my office window; I connect with Him any place where I can be still and meditate, where I can go inside of myself and hear His voice over mine and anyone else’s.

Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?

I have many favorite bible verses and quotes that I love and that are important depending on the circumstance. However, there is one that I learned when I was 13 years old and a member of my churches Bible Drill Team. Even 21 years later…the power of the words has never left me. It is the foundation of all that God wants from me and has also proven to be my greatest struggle.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

My favorites run the spectrum of literature and are special to me for different reasons. One of my favorite books is "Ordering Your Private World"  by Gordon MacDonald because of his profound transparency and ability to make the need for connection and intimacy with God real. I’m a fan of Christian fiction authors Claudia Mair Burney and Lisa Samson because of the way they write both brokenness and strength into their characters. I love the prose of Toni Morrison. I love the plot development of Erica Simone Turnipseed. Goodness! I don’t know if I can name just a few. Whenever I think I’ve narrowed down a list of authors or books that move me…another one comes to mind.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

As cliché as this may sound, I’ve been writing (and reading) for as long as I can remember. I started writing songs and skits as a child and then moved into poetry as a teenager. I did the whole spoken word thing after college but my love for books made me want to study the craft of writing more. So I took some classes on poetry and screenwriting and in 2002, decided to independently publish my own poetry. The first collection was “Collapsed on the Wings of a Sigh” and following that, I published “Divine Nepotism,” “Write the Vision: A Collection of Essays,” and “No Greater Love.” In 2003, I began to dig into fiction more and in 2004 ultimately indie-published the first edition of “The Gospel According to Sasha Renee.” Since then, I’ve published articles in various magazines and newspapers. This year, I independently published my second novel, Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine. I also made the transition from indie published author to traditionally published author after signing a book deal for a nonfiction book.

Tell us about your current book.

Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine is the second book in my “Gospel” trilogy. The first book in the series was The Gospel According to Sasha Renee. Sasha is a big ole’ mess. She has this surface confidence that is easily shattered in her relationships. She is also comfortable living on a borrowed faith. In other words, she’ll ride her mother’s prayers for as long as she can as long as she doesn’t have to acknowledge the Holy Spirit for herself. Then she meets Langston…and everything about life changes.

In the new book, Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine (CJ), it is 25 years later and CJ is Sasha’s daughter. CJ finds herself repeating some of the same mistakes that her mother and grandmother made in their lives in spite of the fact that she knows the voice of God and His will for her life. What she doesn’t know is that while some of the recurring issues in her family have been the result of poor choices, some of it has to do with a demonic, spiritual attack that was set in motion several generations. CJ has decide whether she will continue to perpetuate the fear and low-self esteem that has emotionally and spiritually strangled the women in her family or if she will be the interruption in her family’s bloodline? Will she get free of the generational curses that have pursued her, her mother, her grandmother, and all of the other women in her family?

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I borrowed quite a bit of the ideas from the lives of the women in my life. The concept of generational curses is not a new one. Many women can look back over their lives and notice the “trends.” I simply took some of the things that I’d observed in my friends and even in my own family, incorporated them into the story, and allowed these particular characters to respond to them.

What influenced you to write this book?

When I wrote the first book, I don’t know if I knew that I would go that deep into the spiritual influences on the characters. I wrote the first book five years ago and I think over time and through my own experience, I began to see issues like fear, sexual abuse, and unhealthy relationship as being something that needed to be dealt with from a spiritual perspective in Christian fiction. The lack of books that discussed these issues from both the natural and supernatural was, I think, the greatest influence in my writing this second book the way I did.

Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?

I don’t know if I have a favorite. I love both Sasha and CJ and all of the complexities of the women in the each book. However, the character that stands out to me the most is Langston. He is Sasha’s husband and CJ’s father. I intentionally created him with this amazing strength; physical but also emotional and spiritual. He embodies the sacrificial love that husbands should have for their wives and fathers for their daughters. Though he is not perfect, He exceeds the reader’s expectations in every way and I think that is something th
at is often not seen in books with African American male characters.

What’s next for you?

Well, I’m working on a couple of new fiction projects and of course, the final installment of the Gospel trilogy, The Gospel According to Vivian Grace. Also, I recently signed a book deal with Beacon Hill Press for a nonfiction project on multicultural ministry which should be released some time next year.

Where can visitors find you online?

I’m always blogging somewhere. Visitors can check out my website/blog at www.traceymlewis.com. I’m also doing the social networking thing at www.facebook.com/tmlewis and www.twitter.com/tmlewis.