Since starting this interview series, I am constantly in awe of the amazing work of so many people in so many areas! It’s amazing to see how many of us are out there having an impact. I am so excited to have Brooke Obie on the blog today – she is a powerhouse of awesomeness! I find her success and the intention behind her book totally inspiring, and I know you will too!
Interview with Brooke Obie
Tell us a little about you.
My name is Brooke Obie and I am an award-winning writer, an editor and a novelist. My first novel, Book of Addis: Cradled Embers was published in June 2016 and I’m currently working on the sequel at the Callaloo Journal’s workshop at Oxford University.
When and why did you start writing?
I’ve been writing stories since elementary school but it was during law school that I rediscovered my passion for writing. I started a personal blog called The Dithering of a District Diva when I moved to D.C. in 2009 and twice won Black Weblog Awards. After the success of my personal blog, I started pitching publications to write essays on the intersection of Blackness and spirituality and interviews with inspiring people and began making a living as a freelance writer in 2012. [Editor’s note: I smell a Goal Post interview!]
Why did you choose to write your book?
I wrote Book of Addis because of a Toni Morrison’s quote, “’If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I wanted to read about a Black girl wrestling with identity and spirituality while surviving an oppression in America. I wanted to read about #BlackGirlMagic, and intersectional feminism, and Black women at the forefront of social movements, and above all, a slave revolution where everybody gets free. When I interviewed Marc Lamont Hill years ago for my blog, he told me, “Another world is possible,” so I wrote the outline of a 3-book series called Book of Addis that begins with Book of Addis: Cradled Embers. It’s another world. Writing it was an escape and so healing for me in many ways. It helped me connect with my Nigerian ancestry and opened me up to exploring African spirituality.
If there is one thing you’d want people to do after reading this book, what would it be?
I’d want people to feel hopeful that the world that exists this second doesn’t have to be the world that always exists and that we have the power to change this world, individually, but most of all collectively.
Can you share your inspiration for your novel’s characters?
To properly manifest the spirit of my ancestors in my women characters, it was imperative that they not be portrayed as mythical “strong Black women,” but women who are sometimes broken, depressed, deeply impacted by being mistreated and severely damaged. Somehow, they’re still standing, still capable of love. They’re holding onto their dignity and humanity by their fingernails, surviving however they could. That’s just reality. In the midst of her oppression, Addis and her lover Ekwueme steal secret moments of physical love and joy for themselves and each other. They risk their lives to experience consensual love, agency and emotional connection. Joy and love were their first declarations of war. It’s not anger or hate that begin the revolution for these characters; it’s joy and love.
What is the best way to connect with you online?
I find the motivation for Brooke’s writing to be so inspiring! It resonates for me as it has driven the publication of all my work – write the book you want to read. It’s something that keeps coming up for Intentional Writers across genres!
Book of Addis sounds fascinating! Definitely check it out and connect with Brooke online (I really do plan to ask about a Goal Post Interview with her, so stay tuned to the blog for more awesomeness!)!
If you feel like your voice doesn’t matter or that it’s not worth hearing, please come to my free LIVE webinar on Monday July 25 at 11 AM PST. I’m going to share some of my journey to feeling worthy (really!) as well as some things that make life generally amazing. I’d love for you to come! Claim your spot here!
Do you have a book you want to read? Started writing it? Leave a comment below!
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