Author & Poet Sarah Rachel Gaines-Berry
Sunrise: June 22, 1958 | Sunset: January 9, 2013
Sarah Rachel Gaines-Berry’s last battle with cancer ended Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm, when God reached down, declared her the winner, and took her to an everlasting reward. She is survived by her husband, four children and her adorable grandchildren.
Author Sarah R. Berry passed away on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, but her legacy as a brilliant writer and supportive mentor to many lives on. She will be missed by the literary world and her many friends.
They say that writers open a vein when they write. This is true for author and poet Rachel Berry. When asked about prerequisites for being a writer, she commented that the three most important qualities in being a writer are imagination, dedication and a love for words. Here is a snippet of the last written interview with Rachel Berry and Black Pearls Magazine. Rachel was one of the original members of the Sankofa Literary Society. She supported EDC Creations for many years as a book reviewer, blog tour host and a personal friend to Ella D. Curry.
Rachel Berry was born Sarah Rachel Gaines in Newark New Jersey. She grew up in Newark, East Orange, and Orange school systems. Rachel later moved to Virginia and is was a wife to Stefurn Berry, mother of four adults, grandmother of four gorgeous girls, a published author & poet, motivational speaker, radio talk show host, indie book publisher, book coach, mentor, business woman and a community leader. Berry worked as a government employee for 25 1/2 years before retiring and starting her own businesses.
Rachel is also an alumni member of Toastmasters International where she earned her CTM, CL and served as Sergeant at Arms. Berry also received the Toastmaster of the Year award. Mrs. Berry’s speaking engagements include ILMW (The International League Of Muslim Women), Hampton Social Services, The Red Hat Society, Sixth House INC., to name a few.
Rachel’s book ‘From The Heart And Heat Of Me’ is a selection of poetry and prose on the many settings of life & love. The poem “Give Her A Chile, So She Know,” holds a special tribute to single-mothers.
‘A Slip In The Right Direction,’ is part 1 of Berry’s Clifton Henderson series: a coming-of-age series written for tweens and teens.
Berry’s novel ‘Family’ is the saga of two women from the same family but with different life styles, educational backgrounds and age groups. Though close, these two women unrepentantly face emotional challenges because of revealed family secrets that not only affect them but the people they call family. This story is a pictorial & literary ride into relationships, betrayal, hidden secrets, jealousy, revengeful relatives, lies, patience, understanding and self discovery.
She accredits her gain in blessings and achievements to her relationship and guidance from her creator, association with great women, positive family members, loyal friends, the upbringing of an amazing woman-her mother, and the support and love of her husband and children.
BPM: Tell us about yourself, your family and your work in the community?
I love life, family and people and that’s why I’m RICH! I am continuously blessed with so much, despite the adversary’s wish to make it other. I consider myself an out-going and goal oriented person. I have a respectful and prayerful relationship with my creator as he continues to show and grow me. I do my best to give back to the universe in any way I am guided and gifted, because I am thankful for all that I am gifted with. Life can be challenging, but it’s good.
My family means everything to me. After trying to please my creator, I do everything I do, for them. I’m very, very proud of my children and adore my grand babies. I’m so blessed to be a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, best friend and so much more. I am proud to have all these life positions as each demands different things of me.
For those who don’t know, I’m also known as Lady Serenity of From The Heart & Soul Radio Show. I’m the founder of The Voice Network. I’m also wearing humanity hats in a variety of sizes such as author, poet, motivational speaker, mentor, community leader, indie book publisher, radio host, event planner etc. I enjoy doing all those things and many more. I love to create especially with my hands. I enjoy getting to know people and connecting people – one reason I started TVN. I enjoy helping others see the good and the power within themselves and others. As the caregiver for both my parents 90 and 92, I am RICH because my creator has ordained me to do all these things. I am humble and grateful to be used as his tool and that is why I will continue with TVN because it serves a purpose.
My husband and I enjoy our couple time and family time. I love old, good movies, eating out, traveling, music, dancing, reading and definitely writing – writing is in my blood. I thank God for a wonderful husband, a great and loving relationship with my in-laws. Believe it or not, my sister and brother-n-laws are my sisters and brothers. We have a close relationship that no one can ever come in between.
I’m mentored by some amazing women which includes my mother. My creator has his way of keeping the treasure in my life and throwing out the trash. So, being blessed and gifted with all this you know the adversary is hot with me, but he’s a liar! And that’s a bit about me. Enjoy a RICH day all!
BPM: What an amazing story! You are busy! How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since the beginning of my teen years. Imagining about things to write long before that. I love the play of words and live to imprint them in my life. When I write I am in orgasm with creativity!
BPM: What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time?
Probably my mother. She is a great storyteller and poet. She put the love of words in my heart and mind through songs, stories and poems she’d recite during dinner time when I was growing up – well, still to this day even. Now, writing is the ink that colors me. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t write. I write in my head while I sleep and then jot it down when I wake up. Gosh, the movies that play in my dreams.
BPM: Tell us about your book Family Pictures and the plus size heroines featured in this book.
Family Pictures is simply the saga about a family and the challenges and celebrations they all go through. Its main characters are both full-figured women who in many ways are very different and very similar. The youngest, journeys through the book discovering who she really is because of a secret the eldest protagonist divulges to her early on in the story. Through her family stresses Regal (the youngest) also battles with wondering if she is pleased with her weight, single-parenting, a love triangle and many other personal issues. Emma Jean; Regal’s aunt is also faced with her changing life and the effects of coming from a dysfunctional family and a sister-n-law that has made her life hell. But through unconditional love, forgiveness, therapy, and letting go of past skeletons the two women learn that they too can put a better face on their promising futures.
BPM: Why did you choose to feature plus size heroines?
Because plus sized woman have the same hopes and dreams, challenges and celebrations as smaller woman do. Too many books only feature slim women. I wanted to show the beauty, fear and boldness that live in all of us women.
BPM: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer?
Well, writing is the pleasure and easy part of my career. But if you write something and no one knows about it, it’s all a waste. Promoting , marketing and putting myself out there is a challenge. I don’t have an assistant yet. So advertising, answering and sending out e-mails, social-networking, and putting together events and book signings take up a lot of my time. Recently this leaves little time for me to work on other works-n-progress.
BPM: Tell us a little about your organization Black Pearls United.
BPU is an African American sister-circle I founded almost nine years ago. We come together to improve ourselves, communities and families. Women need a place to vent and grow. We learn from each other, grow together and sometimes professionally network. I’ve witnessed some powerful sister-bonding over these years. I’ve always been blessed with having sincere and positive women in my life of all ages, and this avenue affords me the blessing of sharing that gift with others. My sisters are busy women, but are also warm, intelligent women with giving hearts, and we give back to our communities on a yearly basis. We’re a small but mighty group. I am so proud of the Pearls; they’re real jewels.
BPM: What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you?
That I appreciate them, their time and honest feedback. Speak victory into your day. Feel it. Believe it. Live it! Enjoy a RICH day! I hope your spirits are soaring as you continue to claim success in your missions and goal setting. Enjoy another RICH day! Living a RICH Life is Rewarding, Inspiring, Cherished & Healthy life.
RACHEL REST IN PEACE! YOU WILL BE MISSED!