Lydia E. Brew was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement. She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write. LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation. Winning writers received cash prizes.
Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Edith Irby Jones, M.D. It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other. There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.
BPM: Lydia, tell us about yourself and how you started writing.
I was born with cerebral palsy but never allowed my physical limitations to stand in my way. I hope that some of my writing also provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. Under the leadership of one of my journalism professors, I penned my first bookEdith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D. about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine. Upon finishing college, I worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. I am a Christian and attend St. Steven’s United Methodist Church.
BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
When I did the first draft of the Ungolden Silence I did no research and I wrote from my daydreams. Like another author said; she made up and wrote the story. That is what I did. People who read the first draft of the story told me that I needed to do some research, which I ultimately did. My research showed that my story was not that far off.
I like both reading and writing drama. I chose this particular subject to write about because I did not like the way that the media was so-called “protecting” perpetrator of rape by withholding their names. Yes, rape is a violation, but so is murder. The minute a murdered victim’s family is notified, then the name of the victim is released. Domestic violence crimes are just like any other crime. In Ungolden Silence readers can see where secrets were kept and it led to other problems. Yes, I want to entertain with drama, but I also want readers to think about the problem of rape, which is a part of domestic violence.
BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
My stories are from my daydreams and I guess you can say that they stew in my head until I put them on paper. I have many ideas in my head, but when I actually write them down, they may end up being something totally different, but will still represent the basic idea/concept. So, yes, a story must stew until everything is mixed in the pot and comes together to create a delicious literary feast.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?
As I mentioned earlier, my ideas come from my daydreams. My stories are my daydreams transformed into the written word. In order for me to create a good character I need to see the character. What I do is use the body of a person that I know or am familiar with. I then give them the personality I need them to have to fit the role in the story that I’m placing them in. When it comes to saying whether my books are plot driven or character driven, it’s hard to say. Perhaps a little bit of both.
In Ungolden Silence, it’s definitely more plot driven because even though I wanted to create engaging and memorable characters, I did not want them their drama to overshadow the important subject matter of the story. It was a challenge to find that proper balance.
BPM: What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves?
Society needs to change the way that is deals with the social taboo of rape. Ungolden Silence is a novel that will leave the reader with many questions. It will also attempt to answer some of the questions that society asks but never seem to want the answers to. We must look at the history of how men have been allowed to treat women. It is important not to just know the information, it is important to act on it.
Ungolden Silence will illustrate that the criminal is a real person, and rarely do they commit crimes just for fun.
What makes Ungolden Silence different from the millions of other books out there, namely that deal with the issue of rape, is that it tells the story of rape and focuses on more than just the victim. There are many people affected by the crime, including the rapist and his family. Am I kidding? No. In a lot of cases the rapists are well respected. The novel is divided into four parts, The Silent Problem, The Aftermath, Hard to Come Forward, and Something to Consider. I specifically set out to break down all aspects of the issue, versus just the single one that most books about rape address. The book is available in digital forms.
BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Ungolden Silence is about changing the way that society thinks about sexual abuse as well as the issue of protecting the name of sexual victims. In my opinion, we need to focus on the abuser and putting him or her away. Society hears the words “sexual abuse” and they start blaming the victim by asking what was she wearing or doing. We do not do this for any other crimes. For example: When a person is murdered, the name of the victim is given when the family is notified. But when a person is sexually assaulted then it is said that the person needs privacy because he or she had been violated. Hello, taking someone’s life is the ultimate violation. Society needs to understand that abuse of any kind is wrong. Ungolden Silence is an attempt to make society think about victims of rape and how other domestic crimes are treated.
BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
After I did the first draft of Ungolden Silence, I let a few people read it and the feedback was that I needed to do some research on domestic violence. I decided that each of the main characters should write an article for the magazine in which the characters work for. The story is fictional, however, the articles are real with true and factual information. The challenge was to write the articles from the point of view of that character. Writing novels and articles are two totally different animals. Articles are fact based, so of course, I had to get the facts of the subject matters my characters were writing about and weave it into a fiction story.
BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire?
As a writer I think that a story has to incorporate a little bit of everything. It should educate, inspire and entertain. And at the end of the day, or should I say story, there should be an obvious message connected to a particular subject matter. Any story must grab the attention of the reader; that is part entertainment. A story can and needs to be both inspirational and educational. Who wants to close a book and be left feeling heavy and drained instead of uplifted or at least enlightened? That is what I think Ungolden Silence does.
BPM: What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
It is my hope that while the reader will not only be entertained, they will begin to learn many things about the victim as well as the rapist or batter. Why does anyone stay with a person who abuses him or her? Why does an abuser say that it will never happen again but always does? The answer is never just that simple.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Readers can visit me at my website: www.ungoldensilence.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a blog readers can subscribe to and follow: www.lydiaebrew.wordpress.com
And, of course, they can reach out to me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ungoldensilence
Purchase Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew