JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Tawana Jackson, author of Stretched But Not Broken
All Mia wanted out of life was a peaceful existence and unconditional love. Brutally raped at the age of five by a deranged homeless man, Mia had experienced everything but her dream. Her mother, Helen, a quiet and dignified woman, marries a concerned but drug addicted Vietnam Veteran whose controlling and abusive parenting skills turn Mia’s family on its ear.
Karen, Mia’s older sister, is nothing like her compliant mother and sister. She is brash, loud and not afraid to cry out when in pain. Karen is later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her overbearing and controlling personality knuckles Mia under her spell, causing Mia to begrudgingly acquiesce to Karen’s every command.
Helen also caters to Karen’s manipulative ways making Mia believe that Helen cares more for Karen than she does for Mia and her younger sister, (fathered by Bruce) Sasha. Through a life of kept secrets, silence in the face of abusive oppression, and a broken romance, Mia is driven to attempt suicide. But Mia has a friend, Julie, who has been telling Mia about the love of God and how much he has in store for Mia’s life and future.
Mia must then make a decision to let go of her past, and stretch toward a bright and loving future with a Savior who proves to be the only answer to Mia’s shredded life of fear, anguish, and hopelessness.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Stretched But Not Broken?
Tawana Jackson: My motivation in writing the book is that I was Mia, that little girl growing up trying to face grownup sexual feelings at the age of five. The outcome of rape, depression and physical abuse is so overwhelming in the lives of those that have been a victim. I just could not sit on the testimonies and gifts that God has given me.
Every year over one million souls leave this earth because of suicide. One in every four women are raped. One in every ten men also suffer from rape. The end results sometimes lead to self-destruction, self-hate, or spiritual death if God isn’t allowed to heal the hurt and brokenness
JP: What sets Stretched But Not Broken apart from other novels in its genre?
TJ: This book speaks to those who have suffered mental and physical abuse, as well as, those who have been imprisoned by drug addiction and mental illness. Though this is a fictional story, I have personally lived every aspect of this novel, from being an abused child to possessing the sexual immorality that corrupts a person’s body.
Everything I write about comes from experience as well as God-given creativity. I have a heady appetite for Christian fiction novels, but one thing I discovered was that few of them bring out raw emotion and self-conviction such as mine.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Stretched But Not Broken getting out to the public?
TJ: My keys to success are the following: As a survivor, I know what my characters are feeling throughout the novel. As a Life Coach, I’m able to answer some of the questions rape victims may have. Lastly, but most importantly, ninety-nine percent of the families in the United States or maybe the world can relate to the problems the family in my book suffers.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Stretched But Not Broken?
TJ: The book writing process took about a year. It took three months to do the actual writing, then another nine to rewrite and edit.
JP: What’s next for Tawana Jackson?
TJ: I’ve done several book signings, TV interviews, and radio interviews this year to promote Stretched But Not Broken. I will continue to do this next year. I’m currently working on the book’s sequel that should be completed around June of 2009. I’ll also take time out to visit local prisons to speak with women and men about the importance of family.
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