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Local authors discuss challenges of publication process

By Staff | Jan 17, 2020

Author Donna Newman talks about the process of getting her book published, during the Soul Stirring Storytellers Society meeting in the Clarion Inn on Saturday night. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN – For some local authors, figuring out the self-publication process was more challenging than they originally anticipated. But that didn’t keep them from pushing through and getting themselves published.

On Saturday evening at the Clarion Inn, members of the Soul Stirring Storytellers Society gathered together for the Unshakable Faith Experience, to hear six self-published authors discuss the road that led them to publishing their books.

For local magistrate Arthena Roper, when she was helping African American boys in kindergarten learn how to read a few years ago, she couldn’t find many books about African American children. Knowing the importance of children seeing themselves mirrored in a positive way in society, Roper decided to write her first picture book for children ages four-to-seven years old, “The Adventures of Smart Boys.” She then decided to expand the book into a trilogy, with a similar book for African American girls and a book for African American children in general.

“Mainly, I just wanted students to open the book and see students who look like themselves,” Roper said, mentioning her books are sold on the websites for Amazon, Walmart and Target. “I felt it was a need, because I couldn’t find books with African American students in them.”

For SSSS founder and author Theresa Holmes, her life experiences and current occupation as a life coach inspired her to write a number of books.

Jennie Womack discusses her autobiographical book, during the winter meeting of the Soul Stirring Storytellers Society in the Clarion Inn on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

“I have written seven books,” said SSSS founder and author Theresa Holmes. “One of the first books that I published was ‘Wounds Heal, Scars Reveal.’ The purpose of a book is to help heal.”

Jennie Womack, author of “Trauma, Tears and Trials: It’s When the Soul Cries” agreed with Holmes, and compared her life story to that of the Woman at the Well in the Bible, who committed adultery with five different men.

“When I first started this book, I didn’t want to write a book, I didn’t want to tell my story. But we have to be transparent, because that gives you freedom,” Womack said. “My whole journey is for healing.”

According to Womack, the pain and shame she felt from her early life experiences led her to make two suicide attempts.

“I remember being in that hospital room [after attempting to commit suicide] and hearing a still, small voice saying, ‘It doesn’t matter if anybody loves you. I love you,'” Womack said, mentioning through writing about her story and deepening her Christian faith, she has been able to move forward with her life. “I tell people I’m not a religious person. I just love my God.”

Speakers for the Soul Stirring Storytellers Society's winter meeting, the Unshakable Faith Experience, pose together at the end of the event in the Clarion Inn on Saturday night. Tabitha Johnston