Today we will be visiting with a dynamic lady & fellow writer, Arteria Stevens. She will be sharing a bit about herself and her awesome book about pain, healing and moving forward.
About Arteria Stevens in her own words:
Arteria has evolved into a very philosophical, passionate, and motivational personality. Life has strengthened her and elevated her mindset.When Arteria embarked on her journey to write her story, she questioned her life in many areas. She decided to begin therapy which opened her mind up to understand and deal with her pain in a healthy way. Throughout her ten years of therapy she has studied, researched, and gained information and wisdom.
This is a difficult subject to discuss and I applaud your bravery and candor in sharing with us today. I hope this message will reach who is intended to see it... believe this was written for a reason.
Where did you get the idea for the novel?
When I initially began writing my books ten years ago, I was in search of healing and closure and I knew that it was necessary for me to face my fears of reliving the pain of molestation in addition to five attempted rapes. Even though my books revolve around my family life in the projects of Atlanta Georgia, and my church life, I decided to be very transparent and hide nothing about my life, so I exposed every skeleton in my closet. I wrote about things I never told a soul. My mother scurried up my stairs after reading my book, “Don’t Touch Me” for the first time and she gave me this look before she even began to speak. “I’m mad at you! Why didn’t you tell anybody all that stuff?....and that boy! I would’ve, oooh! And I used to wonder why you never went outside and I told yo daddy, she don’t never go outside! And ooooh! You had a miserable life!” I looked at my mom and smiled and then I laughed and said, “Mama, I didn’t have a miserable life. I had a good life.” My mother couldn’t see the things that I saw. I can take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of my life and celebrate everything with triumph because I am stronger today. That miserable life had a lot of laughter and fun filled days built inside of it, and I had far more good days than bad ones. Yes I was molested by various men in my life, and yes I experienced five attempted rapes in addition to the molestation, but my tragedies are now my triumphs because I was able to get out of my sick bed of pain and tell my story and make it tangible for someone else who may be hurting. It was the positive discoveries that led to me writing an accompanying journal, “The Healing Roads Journal.”
Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
Because I changed all the names in my book, initially I was going to name the book after my character, “Tweety,” until I realized how much I used the words, “Don’t Touch Me.” If I was anywhere in public being approached by a flirting man, it wasn’t “Don’t talk to me” that entered my thoughts, it was “Don’t Touch Me.” I realized that those words represented my invisible walls designed to keep harmful men away from me, so I kept that title for my books.
Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
The most exciting thing that has happened to me since becoming a writer was simply having the ability to see the personal growth and all of the life awakening, and life changing moments that come when you take the time to really examine your life and all that happens in it. There are many lessons built inside of life’s journey if you are willing to invest in yourself with a goal to resolve pain of both the past and present. Having closure in every area of your life is a wonderful gift because it allows you to live freely. No guilt, no shame, no blame, and most of all no anger. Writing has definitely been a gift within itself which is why I will keep writing myself into an even better, wiser me.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
The words began to flow from my heart long before I had any idea about a title. I was drawn to pick up a pen and paper and write my earliest childhood memories. It was as if those memories had been hanging around waiting for me! I guess I had been playing ‘hide and seek’ with myself because I found details that took me far back in my life as two years of age. I shocked my mama when I called her up and told her about the Mayfield Milkman delivering those bottles of milk to our door. I even told her how Daddy would use the empty bottles as water bottles and he would drink right from the bottles. “Well you were just two years old back then. How did you remember that?” I remembered me and my brother having to leave Mama and Daddy to go live with my grandmother when I was three years old. Ironically, I was having a phone conversation with one of my Auntie’s and she mentioned that I told my mother that she was a bad person when I was little. “I wasn’t a bad person!” she protested. “Well Auntie, I didn’t say you were a bad person, I said you used to whip me and my brother with switches everyday just to make us fall to sleep at nap time when I was three years old.” She humbly admitted and apologized to me, but was amazed that I remembered that far back in my childhood. She was just a teenager herself at the time. It wasn’t until I was writing that I was able to recall those memories. I never thought about my early years until I began to question my life which seemed like such a struggle at the time. My inner voice led me to start writing and I am so glad that I listened to what my heart was telling me. Many people, from Oprah Winfrey, to Joel Osteen who has one of the largest churches in the world, echo a lot of the words I put on paper ten years ago in their teaching moments in front of crowds of many. It all serves as confirmation that the books have a needed message not just for me, but for someone else.
What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
Since I started writing my books years ago, I didn’t want to be influenced by anyone or anything but my own heart, so I intentionally closed every book I had, and I have tons of books. I wanted to make sure that my voice and my journey was felt on every page. I knew my story was significant to my growth, so I felt that it was imperative that I shut out every other voice for this voyage. I didn’t know how long it would take or how far I would have to go, but I am still writing. My books “Don’t Touch Me” are a three volume series accompanied by an individual journal for each book entitled, “The Healing Roads Journal.” I’m completing another book that I started writing ten years ago entitled “Life after Death.” This book is about my spiritual journey through severe depression, being healed, and never being depressed again. It includes the story of me going to heaven over ten years after being healed from depression. I share what happened while I was in heaven and what happened when I returned back home. I like all kinds of books from romance, self-help, mystery, and even children’s books. I love reading just as much as I love telling stories. I can entertain children for hours with happy stories from my childhood memories.
At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
My major book launch hasn’t happened yet but I do have plans for a book launching party here in my city of Loganville, Georgia. I did just get my first pre order of books and I autographed and mailed them all with a personal note to those early buyers. Because my books were designed to motivate, encourage, and empower others, I have a typed page of encouraging sentences that I pull from when I sign books, but if it is someone I know well, I speak from my heart like I did with my mom, sister, and daughter.
What do you want others to get out of reading your books?
My main message in all of my books were intended to show others that you can heal, you can move beyond ‘unforgiveness,’ you can become a better person, and you can live a better life. The books tell my stories that will make you both laugh hard and cry hard the same way you would at a good movie, and the journals, are encouraging, motivational, and inspirational. The journals also have a personal journal for every reader to write in, with guided questions and even space to write your own thoughts in order to lead others to their own healing roads.
What advice would you give to others who aspire to write a book someday?
The best advice I could give to anyone who has a desire to write is to first put their words on paper. That’s the first step. Get everything out of you that you feel you want to express, no matter what genre of book you are writing. Don’t worry about the order, or the style…just empty yourself. Once you get everything out of you that you feel you need to express, then congratulations! You are now a writer. Once you take a second look at all that you’ve written you will be able to put a clear order and style together and then you would want to start doing the research online and in the library on self-publishing and how to get an agent, how to write a query letter, rules of writing, costs and pro’s and con’s associated with self-publishing, professional editing, and everything you need to know about what it takes to self-publish. The advantages of having an agent and a major publishing book deal so you can make an informed decision about publishing your book. You will find that the “how to” information about publishing a book is easily accessible with tons of step by step guides. I happen to be self-publishing my book, but self-publishing may not be the best route for someone else.
What was the greatest challenge about writing your story?
The greatest challenge about writing my story was me having to face traumatic events as I relived all of the pain in my past. I was in tune enough with my spirit that I felt guided to pick up the phone and call a therapist and ask for help. As I wrote about my grandfather molesting me at the age of nine, I was remembering details that put me back in that fearful and helpless place. The tears fell fresh and it felt like I was nine again. Since I had already made up in my mind before I had even began to write, that I was not going to run from the pain any more, I decided to work hard on resolving the pain. Therapy proved to be a necessary tool to help me to understand all of the “why’s.” As I went from one event to the next, I didn’t move forward until I had satisfied every answer about that event and felt at peace with it. There were times when I had to pause for months at a time depending on how much work would be required to reach closure. Fear was my greatest enemy but it would always hinder me unless I defeated it, so once I embarked on my journey of writing, there was no turning back for me. Three volumes later and I succeeded! Our true source of power is in both knowing and understanding our history.
How has your story affected others and what are some of your upcoming books?
My story has awakened others to take a closer look at their own lives and begin to self-examine things in their past and present that might help them to reach some higher plateaus in various areas of their lives. Not everyone has a molestation story to tell but the common bond I share with everyone else is that we all have pain. No one is exempt from pain in life but I want others to understand that pain is a necessary part of growth in all of our lives. Our greatest challenge when it comes to pain is understanding, and finding the good in it. The good is always there waiting to be found. In the same way that my mom thought that I had a miserable life, while I believe I had a good life, it is all about perspectives. We have to look for the positive in everything because everything has an opposite. You have to choose to live on the positive side of life, and you have to do it on purpose by going in search of good replacements. It’s the same way God sees us in life. We may see failure but God always sees the capacity for greatness in our failures.
In addition to the titles I have already mentioned, I am writing a book entitled “My Cheating Man,” which is actually an encouragement for married couples who struggle with the issue of infidelity. Marriages can survive infidelity if you are willing to do the work necessary to understand the true root of the problem which lies within each of us individually. Other titles I am working on are “Perfectly Imperfect” and “Pounds of Pain.” Each book is yet another “tell all” about different aspects of my life. I have been blessed with a willingness to be totally transparent but I realize that transparency is not a common thing in many lives.
Learn more about Arteria Stevens and her books here:
***Special note from Arteria....
You can order from Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble, and my books are also available in EBooks on those sites. You can also see inside the books on Amazon. Also, for more information on healing and moving beyond pain of the past and present and for support with a variety of issues from drug abuse, to domestic violence and sexual abuse, you can go to the website and find tons of information. You can also find my blog spot, and toll free support lines. You can also contact me.
For ongoing updates and events, I welcome you to friend me on Facebook Author Arteria Stevens on Facebook or follow me on twitter The Healing Roads on Twitter
I welcome you to find me on LinkedIn under Arteria Stevens.
You can also write me at:
Healing Roads Publishing
PO Box 3220
Loganville, Ga. 30052