Stephanie Rose Bird, author of the new age book, The Big Book of Soul: The Ultimate Guide to the African-American Spirit is with us today sharing how she came up with the idea for her book and her road to publication. Soul is the essence of African American culture–the ingredient that makes it tick. In The Big Book of Soul, writer and herbalist Stephanie Rose Bird takes us on an amazing journey into the ancient traditions of mysticism, spirituality, and mythology that lie beneath this uniquely African American experience.
Bird explores the healing, magic, and divination traditions of ancient African earth-based spirituality, and traces how these practices have evolved in contemporary African American culture. Along the way she offers recipes, rituals and resources that you can use to heal your life.
Hi Stephanie Rose Bird
Welcome to Paperback Writer.
Q: Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
A: The book originally was an exploration of the ways women’s healing arts and crafts are healing. It evolved over the years to include men and women, as well as herbal healing, natural remedies, rituals, folklore and mythology. It is very inspired by my background as a dancer earlier on in life, my involvement with music and singing and my practice as a visual artist and herbal healer.
Q: Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?
A: This book developed over a very long period of time.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
A: Originally, it was to be called Heart, Art and Soul. It was the publisher’s idea to name it The Big Book of Soul: the Ultimate Guide to the African American Spirit: Legends & Lore, Music & Mysticism, Recipes & Rituals.
Q: How did you find an agent and publisher?
A: Luckily, I knew someone from this particular publishing house who reached out to me having liked my previous work.
Q: Who reads you work in progress?
A: My dear friend Jannette Giles-Hypes generally reads my work early on and offers editorial input. She assists me with the back matter as well. She is a great assistant and editor in addition to being a good friend.
Q: Who made a difference in the book’s quality?
A: Well besides Jannette, Greg Brandenburgh of Hampton Roads Publishers made a huge impact on the quality of the work. He also read the earlier versions of the manuscript and offered editorial advice. The editors at Hampton Roads did a terrific job with editing.
Q: How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
A: It took about a year to write the first draft.
Q: How long did it take from start to publication?
A: I started a lot of the research for The Big Book of Soul in the year of 2000. It rested for a while and I picked it up again around 2006. It has been on and off the front burner since then. I worked on it very consistently between 2008 and 2009.
Q: Do you have any advice for new authors?
A: It’s good to be grateful that you have the ability, desire, resources and know-how to do something you love.
Thank you, Stephanie for stopping by Paperback Writer. I wish you continued success through the rest of you tour.
Thank you for having me!
About the Author:
Stephanie Rose Bird is a cum laude graduate of Temple University, Tyler School of Art and a MFA graduate of the University of California at San Diego where she was a San Diego Opportunity Fellow. She was assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute, a Fulbright Senior Scholar and has taught at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Garfield Conservatory. Bird is a professional member of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing and the Herb Research Society of the American Botanical Council. She is author of Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs, Four Seasons of Mojo and Herbal Guide to Natural Living, and A Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies and Rituals for Body and Spirit. Bird is a practicing herbalist and aromatherapist who lives with her husband, family and animal friends in the Chicago area