Thursday, June 4, 2020

Laila Ibrahim's spiritual a book giveaway

Introduction by Melissa Amster

Today we're pleased to welcome Laila Ibrahim to CLC. My book club did a Skype meeting with her a few months ago and I thought she was really nice. I also learned a lot of interesting things about her writing process. So when I found out that she was publishing a novel this summer, I knew I wanted you all to meet her too. Golden Poppies published earlier this week and I look forward to checking it out (possibly with my book club). Laila is here today to share a letter she wrote to herself ten years ago. She has an e-book set of Yellow Crocus, Mustard Seed, and Golden Poppies to give away!

Laila Ibrahim grew up in Whittier, California on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, and moved to Oakland, California to attend Mills College where she studied Psychology and Child Development. After getting a Master's Degree in Human Development, she realized she wanted to do more hands on work with children, and opened up her own preschool: Woolsey Children's School. Her education and experiences as an educator and parent provide ample for her writing – especially her study of Attachment Theory and multiculturalism.

Laila self-published Yellow Crocus in 2011 after agents repeatedly told her that no one would want to read a story about the love between an enslaved black woman and her privileged white charge. Over the years the readers have proven them wrong. She became a full-time writer in 2015. She lives in a small co-housing community in Berkeley with her wife, Rinda, a public school administrator. She the proud mother of wonderful young adult daughters. (Bio adapted from Laila's website.)

Visit Laila at her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

It’s 1894. Jordan Wallace and Sadie Wagner appear to have little in common. Jordan, a middle-aged black teacher, lives in segregated Chicago. Two thousand miles away, Sadie, the white wife of an ambitious German businessman, lives in more tolerant Oakland, California. But years ago, their families intertwined on a plantation in Virginia. There, Jordan’s and Sadie’s mothers developed a bond stronger than blood, despite the fact that one was enslaved and the other was the privileged daughter of the plantation’s owner.

With Jordan’s mother on her deathbed, Sadie leaves her disapproving husband to make the arduous train journey with her mother to Chicago. But the reunion between two families is soon fraught with personal and political challenges.

As the harsh realities of racial divides and the injustices of the Gilded Age conspire to hold them back, the women find they need each other more than ever. Their courage, their loyalty, and the ties that bind their families will be tested. Amid the tumult of a quickly changing nation, their destiny depends on what they’re willing to risk for liberation.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

Dear Laila back in 2010,

In a few years you will write these words to Aria:

When I’m faced with a choice I often ask myself, “What will the future me be glad I did?” Sometimes that causes me to do something that feels extravagant, and other times that question causes me to buck down and work hard. You can steal my question when you are making a decision if it feels useful to you.

I’m writing from the future to say a big giant THANK YOU!! I’m insanely grateful that you listened to the incessant nudge from Spirit to write Yellow Crocus. I know better than anyone the doubts that plagued you the entire time you were doing it. I remember how much courage and faith it took for you to start writing and then keep going with it in the face of rejection and silence. I know you hate taking on something you don’t know you can succeed at—and you had huge doubts about your ability to get Yellow Crocus into the world.
You’ve been told over and over again that there is no market for this story, but deep inside you know there are people who want to read it. Something in you that keeps telling you that Mattie and Lisbeth’s story needs to be in the world. You wonder if you are deluding yourself. You keep asking yourself if you should trust the professionals or your own inner knowing?
Trust yourself. The gamble you are about to take to publish it yourself pays off big time. After a successful self-published run, Yellow Crocus got picked up by a publisher, has more that 1,000,000 readers and is in eight languages.
Our fifth novel, Golden Poppies, is coming out right now—and I’m outlining the next one. Crazy, eh!?
While I’m delighted for the sales and the income, I’m most grateful to have an opportunity to reflect on my deepest values and do my best to put them into the world. Each book forces me to reflect on the beauty and pain of being human. They are stories of mothering, oppression, justice and faith. My characters become dear friends who learn to both accept what is and imagine what can be.
Writing each one is a spiritual journey, a hero’s journey, for me. I start out reluctant to even start, but I’m forced to exit my comfortable life as Spirit nudges me to create. I wonder if I have anything to say, but then I use the resource of history to find a less-told human story that has impacted my life. Then I trust my characters to show me a beautiful and flawed human path—full of the complexity and contradiction of being alive. Somehow they, and I muddle, through together to understand something anew or once again. Because is there anything new under the sun?

Yes and no.

There are no new human stories. And yet, like snowflakes, no two stories are exactly alike.

It gets easier because you learn more about the craft of writing. And yet the vulnerability does not go away. Every novel is a journey to an unfamiliar story. Like the births you attend as a doula, if it ever becomes rote or ordinary it will be time to stop. But so far, each one is a joyous miracle.

Blessings to you— and Rinda, Kalin, Maya and all the ones we love,


PS. Maya and Kalin and Rinda are doing great. Things in the world are rough right now. Thanks for building us a beautiful community to get us through the hard times.

Thanks to Laila for visiting with us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends June 9th at midnight EST.


Unknown said...

I'm not entering giveaway but I read Golden Poppies and I liked it

bn100 said...


Calvin F. said...


Kelley B said...

I love the 60’s