Nov 8 • Black Voice Spot Light • 1518 Views • No Comments on THROUGH GRANDMA’S EYES by J. E. Smythe
LaCrae James is 19 years old, head strong and talented. She dreams of becoming a top dancer and will stop at nothing to make it happen. After meeting a man who promises to make her dreams come true, LaCrae decides to take the chance of a lifetime. She rebels against her mother and heads to New York City.
When Mae Dupuy’s granddaughter shows up unannounced on the steps of her brownstone in Harlem, Mae opens her home to her. Mae knows all too well the price a young, ambitious girl like LaCrae could pay if she makes the wrong decisions in the tough streets of an unforgiving city.
As LaCrae realizes that she’s stepped into a world that requires far more than she bargained for, Mae shares her own tale of joyful love and unimaginable pain, hoping her journey steers LaCrae back onto the right path.
Through Grandma’s Eyes tells a story that spans generations. This heart-wrenching, triumphant novel weaves together the past and present through a vivid cast of characters, and reminds us all of the enduring power of love and family.
Sometimes in order to move forward, we need to look back.
Mae ran to LaCrae, pulling her into a loving embrace. “Oh my Lord, child! What in the world happened to you?”
“I’m fine, Grandma. Really, I am. It looks bad but I really am fine,” LaCrae reassured her.
“What kind of video shoot did you go to where you come out looking like someone been tossing you around like a ragdoll?” Mae asked.
“Grandma, it’s nothing, I swear,” LaCrae insisted.
“No, it’s not nothing,” Mae said. “I knew you shouldn’t have gone to that place, I just knew it.”
“Grandma, please don’t worry. It’s nothing,” LaCrae said, trying to calm her down.
“I need to call your uncle. He’d know how to handle this.” Mae released LaCrae and reached for the house phone.
“No, Grandma, please don’t call Uncle Charlie,” LaCrae pleaded.
“Then I’m calling the police.”
“No, Grandma, don’t!”
“Child, if you don’t start explaining then I’m going to have to call your Mama, and Lord knows I don’t want to hear Fran’s mouth today,” Mae said.
LaCrae sat down on the sofa and Mae sat down next to her. LaCrae told her every single detail of what happened, starting from meeting Q in D.C. all the way through how she ended up looking the way she currently looked. She even told her about the day before when Q
attacked her in his office. When LaCrae finished explaining she thought for sure her grandmother would be upset. She prepared herself for the phone call that would surely be
made to her mother. But that didn’t happen.
Mae got up, walked over to her collection of music and pulled out an album. She placed it on the old turntable and then sat in the recliner next to it. The song that began to play was the one she played countless times before. The one LaCrae couldn’t help but to dance to in her room. The one that spoke to LaCrae like nothing else had before.
“Grandma,” LaCrae said softly, “are you mad at me?”
“No, child,” Mae said. “I can’t say that I’m mad.”
“Then what is it?” LaCrae asked.
“It’s just sometimes life has a way of replaying itself,” Mae explained.
LaCrae didn’t understand. “What do you mean?”
“I mean it’s time we had a conversation,” Mae said, reaching over to turn off the turntable and gazing intensely into LaCrae’s eyes.
J.E. Smythe, is an award-winning author born in Liberia, West Africa, raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and Gaithersburg, Maryland. J.E. is also an attorney who attended Allen University and received her Law Degree from Massachusetts School of Law. While working as an attorney, J.E. just could not let her passion to write die. She decided to take her legal writing skills and write her debut fiction novel “A Few Good Friends.” J.E. currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she has Co-founded
Lady Esquire Group, LLC management and publishing firm. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta
Get to know the author:
For those who don’t already know you, tell us about yourself and your books.
There’s nothing amazingly interesting about me. I was born in Liberia, West Africa. I came to the U.S. when I was 5-years-old and lived in Providence, Rhode Island up until I was about 13-years-old. Then my family moved to Gaithersburg, MD. I started writing, what would become my first book, while I was in college but I put it away to concentrate on law school and my career as an Attorney. But, like most things that are just a part of your soul, writing kept tugging at me. So, I went about the business of getting all these stories out of my head. I currently have three books out; “A Few Good Friends,” “Zora’s First Day,” and “Through Grandma’s Eyes.”
They are all different from one another and that’s because as a writer I write what I feel. I wanted to tell the story of four women from different backgrounds and experiences but who loved and value each other immensely so I wrote “A Few Good Friends.” I wanted to talk to young girls about being able to experience new things and not being afraid of change, so I wrote “Zora’s First Day.” I wanted to tell a great family story that takes a hard look at
family dynamics, so I wrote “Through Grandma’s Eyes.”
I pride myself on being the kind of writer who tells great stories that resonate with the reader.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called “Through Grandma’s Eyes.” It is a story about how we have big dreams but sometimes we chase them in all the wrong ways. It’s a story about learning from our elders and experiencing all that they have to offer. But most importantly it’s a story about not letting the mistakes of the past follow us into the future.
My inspiration to write this book basically came from my own upbringing. Growing up as an African child I was not only taught that family comes first but that my elders are to be held up as the symbol of wisdom. They’ve lived the life that we’re trying to live. So why not learn from them.
But the idea to write the book came from a situation that happened to me when I was much younger. A neighbor, who lived in the downstairs apartment, was raising her three granddaughters and she was a sweet old lady but her speech was not that great. You couldn’t understand what she was saying so no one ever knew her story. One day, her mail
was mistakenly placed in our mailbox and I went down to give it to her. What was supposed to be a two-second trip turned into one of the most informative four hours of my life. This sweet old lady told me her entire life story and for the first time, I understand every single word she spoke. It was an amazing feeling and I wanted to use this book, “Through Grandma’s Eyes,” as a way to give everyone else that same feeling. I just love the journey in this book and I know the readers will as well.
What authors or books have influenced you?
I am influenced by many authors. But the book that meant the most to me is a book called “Brothers and Sisters” by BeBe Moore Campbell. It was probably the first book I read that had me not just thinking about being an author but also thinking about what type of author I wanted to be. It gave me this phenomenal eye opening moment. I loved the way she wrote a real story about real people. I saw myself in the character. For the first time, the story didn’t come across as being from this far-off fantasy world or stereotypical. It was just a story of people and that’s what I wanted to write about; people.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m working on a yet to be titled suspense/thriller. I’m a little nervous about this one because when you’re dealing with suspense/thriller, you as the author must keep the reader guessing throughout the book. I think this will be an interesting challenge for me. So far I’m having a pretty good time writing it. Hopefully, that come across.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Always be true to yourself. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be like any other author. You can’t tell anyone else’s story like they can and no one else can tell your story like you can. So just relax and enjoy the creative gift that God has blessed you with.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten was more of a question. ‘Who says we’re only meant to do one thing at a time?’
Writing was my secret hiding place; it gave me comfort. But it wasn’t my “career.” I was going to be an Attorney and that was it. When people asked me what my career was going
to be, it was always an Attorney. Being a writer never came up. I didn’t, at the time, see how the two could coexist.
But when I heard that question, it was like a lightbulb went off and who I was to my core made sense. Now when someone asks me what I do for a living, I happily and proudly say that I’m an Author and an Attorney. Who says we’re only meant to do one thing at a time?
What’s next for you as a writer?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t set goals as a writer. Which is a crazy thing for me to say because I carefully plan everything out. But my writing is my free place, where I can let my spirit and heart lead me to the next big writing adventure. I think that’s the blessing of the space I’m in as a writer. I thank God that I’m able to explore my writing on my terms and tell the stories that I was meant to tell.
Find the author and buy the book:
Twitter & Instagram: @jesmythe1
Books can be purchases on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and everywhere books are sold. Or directly at http://writeleg.com/store/
To view book trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=23aLwnOjcrQ