As African Americans, many of us know what it feels like to be broken; we have suffered through poverty and chaos for generations. Many have cried out for help and no one is there to listen. When you’re in this place, it is so easy to feel trapped and ready to give up hope. However, there’s one thing about our people that is undeniable: we are always able to find persevere through our trials and tribulations. There is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Meet Malena Crawford, a ray of sunshine for divine black women and the literary genius behind A Fistful of Honey.
From a young age, Malena knew that she was born to create. “I realized I wanted to be a writer at age seven. My parents gave me the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at a very early age. I was just inspired by Maya Angelou…,” she explains. “I was inspired by how powerful her words were, how powerful her story was; just for me to heal and to laugh and to see her be able to evoke these emotions.” After being inspired by Angelou’s work, Malena began to write poetry. She won countless awards for her pieces and fell in love with literature. “It just gave me this unimaginable feeling when I was writing… it was like I could transform this world. I would go into a whole new world.”
Not only was she inspired by Angelou’s work but her favorite book The Color Purple changed Malena’s life and shaped how she wanted to make readers feel when reading her work. “I loved it because it gave voice to someone who people would normally not listen to. If you look at The Color Purple you see Celie is not speaking ‘correct English’ but she is speaking her heart’s language.” Through Celie’s language, Malena explained how she and the nation fell in love with Walkers work. “It came from such a real and authentic place. Walker’s ability to capture that and to give that feeling to the reader is magical and it still makes me cry to this day. That’s how I want to be as a writer. I wanted to really give the experience of who my characters are so the readers can really feel their victories.”
In Malena’s book A Fistful of Honey, we start off on a journey through Alena Ford’s seemingly perfect life. Though she seems to have it all: a New York City Penthouse, a career as an attorney and an expensive lifestyle; she is trying to hide deep pain, something that the author related to personally. “I named her Alena Ford because I was giving up a piece of myself that is long dead. So, at one point, I was Alena Ford. I was going through brokenness, this is brokenness that I tried to hide away with material things and accomplishments.” Just like the author, Alena’s life began to unravel when she lost her job and her house was being foreclosed. She is forced to move to the “hood” in Brooklyn and experiences a complete culture shock. “Everything she is hiding behind is pulled away from her. The veil is pulled off and that is where the magic begins…” she says, “…that is where it began for me.”
When Alena moves to Brooklyn she’s extremely hesitant. She’s also very judgmental of her new community. She thinks these are the “thugs” and the “welfare recipients.” She didn’t want anything to do with them. Her attitude about her community soon shifts however, when she meets Gloria, her neighbor. “Gloria has this mysterious wisdom about her,” Malena explains. “It’s because she’s an oracle of sorts. Gloria introduces Alena to a new way of thinking. She teaches her there should be no division between different races or between communities and in the black race.” Throughout the book, Alena learns to love herself little by little, her dark skin, and to love her people because they are her. There are many twist and turns and Alena sets sail on this journey into a setting that she has been a part of for thousands of years. She must collect powers from the spiritual realm and to do that she must be committed and be open enough and concur those inner demons. “The twist is… something is after her, so time is of the essence. She’s got a universal evil that has been following her since birth. It wants her life. There is a lot at stake for Alena. It all depends on her self-love and her willingness to take her throne on this grander design,” Malena says.
Taking the throne and beginning to love ourselves was one of Malena’s main goals when creating A Fistful of Honey. “I wanted to celebrate us and I want every woman to finish this book and feel amazing. To feel capable of doing whatever it is that she desires to do. I want us to see the truth of ourselves.” Malena was inspired to create this book to have black women be showcased: their divinity, their beauty and their wonder reflecting them in a piece of literature. “The book takes you from that really dark place, to such a light place, which is who black women and people are. We are the mothers of divinity. The anchors of our community and of this earth.”
Through Malena’s passion for black women and her gift to write, she has created a story that will a black woman feel safe and whole. She has allowed her journey to inspire a book that will change the lives of a nation. Order the book now on Amazon and be on the lookout for the sequel!
For more information on Malena, visit her website: http://www.malenacrawford2.com/