Grace is a cross-generational book written by 35 courageous women between the ages of 29 and 95, who each pen a letter filled with wisdom and advice they wish they had when they were younger. Led by author Tiffany Fincher, winner of the Young Women Professional League’s 40 Under 40 Award from Demoiselle 2 Femme in Chicago, the literary compilation offers readers advice on how to persevere, how to heal and how to walk into the purpose for their lives.
Rolling out had the opportunity to catch up with Fincher to discuss the new book and what inspired her new collaboration.
What inspired you to write your first book?
One morning, I woke up early to pray and meditate before starting my day, as I do every morning. As I sat at the kitchen table looking out of the window, my mind circled back to a familiar thought. As we mature, we experience several moments where we reflect on specific times in our lives. What if we could fast-forward [in] time and get advice from the women we have grown to be today? We don’t always have the advice or wisdom we need when we need it.
At that moment I pondered the question: If you could send a letter to your younger self, what would it say? I pursued the answer to this question at a time in my life when I had a strong desire to glean from the wisdom of my grandmothers, who I never had the chance to know. As strange as it might sound, I grieve their absence on this earth, mourn the fact that we’ve never met, and long for the chance to develop those critical relationships. I wanted truth, transparency, and honesty about life.
What books have most impacted your life (or life as an author)?
The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women [by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy McLean]. I read it about five years ago in the midst of leading Aspirations of Life, [a] non-profit organization. It’s rich in wisdom and a must-read for Black women in leadership. It shares building blocks of true leadership, self-confidence, communication, collaboration and courage while dealing with stereotypes of Black women.
Destiny by T.D. Jakes. I’ve read this book twice in two different seasons of my life. Both times it gave me different perspectives. It’s an easy read for daily inspiration for anyone pursuing their life’s purpose. It includes daily inspirations, affirmations, meditations and scriptures. Each daily inspiration comes from the viewpoint of five biblical women.
What books are you currently reading and why?
Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson. I started reading her book in January but didn’t finish because I started working on Grace. Recently, I picked up where I left off. I love her perspective on life. The memoir is funny, touching and relatable. She has an interesting perspective as it relates to her father. She admits his wrongdoing and shortcomings, but she also acknowledges the positive role he played in her life. We needed her perspective in a society where fathers are labeled deadbeats and there are limited positive character traits mentioned.
What was the hardest part of completing this project?
The most difficult part of completing this project was giving myself permission to let my guards down. To truly know me is to know that I can be extremely guarded. Everything is not for everybody. I still believe in that philosophy, but there are things that I wanted to share to serve for a greater purpose than me. Each woman who shared their story was brave enough to step outside of themselves for a greater purpose.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your latest work?
If I had to repeat the process again, I would not change a thing. Each step was ordered by The Most High.
What advice would you give other writers?
The best advice I received throughout the process of writing my contribution to Grace is to write. In the beginning, I would write, edit, write and edit. As I began to write without edits or thinking about what people would think, the words began to flow. Don’t think too hard. Write from your heart, and then edit grammatical and structural errors.
What is the mission you set out to accomplish with your voice in this book?
There is not a woman on this earth who does not have struggles, regrets and questions about life. Anyone who reads Grace will have answers to life’s hurdles in the palm of their hand. Each letter will show that there will be times when life will blow the wind out of you. It’s a part of the recipe that builds the women we are today, but at the end of each obstacle, we find undeniable grace.
Please provide three “good to know” facts about you. Be creative.
What is something most people don’t know about me? Ok, here we go:
1. I don’t like to get my hair or nails done. It takes too long. I know. What woman doesn’t like to be pampered? I like the aftermath, but taking the time is another thing.
2. In my spear time, I’m still a busybody. I’m secretly a Carla Stewart; that’s a counterfeit Martha Stewart. I love painting, spray painting and refurbishing old furniture. Honestly, I think I’m getting pretty good.
3. My pet peeve is for someone who isn’t my senior to call me sweetie or hun or for anyone to write my name without my middle initial. I absolutely hate it.