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A Premiere Novel by Marlo Ettien

 

Branches Novel FAQ

 

How did you come up with the title?
Branches from the Same Tree Whether Broken or Reaching is about family unity. Whether you are striving towards achieving your greatest good or struggling to stay alive; we are all connected to a family, that through brokenness and healing has helped to mold who we are. And from time-to-time, each of us (if we are honest) in the quiet of our minds reflects back to where we have come up from as we question either where we are and/or where we are headed, to guide us--to keep us moving forward.


What about the artwork? How did you create the idea?
Children are a reflection of life moving forward--continuing. The tree branch that the little girl is reaching for is a strong branch on a Baobab Tree. Also, known as "The tree of Life;" one of the oldest trees in Africa. The sun rays that the branches reach out to are a reflection of life, nurturing and healing. Rather than picking up the broken branch at the base of the tree, she is stretching her reach towards the branch on the tree.


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK?
A conversation I had with someone, who was in a lot of pain, which caused me to feel deep sadness. I wanted the beloved to heal. So, the book is my way of offering healing.


THERE ARE VERY EMPOWERING EDUCATIONAL FACTS IN THE BOOK. WHY DID YOU INCLUDE THESE?
It’s important for children to see themselves in books; and to have a broader perspective on what is achievable in life to maintain healthy self-esteem. There is enough knowledge available, in every subject taught in public schools, to expand the canon of education that is reflective of every races contribution to the advancement of humanity, especially African, African-American, Black, Negro peoples.


DIFFERENT SECTIONS OF THE BOOK REFER TO THE PHANTOM. WHO OR WHAT IS THE PHANTOM?
The phantom is an elusive, merciless energy that is ever-ready to victimize its prey no matter whom. It is a hideous vulgarity that is bestial in nature with a malicious intent to destroy. Period. There are various self-destructive behaviors people have that are rooted in social conditions, which get passed down from generation to generation.


WHY DID YOU INCLUDE POETRY?
Poetry can be deeply emotional. It causes you to think more keenly about things. Poems can stay with you for a long time, provoking all types of thought. They are magically eternal. The poems are recorded on a CD that comes with the printed version. It’s all original music. The recordings are also available on the web site.


THOSE ARE SOME VERY INTERESTING NAMES YOU HAVE FOR THE CHARACTERS. HOW DID YOU THINK OF THE NAMES?
The names reflect each character’s personality, or what’s in their nature.


Why should we read your book?
Because it’s a poignant story about how important mothers are –grandmothers, great-grandmothers, great-great grandmothers. It’s a sensitive conversation about why healing is such honorable and sacred work. It’s a wonderful story about love and self-awareness that is full of compassion and grace. It’s a beautiful story about having the courage to be honest about things that we may silently question in our families that are at times too hurtful to discuss; yet, must be. The book gently offers encouragement to take another look at the dirty laundry that we must clean, lest it remain as stains contaminating our souls. The story quietly tells us how we can never truly forget where we came from because the past, present and future are simultaneously interactive in our lives and that there are things in our past the we still love and hold dear that we secretly treasure and things that we don’t. It is important to know your family’s story. None of us just fell down from the sky. We need to reclaim ourselves as the Sankofa bird reminds us. We must continue to undo the work that has caused us to become the victimizers of ourselves.


What will the book help the reader understand?
That all life has meaning; has value no matter whom. We are all over-comers. The worst generational cycles can be broken. One does not have to be a pathological product of an unhealthy environment, if one does not decide to be. God is not mocked. None of our experiences define us.


What will the book help the reader do?
Courageously sojourn back into some hidden places, mental and emotional places to heal.


How will the reader’s life be better because of reading the book?
Perhaps the reader’s life will be better because they will feel encouraged to embrace the truth, letting go of things in their lives that do not serve them well and heal. Perhaps it will further motivate them to see things as they are and not as they would like them to be with certain family members and offer forgiveness. Maybe there is a family member the reader is now willing to help build a better life.


What does the book offer the Christian Audience?
The novel is an inspirational meditation that guides us through our deepest thoughts and emotions. The book is a welcoming testimony of how deep and strong forgiveness and compassion can be for our loved ones. Christians will relate well to the important work of self-mastery in knowing that the savior comes from within as consciousness. You save yourself, because God helps those who help themselves.