The Write Editor

Editor's Spotlight

by Michelle Sutton

Kendra Norman Bellamy

I’d seen Kendra Norman-Bellamy’s name on book covers before, but it wasn’t until I saw that she’d read my book on Shelfari (and loved it) that we became online friends. I was so touched by Kendra’s heart for the Lord that I asked her to share with you a little bit about how she started writing fiction, and about how she found her purpose through pain. So here she is, Kendra Norman-Bellamy.

My Purpose—My Passion—My Pen!

I’ve often heard people testify that they became aware of their life’s purpose as early as childhood. How awesome that must be to know your destiny at such a tender age and to be able to get a jumpstart on the road to fulfilling your passion! Although I’m not one of the fortunate ones to have been enlightened so prematurely, I am eternally grateful to God for placing me on my designed path to entertain while spreading His Word through fictional novels. It may not have happened when I would have chosen for it to, but it happened in His divinely elected time.

As the quintessential “church girl,” I grew up in a staunch Christian household where both my parents were, and still are, ministers of the gospel. Years ago when I heard the saying that some find their purpose though pain, I never considered that such would be my fate. After all, what kind of pain could a girl possibly have to endure if she’d grown up walking the straight and narrow for most of her life? I was taught to be a respectful child; how not only to have respect for others, but how to carry myself so that I earned the respect of others. By the example of my mother, I learned how to grow into a respectable woman, a virtuous woman, a woman after God’s own heart.

Because my family was so heavily involved in ministry, I and my four siblings (three sisters and one brother) didn’t participate in many of the activities that our young friends did: ball games, overnight fieldtrips, school dances . . . not even our senior proms. So as a child, I fostered my own form of entertainment by writing poetry and short stories. But even then, I had no clue of my destiny.

At the age of twenty, I fell in love with one of the handsomest, most talented young men I’d ever known. At the age of twenty-one, I married him during a beautiful ceremony that took place in front of a church packed with well-wishers. At age twenty-three, I gave birth to our first child. At twenty-five, I birthed our second. At the age of twenty-nine, I was widowed.

But let’s back up.

Two weeks after giving birth to our baby girl, my husband suddenly fell ill. He was unable to eat or drink. Finally, dehydrated and undernourished, he was rushed to the hospital. After several tests, the doctors gave us the horrible news. My husband wasn’t just sick, he was dying. The prognosis was beyond grim. He had full-blown AIDS. According to test results, he’d had it for seven to ten years, and because he’d never been treated, the disease had progressed into its final stages. He now only had three days to three weeks to live.

What? How could something like that happen? No warning signs. From living life to a statement of pending death—just like that. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in the lives of girls who are raised the way I was, right? Wrong! It can happen to anyone.

But God!

Through it all, the God we served showed that, ultimately, life was in His hands. He brought my husband out of the hospital and

returned him to full weight and strength—all to the doctors’ amazement. And though they gave him three days to three weeks to live, God gave him three years . . . and he never got sick again (not even with a common cold) until a few days before his transition. And although we’d been married for four and a half years and had two children prior to the diagnosis, the Lord, with His infinite mercy, shielded me and our daughters from infection. He’s an awesome God!

So, how does all of that tie into my purpose, you ask? Well, threeyears later, I remarried, but I hadn’t realized that I’d never properly grieved the death of my first husband. In the midst of being strong for his family, my family, and for our friends, I forgot to grieve. My current husband (now of elevenThe Lyons Den years) purchased me my first computer one day, and I sat down in front of it and began writing, purging myself of all of my hurt, pain, anger, fear—the whole nine yards.

And then it happened.

During my ongoing therapy sessions with my keyboard, God made my purpose known. He allowed me to see that just as my writing had brought me healing, encouragement, happiness, and life, it would do the same for those who read the novels He would inspire me to create. And it has. So I thank Him . . . even for my pain. For without it, I may have never found my purpose.

Kendra Norman-Bellamy is the founder of KNB Publications LLC and an award-winning, eight-time national bestselling author.

Beginning her literary career in 2002 as a self-published writer, Kendra’s works are currently made available through the respected publishers of Kimani Press, Moody Publishers, and Urban Books. She and her titles have been featured in Essence, Upscale, EKG Literary, and HOPE for Women magazines, to name a few. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

In 2005, Kendra established The Writer’s Hut (an online Yahoo critique group) as an avenue for serious writers of African American literature to actively support one another in their writing journeys. Additionally, she is the founder of The Writers Cocoon Focus Group a multi-cultural interactive writers’ community that Kendra created as a means to share her education, knowledge, and experience with aspiring and up and coming writers. Finally, she is the founder of Cruisin’ For Christ, a groundbreaking at-sea ministry that celebrates Christian writing, gospel music, and other artistries that glorify God.

Among her most recent recognitions, Kendra’s titles have graced Essence magazine’s Best Seller List multiple times, and she was presented with the 2008 Best Christian Fiction Award and the 2008 Best Anthology Award by the African American Literary Award Show in Harlem, NY.

A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, and a graduate of Valdosta Technical College, Kendra resides in Stone Mountain, Georgia with her family. She is an active member of the Iota Phi Lambda Sorority.