From grandmother to graduate: Toledoan releases first novelWritten by Brian Bohnert | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Geraldine Davis is truly grateful.
Not only did the 57-year-old grandmother of six recently graduate from college, she will release her first novel, “Suspended,” on July 14.
“It’s a contemporary urban love story centered around the main character whose name is Naturally Joy,” Davis said. “Her life’s been put on hold because her mentally ill mother deserted her and her 12 siblings. But her mother does get fortunate; she finds peace, she finds love, but she dies before she can get her kids back together. And, in a kind of strange twist of fate, Naturally Joy finds love and peace, and she is able to free herself from the demons of her past.”
Davis started writing “Suspended” in April 2010. The idea for the characters came as she was waiting at a traffic light.
“Honestly, it just came from a couple of words that popped into my mind: ‘Truly grateful’” she said. “I remember I was sitting in my car at the corner of Central and Detroit and can’t remember what my thought process was, but I said out loud ‘truly grateful.’ I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t that be just odd if somebody named their kid Truly Grateful?
“It was just a story that kept running around in my head and I had to get it down on paper to get the story out of my mind. It flowed nicely.”
The book will be published by Canton, Mich.-based Christian company Zoë Life Publishing.
Sabrina Adams, CEO and publisher of Zoë Life Publishing, said she met Davis at a lunch in October.
“I loved the book. It was enthralling and engaging,” Adams said. “She has an ability to develop characters and draw the readers into their lives and their issues.”
While “Suspended” is Davis’ first published book, it is not her first work. In 2007, Davis wrote “The Journey,” a story about the paths people take through life.
“‘The Journey’ is more of an allegory,” Davis said. “It’s the story of the two roads of life that we choose. … The characters in this book don’t have any names, they’re the First Traveler and the Second Traveler. There’s the First Road and the Second Road and there’s the things we encounter along life’s journey.”
The choices people make in life is a key theme throughout the book, she said.
“On both roads, you can run into things like the ‘Statue of Denial.’ You want something but you’re denied it. How do you handle it?” she said. “That’s the difference in the two roads and each character.”
“The Journey” is set to be released this year, although there is no official date, Davis said.
Back to school
Davis graduated with honors from Owens Community College on May 4, with her associate degree in English literature.
Originally just a way to fine tune her writing, her love for the college combined with her desire to inspire her grandchildren to graduate kept her at Owens until she received her cap and gown.
“I loved being there,” Davis said. “I know it might sound strange, but I thought my time there was well-spent and well-enjoyed. I loved my instructors, I loved the campus setup, I loved the atmosphere, I loved that the younger peers did not see me as just some old woman trying to get a degree. They just accepted me and it was great.”
Hard at work
Davis is now writing her third novel, “A Meeting in the Clouds.” Much like “Suspended,” the theme of strained parent-child relationships is the focus of this story, she said.
“It is the story of a mother and daughter who have always had a very dysfunctional relationship,” Davis said. “The mother goes into the hospital for a minor surgery and ends up in a coma … and [the daughter] ends up in a car accident and she is in ICU in the same hospital that her mother is in. Their spirits actually meet in the hospital and they have to deal with the demons and the angels of their lives. They eventually come together to defeat the demons, and go back to their bodies and live their lives differently.”
Davis is the caretaker of her six grandchildren: Aaryn Joshua, William, E.J., Autumn and twins Ebony and Christian. The children, whose ages range from 7 to 16, have lived with Davis for seven years. They are a huge inspiration in her writing, she said.
“Kids do say the darndest things and they do some of the funniest stuff,” she said. “After I finish my third book, I’m going to go into their books. Each of them is going to get their own book.”
To celebrate the release of “Suspended,” Davis will have a book lunch on July 14 at Pilgrim Church, 1375 W. Sylvania Ave. The reception-style event will begin at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.
“Suspended” will be available for purchase at Barnes & Noble, barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com on July 14.