When the topic of prison reform and reducing recidivism arises in community conversations, one of the top individuals that come to mind is Mrs. Sonya Evan Staples. Mrs. Staples has become a pioneer in bringing awareness to the growing rates of incarcerated citizens and the lack of resources after re-entry into the community. She is a Richmond native with a passion for community development. Helping the prison community at a grass-root level is her life’s work. Mrs. Staples has volunteered for over 20 years and prides herself on being a vehicle of change. She has dedicated her time, energy and resources to building strong individuals and has helped to birth stronger families and communities. Every thing she touches is aligned with that mission; from Life Coaching to being a Media Specialist for C.I.R.N, the Criminal Injustice Reform Network. Sonya Evan Staples is the founder of the non-profit organization “From Prison to Promise. This organization was established in 2017 with the mission of providing a voice to those who have been silenced by incarceration. Weekly, Mrs. Staples gives individuals a safe space to discuss issues surrounding incarceration through the “From Prison to Promise” Internet radio show. It is her hope that individuals impacted by incarceration will gain strength and strategies to alleviate the struggle of waiting or starting over. When Mrs. Staples is not deep into tackling issues within the prison community she is a wife, mother, notary public and aspiring author. Each of these tasks further pushes her mission of creating a better community for all.
“I want my readers to know that there is promise after whatever “prison” they feel they have been in. You are not alone in the struggle, but you alone can change it.”
BLAQVERSITY MAGAZINE: How did your journey as an author began?
SONYA EVANS STAPLES: My journey as an author started as a podcast. I began a podcast called “Doing Time”, highlighting the struggles of everything that comes with incarceration. The more I interviewed returning citizens, the more I realized I had a story that needed to be told.
BLAQVERSITY:Was becoming a writer something you always wanted to pursue?
SONYA: Never in a million years.
BLAQVERSITY: Who motivated you?
SONYA: My friends and family.
BLAQVERSITY: What are some of your favorite authors out right now?
SONYA: Iyanla Vanzant and Robert Kiyosaki (old favorite)
BLAQVERSITY: Since becoming a published author, what challenges have you faced if any?
SONYA: The only challenge I have faced is getting over the fact that I am a published author. Words can’t explain how proud I am of MYSELF! Not me as a wife, not me as a mom, sister, friend, ME AS MYSELF!
BLAQVERSITY: How many books have you written? What’s your genre?
SONYA: Only one so far. My genre is Non-fiction and Family.
BLAQVERSITY: What message do you want your readers to take away when reading your book?
SONYA: I want my readers to know that there is promise after whatever “prison” they feel they have been in. You are not alone in the struggle, but you alone can change it.
BLAQVERSITY: Do you have any writing tips or suggestions for any new author who wants to write their book but doesn’t know where to start?
SONYA: Yes, just write. Start with your thoughts and ramble. Tell your truth. You will be amazed how many words your life can produce. Don’t let vulnerability intimidate you! It can be you best friend though the process. WRITE THE BOOK BRO/SIS!
BLAQVERSITY: Are you currently working on any new book projects? If so, when can we expect them to be released?
SONYA: Yes. I am currently working on “A Guide to Being a Prison Wife”. Anticipating release in the winter; God Willing.
BLAQVERSITY: What does being an author mean to you?
SONYA: Being an author means I can connect with the world through pain simply by sharing mine.
BLAQVERSITY: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
SONYA: I see myself as a self- made millionaire, award winning author, motivational speaker and philanthropist for returning/adjusting citizens (from prison) and their families.
BLAQVERSITY: Have you ever thought about being an author full-time?
SONYA: No. I can’t sit still that long. (LOL)
BLAQVERSITY: If you could co-author with any author in the world, who would it be and why?
SONYA: Iyanla Vanzant. I absolutely adore her on a deeper level. I appreciate her wisdom. I respect her position as an elder. She has a blinding spirit. It would mean the world to me.
BLAQVERSITY: Tell us your marketing strategies as an author. Do you find it to be challenging at times when promoting your books?
SONYA: My marketing strategies include a lot of social media marketing as well as word of mouth. When it comes to challenges, I don’t acknowledge them because I know I can over come anything I put my mind to. I have learned to quiet my ignorance to receive God’s abundance. I listen to My Father!
BLAQVERSITY: How can readers connect with you and support you?
SONYA: Facebook: Sonya Staples
For business inquires or more, contacted her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the journey:
Facebook : From Prison to Promise
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