“I think my main lesson that I want people to take away from Guide Me Home is that we have to stop being so quick to judge a person based on their thoughts, looks, attitudes, etc. What the main characters were going through wasn’t a JUST BECAUSE thing, but it was a deeply rooted, damaged, issue thing that needed to be brought to light for them.”
Ana Gibson is an award-winning author, gaining recognition for her newest novel, Guide Me Home—A story about a young, single father, who learns to love himself when a woman he comes to love, helps him to uncover his childhood trauma, which then leads him down a road towards a sense of self and belonging.
“Guide Me Home” advocates for the voices of black men and their emotional/mental health. It shows how we can come together with unconditional love as the foundation, helping to knock down myths that society has created—a false sense of masculinity—that men shouldn’t express even the slightest bit of emotional trouble that they’ve experienced, which largely impacts how we relate to one another,” she says. “This book gives men that room and courage to say, ‘this is who I am, and what I’m dealing with,” without being made to feel small or unlovable.”
And the reviews certainly reflect such impact.
“My desire is to reach people with messages that are relatable, that are conducted in a way where people see themselves and want to do something about the ugly parts that they see.” With this novel, also comes song, titled, ‘Thankful,’ to reflect the overall theme of the story. The song is the kind that resonates with all hearts across the world. It’s an ode to that special someone who has helped you through your toughest time, and simply saying, “Thank You for seeing me.”
The song is packed with incredible harmonies, an infectious chorus and it gives a powerful punch to the heart with its undeniable lyrics. It can be heard on all streaming platforms and is available for purchase.
With so much more to accomplish as time goes on, one thing still stands true, and that’s to continue dreaming, inspiring, and healing people through her gifts of writing and song. “If I’ve reached at least one, then I know I’m doing something right,” she says.
To learn more about Ana Gibson, please visit, http://www.officialanagibson.com.
VERSAFI MAGAZINE: GUIDE ME HOME IS A REALLY GREAT NOVEL AND IT BROUGHT UP A LOT OF GOOD TOPICS SUCH AS MENTAL HEALTH. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO WRITE THAT BOOK?
ANA GIBSON: Interesting you ask. I never really went into the story with the idea of writing about mental health. I kind of fell into it. As I kept writing, I began to realize that the effects of childhood trauma (something that the main characters are dealing with) is a serious mental health issue. Once I figured out that that’s where the story was headed, my goal was to shed light on this issue, especially for African American men, because they often don’t have a safe space to talk about their trauma, and if they do talk about it, it’s usually received with condescending comments and perspectives from other races, as well as women. We see conversations going about mental health and women, mental health and children, mental health and men, but for the black man, (and sometimes black women) it’s almost like taboo. The narrative of “stay strong cause you’re black” is constantly shoved down our throats, and it does more damage than help. So with Guide Me Home, I wanted to break that narrative; break that stereotype and show a different side of how we can respond to trauma. I hope people will see it that way.
VERSAFI: SINCE WRITING THE NOVEL, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO MARKET AND PROMOTE IT? ANY SPECIAL MARKETING STRATEGIES YOU LEARNED?
ANA: Social Media is my big go-to. I’m learning to jump out there with people that I don’t know, and tell them about the story (mainly women readers), in hopes that they will be interested enough to read it. So far, it’s helping. It’s hard finding male readers, but I’m not giving up just yet. I also know that there is more that I need to do with marketing and promo, something that isn’t just posting a pic of the cover. It has to be interesting enough that people want to get it. I have found that videos such as TikTok challenges; some kind of movement is a win, but I have to stay consistent with it. (kind of hard to do when you also have a life outside of that too. i.e. my 4 yr old) So it’s just a matter of finding a true strategy that’s going to stick for a while.
VERSAFI: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
ANA: I have published three, so far. Working on a fourth, which is the sequel to Guide Me Home.
VERSAFI: HOW IMPORTANT IS MENTAL HEALTH TO YOU?
ANA: With more information out about it now, I’m finding it to become an important topic, especially since I have a best friend who suffers from a mental illness. And to be able to understand her and folks like her, I feel it’s my duty to research and study what it is so that I’m better able to approach it with empathy. Not only that, my mental health is one I’m learning to explore too; when I get in moods or certain thought patterns, it encourages me (no matter how uncomfortable it feels) to figure out what’s going on internally, and what I can do about it to help myself get better.
VERSAFI: WHAT IS NEXT FOR THE BOOK? ARE YOU PLANNING TO TURN IT INTO A STAGE PLAY?
ANA: Yes! Guide Me Home is in the works of becoming a stage play. However, since the COVID pandemic, I’ve had to push the date back, so if all goes well over this next year or so, we’re looking to have it on stage by May 2022.
VERSAFI: THE BOOK HAD A LOT OF SAD PARTS, HAPPY MOMENTS AND PARTS WHERE YOU ARE UPSET WITH SOME OF THE CHARACTERS. WHAT IS THE MAIN MESSAGE YOU WANT YOUR READERS TO GET FROM READING IT?
ANA: I think my main lesson that I want people to take away from Guide Me Home is that we have to stop being so quick to judge a person based on their thoughts, looks, attitudes, etc. What the main characters were going through wasn’t a JUST BECAUSE thing, but it was a deeply rooted, damaged, issue that needed to be brought to light for them. And when you approach people with love, understanding, a helping hand, and encouragement, you’ll find that they are quick to get better and heal from the things that kept them in bondage for so long. That was the case with Devin, as well as Faith. I want people to see themselves; to be a reflection of both the past and present you, and help somebody else to overcome their internal battles.
VERSAFI: I SAW ON INSTAGRAM THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON A PART TWO OF THE NOVEL GUIDE ME HOME CALLED TRIGGERED THAT FOCUSES MORE ON THE CHARACTER DEVIN. WHEN IS THAT SET TO RELEASE AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON IT?
ANA: Yes. I am both excited and nervous about this because I want it to be received just as well as Guide Me Home was, even though this story is a totally different tone. Triggered definitely focuses mainly on Devin’s backstory, however, through his journey, you’ll find that his triggers effect those who are around him too, and it’s like a domino effect. The story is very raw. It’s emotional. It’s very triggering (in which I need to put a disclaimer in there LOL), but it also offers so much hope, love, and light.
I plan to release Triggered in September of this year. I have been working on it since January of this year. I am very close to being finished with it. Should meet the September deadline soon.
VERSAFI: WILL YOU BE TURNING THIS INTO A STAGE PLAY AS WELL?
ANA: I’m not sure yet. I’ve thought about it, but I want to first see how Guide Me Home goes. If that goes well, then there’s a possibility it can be.
VERSAFI: WITH THE PANDEMIC STILL GOING ON, HAS IT AFFECTED ANY EVENTS THAT YOU MAY HAVE PLANNED FOR BOOK TOURS OR ANY OTHER EVENTS?
ANA: Somewhat. Mainly in the money department. I do hair on the side, so that’s my main way of making money. Without money, I have to hold off on doing the things I want to do. I’m looking into more creative (and less expensive) ways to make sure the release of Triggered turns out well, and to keep Guide Me Home in the forefront. I have to reschedule the date for the stage play, of course with the hopes that by then, COVID will be OUT OF HERE. Rona has worked my nerves.
VERSAFI: HOW CAN READERS STAY CONNECTED WITH YOU AND TO PURCHASE YOUR BOOK?
ANA: Readers can stay connected by following me on social media platforms. The easiest way to find all pages is to visit my website at http://www.officialanagibson.comFB: Ana Gibson
This interview has been brought to you by Versafi Magazine which is a platform for business owners, entrepreneurs and authors of diversity. If you are interested in being featured, please email email@example.com Also be sure to follow the magazine on IG @versafimag