Header image: Author Shameka Royal (left) and friend Terri Shaw (right), at Royal’s book signing on October 13, 2018, at the Allen County Public Library
Shameka Royal’s first book, “Coming to Peace with the Pieces,” took just over a year to write, most of it spent re-editing. Once her commissioned editor returned her manuscript, Royal kept perfecting “to make sure that what I gave is really what I got from God.”
Sorry for the fast forward, and without giving too much away, but in her book’s last chapter, the author explains how she chose the more appropriate word--“coming”--for her title versus “making.”
“Making means to produce. Come means to arrive,” Royal said. And she arrived at her current state of being, after bouts of self-doubt and confusion, after witnessing a young lifetime of abuse, violence, and mental illness.
“We’re not trying to make peace with the pieces, were trying to come to peace, so we can confront them and move on with our lives.”
At a recent book signing event, located at the Allen County Public Library, the house was packed with attendees. The “very nice turnout,” Royal said, resulted in all books purchased.
Fort Wayne Ink Spot (FWIS): What was the inspiration for the book?
Shameka Royal: “Coming to Peace with the Pieces” was really birthed out of my own story. My parents divorced, and both of them [at one point] had nervous breakdowns. My mom was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia [specifically], so I was exposed to a lot: domestic violence, physical and substance abuse. It [my childhood] really shaped who I became as a teenager. I was a very enraged teenager, not compliant, and running the streets. I really couldn’t pinpoint what I was angry about, I just knew I was angry.
I grew up in the church; my father and both of my grandmothers were very involved. But I learned [my faith] wasn’t the sole thing I was going to have to ride on. So after I shared what I was feeling with my Dad, he said that I had un-forgiveness in my heart, and I needed to address it. And I had no idea how freeing it was going to be for me.
Then fast forward into young adulthood. I’ve addressed my issues but I still didn’t know my place in the world and I’m not feeling confident. Everybody saw me as this leader. I was in the ministry as early as 16. I became an ordained minister as early as 26. I’m leading services in the morning and still not confident in who I am.
My first marriage was very unhealthy and fell apart very quickly. My husband ended up going to prison [for dealing drugs], and it was just me and my son. That was a pivotal moment for me; God [directed me] to confront the little girl who felt inferior and living in that dysfunctional home. I had to confront the enraged teenage girl and the incompetent-feeling young woman. As I did that, so much came out of me; the process was just so uncomfortable and challenging. Out of that birthed the book, about starting at a place of broken pieces to a whole living lifestyle.
FWIS: Talk about your writing process.
Royal: I told my story in the beginning section, but I didn’t want the reader to feel [the book] was just for someone who had witnessed domestic violence or had issues as a child. Pieces can be whatever pieces one has in their lives, going to a very neutral standpoint from looking at it from any aspect and identifying one’s own pieces. And the next couple of chapters are about what I learned from walking in love, truly forgiving someone, and what it truly looks like to be whole.
People will ask ‘what’s your evidence? What do you base this off of?’ I made sure that [my testimony] was well wrapped around scriptures to support everything. I list the scriptures at the end of each chapter.
FWIS: How is your relationship with your mom now?
Royal: My relationship with her is beautiful. I was angry with her when I was younger but when I grew up, I don’t even remember [why]. That’s how I learned the true art of what forgiveness is…I talk about that in the book. A lot of people will challenge the idea that true forgiveness is not forgetting. I define what it means, in the book: [What is forgotten] can no longer have a place in my life where it can stand out and keep me from not operating.
To purchase the $12.00 paperback, “Coming to Peace with the Pieces,” hit up Amazon.com, inquire about a special order at Barnes and Noble, or visit Royal’s website, RoyalSuccessMoves.com, if you want an autograph copy. And if you know her personally, just ask her.