Written by Cesca Janece Waterfield, Photographs by Maryam Khosravipour
Stacy Hawkins Adams writes convincingly about women seeking greater meaning from their busy lives. Her most recent title, The Someday List (Revell, ISBN 978-0800732660) was partly inspired by Stacy’s personal realizations after the death of her mother Dorothy, four years ago. It’s an authentic rendering of a woman whose faith is shaken after the loss of loved ones and how she finds solace by dedicating herself to aspirations she’d abandoned long ago. It’s part of her new series, The Jubilant Soul.
A look at Stacy’s accomplishments leaves one to conclude that her creation of a character who’s put off reaching for her dreams can only be an impressive exercise in imagination: Married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two young children, Stacy has already published four novels and contributed to two anthologies, been a respected columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and found success as a non-profit marketing consultant and speaker.
Today she lives in Chesterfield, but she was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the youngest of five children. Her youngest sibling was a senior in high school when Stacy was born and her oldest sister was 25.
Even as a girl, she wanted to be a writer. Journalism was a practical way to write creatively and still support herself. Writing for her high school newspaper Stacy says, “I really was bitten by the bug. I had the opportunity to see the impact that my stories had on people who read them. That was to me an avenue to make a difference.”
So she majored in Mass Communications at Jackson State University. “Looking back, a lot of what I wrote was inspirational,” she remembers. “Even though I did a lot of reporting in the courts and things once I became a full time reporter, [inspirational writing] sort of has been my path.”
After college, she took internships in New Mexico and Arkansas. While working as a night reporter in Florida, she got a call from the Times-Dispatch. “I came, not knowing I would still be here 15 years later,” she says.
But Stacy’s life hasn’t always been seamless progress. A few years into her career at the paper, she began work on her first novel. After three years of careful work, her publisher was still sending the manuscript back for revision. She was pregnant with her second child at the time. “I found out in my eighth month of pregnancy that he had a tumor on his heart,” she says. “It was scary. It was out of my control. I was this person of faith.”
As she awaited word on the health of her child and questioned the fate of her first book, Stacy admits, “All I could do was just rely on my faith.”
Thankfully, her son was born healthy. But the first three years of his life were marked by frequent visits to specialists to rule out a rare condition. “Then when he was three years old, the tumor dissolved,” Stacy says. “Throughout the whole process, I really matured. It built my faith.”
With new inspiration, she rewrote her book for the third and final time. “The story had nothing to do with what I’d gone through personally,” she says. “But I felt like I came to that story able to tell it better because the character had to deal with something difficult. Was she going to let it make her stronger? Or was she going to cave in?”
Those questions took on painful resonance in 2005 when Stacy’s mother died. “I guess all the angels, as I call them, saw me through that period,” she admits. “It showed me that we have to be angels to each other, and also that your faith can see you through those times when you think you can’t go on.”
Stacy directs her spiritual convictions into uplifting characters and stories. “When I faced my toughest challenges, I felt God with me through those times. I had my faith. If I was able to make it through something challenging and difficult, then I want to encourage you that you can do the same thing. I’m able to use those experiences to encourage somebody else.”
Although she left her full time position at the Times-Dispatch three years ago, Stacy keeps busy. She’s working on the sequel to The Someday List as well as her first non-fiction book.
Her faith is stronger than ever. “I’m a Pollyanna sometimes,” she admits. “I always see the best and believe in the best. Even in tragic situations, if we can find something good to cling to, it can’t help but be better.”
Stacy will serve as the keynote speaker May 10, at a Mother’s Day Breakfast, 9 am, Tabernacle Baptist Church, 11521 Coalboro Rd., Chesterfield. Info 739-2169