From heartstrings to bookshelves

At the young age of 33, novelist LaKeshia Sauls has taken life by storm. She is a full-time student, full-time writer and mother of a 3-year old daughter. Sauls was offered a double book deal by Kensington/Urban Book’s publishing in 2005. The national bestselling author is now hard at work on her third novel.

“My first novel is entitled By the Grace of God and the second, His Grace, His Mercy, both Christian fiction novels,” Sauls said. His Grace, His Mercy was released Sept. 1 and is a follow-up to By the Grace of God.”

Her first book is about the hardships life can bring and how God walks people through them.

“The main character, Gracie, comes home to find her fiancé packing,” Sauls said. “She decides to let him go, and, over time, she wants closure. So when she tries to contact him, she finds that his phone has been disconnected. Gracie contacts his family, and they have not heard from him either. She then realizes there’s more to the situation than him leaving her.”

The writer said the Lord gave her the inspiration for her story.

LaKeshia Sauls reminisces about the journey behind her novels. Her fi rst book, By the Grace of God, can be checked out at the Townsend Memorial Library. Photo by Matthew Peterson

“I had a good book but it compromised my Christian values with curse words because I thought that was what people would want to read,” Sauls said. “I lost the whole manuscript, and I took it as a sign from God telling me not to compromise.”

Mary Cannon, a former UMHB student, said she recently purchased Sauls’ latest book because she loved the first one. Cannon and Sauls met through an English class at the university.

“She is an inspiration for young women,” Cannon said. “She shows ladies that they can do what they want to do.”

Sauls wants her stories to affect the lives of her readers in a positive way.

“I’m a black woman, and the urban Christian genre is really growing for African- Americans,” she said. “It’s to entertain and to inspire.”

The novelist obtained an associate’s degree in applied science and had a career in computer networking. She began to realize that her true love and passion was writing so she decided to go back to college.

“I was looking for a school with a great mass communication/journalism program in the area, and I also wanted God as my focal point,” Sauls said. “UMHB was the perfect fit for me.”

Many professors have made a lasting marks on Sauls’ life.

“Mrs. Kendig’s class has advanced my writing.” she said. “I want to try my hand at non-fiction and I also want to try magazine writing. I’ve also taken film study classes with Dr. Howard. I was scared to even think about changing my books into plays, but now it’s definitely an option for me.”

Professor of communication and media studies, Dr. Diane Howard, said Sauls is “A positive contributor in my screenwriting and distance communication/performance classes. I am impressed with her creativity and
with ways she has marketed her work.”

Sauls tries to tour at least once a month. Her next book signing is Nov. 7 at a Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Austin.

“My first book is at Townsend Library and the Temple library and also sold everywhere,” Sauls said. “Townsend is also ordering my second one.”

The writer encourages fans to communicate with her.

“People can visit my Web site at keshiadawnwrites.com and follow me on Twitter under Authorkeshia,” Sauls said. “I can also be found on MySpace and Facebook under keishadawn. I have no problem with people
friending me, and I never mind any questions.”

Sauls gives gratitude to a higher power for her success.

“God literally gave me these stories,” she said. “God gave me the title, characters and story. The words just flowed out of me.”

Author: Mary Beth Kelton

I am a senior at UMHB and loving it! I am the features editor for The Bells and I also intern at the Temple Chamber of Commerce. I transferred to UMHB fall 2008 and God has done so many amazing things with my life. I am excited to graduate in May but more excited about the next two semesters and the memories that I will gain. I plan to continue my education by obtaining a masters degree in sociology after graduation unless I am somehow blessed with a job.

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