One of the most profound experiences we encounter in life is hope. In the novel Iron Butterfly, depicts the story of the kidnapping of the female Paramount Chief of Sierra Leone and intertwines the themes of conviction, faith and the bond between women of influence. The author, Dr. Dr. Clara Whaley Perkins is a vessel of valuable information on hoping and the resilience of the human spirit. Through her work with the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, Dr. Clara Whaley Perkins has seen first-hand the conflict as well as the aftermath of the coup d’état which effected areas of West Africa. Drawing from the experiences and accounts of her personal and professional supporters, Dr. Perkins gathered narratives for over 15 years, to write a riveting portrait of conflict, friendship and the determination of a woman.
Introduction by Melissa Kimble and Ebonie Dukes Interview by Melissa Kimble
What inspires you to create?
Many things inspire me to create. I have a desire to share what I have seen and learned over the course of my life, and an even deeper desire to connect with other people about those things that define our humanity, that binds us as human beings. Also, I enjoy the personal challenge involved in putting thoughts and images into words that mean something to other people. And, I feel compelled to utilize as many avenues as I am able to help people personally grow and heal emotionally.
I have had many reservations about my new role as an author. My greatest concern was and continues to be finding enough hours in a day to fit it all in. I did not need anything else to fill out my life. I have found that timing is everything! But first I had to make “space” in my life to write. That’s still a challenge. I had to be patient with myself and my life. I did a lot a meditating and took the time to figure out what was really important, and most of all I asked for the support I needed when I needed it. Things became much easier after my son went off to college, and as fate would have it, one of my contracts to provide psychological services was put on hold. Have this not happened when it did it would have been a least another year before I could jump the last hurdle to publishing my book.
Through your work with the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, you have seen first-hand the conflict as well as the aftermath of the coup d’etat which effected areas of West Africa. What did those experiences teach you about the world?
In spite of the hardships, the horrendous atrocities, the losses and suffering, people survive best when they have hope. There are a lot of people overseas involved in humanitarian efforts. They come from all parts of the world usually without concern for their own safety. They/we know how important it is to form relationships with the people you find yourself with. Sometimes people are naive about what help really looks like to another person. In the cases where everything has been destroyed you have to go offering something that people can use to rebuild their lives. Often it’s money and your resources, but other times it’s knowledge. In the rebuilding process most people don’t want you to do it for them. They want you to show them how. You can stay with them, join their society and community if you care to but don’t try to exploit them while they’re in a weakened state. That is a mistake. It damages relationships often beyond repair.
You have spoken at conferences and workshops on several continents, on the subjects of personal trauma, separation and loss, and the wounds of war. How does your book help provide some relief to these issues?
The story provides insight into what someone who has experienced emotional trauma might go through. People who have survived one situation that emotionally traumatized them, such as seeing someone murdered or the bodies of murder victims, and who are confused about why it’s taking so long to get over it, might understand themselves better after reading the book. And, no one can tell another person how long something like this should take so it’s also a helpful book for family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to read. What trauma victims need from other people is pretty accurately portrayed. The book helps everyone confront our inborn tendencies to use denial to spare ourselves emotional pain and that includes blocking out the emotional pain of someone who is a victim of emotional and psychological trauma. There is hope in the conclusion of the novel. Healing progresses when your experience is validated.
Your book is a tale of heroism, faith and the bond between women of influence. Who are some women who have made an influence and impact in your own life?
Madame Paramount Chief Honoria Bailor Caulker, of Sierra Leone, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Marian Anderson, concert singer, Pearl Buck, author, The Good Earth, Dorothy West, author, The Wedding, Jane Goodall, anthropologist, and Zora Neale Hurston, author, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and my mother Lucille Whaley.
For More on Dr.Perkins and her book:
Purchase the Book for the Kindle at only $3: http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Butterfly-Novel-Africa-ebook/dp/B005LVHZLU/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
About the Author: Melissa Kimble (@Melissa_Kimble) is not only the Owner and Creator of My Creative Connection; she is also available for hire as a Public Relations and Communications Consultant through The 3178 Agency.