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Have you ever wondered about your family history, and how family traditions or secrets through the years may affect you, your behavior, and major...

Have you ever wondered about your family history, and how family traditions or secrets through the years may affect you, your behavior, and major aspects of your life? Velvet (AuthorHouse, 2013) begins with Ludie, a young, unwed mother escaping reality down a dusty Southern road. Author Holly Charles also found a way to escape reality; or, rather, found a means to cope with reality years ago when she first began to write about her complicated relationship with her mother. It was through her own extensive research and many meaningful conversations with her grandmother that she identified several common themes in mother/daughter relationships particularly in (but not exclusive to) the African American community.

All mothers, regardless of race and culture, seek to protect their children from the demons and disappointments they themselves have been hindered by. Trying to spare their own daughters the pangs of womanhood and colorist ideals causes African American mothers to reproduce their own personal feelings of inferiority, fear and lack of esteem. Velvet is series of vignettes that chronicles poignant conversations and pivotal moments in the lives of four generations of women, all connected by blood, circumstance and the common tug-of-war that exists between mother and daughter.

Holly Charles was raised just north of Chicago and attended Purdue University for her undergraduate studies. She later earned a graduate degree in English from Prairie View A&M University. Writing has been a therapeutic outlet for her since childhood, whether through music, poetry or prose. Her personal journey to find herself as a woman and as a writer became her graduate thesis: Velvet: the Burden of Melanin and Motherhood, which has now been transformed into her first book, Velvet. In addition to her work as a writer, Charles teaches English to high school students through a Houston-area community college. She will debut her first stage play, In All Thy Getting, this spring at Houston’s Ensemble Theater.


James Stancil is an independent scholar, freelance journalist, and the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area non-profit dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people.