Alum achieving her goals with first book

Diseree Smith, a 2007 graduate of Grambling State University finally has accomplished her goal of becoming an author since the 6th grade, as she has published her first book entitled “Beautiful Like a Flower”     

Deseree Smith was a GSU cheerleader, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and president of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society. After graduation in 2007, she taught at Alma J. Brown Elementary School on campus for two years.

Deseree Smith was a GSU cheerleader, member of
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and president of Kappa
Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and
Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society. After graduation in 2007,
she taught at Alma J. Brown Elementary School on campus for two years.

“Becoming an author was always a secret aspiration of mine,” Smith said. My teacher Ms. Miles (now deceased), was a big inspiration to me, she brought in a poet to our class who had published her book.” Her name was Vera Chitty and she was an African-American. I was so impressed! She looked like me!” 

The journey all began for the Chicago native now residing in Houston, TX when she was entering middle school. She said that reading has always made her happy and writing has always made her feel free. When she was younger she would always write little short stories and poems to try to escape her reality. 

“I loved to read R.L. Stine publications as a kid. I would sneak and read after bed time using the light streaming from the bathroom” she said.” 

Smith’s 7th grade teacher Mrs. Jackson knew she had a special gift and continued to push her beyond what Smith believed her capabilities were. 

“Mrs. Jackson would pick my books for me because she said that the ones I selected didn’t challenge me,” Smith said. One of the first books that she selected for me was “Mama Day” by Gloria Naylor”. It was then that I was introduced to thick plots and multiple points of views in one book.    

The new book, “Beautiful Like a Flower”, is Smith’s life story told through a character she created named Serenity. The story is a true story about a young woman who participated in and was surrounded by promiscuity, drugs, and had to deal with peer-pressure and low self-esteem on the South Side of Chicago in Englewood. 

 “I decided to write the story about Serenity because I know there are both males and females that have been born into less than ideal situations and family dynamics,” Smith said. No one chooses their families, but your future can be decided upon.”

The author says that she chose the book’s title because when most people think of a full bloom flower of any kind, the response is always similar to, “those flowers are beautiful” or some close variation. 

“There are very few people who really consider what that flower had to “grow” through in order to achieve its greatest state of beauty. Most people see the end result but don’t see the journey,” Smith said. 

One of the readers of the book said, “I have cried, prayed, and cried some more and I’m not done yet….The book really consumed me. It was like watching a movie,” said Karen Smith. 

In the book, the character, Serenity, thought she had eluded her childhood and youth environment, but quickly realized the unresolved issues followed her to Grambling State University into adulthood.

The issues that are faced in her story aren’t that different than those happening in the life of others, but often times go undiscussed and hidden. Therefore, Serenity’s story brings light to people of all ages if they are going through or have gone through similar life journeys.

“My ideas for the book originated from my life story and the story of my neighbors, and the stories of my community,” she said. These are not mere ideas. They are the stories of our sisters, our cousins, our friends and the like.”

Beautiful Like a Flower is one of those books that make you reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going in life. It also shows a great message of how to overcome adversity,” said LaJena N. James, reader of the book.

Smith’s passion is to inspire and encourage girls to become virtuous women and to challenge them to become who God has destined them to be, not what the world pressures them to become.

“I knew I wanted to help someone through my story, the question then became, how do I help others make better decisions than I made,”she said. The answer was clear….tell them your personal story. Tell them what their mom’s or elders are ashamed to talk about, so I did. Another challenge that I had was making it understandable for any age group. I didn’t want it to get too long so getting right to the point was a challenge as well.” 

Smith said that the process of writing the book took about seven months to complete once she committed to it. 

“I had written Beautiful Like A Flower years ago and I lost it, but once I accepted that part of my purpose was to tell Serenity’s story, I took it upon myself to accept that challenge and get it done.”

The format of the book comparing the life of a human to that of a flower was strictly a download from God. 

“This book required a lot of research as I really had no idea in depth the process of development of a flower,” she said. There were a lot of late nights and early mornings. Lots of tears, lots of healing, but most importantly peace came.” 

This book’s audience doesn’t come with an age requirement. It has more of a “MA-Mature Audience Only” rating. This is because the Serenity tells her earliest memory from Kindergarten and continues through adult life. 

Smith believes that people should purchase this book because it is authenticity at its finest. 

“None of the events are made up or fluffed up,” she said. Beautiful Like A Flower gives hope to some and reminds others to be grateful. I believe that we all know someone in the situations that Serenity faces and they need help. It may be you who needs the help. There are “seeds of faith” planted throughout the book to give more insight as to what steps can be taken to free oneself.”  

The author goes on to describe the book as story that highlights the idea that you can’t run from your problems/issues if they are inside of you. You have to instead run to healing and wholeness in your own way.

“I want people to know that no matter your circumstance you can make it,” she said. You can become your greatest self because everything you need has already been placed on the inside of you.” 

The book is currently available to purchase on Amazon and PayPal. Both links are on Smith’s website www.dsmiththeauthor.com.