Denise A. Smith

Denise A. Smith

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
July 5, 2004

Q. Who is Denise A. Smith?

A. Denise A. Smith is an author, public speaker, minister and crisis consultant. Her formal education consists of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan, attendance in Wayne State University’s School of Law and Aenon Bible College (Detroit extension).

Mrs. Smith is a former probation officer for the State of Michigan. In 1974 she began her career and intermittently she served the citizens of Michigan in that capacity until 1993. Job related injuries; both knees crushed from a fall and a shooting ended the budding career.

Denise married to L.C. Smith, Jr seven years ago. They currently live in Detroit, Michigan. They have a blended family of two daughters, Angela Thomason and Angela Clemmons, two sons, Aaron and Adam Thomason, and a wonderful son-in-law, Eric Clemmons. They are the proud grandparents of Nathan Dyer and Mali, Maya, and Moriah Clemmons.

Q. What inspired you to write BACK FROM SANITY’S EDGE?

A. I decided to write this book after a hired killer’s five bullets failed to kill me. I realized that most gunshot victims did not survive. I wanted to spread the news that God could take the death out of bullets. I am a miracle!

Q. How did you come about the title?

A. I had many titles for this book before I settled for this one. I chose this title when I realized the focus of this book was the battle for my sanity. I needed to find God's voice among all the louder ones of self-pity and destruction. God's voice was always soothing and the instructions were peaceful and not judgmental. It was then that I realized that I had been in a battle to preserve my sanity. I was told that my second from the last title Sanity’s Edge was too negative. My initial editors suggested that I add the words, "Back From," so the potential readers would get a sense of hope when they considered a title to purchase.

Q. How long did it take you to write BACK FROM SANITY’S EDGE?

A. It took over 11 years to write my book. I had to learn the craft of writing and how to get honest with my readers. I wanted to hold back some of the less flattering information; it didn’t work.

Q. Will you give the readers a brief description about your book?

A. Back from Sanity’s Edge, is a memoir, written by Denise A. Smith. While she worked a high-risk job as a probation officer, her marriage crumbled, suffered a career ending injury on-the-job followed by a hired killer shooting her five times at close range. She tells the story raw, edgy and honest filled with passion, humor, and wisdom. Smith blazes a trail that cuts a path through the jungle of life's issues.

It shows how the power of faith delivered her from evil, transformed her life, and even saved her from death. Back from Sanity’s Edge, penetrates the soul as it shows that Jesus is for everyone who believes that he is the Lord and Savior. Those who are still searching for a spiritual and natural balance can find help, inspiration and direction.

Q. Are you currently working on another book?

A. I am working on another book. It has a temporary title, "Shadows of My Footsteps." I learned, while I was writing the first book, that who I am today is the result of the events and choices in my past. To change my core beliefs I need to understand what affected me in the past. Those core beliefs are who I am today. Some are antiquated and need to be abandoned. Some are good but need to be updated. Some tools for maturity are missing, I need to learn them, I missed learning them earlier. So it is memoir number two. I probably will first, set it up with significant childhood events. Explain significant childhood events that match with American history, I guess sociological -historical and it’s effect on African Americans. Break down the core beliefs I developed, and then give examples of how this attitude either helped or hindered recovery and maturity when I faced major crises. I will give more self- help tools in this book for the reader.

Q. Where are you now in your Christian Journey?

A. I am still a crusader for the under dog or the ones left behind by society. If a person hurts I still have to offer a hand. The "Good Samaritan" is back.

Q. Out of your tragic situation, what did you learn?

 •  My vocation is not who I am just what I do
 •  I can reinvent myself at any time
 • I learned that trusting in God is the best road to recovery
 • Recovery is hard work
 • Restoration is worth the effort

Q. What message would you like people to receive from reading BACK FROM SANITY’S EDGE?

A. The message I want people to receive is: Your life is not over until you draw your last breath. Use all the talents God has given you and discover the real you Once violence has invaded a life, it has been totally effected forever. It not only effects the victim but the whole village. The cost for rehabilitation, the lost of productivity, the hours invested by friends and family and the amount that social agencies have to invest i.e. social security and Worker’s Compensation Everyone is effected by one act of violence, stop the apathy and get involved with a solution I was a victim and now I am a victor