Meet Mahogani Reign
Our newest author has one crazy story to tell. Her debut novel, Puncturing the Deepest Curse is full of gems on how leaving trauma untreated can cause turmoil and chaos throughout your life. The road to her writing debut has been rocky, yet inspiring. Here’s a look into her mind.
CC: How does it feel to be a published author?
Mahogani: I'm excited, amazed, and grateful. I've always had a thing for writing. Being a mother and wife has given me an extreme dose of being practical. I thought publishing a book was for people already established and that my dream of writing was just for fun. I never thought I'd have the opportunity to make it official. This book being published is a dream come true. I can look my children in the eyes and believe it when I say, "God will make room for your gifts." It's humbling, for sure.
CC: When did your passion for writing begin?
Mahogani: It began around age 6-7. I used to make little books with construction paper, glue, and markers. I did my own illustrations, too! I wrote songs with a friend as a preteen. (We still should do something with those songs, haha) In my teenage years, I fell in love with writing poetry and spoken word poetry.
CC: What does the average day for you look like?
Mahogani: They're rarely the same lol! I usually wake up to help get my children off to school. I do my best to keep my social media current on my business pages. I take a few clients at my beauty studio, book a few clients so I can eat the next week. (You know the entrepreneur life is savage lol!) By evening time, my husband and I pretty much cater to our children and what they need when they get home. Him or I cook dinner, help with homework, and talk about their day. By 10pm, on a good night, my husband and I can have our alone time.
CC: What is the last book you’ve read that truly impacted you and why?
Mahogani: Honestly it was "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It has given me a much more open mindset about giving and receiving love in my marriage, my relationship with my children, family, friends, and business relationships. I had a lot of preconceived expectations about love before I read the book. Now I'm becoming a lot more fluent and tolerant of everyone's different perceptions of love. I would love to see a "child friendly" version of the book. Imagine how beautiful it would be, if from a young age, we understood love and it's complexities.
CC: Without giving too much away, what was the hardest part about writing Puncturing the Deepest Curse?
Mahogani: The hardest part of writing "PTDC" was deciding how much of my own personal experiences would be used for inspiration. What to tell, how much to leave out, and what I would fabricate. I literally feel like I put myself on the chopping block even though it's fiction.
CC: Why did you decide to write Puncturing the Deepest Curse?
Mahogani: In life we all make decisions that alter our future. Our offspring are affected by our choices. We all are susceptible to trauma but we have a decision to stop the trauma and heal or risk it affecting generations to come. I want to generate conversations addressing and identifying generational curses in families, so they don't continue to cause havoc. I specifically used the word "Puncturing" because I understand that miracles don't happen overnight. To begin to deflate the curses is still a step in the right direction. There are heavy topics in this book. However, people are experiencing heavy circumstances.
CC: What does literary success look like to you?
Mahogani: Literary success for me is creating a body of work that captures its intended audience and stays relevant and timeless. I'm excited about every last one of my readers, but I'll be over the moon if I still made an impact 10 years from now. I'd faint if I was offered an opportunity to turn it into a film.
CC: Which one?:
Ebooks or Print?
Fiction or nonfiction?
Coffee or tea?
Pool or beach?
Winter or Summer?
CC: What do you hope your readers get from your work?
Mahogani: I hope my readers can find the silver linings in my work. There are sad moments in my book but there are many triumphant moments as well. I made sure that the book was realistic and relatable. Story book "happily ever afters" are beautiful but not always real. A displaced family being able to stay together is just as much a victory as someone winning the lottery. You must have the heart to see the blessing.
CC: What’s next for Mahogani Reign?
Mahogani: Taking a nap lol! No, but seriously I want to begin blogging and start to explore historical fiction and sci-fi. I love mainstream concepts from the lens of African Americans. My next few projects will definitely be unapologetically black and bold. And not just for black people's eyes. My Eurocentric sisters are just as eager to know more about our experiences. We just have to be fearless and honest enough to share them. I'm also excited to write science fiction because for some reason it doesn't always include us. Black people love futuristic theories, aliens, and superheroes, too. It's time for us to enjoy content that showcases our lifestyle at the center and not us being the token or the help.
Check out this exclusive sneak peek below!
Khadijah gazed at her recorder tapes and her red boombox in shear delight. Her mom was the coolest mom in the world. She bought Khadijah a 6-piece set of recordable tapes so she could record all of her favorite songs on the radio. She loved TLC and would imagine she was Chilli, singing all of her parts and adlibs. Music was Khadijah’s solace.
Khadijah was in 1st grade and so excited to learn about everything. She loved writing, reading, math, and especially music class. Her teachers adored her and her classmates all wanted to be her friend.
Jen was flourishing as a successful hairstylist and it showed in her children. She kept Khadijah and Hasaan dressed to the nines. Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Nautica, and Ralph Lauren were always a part of their wardrobe. Hasaan kept a fresh haircut. Khadijah kept a fresh hairstyle and the latest jewelry. From the outside looking in, they were living it up.
The courts gave Alex a chance to have supervised visitation with Khadijah and Hasaan, but unfortunately he never showed up. After 3 missed visits, Jen was granted full custody. She felt like she was finally free from Alex and starting to get her groove back. Finally, after all of that hell, she could experience a taste of heaven.
Khadijah knew how happy her mom was becoming. That's why she couldn't tell her what had been happening to her for the past year.
Damon may have promised to not hurt her again, but he did. Over and over again. With each incident, he robbed Khadijah more and more of her innocence and taught her first hand about manipulation and lies. Instead of it being his shameful secret, Khadijah felt as if it was hers.
One day while she was at school, they called the entire 1st grade down for an assembly. There were nice people there to talk about abuse. They handed out pamphlets and talked about the different types of abuse. Mental abuse was when someone says things to you to make you feel bad. Physical abuse was when someone hits you. Sexual abuse was when someone touched you or hurt you on a private part of your body. They taught the children in a way that they could understand. The nice people also urged the students to let a trusted adult know if either ever happened to them.
Believe it or not, that was the first time Khadijah had a name for what Damon was doing to her. She really wanted to tell her mom now.
As Khadijah rode in the backseat of her mom's Toyota, she listened to the voices of TLC singing "Waterfalls." She thought about the assembly at school and trembled.
Khadijah took a deep breath. “Mama…”
"Yes, Khadijah?" Jen answered, perky and bright.
"...I don’t want to go to Aunt Kathy's house anymore."
Jen parked in front of her sister’s house and turned around to look at Khadijah. "Why don't you want to go?"
"...Because Damon is sexually abusing me,” Khadijah whimpered.
Jen didn't take her next breath. She felt as if her heart and stomach collided and began to crumble and spin. She gasped and asked Khadijah to repeat herself. She couldn't believe what her child said. Jen backed out of that parking spot and drove like a bat out of hell to her mom's.
Jen banged on the door and Lola answered.
"Jen I wasn't expecting you..."
With bloodshot eyes, Jen asked, "Mama, can you watch Khadijah and Hasaan for an hour?"
Khadijah was afraid. Her mom was very angry and acting strange. However, she was happy to spend time with her MeeMaw. Meemaw made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. Khadijah was also happy to be away from Damon.
After about an hour went by, Meemaw got a phone call that made her cry loudly. She told Khadijah and Hasaan they were spending the night. This hurt Khadijah because she thought her mom was mad at her. She wished so badly that she had her tapes so she could listen to Mariah Carey and TLC. They made her feel so special.
What she didn't know was that her mom wasn't mad at her. Jen was mad for her. She drove to Damon's high school and attempted to run him over with her car. The attempt failed and she was arrested and placed on a psych hold for 24 hours.
When Jen was released, she decided to press charges against her nephew for molesting her child. Jen picked Khadijah up with puffy eyes and no makeup. As she was about to leave, her mom asked her, "Jen, why put our family business out there that way? We could've handled this."
"Mama, are you serious?” Jen snapped. “I have a choice to make and whatever I do will affect Khadijah, just as it did me. I'm choosing my child. I refuse to keep this curse going! I won't brush this under the rug!"
She stormed out of her mother’s house, determined to get justice for Khadijah.
Jen took her to the hospital where they gave her a vaginal exam. They confirmed Khadijah's hymen was broken and she'd been penetrated. Khadijah was numb through it all.
As they poked, prodded and questioned her, she wondered if she made the best choice by telling her mom.
Even in her pain, Jen knew she did. She would not allow her baby girl to be a victim of “brush it under the rug” abuse.
Charges were pressed, justice was served.
Khadijah was offered the best therapy and help available. She was free from Damon and the abuse. However, she still felt guilty. She couldn't see any family because they were all embarrassed and upset. Even her own grandmother was distant because she didn't agree with how the situation was handled.
The curse of the broken family was back and stronger than before. Khadijah felt like it was all her fault.