Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.
Alicia resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel.
Defining moment: Leaving the nursing profession to pursue my dream.
Greatest triumph: Holding Dark Side of Valor in my hands after five long years of creating and writing the novel. Going on book tour and meeting new people around the country.
On marriage: My husband is one of the most divine blessings in my life. Being married to my high school sweet heart, my prom date, my soul mate, since 1987, is phenomenal.
I knew I was in love: Back in the day when Martin and I were dating, he took me to a water theme park. On our way to the wave pool, he told me he couldn’t swim. Me, being Hattie helper, said, “Oh, I’ll teach you.” (Didn’t know the brother was a certified lifeguard until the ride home.)
Now, I could barely swim to save my life, but I was up for the challenge. After all, I’d passed the beginners swim class at the YMCA. My ancient, yellowing Pollywog Certificate proved it.
Armed with all the confidence of the captain of a sinking ship, I started teaching Martin how to float on his back in the shallow end of the pool. I could tell he was nervous by the way he clutched my waist, or how he sputtered when water splashed in his face. Despite the fact that he didn’t want to let go of my waist when he was floating, he did really, really well. Wow, he was a natural! Next up, the doggy paddle. Surprise, surprise, he learned how to tread water rather quickly and wanted to venture further into the pool.
We were splashing around in the deeper water when the pool operator turned on the wave machine. As the waves rolled in, we’d jump, let the water push us along. The day was perfect, until the billows began to swell bigger and bigger. An announcement boomed over the loud speaker, “Everyone out of the wave pool.”
Martin and I started toward the pool’s shore when a strong current swept my feet from beneath me. The powerful tow pulled me below the water’s surface. Fighting the current’s grip proved useless. After holding my breath as long as I could, I gulped in my first mouthful of water and thought, ‘Well this is it.’ As the water flung my body sideways, two hands gripped my rear end and forced me up.
Once we surfaced, we swam back to the pool’s shore then dropped down on our chairs. I turned, looked into his smiling brown eyes and knew I loved him. I cleared my throat. “You saved my life. Thank you.” He nodded and we sat, in silence, enjoyed the backdrop of the pool goers’ chatter.
How Martin swam to save me?
I turned toward him, poked his shoulder. “Hey, you can swim!”
He grinned, shrugged. “How else was I going to see you in a swimsuit?”
Another thought came to mind. “You know you grabbed two handfuls of my butt when you saved me?”
His grinned widened then he winked. “It was a win win situation.”
Ain’t love grand?
Proudest Moment: Watching my son join the ranks of Mother Teresa, President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Ben Carson, Maya Angelou, and Cal Ripken in receiving the National Caring Award. In 2007, on Capitol Hill, Davin was named 1 of the 5 most caring young adults in America.
Scariest times: In Philadelphia, it was common for gangs to announce where their upcoming ‘war’ was going to take place. There were no drive-bys back in the day. ‘Wars’ were switch-blade slashing, gun firing, fist hammering, blood baths that no one wanted to get caught in.
One year, two rival gangs picked our school yard for their war. When? The last day of school. Our school spanned several city blocks and housed students from the 1st through the 12th grade.
When the dismissal bell rang on the last day of school, no one wanted to leave the building. Administrators, teachers and pupils alike where all students of fear. Instead of going to the bus stop, we where herded into the auditorium. There, teachers separated us into groups depending on where you lived.
One by one, each group was called to exit the building. When my group was announced, I didn’t want to go because I couldn’t find my older sister, Mimi. I remember being so scared, standing there behind the steel door that led out to the school yard. When the door opened, sunlight flooded in, blinded us. A voice yelled, “Hurry children. Get to the bus stop. Move quickly!”
Over the door’s threshold, teachers formed a line from the door up to the bus stop. Scattered around the school yard, and packed shoulder to shoulder around the periphery of the yard’s chained link fence, stood SWAT officers, dressed in full riot gear, armed with rifles.
The officers shouted, “Move! Move! Up the hill! Move!” I ran up the yard, looked for Mimi. She was nowhere in sight.
When I got to the top of the hill, Mimi was there, in tears, refusing to get on the bus until I got there. The bus ride home was usually a ruckus ride, especially on the last day of school. As the bus pulled from the curb, the bus cabin was silent as a tomb.
It wasn’t cool to sit with your sister on the bus. That day, Mimi and I sat together, holding hands all the way home.
The little known facts
Hardest struggle: Learning to be the person God created me to be. Unlearning the detrimental habit of people pleasing. Accepting that being Alicia, purely Alicia, is a good thing.
Favorite reads: Suspense novels, thrillers, mysteries, supernatural novels, real-life inspirationals.
Favorite music: Gospel, Old School R&B, Old School Rock, Classical, Soft Jazz.
Favorite foods: Homemade mac-and-cheese, homemade banana pudding, Cream of Crab soup, Caesar salad. (Note the vegetable is last:)
Yuck foods: Beets, chitterlings (Yes, even if they’re cleaned and cooked the right way.), okra, souse cheese (What is it, exactly?), pig feet, pig ears, pig snout, (Sorry, porky.)