Former Offender Reclaims Her Time with Inspirational Memoir
Renee Spivey pens new book about her journey from inmate to literary influence
Huntsville, TX: Imagine a client list that includes New York Times and Essence magazine best-selling authors. Huntsville resident Renee Spivey has a clientele that includes both. She can count many authors whose books line library and bookstore shelves as friends and collaborators too.
Author Tyora Moody is one of those collaborators. “Renee is a talented and smart business woman. I have watched her work tirelessly to promote authors over the past decade,” says Moody, who is also the publisher of Spivey’s newly-released memoir, “Once Broken: A Journey of Restoration.”
“I’m very proud to see her step out, which I know was a huge, scary step for her.”
Of the things she has experienced in her lifetime, debuting as an author does not compare to a time over 20 years ago when Renee Spivey was known as “Smith #744519,” her surname and inmate number.
“That was an absolutely frightening time in my life. Nothing about TV prison life prepares you for the realities.” Spivey’s crime was felony theft by check. She served twenty-two months in a Texas women’s minimum security facility, where she focused on spiritual growth and made a few decisions about her life.
Spivey says, “I read the bible daily and I planned for my post-prison future.” She would ultimately receive a college degree and start a book marketing business that concentrates on web and graphic design. “Once Broken” documents her journey from incarceration to the emotional work required to rid herself of shame even in the face of many post-prison accomplishments.
One of those accomplishments is her non-profit, We are Women of Worth, Inc., which provides life skills and counseling services to formerly incarcerated women and others who are trying to rebuild their lives much like Spivey. She also wants women to learn to tell their own stories, which is an integral part of her book.
Certified life coach and consultant Zaria Davis works with former offenders. She agrees with Spivey’s efforts. “One of the chief causes of female recidivism is an inability to overcome the shame of their offenses. It’s important for women to have a voice in this new life, a life of reentry as a returning citizen. Telling one’s own story weakens every argument that says you’re unworthy of restoration.” Davis believes Spivey’s book will assist many women to move forward as they shed the disgrace.
“Once Broken” was released on October 3 and is available in hardback and paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, and e-reader versions can be found at Amazon Kindle, Nook, iTunes and Kobo.
Angelia White, publisher of Hope for Women magazine, says, “Renee has been the champion of many writers over the years, it is great that she is coming out of the shadows to spread even more inspiration.”