Darlene Greene (Ann Curtis) is president and CEO of DGreene Sales Solutions, LLC, a sales, and marketing support company for manufacturers of health and beauty products. Her professional background includes over 30 years in the area of sales and marketing in which she has received numerous distinguished sales awards.
As a native of Chicago, Darlene’s life changed forever when her youngest sister Ina Mae was lost to domestic violence. This tragedy prompted her to develop an organization where women in crisis could go to receive help and resources to escape potentially deadly situations. The Ina Mae Greene Foundation – For My Sisters, a 501(c)(3) is an educational resource and information foundation hoping to raise awareness about the atrocities of domestic abuse. Darlene is a very passionate speaker and lecturer on the topic of domestic violence and abuse.
A community voice, Darlene is a member of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Dallas Crime Victims Council, and the Texas Council on Family Violence. She is a founding member of the African-Americans Domestic Violence Council as well as a member of the Voices-Family Justice Center Alliance.
An expert on the topic of intimate partner violence, Darlene has appeared as a guest on numerous talk, radio, and news shows around the country and has been featured in local newspapers.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
Growing up, I had a Big Momma in my life who I loved more than anything. Though she was actually small, her energy was large and demanded respect. My Big Momma was from a time when women didn’t speak openly about abuse and trauma. Those things were private. Although Big Momma taught us many things, there was never a discussion about being sexually assaulted or a victim of domestic abuse. It wasn’t proper to speak publicly about such things. I understand why she wasn’t comfortable but it left us vulnerable to be victims of the very thing that she wanted to ignore. Of the mini lessons we received from Big Momma, she never told us about abuse or violence in a relationship, so Big Momma Didn’t Say was the perfect description of what I was experiencing.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
I was so excited. My cover is so beautiful and classy and tells the reader a lot about the story before they ever open the book. I was in the post office when I first saw my completed work and I yelled out “This is my book that I wrote!” I received a round of applause from everyone in line and the post office staff. It was epic!
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
As a child growing up in the inner city, I loved to read. Each story would come alive in my imagination, and I just wanted to dig deeper and deeper. The writers that influenced me especially were Toni Morrison and Bebe Moore Campbell—the more stories they told, the more I wanted to read. Their words spoke to me and made me want to share my experiences with the world.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
My career was in sales and marketing services in the beauty industry. In 1990 my sister was beaten and shot to death by her husband. That tragedy changed my life forever. I started studying criminal justice so I could understand who commits the crimes of domestic violence, and who are the victims. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. When I realized the information I knew could possibly save the life of someone else’s sister, I did not hesitate to write that information down to share with the world so no one would need to experience the pain and grief that my family suffered, hoping to spare them. I am still learning more and more about the law and victims’ rights and I will always want to share that information. Although I couldn’t save my sister I might be able to save someone else’s loved one.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
Because of my story, I often do public speaking. I write to teach. Give my book to a teenage girl or a 20-something who might have questions about dating and relationships and how to move away from someone who is abusing you. In delivering this message, I hope that at least 1 young lady out of 20 will understand the message and avoid a potentially deadly situation.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be) – Diana Ross
Where Is the Love – Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack
Bad Habit – Destiny’s Child
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
At my foundation, I get calls from women who tell me my book saved their lives … reading my book motivated her to leave a bad situation … they shared it with a friend in a bad situation …
My perfect reader is a woman who is trying to understand her situation but feels like she has no place to turn. Or someone who wants to learn how to protect their loved ones, their children, their daughters, their nieces and granddaughters—this book offers guidance in making smart dating choices.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
My sequel to Big Momma Didn’t Say is What’s the Matter with James? which I’m hoping to publish in time for Christmas. It is a continuation of the story of Peaches King and her family. I think it’s going to be a very interesting read. I look forward to hearing feedback from my readers.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
When I speak about Atmosphere Press, I talk about the great job of editing I received and the follow-up with every department from graphs to printing.
I have self-published before and was never really happy about the look and quality of my book inside and out. I am proud to sell my books now because they are not only beautiful but they are professional-looking. I tell people I FINALLY found the right publisher. I have a couple more books in me and I know Atmosphere Press will be there to assist me in every way!