Today’s edition of the Xulon Press Successful Author Spotlight proudly features Bill Cosby’s cousin Merisa Parson Davis, www.merisadavis.com, who has authored the book “Bill Cosby is Right!”, defending her famous cousin’s controversial statements pertaining to race. In her book, Merisa examines Cosby’s statements and provides personal analysis of the now famous speech Dr. Cosby gave at the NAACP 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner honoring Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 landmark civil rights case.
In Dr. Cosby’s speech, given on May 17th, 2004, Bill Cosby discusses his concerns about the African American community and provides his suggestions for improvement. His now famous “Pound Cake” speech, coined from his phrase “People getting shot in the head over a piece of pound cake!” is the subject of Merisa’s book. You can read an excerpt at her website.
When I asked Merisa to share her writing method, she provided the following insight. “Get a God concept first. I was commissioned to write a book, but I didn’t know what to write the book on. I asked God “what do I write about?” I then turned a conversation with our Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary president into a term paper. That term paper was later turned into this book – all because – I got a God concept first!”
Merisa expounded on the mechanics of writing. “Organization is the key to success. I feel that paper is necessary – I like to write it down. Thomas Nelson’s “Guide to Writing a Winning Book Proposal” is a great reference material. Start with a three or four line synopsis for each of your chapters. Planning is another key. Remember the scripture “Which of you do not first consider the cost?” Plan ahead, use your written synopsis to start each chapter – plan out your book before you start writing!”
“Tell me about the one experience that changed your life?” She explained that she was raised in a pastor’s home, so she has always been in the Word and in ministry. “The mantle passed from my mother onto me and now I see it passing onto my daughter. The decision to enroll in Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary was a major turning point in my ministry and in my life. My undergraduate work was in journalism and TV. I had a job in television “on air” just three weeks after I graduated. In reflection, it was while attending Seminary, in my first class – after he heard me speak in class, the president of the seminary approached me and said “you ought to write a book”. I knew he was the oracle of God. I pondered this in my heart. I didn’t tell my husband. And within several months, God confirmed through another source that I was to write this book. And everything just fell into place.”
She goes on to reveal how God provided her need. “I had to believe God for the money. I was paying for seminary. I didn’t have the extra money to publish a book, but I didn’t wait for the money to come; no, I started writing because I knew that God was going to provide the money. And God did provide the money! He chooses how to provide, no matter how strange it may seem. I was cleaning in my kitchen, and pulled my refrigerator out to clean behind it, and I saw a leak. This was a new refrigerator that we had installed by Home Depot. Home Depot came out, inspected the leak, and… wrote a check for the repairs for what they caused. One day later, Xulon Press had the money to publish my book. God will provide – you have to trust Him!”
Merisa went on to share the central message of her life, explaining “God is more concerned about your living than about your giving. Take away is: ministry is very rewarding and can actually be fun!”
When I asked Merisa how she uses the gift God has given her to help others, she reports “I started teaching a class on “Publishing a Christian Book”. One of my first students, a twelve year old girl, is now on a national list with a book she wrote after attending my class. She wrote a devotional and is now going on TV to promote her book. I now have students with Ph.D’s attending my class so they can learn “how to write a book”– And I always recommend Xulon in my class and to all my students.”
I questioned “what would you like written on her gravestone?” Merisa immediately shared that it would be her theme scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” She wants to share her testimony anywhere God opens the door, from teaching class to holding women’s conferences.
I probed deeper with “what inspiration could our readers receive from your relationship with Christ?” Merisa shared “God is interested in the everyday details of your life. The Holy Spirit is available to guide you in everything you do. I felt led to go with Xulon to publish my book. He led me to which house to buy, which car to purchase. I even ask which outfit to wear in the pulpit. God is concerned about the outward. Listen to His voice, follow His leading!”
In closing, there was one question I know our readers would want answered. I asked her “what does your famous cousin Bill Cosby think about your book?” Merisa immediately explains that she is a “country cousin” to Mr. Cosby, having never actually met him, but she has heard through the family grapevine that he was very respectful of any family members who got an education and were smart enough to write a book, so she is sure that he would be proud. Merisa adds that she hopes to someday get her cousin’s full endorsement.
After spending time with Bill Cosby’s “country cousin”, hearing her share her heart and passion for her Savior and His ministry, I have to agree – I would be proud to have Merisa Parsons Davis show up at my next family reunion!
Find Merisa’s book Bill Cosby is Right! in the Xulon Press Bookstore.