I learned about Twyla while scrolling through Instagram. I came across her IG live, Talks With Twyla while she was discussing how to maintain your mental health during the pandemic with her guest for the evening. I tuned in because I’m an advocate for mental health stemming from my own experience with depression and right now mental health support is critical during these challenging times. I reached out to Twyla because I loved her bubbly personality and because we share similarities such as being authors, podcast hosts, experiencing our fair share of heartbreak and we care and love to help people. She wrote a book called The Unexpected The Ride Of My Life where she opens up and talks about the roller coasters she encountered with love and intimacy, meeting her father, postpartum depression, being stalked by her ex-husband, keeping her faith in God, forgiving people, going through an emotionally draining divorce, getting back into the dating scene, all while pressing the reset button on her life and being a single mom. My advice to you, purchase The Unexpected The Ride Of My Life because it is a really good read and very relatable. So get comfortable and let’s begin the interview with Twyla M. Marks.
ASCSW: Hello Twyla, I hope all is well. I see you on Instagram always promoting positive, empowering, uplifting content on your IG page daily. Congrats on your book, podcast, new website and everything else you have going on. Kudos to you!!!! Yasss darling yasss. LOL. I can’t wait to jump into this interview to get the 411 on you.
ASCSW: I would like to start off our interview talking about you. How have you been doing during this pandemic? How are you staying motivated during these uncertain times?
Twyla: I’d like to thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity. Wow! I’ll start off by saying I was initially in shock, I’m sure like the majority of the world, right? I remember when we first had to quarantine, I thought wow, this is something I’ve never experienced…it was fine initially for me, because I think I needed the rest! However, after about the 3rd week I was bored out of my mind…LOL! Seriously, we were still on “lock down” and I had to get out of my house, going from the kitchen, living room, back to the kitchen and my patio, so I found a local high school and went walking daily just to keep my sanity, and release those happy hormones we know as endorphins. As far as motivation during this time, my podcast has been keeping me very busy!
ASCSW: Let’s talk about your podcast Talks With Twyla? Can you share with the readers the purpose/mission behind your podcast? What inspired you to create your podcast? When and where can everyone listen to Talks With Twyla?
Twyla: Sure – well my podcast was birthed at the end of 2019; and I was planning to launch it in the Spring of 2020 – well we all know what happened – COVID! So, I thought I can’t launch this podcast which initially was going to be an extension of my book, The Unexpected The Ride Of My Life where I was going to invite guests to discuss relationships/divorce recovery, etc. I knew I needed to take a different route because I felt I needed to be sensitive to the times we were currently living in. So fast forward, I actually launched my podcast with a COVID19 series, and I recorded 8 episodes surrounding COVID, where I invited various guests, and it was dedicated to the Senior Class of 2020! My heart bled for them! Based on that series, I thought that’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to record in series about a certain topic and invite guests to the show on a weekly basis…and that’s exactly what Talks with Twyla is all about where you will be inspired, informed, empowered, and encouraged! Talks with Twyla is a weekly podcast that can be listened to on all major podcast platforms.; anchor, Spotify, apple podcast, google podcast and more.
ASCSW: What type of topics can the readers expect to hear when they listen to your podcast?
Twyla: The topics you can hear on Talks with Twyla are all relevant – every day topics; the series I’ve recorded this season was COVID, “All Things Relationships”, All Things Mental Health, Author Spotlights, and we’ll conclude the season with a series entitled “Grateful”. After the whirl wind year we’ve all experienced, it’s time to talk about in the midst of it all – what are you still “Grateful” for! That series will be published mid-November.
ASCSW: So let’s talk about your book The Unexpected The Ride Of My Life . You ready?!
ASCSW: Your book is packed with stories girl! First, I would like to say thank you for sharing and being so transparent about your experiences, there were aspects of your life I could definitely relate to. My first question is what inspired you to open up and speak about your very personal life experiences? What mission/message would you like to accomplish with your book?
Twyla: Wow! Great question! I am a firm believer that we don’t go through experiences just for “us” we go through and get through experiences to help others. I thought first thank you Lord for allowing me to overcome it all. I need to share my story with the world and if just one person is encouraged then my writing isn’t in vain. Without sharing the book during this interview; I’d like each and every reader especially in the space of a toxic relationship/marriage/divorce to know that they’re not alone, and to take some of the experiences I went through and apply them where they can to their lives, especially the “forgiveness” piece!
ASCSW: Could you please explain from your own point of view why forgiveness is so important?
Twyla: Forgiveness is very important because it’s for you, so you will no longer be in bondage…you will be FREE!!!
ASCSW: Where can the readers purchase The Unexpected: The Ride Of My Life?
Twyla: My book can be purchased via my website for an autographed copy twylammarks.com and if you’d like the eBook format that can be purchased on amazon.com. Reviews are also welcomed and can be submitted on amazon.
ASCSW: What was the experience like for you writing this book? How long did it take you to complete it?
Twyla: The writing process took a few months – however, after the manuscript was completed, and edited, the process for the book cover design began along with the formatting of the book. For anyone who may have a desire to write a book, just start writing, I’d suggest/recommend not worrying about a title in the beginning because what you write may not fit the title. My initial title was going to be something regarding “Unmask”…remove the mask…however, once I started writing that title just didn’t fit! After my editor and I read the manuscript multiple times, she and I both loved the current title along with the rollercoaster comparison of my life. Thus why the book is written in sections, i.e. like parts of a rollercoaster.
ASCSW: I know writing a book can be challenging from organizing your thoughts, concentrating, carving out time to work on it, and etc. What were some of the challenges you encountered while writing your book and how did you overcome those challenges?
Twyla: Hmmm, I didn’t have many challenges since I was writing about my journey, my story. If I could pinpoint one thing which really wasn’t a challenge, I just couldn’t make up my mind about “in what person” I was going to write it…and obviously I decided on it.
ASCSW: Love can be complex and filled with lessons; it definitely has its highs and lows. What is the most important thing love has taught you based on your experiences shared in your book?
Twyla: Wow!!! Now that question is “packed” – well, I’ll say that the next guy I meet/date/etc. I’ll completely take my time before planning to move towards next steps, ie engagement, marriage.
ASCSW: You talked about the rollercoaster of experiences and emotions you encountered during your marriage. In particular you spoke about the arguments, infidelity, the emotional process of getting divorced and the stalking but one thing I noticed you did throughout your entire situation is keep your faith in God. I know there’s a lot of people experiencing a similar situation, what advice can you share with other people who may be trying to maintain their sanity while experiencing a challenging divorce?
Twyla: My advice if you’re in this space is to take care of “YOU” self care is imperative while going through a challenging divorce. Take care of yourself and if there’s kids involved, make sure they understand, talk to them, be as transparent as you can, be age appropriate. Allow them to have a relationship with both parents (unless there’s illegal reasons not to, ie physical abuse, etc) the kids love both of you!
ASCSW: You mentioned in your book how “Me Time” is important. My question to you is how do you prioritize your time between working, being a mother, writing books or blogging, hosting Instagram lives and your podcast and then finding time for yourself? Do you have any self care rituals?
Twyla: Oh yes!! I spend a lot of “ME TIME” I always tell people if you can enjoy your own company you’re in a HAPPY place! As far as being a mother my kids are grown and gone!
ASCSW: In life we encounter many challenges but it is important to know there are lessons to be learned during those hard times. That being said, out of all of the experiences you talked about in your book which one has been the most impactful experience you have encountered during your journey of life that has helped you grow into the woman you are now and why?
Twyla: Wow, a loaded question. I’ll start with the relationship with my mom. As you know after reading my book, my grandmother raised me, and my mom and I relationship was very rocky throughout the years, for many reasons. As I have matured and have children of my own, it has allowed our relationship to develop into something much better to this day. Of course, after finding out the truth, I forgave her, and moved on from the bitter feelings that I harbored for many years.
ASCSW: I have an idea of who you will name after reading your book. When you were growing up was there a woman in your life that you felt represented A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman? If so, who was this person and what are some of the characteristics they displayed that made them A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman?
Twyla: Oh yes!!! You know it! My grandmother, who is the matriarch of my family – her characteristics, she’s strong, she’s very classy, hard working (in her younger years) a Christian woman who raised me to be the same.
ASCSW: I reached out to you because I truly admire the content you’re putting out about self empowerment, self love, bouncing back from a divorce, being a single mom, entrepreneurship and so much more. You’re a beautiful black woman, vibrant, inspirational, relatable, driven and ambitious. Twyla, in your opinion what do you think makes you A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman?
Twyla: Awww…thank you so much! I’m allowing God to lead and guide my steps daily!
ASCSW: Last question. What would you like the readers to take away after reading your interview/story on ASCSW?
Twyla: Take away from this that divorce is not the end it may just be the beginning…and it’s ok to start over!
ASCSW: Twyla, thank you once again for taking the time to speak with ASCSW, I greatly appreciate you taking time out to talk. I wish you nothing but continued success but before we go is there anything else you like to share with the readers that we may not have touched on?
Twyla: Yes!!!! If you’re in the space of divorce please go to therapy it’s nothing wrong with it, it absolutely helps you on your divorce recovery journey!!! Even though you may feel you’re ok I would still recommend it, I went to therapy for several months and it certainly helped me!!! You will be a better person after therapy and be sure to find a therapist that you connect with! If you are contemplating divorce visit with several divorce attorneys before you hire one. Divorce is rough and you certainly need an attorney you feel comfortable sharing your life with for various reasons!!! Last, get a great support system and remove negative people from your life during this season of divorce and surround yourself with positive people!!!
ASCSW: Can you please share your website and social media with the readers.
Twyla: Please see below for links.