Sweetheart story inspiration for alumna’s new book of love

Students and community leaders joined FAMU alumna Barbara Joe-Williams to enjoy a release party for her book, “How I Met My Sweetheart.” The book is geared toward a variety of audiences, including single people, married couples and people who are seeking true love.  The release party was held Friday at the Jack L. McLean Community Center. Joe-Williams was accompanied by several of the authors who shared their stories in “Sweetheart.”

The crowd was full of local authors, friends and families of the authors, and people inspired by Joe-Williams’s work.

“The (authors) made me feel good that other people believe in marriage as much as I do,” said Devin Smith, 22, a senior health science student.

“This book brought back memories with my sweetheart and romances we had before marriage,” Smith said.

The Tallahassee native said his generation sees so much single, independent advertising on TV that they no longer trust or believe in marriages.

“How I Met My Sweetheart is set apart from other books today because all the stories are dear to the authors’ heart,” Joe-Williams said. “They are factual and they help bring a more positive attitude towards relationships.”

To gather the stories in her book, she conducted a contest where women and men wrote about how they met their sweethearts.

The criteria for this contest were “believable emotions” and well-written stories.

“Preparing for this book was not easy,” Joe-Williams said.After many entries, Joe-Williams picked 18 winners to be published in her book.

She said her book was inspired by a New Year’s Eve party she attended. There, many people asked her questions, and one of those questions was, “How did you and your husband meet?”  After telling her story, others in the room began telling their romantic love connections. The next day Joe-Williams mentioned the anecdotes to one of her close friends. The friend told her the topic would be a great book idea.

Thomas said she hopes the book encourages people to believe that marriage can last and the divorce rate can decrease. Thomas ended her story by quoting Proverbs 18:22 from the Bible: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing.”

Anne Holt-Webb, another author from Joe-Williams’s book, wowed the audience with her love story about her husband of many years. “Romantic people will love (my love story),” she said.

Joe-Williams is a freelance writer and independent publisher. Her next big project, “A Man of My Own,” will be released in October. “Sweetheart” is her fifth self-published novel.Although Friday was the first signing of the book, there will be many opportunities this month to purchase the book and meet Joe-Williams.

On Feb. 16, she will be at the FAMU campus bookstore from 11 a.m. – 1:30pm. “How I Met Sweetheart” is on sale at local Barnes and Nobles.