Drawing courageously from painful experiences of her childhood while embracing and sharing her hard-won self-truths for the first time, author S.P. Brown’s powerful debut novel Gifts in Brown Paper Packages has earned out of the box acclaim and success – including debuting at #1 in three categories on Amazon within the first 72 hours of its Christmas week release. 

The narrative’s no holds barred themes of domestic violence tie in perfectly with the author’s dedicated work on behalf of  The Safe Center of Long Island (TSCLI), a non-profit serving Nassau County, New York.  Narrative’s No Holds Barred Themes of Domestic Violence Tie In Perfectly

Driven by the powerful, often harrowing but ultimately life affirming and triumphant narrative of 17-year-old protagonist Kyrie, the emotionally impactful book ended its second day at #38 in the highly competitive “New Releases Coming of Age” category and #1 “Musical Reference” due to the author’s inclusion of both old school and contemporary artists (from Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell to Deniece Williams, Lauryn Hill, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars) as the soundtrack to Kyrie’s experiences. Currently, it is also ranked on the Kindle Store’s Black & African American Christian Fiction list. 

Evoking some difficult experiences from her own childhood growing up in Harlem, Brown uses the fictional character of Kyrie as a vehicle to reflect on her ability to overcome the trauma of domestic abuse and somehow, miraculously, turn her physical and emotional survival into a triumphant and thriving life. The New York based author wrote the hard-hitting, flashback driven coming of age narrative over the course of one year while working her demanding high profile job as Vice President, Employment Counsel for a major entertainment conglomerate, often in quiet stolen hours in the middle of the night after her three children (now ages 14, 17 and 23) were in bed. 

The breathtaking journey chronicled in Gifts in Brown Paper Packages hinges on a single question. In the wake of another emotionally and physically abusive episode with the person she refers to as “Man,” should she take the leap through her bedroom window into the unknown? Leaving her mother and young brother behind, she has no idea if she can make it on her own, but choosing the risk of the streets seemed like a better option than staying. With no plan but survival, Kyrie’s story is driven by strength, personal growth, a journey to self-awareness and ultimately acknowledging her deepest truths. 

The theme of Gifts in Brown Paper Packages ties in perfectly with Brown’s dedicated involvement with The Safe Center of Long Island (TSCLI), a non profit agency comprehensively serving the needs of victims of domestic violence and inner personal trauma in Nassau County – and the only organization in the county providing free services to child and adult victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and human trafficking. In addition helping to raise funds for a Capital Campaign project to build an expanded new safe house facility, she has  served on the nominating committee for the past two years, with the goal of helping to identify diverse talent for TSCLI’s Board of Directors; she is currently their only African American Board Member. In 2020, Brown was named Vice President of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. She has agreed to become President of the Board in May 2022.

“For many years, I felt a lot of guilt and shame associated with those stories and felt like sharing them in my professional circles as a lawyer and even in my social circles wouldn’t engender real respect,” Brown says. “Eventually I realized my truth and that every part of my background, including the terrible, painful memories, served a purpose and informed what I consider this fabulous end product. That strength and resilience came from my path. It’s not necessary for readers to know the real life experiences versus the instances where I employed creative license or drew from other’s real life experiences. 

“The point of the book,” she adds, “is to inspire readers to look at their lives with the proper lens, and allow those hard knocks and terrible experiences to ultimately work towards defining greatness in them as opposed to defeat. Those lessons don’t always show up beautifully adorned. Sometimes you have to dig through the ugly wrapping to discover the strength within the package.  Everyone experiences difficult trials in their lives. The difference between a person who rises above them and succeeds and the one who doesn’t is perspective.”