"Serendipity" Memoirs from the Fifth Floor (released September 2008).  Malik Saunders is a hometown guy.  Born in Sacramento and raised in the Rhonert Park section of Sonoma County, which is near Santa Rosa.  He attended Rancho Cotate High School and majored in Juvenile Justice at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Saunders is a family man, father to daughter Adriana Malika age 16 and son Isaiah Malik age 10.  Though they live in Santa Rosa he shares custody of them, spending as much time as possible with them.

Sac Hub: I understand you had a book signing in February, was that your first signing?
Saunders: Yes it was held at Carol’s Books and it went well.   I sold out of the books on hand.  Lots of people from the hospital I was in came.  Family and friends, pharmacists and a nurse from UC Davis also attended.

Sac Hub: How did you get started writing?
Saunders:  I have been writing poetry since I was young, it is my calling.

Sac Hub: What was your inspiration for this book?
Saunders:  I wrote it to leave a legacy for my kids. There was a time when my survival was not definite.  I wanted to leave my thoughts, words of guidance for them so that if something happened they could pick up the book and talk to me.  I also wanted to get the book into the hands of people going through what I was going through.  I want to tell people who are being challenged, you can do it. Another thing that prompted me to write was my father passed away when I was four years old.  I hear stories about him, but each person’s recollection is different.  I dug and found out for myself.  I had many questions about him and I wanted my kids to know about me, from me.

Sac Hub: What led to your long hospital stay and current medical condition?
Saunders:  I was in an auto versus truck accident, we  were t-boned by a truck going 65 mph.  My seatbelt tightened up on me, ripping my diaphragm and intestines apart.  Everything from my abdominal area shifted into my chest.  I was pushed forward injuring my lower back.  October 15, 2004 the doctors induced a coma that was to last two days but it lasted seven.  There was brain damage from being under so long, when I came to I was on two life supports.  I was in ICU 2-3 weeks and in the hospital for two months.  When I went home I had a nurse that came, I was wheel chair bound, recovering in bed for one month.

Sac Hub: That had to be very hard on you and those around you, how did you cope?
Saunders:  My girlfriend of the time helped me through the hospital.  When I came home, she left, it was too much for her.  Then my mother helped me but I wanted to be self-sufficient. 

Sac Hub: Your accident was so life-altering, how did you cope with it?
Saunders:  I was mad about my condition.  I prayed, people prayed for me in the hospital, I could hear them.  The whole experience brought me closer to God.  People ask me all the time, why were you saved?  I realized how blessed I was, in the hospital people to the right and left of me were dying.  I believe in some higher power because people are saved.  While I was in the coma I didn’t see a white light but I saw so many things, it was a scary experience.  I was running and I didn’t know where I was going.

Sac Hub: How is your condition now?
Saunders:  I have a catheter in my chest, which makes it hard to eat.  I only have half of my small intestine and I lost all of my large intestine.  There is a machine I have to go on and it is programmed for 16 hours, this has been my daily routine for the last four years.

Sac Hub: Are you on a transplant list?
Saunders:  I am waiting for a transplant but there is no list yet for this type of transplant.  I go to the doctors three times a month and a nurse comes in once a week to check my blood.  If my blood does not look right, I have to go back to the hospital and receive medication until the readings return to the right level. 

Sac Hub: What is your best achievement?
Saunders:  Being able to give back, I talk with kids about my car accident.  Vehicle accidents are the #1 killer of teens now.  I speak at hospitals if the Chaplain requests it.  Also being here for my family is a big thing for me, we get together once a month here.  There are also family reunions in the summer but I am unable to attend those.  But being here to watch my daughter turn 16 was a big deal for me.

Sac Hub: What 3 words describe Malik?
Saunders:  Father, good friend, believes in the Lord.

Sac Hub: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Saunders:  I see myself healed and completely recovered.  I’ll see my daughter off to college and my son will be getting his first car, he’ll be 16 by then.

Sac Hub: What goals have you set for your writing?
Saunders:  I want to start a family publishing company and  help others not make the same mistakes I made.  My cousin is incarcerated but write a lot, I want to publish some of his writings too.  My mother is an avid reader, some of my family writes poetry.  My goal is to leave the business to my children.

Sac Hub: What are your views on The Hub magazine?
Saunders:  I like everything, you target people starting their businesses.  I picked it up years ago before my accident and said I’m going to meet these people and be in this paper.  Sharon from Carol’s Books and Pleshette from The Hub have helped me so much.  Both of them encouraged me and told me no matter what, keep writing.  I am very appreciative of both of them.

If you would like to contact Malik Saunders, e-mail mistamalik@hotmail.com or call (916) 752-4687.

Submitted by Senior Staff Writer/Reporter, Donna Michele Ramos



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