- Where are you from?
Jason: a small town in Bertie County, North Carolina called Lewiston-Woodville
Ondrea: I am from Gaithersburg, MD, a short distance from Washington, DC
- Tell us your latest news?
Jason: I am officially credit card debt free! God is good!
Ondrea: There will be some very exciting news in the near future, so I will hold it
- Whe and why did you begin writing?
Jason: I think I’ve always
written. I’ve always had a vivid
imagination and people frequently ask me to edit documents they have
written. I still have friends that will
send me a document and say, “work your magic…make this sound pretty.” It wasn’t until 2006; however, that I began
I began writing in 2010 when How could my husband be GAY? was suggested to
me. I always did a good job writing
papers for school and even helping other people, but I never thought that I
would be an author until this project came up.
- When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jason: Oddly enough, I had a hard time embracing the
title of writer even after my first book (Just Tryin’ To Be Loved) was
published five years ago. I think the
reluctance was a result of my own insecurities.
It wasn’t until I looked up the word “writer” in the dictionary that I
began to embrace the title. I couldn’t
deny that I was a writer simply by definition.
I considered myself a writer after How could my husband be GAY? was completed
and J’son kept reminding me that I was a real writer now, LOL
- What inspired you to write your first book?
Jason: My first book is based loosely on my own
life. Writing it was a way of releasing
a lot of pain and voicing my opinion on topics that had directly affected my life.
This is my first book and it was inspired by the experiences that transpired in
my life during my marriage
- Do you have a specific writing style?
Jason :I typically write in 1st
person and I would describe my style as narrative. I’ve been told that I have a gift for
I have to agree with J’son. I believe in
descriptive writing as well because I love to read. I always felt that when I can picture the
story playing out in my mind it is one sign that it is a good book. So I wanted my writing to have this same
affect on the reader, which we have been told is true in this title.
- How did you come up with the title?
I’ll defer that question to my
TJ Adams of Foresight Publishing, and I were discussing possible titles. At the end of the conversation we settled on
How could my husband be GAY? because it was literally the question that I
constantly had to ask myself in my marriage.
In other words, it represents me asking myself how I ended up in that
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Jason: I think Ondrea and I have individual
messages that we want the reader to get with this project. For me, I think the biggest message is just
to be honest about who you are and to really know who you are before you embark
on a journey such as marriage or parenthood.
I specifically reference these two situations because our decisions can
positively or negatively impact the lives of others. This novel shows what can happen when we are
selfish in our decisions.
The message I would like the reader to take away is the honesty has to be the
foundation of a marriage. There are so
many men and women today who have various motives for marrying, but elect to
live secret lives behind the scenes.
Ladies, let’s open our eyes and pay attention before we fall head over
heels in love and are blinded by love.
We have to protect ourselves as much as we can. Gentlemen, think long-term
and understand that this type of deception can only have catastrophic
repercussions and we find out that it really wasn’t worth it in the end.
- How much of the book is realistic?
Jason: This project was very challenging for me as a
writer due to the limitations that Ondrea placed on me in wanting the book to
be completely honest. As a fiction
writer, my natural inclination was to embellish, but that couldn’t happen. That said, the work is 100% the reality of my
- Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Jason: The book is based on the life of my
co-author, Ondrea L. Davis.
- What books have most influenced your life most?
Jason: I think the book “Finding Fish” by Antwone
Fisher changed my life. I was amazed at
how much Mr. Fisher’s life paralleled my own.
Like him, it was a long journey for me to “find” my family and get the
answers I needed in order to move on.
Ironically, I got the remaining answers a month before my mom passed
away in August 2009.
When I was young, I loved any book by Maya Angelou, but specifically I Know Why
the Caged Bird Sings. In my adulthood, I
have come to love Kimberla Lawson Roby and Patricia Haley titles. All three of these authors made me feel what
I was reading and that had an impact on me and how I wanted to write as well.
- If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Kimberla Lawson Roby
- What book are you reading now?
Jason: I just read and reviewed a book given to me
by Ondrea called “Let the Church Say Amen” by Reshonda
Ondrea: Broken by Patricia Haley
- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
- What are your current projects?
Jason: I am currently working on the sequel to Just
Tryin’ To Be Loved. I don’t have a title
in stone but I think it will be something like “Just Tryin’ To Be Loved 2: Till Death Do Us Part” or something like
I have multiple project ideas and just have to decide which one will be
next. I would love to write a fiction
book in the future. I would love to
experience the process for that type of work as opposed to non-fiction.
- Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Jason: I have a great deal of respect and admiration
for M.T. Pope, who is a store manager at Urban Knowledge Bookstores and a
fellow writer. I’ve found that authors
(particularly those that write in your same genre) can be very selfish and
discouraging. This man gets it! He is supportive and encouraging and will
promote your book like it’s his own. I
wish there were more people out there like him.
I will never forget meeting Treasure Blue a short while ago at Cartel Café
& Bookstore in Oxon Hill, MD. He was
having a signing when I dropped by to submit How could my husband be GAY? and
he stopped me before I got to the counter and began to talk to me about my
book. There were people there to see
him, but he took the time out to ask me questions about my title and even
introduced me to another DMV author, Envy Red.
From that point on, Treasure has been a great help and source of
knowledge within the industry. He has a
genuine heart for helping new authors and I am appreciate to him for all of his
- Do you see writing as a career?
Jason: I am a commercial property manager full time
and I write part-time. That almost seems
unfair given my passion for writing. I
hope to one day write full time and say that I do something else part-time.
I would love to write as a career. I am an accountant, but I am confident that
I could utilize both professions simultaneously given authors need to keep
track of their financial progress as well.
- If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Jason: No – I did what I was tasked to do. Ondrea is happy with the finished product and
that makes me happy.
No, I would change a thing. I wanted
this title to be 100% true to what took place in my life. I walked away from this project totally
satisfied with the book because I was honest and transparent about issues that
many of us do not want to acknowledge and discuss. This book is not only a representation of me,
but the many women who suffer any type of abuse and deception at the hands of
their husbands and often do not have a voice.
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Jason: I actually do! When I was in High School I took a typing
class under Mrs. Vick. In this class, we
were all asked to “create” a resume.
None of us had ever had jobs so creating it was solely based on our
imaginations. Not only did I create a
resume, but Mrs. Vick selected me for the imaginary job over all the other
students in my class. It was then that I
realized that I had a gift that everyone didn’t have.
My interest in writing was birthed with this project. I never in my wildest dreams would have
thought that I would have become an author.
But once the wheels started rolling, a new passion was cultivated and
here I am ready to start on a sophomore project.
- Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Jason: Sure, here is an unedited excerpt from the
current book that I am working on:
quietly and reflected on how Tony Davis’s aggression had
left me physically and emotionally scarred.
The criminal case against Tony was thrown out on technicality.
I knew what I needed to do, but dreaded the thought
of coming face to face with Tony again and reliving this
nightmare. Despite the battle in my mind, I picked up
the phone and methodically dialed the seven numbers to Hollis &
McKnight. Attorney Prudence Juris came to the phone and indicated
that she had hoped I would call. I filled Prudence in
on all the details although I had a feeling she knew everything
that had transpired. Since Cher was the one
who gave me the referral, I knew that Prudence
had been schooled on my ordeal…and then some. Cher had a way of
always telling my business before I could!
Once Prudence ‘heard’ the
details she was only too happy to pursue my civil case against Tony.
Since Cher had spoken so favorably of me, she even agreed to reduce
her fee to twenty-five percent. God is good!
Over the next few
months Prudence worked feverishly and pressed for a quick
trial date and expedited discovery. She knew there was merit in this
case. Although Prudence preferred a quick settlement to a
trial, she knew that wouldn’t happen.
Following an emotional
three day trial, I nervously watched as the jury took
their seats. I scanned the faces of the jurors. His Honor emerged
from chambers a moment later. Prudence was confident that the
verdict would be in my favor.
My initial fears of an
unsympathetic panel were unfounded. It took the six member panel less than three
hours to find Tony Edward Davis liable for assault and
battery and unlawful trespassing. Tony, dressed in a black
suit, looked down as the verdict was read:
“Madam Foreperson, has the
jury has reached a unanimous verdict?”
“We have Your Honor.”
The foreperson handed the verdict form to the court clerk
who presented it to the judge.
“Will the defendant please
rise? What say you?” asked the judge.
“MARK HARRIS VERSUS TONY
DAVIS, ON THE CHARGES OF ASSAULT AND BATTERY AND UNLAWFUL TRESPASSING, THE
JURY FINDS FOR THE PLAINTIFF MARK HARRIS…”
eyes were focused on the jury foreperson.
“WE FIND THE DEFENDANT LIABLE
FOR $250,000 IN COMPENSATORY DAMAGES, AND $250,000 IN PUNITIVE DAMAGES.”
The courtroom erupted in
celebration. I sat in stunned silence as
the sounds of my family and friends crying and
cheering filled the courtroom. Jared’s familiar smile
and reassuring touch jolted me out
of my reverie.
“Order in the court!” demanded the Judge.
I replayed the closing
argument in my mind. I recalled Prudence approaching the jury
in her Dolce & Gabbana chalk stripe suit. Her
hair was tightly tied in a bun which made her
look authoritative, yet likable.
“Ladies and gentlemen I will be brief.
As the attorney on behalf of Mark Harris I ask you to think
back to the oath you took at the beginning of these proceedings. We
are asking you to honor your oath by upholding the law in
this case. The law states that a person is liable for assault
when either by words or acts, there is an intentional threat to do bodily harm
to the victim. Battery is defined as intentional touching which is
harmful or offensive. Members of the jury, we assert that Mr.
Davis committed each element of this offense knowingly and desired the
specific result of bodily injury to Mr. Harris. Our witnesses presented
testimony that Mr. Davis, in the spring of
2006, brutally beat Mark Harris. Officers and emergency
personnel alike testified that upon arrival at Mark Harris’s
residence, they located an unconscious Mr. Harris lying on the
floor. Further, doctors have testified that Mr. Harris suffered from
fractured ribs and a host of other injuries consistent with repeated blows or
kicks. By his own admission, Mr. Davis committed
these heinous acts, but he did not stop there. He lied to
authorities about his involvement in this incident and continued
to stalk Mark Harris. Mr. Davis also admitted that he
befriended Velma Harris, Mark’s defenseless seventy two year old
grandmother, as part of his twisted plan to win the affections of the
man he alleges to have loved. Let’s be clear that love is no
defense for Mr. Davis’ behavior. In fact, any act could be
committed in the name of love, but that doesn’t excuse this
behavior. Mr. Davis’ acts are inexcusable. He wanted
the affection of Mark Harris and he didn’t care that he could only
attain them through fear, intimidation, and brute
force. Members of the jury do not allow your feelings about the
nature of Mr. Davis’ and my client’s relationship color
your decision at this time. This is not a time for you to be
influenced by religious upbringing, beliefs, or ideas of what is moral and/or
proper. The law does not allow for distinctions based on the
jury’s belief of moral correctness of the relationship.
In actuality, they have no place in the courtroom. The fact
that Mr. Davis is a man and Mark Harris is a man, and that they were
at one time lovers, is NOT a mitigating factor to be
considered here. The law gives absolutely no consideration to that fact,
and members of the jury, neither should you.
Each of you has been tasked with
the responsibility of upholding the law and that is what we
ask you to remember now. If you find, as we believe
we have shown, that Mr. Davis committed the elements of the offenses
charged then you must apply the law to his actions. Again, your job today
is not to judge the relationship (or lack thereof) of these men.
Your job is to simply apply the law to the evidence
presented in this trial and return a verdict consistent with that
evidence. You were asked at the beginning of your service if you
could do this, and each of you swore an oath that you could and would perform
this duty. The law is clear and your job today is simple.
Examine the evidence presented—the testimony of the witnesses
and of the defendant himself. I know you will find that
Mr. Davis willfully and knowingly committed these heinous acts upon
Mr. Harris. When you do, you must return a finding for my
client and award him damages sufficient to compensate for his injuries and
to punish Mr. Davis.
Now, ladies and gentlemen we ask that you
perform your duty. Go into that room, apply the law to this evidence
and return a favorable verdict for Mark Harris. Thank
As everyone prepared to leave the
courtroom, I had the eerie feeling that someone was watching me.
As I surveyed the courtroom, I locked eyes with Tony.
With a stone face, he mouthed “I love you.” With
that, I knew that this ordeal was far from over…”
- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Jason: For me, I think the most challenging part of
writing is character development. You
always have to be aware of your characters to make sure they speak, act and
react consistently. Readers are very
sophisticated and are quick to say “he/she wouldn’t have said that” or “he/she
wouldn’t have done that.” Ultimately, the
author has the final say, but it’s really important that you know your characters.
This being my first book the most challenging thing for me was bringing some of
the details out that I was not used to divulging. In the beginning stages of this project, I
was more of a reserved person when it comes to the public, so although I wanted
to tell my story, I was not too excited about certain spects of my life being
in print. As mentioned before, I love to
read books with detail, but when you are writing your own story, this can pose
a problem. Thankfully, J’son worked with
me and finally got those details out of me, LOL
- Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
- Do you to travel much promoting your book(s)?
Jason: I don’t travel as much as I used to. I’ve taken a backseat to Ondrea on this
I have been traveling a bit for our book and love it! I look forward to traveling even more to
expose this title as much as possible and get discussions started so that we
can begin to deal with some of our issues.
- Who designed the covers?
Jason: The cover was collaboration between Ondrea and Foresight’s VP of
Business Development, T. J. Adams, who also wrote the Foreword. Mr. Adams is a beast at marketing and design!
- What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Jason: Again, for this particular project, the
hardest part was bridling my creativity in an effort to keep the book as
accurate as possible.
Along with allowing so much exposure about my life, one of the difficult parts
was deciding which parts of the story to cut.
There were a number of additional chapters that did not make the final
version of the book.
- Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Jason: I learned that it is really important for an
author to find his or her voice. That’s
one of the things that I stressed to Ondrea along this journey. It is interesting to note that her voice is
very similar to my own and our writing styles are eerily similar.
I learned that writing can be therapeutic.
In my case, there were parts of my story that I had not dealt with since
it actually took place. As we were
writing, I was forced to confront these issues head on and gained a better
understanding and greater awareness of who I was then and the woman I have
become as a result of my marriage.
- Do you have any advice for other writers?
Jason: The best advice I can give to other writers
is to just write – get your thoughts down on paper. Those thoughts aren’t going to do anyone any
good being in your head. If you are not
one of those writers who has a gift for self-editing, let a professional worry
about that. Your main concern should be
just getting your thoughts on paper.
I would advise writers to make sure they surround themselves with a knowledgeable,
professional team. It is one thing to
have a great story, but if the quality and presentation is not up to par, it
may not be viewed the way it was intended.
Ask questions when you aren’t sure and get guidance from someone with
experience. At the end of the day, the
book is a representation of you, so you want to make it the best it can be.
- Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Jason: I’d just like to say thank you from the
bottom of my heart. It’s truly an honor
to have people read (and hopefully enjoy) something that you have poured your
heart into. I don’t take that
lightly. Thanks for buying my books and
most importantly, thanks for your compliments and criticisms as they help me
grow as an artist.
I am extremely appreciative of all of the readers who have supported this
project. We have gotten so many positive
reactions and it lets me know that we accomplished the goals we set for this
project. Also, I realize that this is
not your everyday type of topic, but I also realize that there are people who
suffer every day in situations such as what I went through. The more we talk about it and expose some of
those secrets that keep us in bondage, the more help we can get to those who
need it. With the help of God, I made it
out of my situation, so can you.