DJ Gatsby Interviews: Author Ben Burgess “Monster”, “Wounded”, “Love & Happiness”

 ben1. Where are you from?

I grew up in Queensbridge which is located close to Astoria in Queens. I moved to Freeport, Long Island at the end of 7th grade.

2. Tell us your latest news?

I recently won an awards with the New York Book Festival for “Love and Happiness” I’m very happy that this new novel has been received so well.

3. When and why did you begin writing?

A teacher that influenced me would be Mrs. Marcus. When I was in her 8th-grade class, I read Richard Wright’s “Native Son”  I read that book, and it was life changing for me. I knew I wanted to one day write something that could have the same effect on people. While in 8th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Marcus gave the class a poetry assignment. My poem was on basketball. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember my teacher was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. She was one of my most influential teachers, and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her. (She was Jewish and had family that were survivors.) My dream was to publish a poetry book. I continued to write throughout high school and college.

My college professors told me I had talent as a poet and writer, so I decided to go to lounges that had open mics to perform my poetry. Hearing people cheer for me and appreciate my words, inspired me to keep writing. My first published book was a poetry book titled “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange.” I wrote a poem for Mrs. Marcus titled “Holocaust”, keeping my promise. The poem “Ugly” from “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”, is the poem that inspired me to write my first novel “Monster.” I reflected on my life and felt it would be a good story that would teach and possible change people’s lives the way Richard Wright’s “Native Son” had done for me.

4. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer when I published my first book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” Once that book was published and I began getting reviews from people I didn’t know, I felt like I was finally on that level of calling myself a writer.

monster 15. What inspired you to write your first book “Monster”?

My first novel “Monster” is based off of my life. I wrote a poem called “Ugly” which is in my first published book “Times Have Change and Life is Strange” I used to perform that poem all the time at open mic performances, and my fans demanded that I write a novel based on the poem. I decided that would be a good idea, and the rest is history!

6. Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say I do. I like writing first person narrative books that make you think, and most people can relate to.

7. How did you come up with the title?

For me, it was a play on words. Sometimes you can love someone, but you aren’t necessarily happy. Sometimes we sacrifice our own happiness because we love someone. I wanted to show that irony in this novel.

8. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want readers to find most of the messages on their own, but here are two: 1. we all have to appreciate what we do have instead of criticizing what we don’t 2. Sometimes we go through hardships and bad times because there is something good coming to us after we’ve grown from those experiences.

9. How much of your books are realistic?

I would say all of it. I love to people watch, and I’m constantly thinking. When I’m developing my characters, I like them to be layered. I don’t want to make perfect characters because no one is perfect. I develop characters that have strengths and flaws because I feel that makes it easier for readers to connect. I put pieces of myself in every character, but I also look at the personality traits of strangers, family, and friends to inspire me for my character development. I like to do research also by interviewing strangers to get different perspectives on topics.

11. What books have most influenced your life most?

Richard Wright’s “Native Son” has had the most influence on my life.

12. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I have to name two writers for this because both of these people have been supportive and have encouraged me to keep following my dreams with writing. Those authors are Stacy Campbell and Eric Jerome Dickey. Both of them have been very helpful with giving me advice and encouragement.

13. What book are you reading now?

Right now, I’m reading 3 A.M. Musings of Love Lost Love Found by Chiara Atoyebi

14. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

There are lots of authors that are grabbing my attention. I’ll try to list some: Julia Blues, MZ. Robinson, Michael Loring, Stacy Campbell, Charles Bukowski, Christine Hazel, Shatika Turner, Christiana Harrell, and Christopher McGoldrick. I like to give indie authors a try because I know there are a lot of great ones out there.

15. What are your current projects?

My next project is titled “Daddy’s Girl” Which will be a story of the trials and tribulations of a single father raising a bi-racial daughter on his own. The daughter character in this book will be “Lynn” from my first novel monster. Here, you will see her origin, and learn more about her character. After that novel, I will begin working on another novel called “Black and White”

16. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My 8th grade English Teacher Mrs. Marcus. She was very influential in my writing career.

wounded17. Do you see writing as a career?

I do see writing as a career, because I put a lot of time and effort into honing my skills, writing, and promoting. I take this profession seriously and I have goals and aspirations to take my writing to the top. One major goal is to have my books adapted into movies.

18. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I put my heart and soul into everything I write so no, I wouldn’t change anything. How my books are written is the way I wanted my story to be told. As an independent author, I’m lucky to have that freedom.

19. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was in 8th grade, I read Richard Wright’s “Native Son” When I read that book, I felt that it was life changing for me. I knew that I wanted to one day write something that could have the same effect on people. While in 8th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Marcus gave the class a poetry assignment. My poem was on basketball. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember my teacher was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. She was one of my most influential teachers, and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her. (She was Jewish, and had family that were survivors.) My dream was to publish a book. I continued to write throughout high school and college. My college professors told me I had talent as a poet and writer, so I decided to go to lounges that had open mics to perform my poetry. Hearing people cheer for me and appreciate my words, inspired me to keep writing. My first published book was a poetry book titled “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange.” I wrote a poem for Mrs. Marcus titled “Holocaust”, keeping my promise. The poem “Ugly” from “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”, is the poem that inspired me to write my first novel “Monster.” I reflected on my life, and felt it would be a good story that would teach and possible change people’s lives the way Richard Wright’s “Native Son” had done for me.

21. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I’m a perfectionist, so the whole writing process is challenging to me. I don’t want to be derivative, so I’m constantly looking for new ways to tackle topics that most people go through. I beat myself up writing and re-writing to come up with original storylines.

22. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

That author for me would be author Eric Jerome Dickey. What attracted me to his work was the fact that it was different from most of the other Urban/ African American Fiction authors that I had read. I have spoken to him personally, and he has encouraged and supported my writing career. He has influenced me to not be afraid to be different. In the bonus section on my new book “Love and Happiness”, I actually made a poem in honor of him.

 

23. Do you travel much promoting your book(s)?

Honestly, because of my profession, I don’t travel much. Thank God for social media because it allows me to talk to people all around the world to promote my books.

ben burgess 201524. Who designed your book covers?

I come up with the concept and my good friend Leah Frieday helps with making it a reality. I always want my covers to let readers know what they were getting themselves into which is why on the “Monster” cover, I have the words “Sex, Love Deceit, Betrayal, and Pain” displayed. I want my covers to be “Dark” yet appealing. Sexy, yet not too over the top. On the “Monster” cover, I felt having the guy on the cover hinted that the protagonist was African American, and the shadow was a metaphor that his actions were devilish. On the “Wounded” cover, I wanted everyone to know that she was a stripper, yet she wasn’t physically injured on the cover. I wanted readers to realize that she was mentally and emotionally wounded. On the “Love and Happiness” cover. The couple is holding each other, yet their facial expressions aren’t showing that they are extremely happy. I wanted readers to want to discover why. My covers always have a meaning.

25. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of writing my book was writing from the female perspective. Being a straight man and trying to write in the voice of a woman is extremely difficult and challenging, but with a lot of research through interviews and observations, I dedicated the time to trying to overcome that challenge.

26. Do you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?

I learn from every book that I write. I learn how to use different ways to relay my messages. I learn how to keep an open mind by having my characters do certain things that I would probably never do. Sometimes, I look at the mistakes that my characters make and realize that I’m guilty of making those same mistakes. For example, in “Love and Happiness” Chris wasn’t always affectionate or verbal with showing his affection. I can be like that. I’m more of the “I’ll show you with my actions more than my words” type. After writing “Love and Happiness”, I realized I needed to be more vocal with expressing my feelings towards my family.

27. Do you have any advice for other writers?

There will be lots of times when you want to give up. There will be times when people will talk bad about your book or sales might be low. Never give up. Believe in yourself and believe in your work. Listen to critiques and push your pride to the side. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you believe you are, you can always improve. There will be those who will not be fans of your writing, but you should never give up. Keep improving and learning your craft. Edit and re-edit. (*always have your books professionally edited. You want people to take your book seriously and not feel that it is amateurish.) Learn from your mistakes, take classes and read other authors. Research the industry. Two of the most important things to do are: 1. Find a credible editor and 2. Promote, promote, promote. You have to put your heart and soul into your work. While it will be hard, and you will go through trials and tribulations, in the end it’s worth it when your book is entertaining people, and it’s successful.

28. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Readers can always email me at AuthorBenBurgessjr@gmail.com, or they can go to my fan pages and website to stay in touch or learn more about my works.

ben burgess

Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6925256.Ben_Burgess_Jr_/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BenBurgessJr

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ben_Burgess_Jr

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=50211048&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/bennyb15/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ben-Burgess-Jr./e/B00BCKZPHK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1408072175&sr=1-2-ent

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DJ Gatsby Book Club Author Interview Series: Author J.P. Hall “Big Boy Pond” (Snow Publishing)

jp hall1. Where are you from?
I was born in Compton, CA and I was raised in a small town called Pasco located in the eastern part of Washington. I currently live in Southern CA.
2. Tell us your latest news?
Portia my oldest daughter has just graduated from Georgia State University and I am very proud of her.
On the writing front I am currently writing Big Boy Pond 2 and that should be out sometime early next year.”
3. When and why did you begin writing?
Since I was a child I’ve loved to tell stories and throughout high school, I wrote stories that were mostly adaptations of biblical tales that I had been told by the elders of my parent’s church.
4. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
During my high school days people would tell me that I had a knack for storytelling. I thought about pursuing writing as a career, but at that time I was chasing another dream of becoming a Professional baseball player.
5. What inspired you to write your first book?
I started to write Big Boy Pond over 32 years ago… during the early eighties, when I was very interested in the real estate market in Southern California. But then I got married and I turn my attention to taking care of my family.
6. Do you have a specific writing style?
My goal is to bring interesting stories to the public with some real historical fact sprinkled in them.
7. How did you come up with the title?
My career allowed me to interact with lots of corporate executives and during those meetings the older men would always say to the young men; welcome to the Big Boy Pond. Are you ready to swim with the sharks?
8. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, people have both good and bad in them. No one is a saint sometimes good people have to do bad things.
sono 199. How much of the book is realistic?
The book is very realistic. The events, such as the collapse of the Santee real estate market and the development and modernization of San Diego’s downtown, did happen but the characters in the story are all fictional
11. What books have most influenced your life most?
I am a fan of Harold Robbins I love his international stories and I also love Eric Jerome Dickey especially his Gideon series.
12. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Eric Jerome Dickey, I love his style of writing. He doesn’t right in a bubble, he has a writing team.
13. What book are you reading now?
Resurrecting Midnight
14. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I am old school I like stories that take their time to build up there characters. And I haven’t found that in the novels that are being written. But I haven’t given up. So right now I am sort of a freelance reader moving through the material that is out there looking for an author who captures my attention.
15. What are your current projects?
Besides completing the two remaining books in the Solomon Black series, I’m working on the next book series called I Thaddeus. It’s the story of a young man who has lost his memory about his younger years. He can’t remember anything about his family. He joins the military where he becomes a sniper and doing one of his missions he learns that his past is connected to people who work for the very people who are trying to destroy the American way of life.
16. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have a lot of support and to name one would be a disservice to many who helped me on this journey. Betsy Allen is a longtime friend who supported my writing when it was in its infancy and of course Dr. Glenn Kamper who insights into my stories have truly brought them to life. And Antionette Allen who has provided her artistic abilities to the stories
17. Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, my dream is to have my books make enough that I can get them out to the readers world wide.
sono banner 218. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? No
19. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I would say when I use to sit in Sunday school and hear the elders tell biblical stories. I love that part of church.
21. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I love for my stories to have depth so the characters have to have many personalities to them. It takes a lot of work and mapping out the stories to keep all the different sides of the characters connected to the over all story. Sometimes I will get to write a scene and go off on a tangent. But then my pre production reading team will point out my mistakes and get me back inline.
22. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Eric Jerome Dickey and it would be his method of creating stories and settings. How he immerses the reader into the various local cultures of the book.
23. Do you travel much promoting your book(s)?
No I haven’t started that part of my marketing
24. Who designed the covers?
Sha Cole is the cover designer for Snow Publishing who I am signed under
25. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The beginning of the book, I create an outline for every one of my books but what I have found is that once I began to write the book I will wonder away from the outline. Sometimes this will enhance the story so then I have to go back to the outline and see if what I wrote still meshes with the rest of the story.
26. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Dr. Glenn Kamper has added some African America historical facts that I was not aware of.
27. Do you have any advice for other writers?
To always remember that if you are not doing this for the love of writing then maybe you should pick another career.

28. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for taking a chance on a new writer and stay tuned because the stories will get more better.

snow

DJ Gatsby Book Club Interviews: Terrance “Frazier Boy” Frazier Author Of “The Devil’s Dust”

 frazier boy

  1. Where are you from?

I’m from the show-me state. St. Louis Missouri to be exact.

2. Tell us your latest news?

The latest news is that I’m very excited about an up coming book release. The Devil’s Dust. It’s nothing like what the avid readers are use to reading.

 

  1. When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing back in 2004. I can seriously say that I caught the bug. Lol

 

  1. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It would have to be after I completed my third novel entitled Chasing a Nut. It’s nothing like the gritty hood tales I love to write. Don’t worry, Chasing A Nut is also coming soon.

 frazier 3

  1. What inspired you to write your first book?

Reading books about the life I was once living inspired me to write my first novel. I think it was B-More Careful. Shout out to Shannon Holmes. It was like I was reading parts of my life.

  1. Do you have a specific writing style?

No I don’t. I just come up with the storyline and the rest is history. The book basically writes itself.

 

  1. How did you come up with the title?

I came up with the title because I strongly believe that heroin is the devil’s dust. I’ve met some heroin dealers and addicts who are monsters! Devil’s in the flesh.

 

  1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

actually I do. For a hot minute heroin has been plaguing my community. It’s like the new epidemic. I just wanted to show its affect and how strong of a hold it has on my city right now.

  1. How much of the book is realistic?

 It’s all fiction. The story shows you how most people who are living that street life don’t communicate. They form an opinion and run with it.

  1. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would have to say Author Al Sadiqq Banks. He’s my favorite author. With his work there’s a thin line between reality and fiction. Also Eyone Williams. Those two guys are dope writers. Don’t get me wrong it’s a lot of dope writers out there. I just favor their style more.

10338336_817230735018926_6643669890225467723_n
  1. What book are you reading now?

The Devil’s Dust.

  1. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yeah my business partner Alonzo L. Strange. He has that Tit 4 Tat series out on Amazon. It’s like that! Support the big homie and you guys will see what Thin Line Publishing is bringing to the table. Also Silk White. Dude has a vicious grind plus he’s a great writer.

  1. What are your current projects?

Okay, I got The Devil’s Dust coming June 26. Then I’m gonna drop YBD (Young, Black & Dangerous) a three book series.

 16. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members
The readers.
My fans. My team. Thanks a million. Oh, and the haters too.
 17. Do you see writing as a career?
Although it is a career for me, I don’t see it in that light. I see it as more of a therapy. An artistic way of expressing myself and the things I’ve been through in life. Both ups and downs.
 

  1. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

The thing about that is I have this mindset that when I complete a project it’s written and ends exactly how it was destine to. Those were my thoughts at that time, you know, what I was feeling, so I like to keep it that way. If authors were to continuously change their story over and over we’d never finish a project. Lol

   frazier

  1. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Yes I do. It originated back in grade school when I was writing rhymes. I was the type of rapper that told stories in my rhymes.

  1. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I always challenge myself when I write. Also in every book I write there is a dream sequence, where the reader will think an event is happening but it’s actually a dream. Now I’m gonna have the readers trying to figure out what’s real and what’s a dream.

 

  1. Who is your favorite author ?

Besides me my favorite author is Al Sadiqq Banks.

  1. Do you travel much promoting your book(s)?

I love to travel, meet the readers and promote my projects.

FRAZIER 5 

  1. Who designed the covers?

Amb Branding designs my covers. I love the way she puts her heart and soul into her work. Shout out to Amb Aija Monique.

 

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Honestly, I can’t say that anything was hard about writing it. Once I came up with the storyline it actually flowed easily.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I always learn while writing. In this particular one I learned to manipulate my emotions more with the characters.

 

  1. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes I do. Stay focused and dedicated. In the end it pays off.

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes. Thank you for the love and support. Please continue to support Thin Line Publishing where there’s a thin line between reality and fiction.

frazier boy 1

DJ Gatsby Book Club Interview: Author George Naim Cash “The Good & The Bad, I’ve Earned It All”

10488039_854921194529676_2447884270919639251_n1.What is your favourite positive saying?

No change, No change!

2.What is your favourite book and why?

Alfred Hitchcock’s short stories. Because they ended before I’d get board with each story. Besides the great mystery writer Hitchcock was.
 What is your favourite quote?

3.Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

No matter where you go, there you are.
On the bestseller list, at the AMA Awards, and writing a screenplay.
 4.What is your favourite movie and why?

Too many to chose from. 

5.What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t rob banks!
 6.Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Michael Jackson again! 10366008_850697831618679_8580791574102313459_n
 7.If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Nat Turner Story. Because that story is timeless, and it speaks to how any man, no matter what walk of life he comes from can get pushed too far.
 8.What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The same advice I received from Author Monica Mathis Stowe.   “Write As Much As and As Often As You Can”.
 9.Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

No!
 10.How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Follow me on fb George Cash, and G.Na’imCa$h. Also on YouTube channel naimcash. Also CashMusicEntertainment on fb. Along with soundcloud.com…

DJGBC Authors Interview Series: Joy Elan “Institutional Freedom: A Collection of African American Studies Essays”

1. Tell our readers about yourself ?

Joy Elan on the Red Carpet at the Oakland,Ca Film "The UnNamed" (she was in the film ) Written & Produced by Elva NelsonHayes

Joy Elan on the Red Carpet at the Oakland,Ca Film “The UnNamed” (she was in the film ) Written & Produced by Elva NelsonHayes

I am from Oakland and Berkeley, CA (born in Berkeley but resided in Oakland) and I was born with a hearing loss due to an umbilical cord being wrapped around my neck. Fortunately, the doctors saved my life and I’ve been a fighter since then. My mother raised me to go after my dreams and never let anyone stop me. Despite being a Black woman with a hearing loss raised by a single mother, I graduated from UC Berkeley in THREE years and got my master’s degree from Stanford University. I am not the first to graduate from college since I come from a family of teachers. I am the first to graduate from UC Berkeley and Stanford University. To this day, I am still showing people that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, despite the obstacles that a person may face. I do not believe in excuses because my family does not believe in excuses (they are from Louisiana where racism was blatant). My family did not treat me differently and they trained me for the world I was living in. I learned as a child that people will make fun of me and tell me “no” but I cannot let them stop me from my destiny. I had teachers try to discourage me but I was confident in myself, thanks to my family’s support. It is easy to quit but it is better to prove people wrong and be a leader.

2. When and why did you first start begin writing?
I have always been a writer. My mom used to read to me when I was a child and I loved writing a stories. I learned later in life that there are different writing styles, such as stories, poetry, essays, and etc. Writing came naturally to me so I learned different techniques to improve my writing skills. I went to UC Berkeley’s Academic Talent Development Program when I was in the 8th grade for summer school to take a creative writing class. I always excelled in my English classes in middle school and high school.

joy3. What inspired you to write “Institutional Freedom: A Collection of African American Studies Essays?
I wrote poetry and a lot of my poetry were inspired by things I said and wrote in college. Two of my popular poems came from my essays (I’m A Survivor and Institutional Freedom). I wanted to share with the audience why I think and write the way I do so I decided to publish my essays. Also, I intend to go for my doctorate degree in the future and my work can be used to show my knowledge. I wanted to contribute to literature about different topics in the African American culture and get credit for my ideas. I did not want my ideas to go to waste and it was already written so it was not hard to compose the book and publish it.

4. Do you feel that you have a specific writing style?
I love to free write, throw all of my ideas on the paper and go back later and edit it. It works that way for my poetry and for any writing that I do. That is what I love about writing is that it is a canvas with words that can be rearranged later. It is never permanent because new ideas come all the time and I am able to expand on something that I put down.

5. How did you come up with the title “Institutional Freedom: A Collection of African American Studies Essays?
Institutional Freedom is from a poem called Institutional Freedom. The poem is about me being a prisoner of institutions such as higher learning and the work force, having degrees and being overqualified for many jobs, while trying to pay off student loans. My mother told me to call the book after the poem since I am teaching the world outside of a traditional classroom. I believe you can learn anything, anywhere. Learning does not have to take place in the classroom and if a person really believes that then they are not being open to learning new things.

6. Is there a message in this book that you want readers to grasp?
The message that I want people to grasp is that words have power and knowledge is power. I have two degrees from two prestigious universities hanging on my living room wall and they made money off of me. I want to show the world that I am going to make money of of them by showing what I learned from these universities. I wrote about different topics, such as family, education, political, media, and other issues and there is something in each of these topics that people can learn from. Also, it shows my progression as a writer and as a student and I am always a work in progress.

joy poster 27. Is there a Poet or writer that would you consider a mentor?
I love to read all kinds of books so a lot of writers inspire me. Actually, Angela Davis’ book, The Meaning of Freedom And Other Difficult Dialogues, was how I came up with the format of writing Institutional Freedom: A Collection of African American Studies Essays. She published her speeches and I thought it was a great idea for me to publish my essays. I am a music lover and Teena Marie is my favorite singer. She inspires me to write deep poems because she wrote songs that touched on political issues. I learn from musicians how to compose words and how to be a performer. I learn from writers how to write books.

8. Are there any new Poets or Writers that have grasped your interest?
Yes, there are a lot of talented poets and writers in Oakland and other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. There are a few poets that I have met going to the open mics in the Bay Area that I support because it is important to support local artists. It depends on the day and mood that I am in where I will read or listen to their work. I am constantly evolving so I enjoy reading other people’s work. Also, it gives me a break from reading my own work and gives me different perspectives.

9. What are you some of your current projects?
Performing my poetry and working on the second edition of my second poetry book, Silence Is Not Always Golden: A Poetic Revolution. The first edition is raw and me being real because the world was not polite to me. The second edition will be clean versions of the poems and some newer pieces that I have written since I published the first one. It is still political and “in your face” but in a polite way.

10. Do you see poetry & writing as a career?
Yes, I do. Poetry is definitely my career since I perform my poetry. I am trying to branch out and travel to do features for shows. The longest poetry set that I have done was 15 minutes because I give people a performance. Writing is the foundation of my work so I will always be writing and publishing as long as I am able to.

joy elan 211. Do you recall how your interest in Writing Essays originated?
I love to share my ideas but my real interest came when I had a professor at UC Berkeley who told us to take the topics he suggested and write our claims as long as we had evidence to support our claims. I wrote some of my best papers in his class because he encouraged us to push ourselves and I was using references from books outside of the course. He did not limit us and as long as we were passionate about the topic, we got good grades. He was letting us be in control of our ideas and it shows when you read some of my work from his class. I am academic and I want to be a teacher so essay writing is part of academia and it is a passion. I love to research and create solutions. I do not always like to write essays, especially if it is a topic that I have no interest in. For the most part, if it is for a class that I am really interested and growing in, then I have the best essays in those classes.

12. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The process. Sometimes I want to give people the first draft but I cannot do that, especially if I want to be taken seriously. I feel like the revisions is like editing who I am as a person and putting on my best face. I would like to show my flaws and be appreciated for the art in itself. Writing is one of those art forms that has to be perfected before presenting it.

13. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Terry McMillan’s work but then again, I love a lot of people’s work. I love to read and get a change of scenery in my imagination. It could be the way the author presented an issue or scene, their dialogue, the characters, etc. I read a lot of books in my English classes and they made me appreciate all kinds of authors from various genres.

joy elan14. Who designs your covers?
The poetry book covers were pictures that another person or I took. Institutional Freedom was designed by a graphic designer to fit the African American Studies theme and represent the UC Berkeley colors.

15. Did you learn anything from writing Institutional Freedom: A Collection of African American Studies Essays?
My words and ideas are permanently in the world and people will learn who I was even when I am gone. Instead of waiting for people to present solutions, I offered mine. It does not make me an expert in the subject but it does show that I did my homework (pun intended).

joy elan 416. Do you have any advice for aspiring Poets & Writers?
It is a journey and it is your baby. The ISBN is the social security number for the book so make sure you present your best final product. It is hard being a writer and harder to promote it. Keep pushing because you never know who will read your work and how their lives will be impacted. If you are in it for the money, then you will not do it for long. The gratification will come when a reader contacts you and tell you that you inspired them or changed their life and no amount of money can top that.

17. Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers before we finish this interview?
Thank you for your support and it is an honor to share my talent with you.

DJGBC Author Interview: Author Alexander M. Smith “In Love’s Time”

10423311_10202864576676071_8283367339644518613_n1. Where are you from?
Buffalo, New York
2. Whats are you working on now?
Just working hard at promoting my first novel and getting ready to start my second.
3. When did you begin writing?
In grade school after the influence of a phenomenal teacher.
4. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When Author Zane and her sister read my then unedited first work and said they loved it.
5. What inspired you to write “In Love’s Time” ?
The loss of the love of my life. My personal experiences and tales of friend’s experiences.
6. Do you have a specific writing style?
I guess everyone has a style, so I’ll say, “yes.” It direct, honest, and easy to follow.
7. How did you come up with the title “In Love’s Time” ?
It was actually a toss-up between two different titles. The choice was made by the person who inspired the story.
8. Is there a message in “In Love’s Time” that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that love is amazing. That contrary to popular opinion, all men do have feelings and are not dogs.
9. How much of “In Love’s Time” is realistic?
If I understand this question correctly, I’d say all of it. These situations are very possible and I’m sure occur in the lives of others daily.
11. What books have most influenced your life most?
All works by the great Alexander Dumas.
12. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
For this particular genre, I’d have to say Xavier Holland and of course, Zane.
13. What book are you reading now?
The Black Count by Tom Reiss.
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14. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Elissa Gabrielle, Alretha Thomas and definitely Sia Stewart.
15. What current project are you working on?
Working out the details for my second novel, “Episodes.”
16. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The RAWSISTAZ Literary Group.
17. Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, it will definite being something I give my total focus to.
18. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in “In Love’s Time”?
Not really, I feel the story revealed in it’s entirety.
19. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, in grade school as a result of my first black teacher, Mrs. Shelton. She chose me to recite a tribute to Alexander Dumas during Black History month. Her knowledge of him and what she passed on to me, lite the fuse.
21. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, writing in a manner that allows for respect to the reader. That doesn’t give the reader a choice but to become part of the story, the characters and their lives. Allowing the reader to become one with the writer’s thoughts and feelings during the act of presentment.
22. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Alexander Dumas. His boldness and bravery for writing as he did. As a black man in those times, his words could’ve easily cost him his life.
23. Do you travel much promoting “In Love’s Time” ?
Not at the moment but more than willing to.
pizap.com1412655024347724. Who designed the cover for “In Love’s Time”?
The cover concept is mine. The actual design work was done by Dashawn Taylor’s company, Hot Book Covers.
25. What was the hardest part of writing “In Love’s Time” ?
Experiences old feelings who’s intensity was just as great as they were many years ago, and trying to put that intensity into words.
26. Did you learn anything from writing “In Love’s Time” and what was it?
It reconfirmed for me that anything is possible. Stay the course and keep God in your heart and there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
27. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes! If you have a story to tell, then tell it. Someone out there might really need to hear it.
28. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, “Thank you so very much.” For trusting me, and sharing your capacity to feel. One couldn’t ask for a greater gift than you’ve bestowed on me. I am eternally grateful and you’re all in my prayers always. God Bless!

Order “In Love’s Time” now @ http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Time-Alexander-M-Smith-ebook/dp/B00ON5C646/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1414643360&sr=1-2&keywords=in+loves+time+alexander+smith

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