Q. When did you start writing and what made you start?
A. I began writing novels in 2011 after I completed an English course at University. I had an essay to submit and I was free to choose the topic. The essay was "How to Write a Movie Script." After I did my research for that paper I felt compelled to share a story that I had bottled up inside. The book is based on a true story I experienced in the mid-1970's. I was a part of a State decison to integrate a predominately all-White school. I was one of the first eight Black students to enroll in a school with a student poplation of 4,000. The experience was political, racial and emotional but I completed all four years there, with the help of some of my fellow classmates (one in particular), teachers and coaches. That book is entitled "Flagrant Misconduct: The Movie."
Q. Are there any writers that have influenced you?
A. I cannot name any writers in particular, but my Dad was a well-respected Minister and his teachings are very influential in my writings.
Q. Has your work been rejected by any publishers?
A. Very good question. If you consider responses such as "We only accept manuscripts from existing clients" as rejections, then the answer is yes.
Q. How do you discipline yourself to write and what support do you have?
A. I only write when I have a story to tell. For me writing doesn't require discipline because it is a true labor of passion. My support is from family, friends and reviewers such as yourself.
Q. How do you write, paper and pen, pencil, straight to computer, tape recorder etc.?
A. I write in my head first. Mosty, just before I get out of bed or on the way to work. I have to see (in my mind's eye) what I am writing before I pick up a pen or sit behind a computer. After I have the story and dialogue in my head, I prefer the computer.
Q. Are there issues in your private life that have an influence on your writing?
A. I don't know how it can be any other way. My experiences good, bad or indifferent fuel the passion of my writing and gives it believability becasue it is real.
Q. How important do you rate punctuation?
A. Paramount. Essential. The reading experience must be pleasant for the reader. The best manuscript in the world will fail as a book if punctuation is neglected. Unreadable means unpublishable. However, layout is also extremely important. If dialogue is scrunched together, the reader might have a hard time discerning who's talking. One key thing to remember; writing and editing are two very distinct skill sets. I have my manuscript read and edited by at least five or six English majors, before it ever gets to my editor. Then I hire another editor to find the mistakes the first editor missed. Typos in print grate on me like nails on a chalkboard.
Q. How do you feel having published, are you ready for more?
A. It's nice to be published, but how it is received is more important. I thought I was done after my first book. Four books later I am still hungry.
Q. Have you any tips for budding writers?
A. Write because you are passionate about something. Find a way to stay motivated and avoid procrastination. Finish what you start. The story must be progressive and flow with clarity. Avoid predictability. Be prepared for honest critisim and do not be offended if someone is unimpressed by your writing.Characters in your book must be believable. Hire an editor, a good one. Also, strike the right balance between dialogue and narrative information. I think you can better connect with the reader by telling the story through dialogue than telling the story as a narrator. Lastly, Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble NOOK are self publishing venues that are free for ebooks.
Q. How important are your marketing methods?
A. Self publishing is a huge industry and there are hundreds of companies who are willing to take your money for add ons that will not help advance your book. I am still trying market my material. For me, I rely on getting respected reviewers such as yourself to review my work. Also, I like the idea of a YouTube book trailer. I have two at the moment.
Q. Can you see any of your work being made into a film or television series?
A. Most definitely. Hence the title "Flagrant Misconduct: The Movie."
Q. What do you think of the big publishing houses who don’t give new writers a chance?
A. Time is valuable to them and looking for a needle in a haystack can be painstaking. I like the idea of self publishing because the royalties are higher if you hit big.
Q. Do you think the day of the publishing business is coming to an end, and self publishing becoming more popular?
A. I don't think traditional publishing will come to an end but I think they will lose a growing share of the market over time.
Q. Tell us a little about your next work I should read.
A. The next book you should read is the sequel to Mogadishu Diaries; Insider Threat. The book is an espionage drama based on real events.