Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
So far, I have published four standalone short stories, one novelette and a short Twitter guide. Instead of writing longer pieces. Instead, I craft shorter tales that are multi-layered and full of symbolisms. I also provide bonus materials with my stories, such as author’s notes, which gives additional insights, hints and perspectives about the story. I’ve had readers tell me that they’ve re-read my short stories and have found new gems with each read through.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is “The Legend of Tanisha Biggers: a novelette” (“TLoTB”). There are many things that inspired the writing of this story. As a spinoff of the previously published short story “Swiggers,” TLoTB serves to flesh out Tanisha’s character while allowing the reader to explore the neighborhood in which the story takes place.
Another reason for penning “TLoTB” was to complete the circle of life for a reoccurring character named Theodore Roosevelt Washington aka Teddy. In “Cardinal Rule: a short story,” tries to woo his love interest, Earline, reminiscing over their neighborhood’s past glory. In “Swiggers: a short story,” Teddy is older, but in rare form. He posts up with his crew outside their favorite corner store and lets the jokes fly fast and furiously. “TLoTB” is a story about how rumors and gossip circulating around a small neighborhood can give the rambunctious Teddy a life beyond the grave. Albeit, one he did not choose…
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Mountain Dew and chocolate (with almonds) are staples of “getting the words out.” When I have enough stuff figured so that I can write, that combination of caffeine and sweetness puts me in a zone. Once the buzz kicks in, the magic begins…
Walking while talking with my characters is another one of my writing habits. I tend to pace and converse with my characters while I’m trying to figure out where a story is going. Sometimes, the communication is one-way, and the characters give me tons of things to include in their story. All I have to do is sit back, listen and take notes.
This happened a lot with “TLoTB.” The main character Tanisha told me the history of her neighborhood and gave me its name – Black Haven. Tanisha’s best friend in the story, Vida, gave me the scoop on the present-day goings on of that same neighborhood. They gave me a lot of “creative clay” to work with.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I tend to watch authors as opposed to reading their works. I’ve always been interested in how different authors build these huge literary families around their personalities, their characters and their books. Authors like Stephen King, Treasure Blue, Azarel and K’Wan have intrigued me because of how loyal and support their readers are. I can only hope to build that type of rapport with my own family of readers.
I can’t name one particular book that has influenced me in terms of writing. There are many. I tend to buy books on literature and writing, but I seek and use parts that are relevant to whatever particular literary endeavor in which I’m indulging. To that effect, I search the Internet for articles directly related to solving the problem or giving me more insight on the issue I’m having at that moment.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m in the pre-outline stage for my next few publications. I have a few stories set in Black Haven that I want to complete.
I’m also doing a lot of the behind the scenes stuff to market “TLoTB” to give it some momentum. This includes social media, graphics, interview (like this), etc.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My best method has been to continually promote stories to my huge digital footprint. Instead of thinking of it as “the shameless plug,” my self-promotion comes with no shame. I actually think it’s shameful to publish your book and make little to no effort in promoting and marketing.
I make various tweets, graphics, blog posts, YouTube vlogs, etc. about my books in order to spark interest. It’s a slow grind, but persistence pays off.
My writing partner, Faydra D. Fields, owns BookTweeter.com. She does a tremendous job with getting the word out.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Give yourself permission to succeed. Also, give yourself room to fail.
There is no “right way.” For every “right way,” there’s a naysayer. Find what’s right for you.
Take risks. You know when a story is going to a place that only you can take it. Go there, and make the best of it.
Don’t let being your worst critic get in the way of you being your best supporter.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Do your research. It sounds simple, and it can be, but most of the time it’s not.
“Do” = action word = blood, sweat, tears and fears
“Your” = take personal ownership
“Research” = studying
Scary, scary, scary, but necessary…
What are you reading now?
I’ve been intent on writing, publishing and marketing lately. I’m not currently reading anything in particular in terms of fiction. I’ve reading writing guides and publishing guides. lately.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m going to continue to learn about the craft of writing and applying it to my creative output. The standalone novelette of “TLoTB” and the Deluxe Edition (which also includes “Cardinal Rule” and “Swiggers”)”TLoTB” are currently ebook only. I plan on publishing a paperback version of “TLoTB: Deluxe Edition.”
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
If I was stranded on a desert island, I would bring “The 48 Laws of Power,” a dictionary and a thesaurus.