Interview With Author Dre Hill
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an artist and storyteller born, raised, and currently residing in Fort Worth, Texas. I am no stranger to various genres of literature, especially when it comes to reading. I am working on getting my literary publication to reflect that of my writing as well. For now, all of my published books are poetry based or centered. I have three: i love you means nothing, Melanin: Black, and Crossroads.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My next book is Crossroads. Truthfully, life inspired it. The past few years have been tumultuous for all of us. I found, especially as graduation was drawing nearer back in 2021, that I had informally turned to poetry to work through my feelings. Both the fresh, raw, new inspired emotions, as well as things that I hadn't quite worked through or decompressed. At its core, Crossroads is about growing up and figuring out who you are, while dealing with some of the various intersections of life like trauma, loss, love, identity, self-expression, mental health, etc.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don't know if this is unusual per se. Maybe it is. I often do a lot of writing in the bathroom. Now to clarify, I do mean my own personal bathroom. Sometimes I just go in there to sit and think. Or I'll take a shower and have ideas come to me, and articulate them on the voice memo app on my phone so I can revisit them later. I don't know, the bathroom is just a safe, creative space for me I guess. Maybe that is weird or unusual, but I works for me, so I'm not gonna change that any time soon.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Man. I would say a lot of authors have influenced and even inspired me. I don't want this to drone on with some kind of rabid, fanboy, rambling though. I'll limit it to a couple of big names, and some smaller ones that I think that you should keep eyes out for, and on. Rick Riordan, James Patterson, and Pittacus Lore are names I can kind of credit with helping hold my interest in reading at a young age. It's part of the reason I'm such an avid reader now. I'd also say that Ari Lorh, Jamaal Dante Fields, and KB Brookins are some great smaller names to get into. They all push me to want to get better and write more.
What are you working on now?
I have two full-length collections that I'm working on concurrently. I'm kind of just taking it day by day and letting the poetry speak to me. Whichever book has the most pull that day is the one that I work on. The first collection is a more detailed, in-depth, and expansive look at love. Like my book, i love you means nothing, but on all the steroids. Essentially. In contrast, the other project, the other book, is much grittier and darker. It explores mental health, personal inner struggles, and suicidal ideations, cutting through the murk of what we don't know is happening inside other people's heads with intersectional forays into race, religion, gender, and even some other marginalizations. I hope it's a beacon for people in mental and emotional distress, for anyone who ever attempted suicide or has been affected by suicide, and for people trying to help fight stigmas surrounding mental health. I'm really excited to tackle the undertaking and face some of my own issues in the process.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I would say for me, I think that Twitter and Facebook have been very helpful in converting actually sales, especially when talking social media. I really don't have a way of tracking TikTok for example. Instagram is equally as challenging when it comes to trying to track conversions that hopefully lead to sales and purchases. Plus, regarding Twitter, it's just an easy and great way to get connected with other writers and artists. It's a great way and place to initially start fostering a community and maybe more easily connect to readers old and new.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I'm sure there are so many things I could say. I think the most practical, something I would've wanted to hear when I was first starting at least, was to just start. Just write. Write what you feel. Write the story you want to tell. Write about garbage if it makes you happy. Just write. There's an audience for anything and everything, and there are readers eagerly waiting to discover you, your voice, and the stories that you plan to tell. So, just start.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I think the biggest thing that has resonated is, write what speaks to you. If you're writing something you don't care about or have no interest in, there's no personal development and attachment to the narrative. Whether it's fiction, non-fiction, poetry, literary, whatever. Writing what you want, what speaks to you, ends up pulling from your center, from your core, a plethora of emotions and experiences that help breathe life into your words, or characters, and create the kinds of tethers that leave readers leaving loving, or hating, certain characters and worlds. It's the kind of thing that creates fans of your work.
What are you reading now?
According to Goodreads, Kings of B'more by R. Eric Thomas, Homie by Danez Smith, and Pillow Thoughts: Healing the Heart by Courtney Peppernell. Now have I already started another book knowing I haven't finished those three already… who knows.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Well, right now I'm really focusing a lot on Crossroads. Outside of that, the two new poetry books I'm currently working on. Looking to the future though, I do have some novel ideas that I'm looking forward to playing with and exploring. I really just want to keep writing, keep creating, and connecting with readers and lovers of my work. I'd love to make this a full-time job one day. Just living my life making art all the time. It sounds nice.
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?
This is such a hard question. Like, damn. Just 3 or 4? I think I would want to pick either standalone books or tail ends to a series. I think my list will consist of The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass, Gravity by Ari Lohr, Did I Make You Cry Yet? by Jamaal Dante Fields, and The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan. It's an assorted list. There's a little bit of everything. I think I could live with that.
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