Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I like chocolate, in abundance. I like finding obscure books. Well, ‘obscure’ is subjective. Better stated, I like hunting for books about highly specific topics – such as writing guides, certain history books and other possible gems.
Like most people, I’ve been writing to myself since I’ve been able to form somewhat coherent sentences. The love of reading sparked the inspiration to write. In that past few years, I’ve become increasingly serious about writing to publish. The process of attempting to organize tens of thousands of words in a way that makes sense is tough enough, but to share the outcome of that experience to the world can be daunting. It becomes even more daunting when the world couldn’t care less.
My inspiration to write is rooted in reading. I want people to comprehend and relive my words like I did when I randomly opened up a book in my youth and got sucked into its world. Easier said than done.
Tell us about your books.
I write mostly short stories. I most recently wrote a novelette. I jump from genre to genre while pulling from many sources of information. My stories tend to be character-driven with a lot of symbolisms and layers. I provide author’s notes and the end of each story which gives additional information about me and the making of the different tales.
When I published “Cardinal Rule: a short story” in August ’15, I got told myself that I wasn’t going to die without at least ‘trying’ to get these stories out of me. A bit morbid, I know. But took away the option of stagnancy. I’m not where I want to be at this point in time, but I’m a long way from where I was in August ’15.
The following month, I published “Children in the City of the Fallen Towers: a short story.” I wrote this short story after pondering a soundbite I overheard on the news while working. A news anchor mentioned the thousands of orphans produced by 9/11. I’m Black. I’m a Memphian. I left my comfort zone and wrote a story about two Puerto Rican teenagers trapped in Spanish Harlem. The result when published in September ’15: phenomenal.
“To Catch a Book Cover: a short story” came out November ’15. This romp was fun to write because it’s equal parts historical fiction and urban fiction and comedy. There were so many details put into play in this story, and I’m looking forward to writing the spinoff stories for this one. That same month, I tried my hand at the nonfiction side of things with “8 Simple Twitter Tips for Authors: A Short Guide to Long Results.” The information is evergreen and practical. I’m looking forward to doing more of these.
As confusing as it may sound, “Cardinal Rule” was published before “Swiggers: a short story” (March ’16) even through “Swiggers” was written at an earlier date. Both stories feature a reader-favorite – a character named Theodore Roosevelt Washington aka Teddy. You get to see different sides of the same man at different times in his life.
As my writing chops got stronger, I wanted to take Teddy’s story in a new direction. I gave the green light to a minor character in “Swiggers,” Tanisha, and explored Teddy’s neighborhood from perspective. Eleven months later, “The Legend of Tanisha Biggers” finally hit the digital ebook marketplaces in February ’17. I released it as a standalone novelette and also as a Deluxe Edition anthology featuring the novelette along with the closely-related short stories “Cardinal Rule” and “Swiggers.”
How did you go about getting published?
I’m currently self-published through SolaPress.com. SolaPress is a publishing company/publishing service owned and operated by my writing partner Faydra D. Fields.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I used to be a pantser, writing by the seat of my pants. I’ve started many a great story like that. I’ve finished very few that started with that method. The more I applied the things I learned from various articles and guides, incorporating both creative flow and outlines into the building of a story actually gets me to the end with a story.
When I’m wading knee deep in a story, I tend to do my best writing late at night. Moutain Dew and Chocolate with Almonds is pulled into the mix, and the words come next. I tend to do most of my writing on my Chromebook using Google Docs.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
When I’m not writing, I like to promote the stuff I wrote. I like to eat chocolate. I really enjoy spending time with my wife and my daughter. I have a fictitious pet dog named Chimmi. I write flash fiction pieces about him and post my capers on various social media. I like cooking.
I also promote authors and their books to my huge digital footprint via the service http://JoeyTweets.com.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
When making a book cover, or getting one done, be sure to think about how well you can see the title and the author’s name in the thumbnail. Sometimes the right color and font can make the small thumbnail still readable. If that’s possible to achieve, that’s always a solid move.
Also, you don’t have to tell each and every aspect of the story on the book cover. Pick one of two strong elements that are directly related to something in the plot. Less can be more.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
You have to be your own team. If you have a story to be read/bought, there is no reason for you not to mention it occasionally on your different social media on an ongoing basis.
Alway reply to your readers.
Your next book is your best marketing tool. Keep writing, my friend.
What’s your favorite book?
48 Laws of Power
What are you reading now?
Nothing. In book promotion mode.
What’s your next book project?
Quiet is kept until I have something tangible. Otherwise, I’ll tell the world and never get it done.