- When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
It never dawned upon me, I’ve been writing poetry since I was 13 years old. It just happened after a vacation to Los Angeles where I was thinking of what would be the next phase of my life.
- What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
My laptop and iPad are my go-to devices and my iPad goes with me most places. Having Google Drive on my laptop, phone and iPad I can re-read anything on the go and also type my books.
- What inspires you to write?
My life situations, things going on around me, things going on in the world, people’s stories and experiences in their lives, being an observer of world events going on daily.
- How often do you write?
I try to write a good 3-4 times a week whether it’s a book or short poems that I post on my social media pages.
- Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I don’t have a set schedule, whenever I feel like writing I will do it. I can be on the train riding home from work, sitting at work on my lunch break, or at home (where my books are mostly written).
- How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
When I first started writing my books it wasn’t hard, I only cared about writing. Now, it’s a totally different story, social media engagement, social media postings, recording audiobooks, recording podcasts, writing scripts for podcasts, writing my blogs weekly, it becomes challenging. It’s all about time management these days.
- Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
Not really, I just start writing, I let things flow and then when I’m ready to stop I do. I don’t really force the issue with my writing. It’s only because I have a book where I have my chapters planned ahead of time and I have notes written on what I will be writing about.
- Writers are often associated with loner tendencies;is there any truth to that?
Yes very much so, part of it is because I’m a writer, the other aspect of it is because I’m an only child. I’m honestly used to being a loner and it doesn’t really bother me. I’m comfortable making myself happy and writing.
- What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
Staying mentally focused with the amount of technology that’s around. Cell phones, iPads, television, family members and friends and especially social media.
- What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
Getting into a zone and knowing what you want to write about. When you have the storyline, plot, characters all in place, everything flows smoothly.
- Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read poetry books written by up and coming authors, I read about crazy things that go on in the world and also self-help books that will allow me to grow my author brand.
- Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
The story ideas that I come up with, the storylines that I’m able to create in my mind and it allows me to put it onto paper.
- Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Write what you know and love, not what’s trendy and hot right now. The market changes constantly so don’t feel like you have to cater to what’s hot at the moment. Stick to what you know, learn as much as possible about the business and budget yourself to where you’re not spending too much. Follow your passion and don’t let anyone change your focus and your vision.
- What did you want to become when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a lawyer, then I realized how many years of school I’d have to do and I changed my mind quickly. I had aspirations of being a sports broadcaster or analyst (I have old YouTube videos of me talking about the NBA) but my laptop crashed and the dream faded and here I am, an author sharing a vision on changing the world one book at a time.
- Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
All of my books are in poetry format, it’s not the traditional book that you would pickup and read. I was able to incorporate societal issues and poetry into books. My books are more of a poetry prose type of writing. My goal is to stand out from the other writers and authors and carve my own path in my writing.
- Do your novels carry a message?
All of my books have some message, it’s a matter of figuring out what it is and utilizing that to impact others and change the world that we live in. I write about various things from men’s struggles to women’s issues, domestic violence, alcohol and drug addiction, America, racism and many other subjects. I don’t shy away from a little controversy and getting you to critically think a little about the world around you.
- Are there any books that you are currently reading and why?
I just finished reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s newest book Crushing It! I read it to learn how other people have built their brands and success and also to learn how to utilize my social media pages better as far as engagement.
- Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
I’m putting the finishing touches on The World In Ruins (releasing in June), I’m currently writing Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun Part 3 (releasing in September) and I plan on finishing the series The World We Live In series (Part 4 and 5 releasing in December to finish the year).
- Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
I dedicate them to my grandparents who are no longer with us, and people who deal with tough times in their lives. There’s always a way to make things better in life and being there for each other is so important.
- Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
My parents are my biggest supporters, I think they realized I had something going by my 3rd book. They started thinking to themselves, “Okay, Jamell is really serious about this.”
- When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?
Definitely not, it was either a lawyer or sports (granted most of my friends saw me doing something in sports). Go figure I had sports jobs the majority of my life.
- Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?
Yup, I work for NY Presbyterian Hospital as a Patient Accounts Representative. Do I like it? Nope, but my coworkers are awesome and get me through my long days.
- Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?
It doesn’t, I’m always working whether I’m on the train traveling to work, before I start work, during my breaks, riding on the train going home, there’s always something to do. Plus, I work 35 hours a week but in 4 days so I have 3 day weekends which allows me to get a lot done.
- How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?
It was a love/hate relationship hobby ordeal between ages 13 to 33. I published my first book at 33 years old. In the 2 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been blessed by GOD to have written and published 8 books with more coming.
- Is it true that anyone can be a writer?
I definitely think so, it’s what you’re good at and how you’re able to express and formulate your thoughts onto paper. It’s about self-awareness (stole this from Gary Vaynerchuk),
- People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?
It definitely isn’t, it’s a lot of hard work, especially being self-published. Everything falls on you, every decision, every investment. You’ll have successes and failures, it’s part of the process.
- Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?
I like the combination of both, traveling is fun and exploring different places. I also like to stay indoors and relax too, my days are long and catching up on rest is always helpful.
- How does it feel when you don’t get the recognition you deserve?
It doesn’t feel good a lot of times but it does make me work harder than ever. They say that nothing happens overnight.
- Do you enjoy book signings?
I have never done them, I will be doing my first one at the Black Writers On Tour Book Festival in Carson, CA on April 21st. So if you live in Southern California near Los Angeles, I’ll be there with 9 of my books.
- Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?
As a self-published author, that’s what I spend most of my time thinking about and doing.
- Are you satisfied with your success?
I don’t think I ever will be for numerous reasons. I’m competitive with myself and always challenging myself to do more, write more, write impactful books that will forever live on when I’m long gone. I’m trying to be legendary as a writer and author.
- Is writing book series more challenging?
Very much so, I’m working on 3 different series. The Struggles and Growth of a Man, Code Blue and The World We Live In. Developing storylines, evolving characters and keeping readers engaged is the biggest challenge. I want to write great books, but in the midst of it make sure that I’m sticking to talking about social issues that are going on in the world.
- What do you do in your free time?
I listen to music everyday (I’m eclectic when it comes to my music), I go running (when the weather permits, living in New York is a struggle), I play basketball, I watch my TV shows when I can and I love to watch sports (basketball, football and baseball). Spending time with my family and friends I do occasionally but most of the time I’m always working on a project.
- Did the thought to give up writing ever occur to you?
I go through it at least once a month but I keep going. I might stop at the end of 2020, I’ll see how things workout and how many more book ideas I come up with. So far, I have 30 book ideas (I’ll see if they all turn into published books).
- What is your motivation for writing more?
Knowing that I can impact people and make people think about the world and what’s going on around us.
- Which book would you want adapted for the silver screen?
The Code Blue series I would want to be adapted into the silver screen (I actually have written short films for a few chapters from Part 1 of the book). I think that series hits hard on racism and real issues amongst citizens and police officers in America.
- Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part?
Let’s just say Robert has a few personalities traits and thoughts like me from the Struggles and Growth of a Man series. Not many people know that unless I tell them but just a little tidbit from my writing.
- When can the readers expect your next book in print?
My next book will be my 9th book released on April 27th. The book is called, “America, A Country Divided.” I tackle some issues that are currently going on in America and I share my thoughts about what’s going on around us. It’s a controversial book like America Under Mind Control that will make you think.
- How big of a part does music play in creating your “zone”?
Let’s just say there isn’t a book that I have written that didn’t involve music and getting into a “zone.” Music plays a huge part in my writing and depending on my mood, I’ll listen to electronic or ambient music to get me in a good flow. A lot of times I don’t want to listen to words, I just need a smooth flow to the music to relax my mind and allow the thoughts to flow.
- Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
I write my best at home, sitting at my desk in my comfortable chair by the window. I can’t sit around people and write, they would be nothing but a distraction.
- Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with their project – how true is that in your case?
That’s very true, I’m a hermit when it comes to my writing. I will make sure that I do all of my “adult responsibilities,” before I sit down to get my writing done. I don’t like to be disturbed much so I put my phone under my pillow so I can’t hear it or see it, I turn on my music and get to work.
- Do you mentor?
I don’t mentor but I would love to do that in the near future. I want to do speaking engagements too but for now, I do what I can to help other authors with websites and things I find and I post them on my social media pages.
- How long do you take to write a book?
It honestly depends, the Struggles and Growth series takes me 3-4 weeks, The World We Live In series takes a good 6-8 weeks to write (because I’m dealing with 19 different characters that I write about and have to continually develop), the Code Blue series so far, it has taken me 3-4 weeks, America Under Mind Control took a month to write, America, A Country Divided took me 6 weeks and that’s because the topics of discussion are current events so I add more to chapters.
- Do you blog?
Yes I blog weekly on different subjects from what’s going on in the world to inspiring blogs about being an author. My website is www.aquariandmind.info.
- How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write?
I’m active on social media a few days a week but it doesn’t affect the way I write. I may get a book idea or topic of discussion to talk about on my podcast but other than that, I have a pretty good idea of how I’m going to write my books. Facebook (aquarianpoet1), Twitter (aquariandmind1), Instagram (aquarianmelo-personal, aquarianmind-poetry), YouTube (jamellcrouthers), Snapchat (aquarianmelo), and my Podcast (The Aquarianmind Podcast on Podbean, iTunes and Stitcher).