What makes a particular genre you are involved in so special?
Poetry is the heartbeat of culture in my opinion. If you want to know what’s going on society poetry speaks to that. Also it is personal, when I begin writing it was because of a relationship that I was in. As I continued to write, my poetic voice began to go beyond just me to people and experiences that each of us has lived.
What inspires you to write?
The need to get the thoughts out of my head and capture them on paper. To work through my struggles as a person. To help others through what I have gone through in this life. To connect on a personal level. And to express the gift that I have been blessed with.
Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last?
Going through it presently, which has been able six months. When I first started the poems just poured out me. So much so that I was able to write and publish two books. This time around the scribes have come, but very slowly.
Have you ever designed your own book cover?
Yes, my first book, “Into My Rotation, A Collection of Scribes” I was able to visualize what I wanted and worked with the publisher to create my vision.
Do you attend literary lunches or events?
Yes, I am part of meeting group called C.O.F.F.I.E (COnnecting Friends For Intown Events). I have participated in writing workshops and open mic sessions. I will the spotlight artist on April 9 th reading poetry from my book “Journey To The Poetic Light, Illuminations”.
Any advice you would give to aspiring writers?
Continue to work on your craft and be open to criticism. Use that to make your writing stronger. Be ready to hear your voice as your writing journey progresses. Be hungry feedback from your readers. To me this is important to fuel your creativity.
Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?
I am a following of Jesus Christ, and I believe there are evil forces in this world. When the enemy attacks and there is no foundation words are trapped and cannot escape and the person is driven to despair. So for me my writing always ends in light. I can go into the darkness but I know there is hope and redemption. Again this is what I believe, I never try to convince or judge. Our minds work differently and we need to be wary of the voices we hear and listen to.
Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?
Yes, I have been doing accounts receivables for over 20 years. I was a business major in college. I enjoy what I do but now that I am in my 50’s started to think beyond working. Would like to write full-time if it could support me financially, but for now I have to work.
People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?
To a certain degree, knowledgeable people understand that it is a grind. Especially if you are self published. Many of the authors I know don’t have access to large publishers that would even look at their work. I knew early on that the marketing aspect would be difficult and it has. But I feel accomplished at what I have been able to achieve thus far.
Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?
Even since I began writing I have been pushing my work on social media and word of mouth. Have used several on-line marketing tools and have presented my work to the owner of a bookstore. It is hard work and I do something daily to promote my work.
How did feel when your first book got published?
Amazing, the day I received the first order my first grandchild was born. To see my writing in print was a feeling I will never forget. I felt that if I work to achieve something, it was definitely possible.
Are you friends with others writers?
Yes on and off line.
Was there a time you were unable to write, at all?
Within the last six months I have only been able to scribe a few pieces. I just haven’t felt the flow. But I know that anything can trigger my creativity so I don’t stress about it.
How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
Just got together with family and friends and talked about the journey.
How critical are you in your evaluation when you are reviewing someone’s work?
I have gained so much from being on on-line poetry websites and reading other’s poets work. In evaluating I ask questions about the structure and intent. But I am very careful not to belittle or tear them down. I focus on positive suggestions.
What other genres do you enjoy reading?
Really enjoy fantasy (Lord of the Rings). And of course poetry. From folks I participate to the famous (i.e. Langston Hughes, T.S Eliot).
When can the readers expect your next book in print?
Working on that right as I am doing this interview. I expect it to be released this year. Not sure exactly when, but definitely this year.
Have you received any awards for you literary works?
Not yet, but there is always hope.
Ever learned anything from a negative review and incorporated it in your writing?
Yes and I used to fuel my writing to the next level. As I was creating was conscious of the negative and basically turned it into positive energy which added to the piece.
How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?
I have five children, all grown now. My daughter, Taylor Rose was about to start a publishing internship at NYU when she was tragically killed in a train accident in May of 2015. She also wrote poetry but we never got the chance to share our work. I am visited by that from time to time.
How liberal are you in terms of expressing ideas in your books?
Very, I write from my perspective and know that some people with feel my vibe and others will not. And I am ok with that. If a conversation can began then I know the piece resonated.
If you were given a teaching opportunity, would you accept it?
Yes, would be excited to share what I have learned through writing and see where I class I taught would take it.
If you could live anywhere in the world, which country would you choose and why?
It would be Trinidad and Tobago because I love the culture and the diversity. And the weather is not too bad either. (SMILE).