Interview with JEREMY ALLEN PHELPS

What is your writing process?
My writing process is to first construct my characters. This is usually done in the head and the heart long before I commit to writing. My character(s) must first become as real to me as the people I encounter on an everyday basis. For me, the storyline to any story is secondary. The character creates the story. The charaters will carry the story and cause the reader to turn the page and become engrossed with the narrative. After I know my charaters then I develop the story that will allow me to introduce them to the world.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I do not remember the first story I ever read. However, one of the first stories I ever read was The Sword and the Stone, or the legend of King Arthur. That story, like many others that my mother had me to read, showed me the power of imagination. It instilled in me the thirst for creativity and awoken in my young heart the belief that I was placed on this Earth to exercise my gift of creativity. To inspire success. To aspire toward something great.
How do you approach cover design?
Fortunately for me, before I ever wrote a story, a poem, or a song, I was a young visual artist. I have drawn, sketched, painted, and made unusual creations with paper since I was probably four years old. Furthermore, I have a bachelors degree in Art & Design, so the creation of the cover comes form the same well as the creation of the story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1) The Bible, for not only is it filled with the hope that I cling to, but it is filled with people and stories that have shaped our world.
2) the Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller, reminded the world, and myself, that the most powerful story an writer can tell is the one that probes the human heart.
3) Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington…all I can say is 'wow'.
4) The Heart of Buddah's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh, this book lifted clouds from my vision and allowed me to breath alittle easier and to embrace my inperfections.
5) I know I'm taking the easy way out here, but I am going to have to say all the books that I have read in my lifetime that have helped me become the human being I am today. I appreicate every writer that took the time to put to paper a cohesive treatise or work of fiction that I could grow with.
What do you read for pleasure?
The Bible, history, wisom literature, poetry, cultures of the world, things of African American interests, and love stories.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I would have to say the Kindle.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mainly in Chicago, on the city's South Side. The despair I read on many faces molded my worldview that people are desparatly searching for something to believe in. In fact, tamara James, the troubled heroine of A Change is Gonna Come, is an amalgamation of differnt faces that I met in my formative years. I realize that the story is painful, at times too much to bear, but that is for those who unfortunately know this story. These people and charaters are all too close to home for them. I should add, however, that the same city that showed me this hurtful side of life also nurtured the beauty that permeates this love story. In a nut shell, my writing is a product of South Side Chicago.
When did you first start writing?
elementary school. Not a year went by without my mother encouraging me to enter the Young Author's Competition. Later I began to write poetry and songs as well.
What's the story behind your latest book?
whew! A Love story that practically wrote itself. At Nineteen, during the summer of 1997, I sat in a back room of an old house in Danville Illinois and wrote into a 5 subject notebook what I believed then would be a legendary love story. I had no idea how the story would end when I began writing. I just knew who the leading lady and the man were because they were in my head, if you will, telling me the story. We have all loved and lost before, but these charaters, while a true reflection of what I have seen and experienced, are truly fictional. This is not a story inspired by some past event or relationship, though the gravitational feelings of first love was truly easy to communicate because of something I experienced in my formative years.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I cannot smother the writer in me. Nor can I wait for some agent to possibly take a chance on me. This is a new world and a writer can publish his/her stories and take their fate into their own hands. I want to be part of that new world. Also, I want to show my children, and any others who will follow suit, that we are the writers of our own stories. If we do not believe in ourselves, we cannot reasonably ask others to do so.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given an avenue and a platform for me and myself and others to share our words with a mass audience. Though I am only at the beginning of this long and improbable journey, I can say that I believe that Smashwords will play an important role in whatever I acheive as a writer.
What are you working on next?
There are a few more African American fiction titles planned for the future, one of which - Congratulations Caleb - is underway as we speak. In addition, an addendum to A change is Gonna Come is highly possible. The idea is to retell the events of that memorable summer, but this time from Maurice Harding's perspective.
Published 2013-11-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Change is Gonna Come
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 45,220. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » General, Fiction » African American fiction » Contemporary woman
Suffering from Sickle-Cell Anemia and life-threatening heart disease, young Tamara James is out to steal away a piece of the happiness that life has forbidden her. She is ready and willing to sleep with any man she can: namely yours! But when she sets eyes on Maurice Harding - a mystical and handsome poet engaged to marry another woman - she sets in motion a summer that will follow them forever.