Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Like two of my favorite singers ever - the late greats Sarah Vaughan and Whitney Houston - I was born in Newark, New Jersey. I lived in East Orange from about age seven to age twelve, and Irvington from twelve to fourteen. Most of my writings are influenced in some way by my experiences or those of close loved ones, so where I grew up greatly contributes to my writings.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing, when I couldn't get my mother to listen to me speak, as a middle schooler. She was making choices that I thought she was better than, but she'd always been one to talk at you more than with you. So, I began writing my thoughts in letters and poems, then slipping them under her door at night. She never verbally acknowledged them, but her behavior told me that she heard me...for a little while any way.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Sometimes, when life hands you faulty thinking, from someone else's baggage projected onto you... As in my case, my mother was verbally abusive, calling me stupid, when she was angry or frustrated. It manifested in me believing that I was stupid and consequently acting accordingly by avoiding school work that I deemed for "smart people," by the time I was in high school - basically academics, embracing only The Arts and Foreign Languages. I remember being in double star French and Piano Classes and consistently getting A+'s, while skipping Biology and getting C's in English. My teachers thought I was Haitian, because of the French... They had no idea that I had aspirations of being a professional American musician in Paris, and considered my English teacher to be a bore.
But I was as deceived as they, believing that I couldn't do more, while all the time, I could have done whatever I wanted. Years taught me the reality of this and the extreme of surviving an abusive relationship, coming out determined to rediscover a sense of self-worth that I found I had yet to discover to begin with.
At 40, I returned to school online, and there found my learning style and how to adapt it to a strategy that would guarantee me A's every time. And thus was born, "IT'S ALL IN THE GAME: The Student's Strategic Guide To Academic Success." Because I know I'm not the only Creative that was ever taught that they could not excel in Academics. Because I know how to teach the Creative to utilize their creativity as an asset in the world of Academia.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is the ability it gives me to share my life's lessons with others.
What do your fans mean to you?
I recall my pastor, Bishop Jakes, telling a story of suffering over the course of his life before and during his ministry. He then met a woman with an awful affliction, who said to him, "It was for us!" In 2 Kings 4:1-7, in The Holy Bible, the widow of a "guild prophet" goes to Elisha the prophet stating that her husband has died and that creditors have come for their sons. Elisha first asks the woman what she has in her house. After she answers that she has nothing but a flask of oil, he tells her to go to her neighbors to collect vessels or jars. I saw those empty jars as the needs of her community, which she filled with what she had...in her house. I see my fans as that woman that cried out to Bishop Jakes, "It was for us!" Because I believe that my audience is the community whose needs are what I have. And as it did for my dear pastor, it assures me that my suffering is not in vain.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To be productive for The One who gave me another day of life, for myself, my family and my community, both local and abroad.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In addition to being an Author, I am also a Recording Artist, and CEO of EGKL Enterprises - the home of EGKL Publishing and EGKL Productions. And EGKL Productions is debuting, this Fall, the EGKL Webzine!
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