Interview with Ikish Mullens

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the housing projects in Newark, New Jersey until I graduated from high school, and eventually moved to a one family house in Newark.

However, before moving out of the projects with my family, there were things that I witnessed as a youth living in the Newark Housing Authority that had a significant influence on my writing.

For example, the housing projects that I resided in had a heavy drug presence. However, as a youth I didn’t completely understand or comprehend what was going on around me until the day I was sitting on the porch with a few of my friends, and a substance abuser approach us and asked us for drugs. That was the day that I realized what a drug dealer was, and I began to recognize who the drug dealers were in the community.

In addition, in the beginning I despised the drug dealers. I couldn’t understand how anyone could intentionally sell drugs to someone, knowing that it could potentially kill them, and sleep well at night. However, as time passed and I began to watch and listen to the stories that various drug dealers told while they were on the block, or just hanging around the neighborhood, I began to empathize with them, and look at some of them in a different light.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I agree with their lifestyle choice. I’m just saying that from what I witnessed by speaking with them, I understand their need to sell drugs – from their perspective – in order to provide for themselves and their families. In addition, some of them sold drugs because their family or friends sold drugs, or because they felt it was the popular thing to do. While there were others who sold drugs because of the lifestyle it allowed them to afford, by allowing them to by cars, expensive cloths, attend parties, and catch the attention of women who were attracted to the lifestyle and money that dealing drugs afforded.

In contrast, a small few sold drugs as a means to an end. These select few sold drugs in order to gain enough money to put towards a small business, or pay for college, in hopes of escaping the housing projects or the hood, in hopes of one day living the American dream.
When did you first start writing?
I have been writing since the seventh grade. However, I can’t remember the theme or story of the first book that I wrote, but I do remember the title of the story. That was where I learn the importance of properly titling a book. The title of the first book that I wrote was the Holocaust, and when my mother found out about it, she told me that I can’t call it Holocaust, and then she explained to me what the Holocaust was.

Then after learning about what the Jews suffered during the Holocaust, I changed the title of the book, but I couldn’t tell you what it was, because I didn’t complete the book, and moved on to writing or doing something else.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I created Mind Games: A Brick City Story out of anger and frustration. Even though Mind Games: A Brick City Story is a work of fiction, the themes and situations that you’ll come across within its pages were born and created from real life events and circumstances that people who grew up in the environment that I lived in encountered on a daily basis.

In addition, Mind Games: A Brick City Story does not focus on the drug aspect of the streets, but rather I decided to focus on the relationships between the people involved in the drug trade, and the affects that their chosen profession has on them, their friends, and family. Because whenever anyone decides to join the drug trade, they usually base their decision on what they are viewing, and the lifestyle that various drug dealers have, and not on the dangers or drama that comes along with it.

Therefore, knowing what I had learned from watching and listening to the stories that the drug dealers told, I began to see an untold story developing, and thus Mind Games: A Brick City Story was born.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It was never my intentions to be an indie author. Actually, my goal was to write a book and sign with a major publishing house. However, after researching and looking into different publishing houses, I began to get a headache at all of the red tape that came along with signing to a major publishing house. For example, in order for me to approach a major publishing house, I needed a literary agent – which I did not have – nor did I know how to acquire one. In addition, I would have had to give up certain rights to my work, and be at the mercy of the major publishing house, which in turn would have most likely watered down Mind Games: A Brick City Story into a tale that was not my intention to tell.

Likewise, while searching for a publishing house and literary agent, I could not find one that fit the genre in which I wrote for. Therefore, it wasn’t until I researched indie authors that my motivation into becoming one developed. Moreover, in that time, I learned a lot about the publishing industry that I wasn’t previously exposed to.

During my youth, I was raised around the entertainment industry. Mainly the music industry and I learned a lot from my aunt Egypt – who was an aspiring rap artist at the time – about how the music industry works. This is not that different from how the publishing industry works.

However, as time progressed from the time in 2004 when entered the publishing world, until now, technology has changed the way the business of entertain works, and allows me to publish my own work at an affordable rate, and maintain total control of all of my projects.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is the ability to create, and to see that creation come to life. Writing for me is therapeutic. Writing allows me to revisit and relive different points in my life in order to create a compelling story that I pray my readers will receive with positive reviews.

In addition, writing allows me to have a voice. It gives me the opportunity to speak on different topics and subjects, and address different issues that I feel are not properly addressed. Moreover, writing is my way to escape reality, and live in a world of my creation, and allows me to tell the stories that I want to tell, in order to educate and inform my readers on topics and subjects that they will not encounter from anywhere else.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean the world to me. If it were not for the fans that I have been blessed to acquire over the years, I would have given up on my dreaming of being an author years ago.

I don’t believe that some people understand how hard it is to be an author, or understand what authors go through after we spend countless hours creating our stories, proofreading and editing, and publishing our work. However, while we are creating our work, sometime we develop doubts about how good the work really is. In addition, it isn’t until our fans have the chance to read our work and give us their feedback that inspires us to go back in and create book after book because we know they are expecting another story just as compelling and great as the previous.

Therefore, if it weren’t for my fans, I wouldn’t know if the story that I’m tell is good or bad. Without my fans, I wouldn’t have realized my calling, and I would have given up on my dreaming of being a published author, and probably would have ended up doing something that my heart wasn’t into, and lived an unfulfilled life.
What are you working on next?
At this time, I am working on a few projects that I plan to have released over the next couple of years. However, my top priority is finishing the proofreading and editing of Mind Games 2: Vendetta, as well as the releasing the third part of the series by the end of 2014, before I sit down and dedicate myself to the rest of my catalog.

As things stand now I have about five more books ready to present to my fans, I believe they will love. Nevertheless, my remaining titles will have to wait until I finish and release all of the titles to the Mind Games series.
Who are your favorite authors?
I base my favorite authors on who has inspired me to achieve more in life, or inspired me to change my life as a whole. In addition, the authors that have landed on my favorite authors list are authors who’s work left me wanting to read more, or inspired by creativity.

Therefore, my favorite authors at this time are (in random order):

Al-Sadiq Banks – a fellow Newark author who directed me to publishing my own work, as well as told me how to start my own publishing house (M. Y. C. A. Publishing, LLC).

Donald Goines – who inspired me to be an even better storyteller than I was.

Jerry and Ester Hicks – for their book "Ask And It Is Given", for helping me to realize that I controlled my own destiny.

Sista Soulja – for exposing to street literature with her novel "Coldest Winter Ever".

Sun Tzu – for his lessons and insight with his book the "Art of War".

50 Cent – the inspiration I received after reading "The 50th Law".

Mark Coker – for his books on "eBook Publishing Success" and "Book Marketing Guide", which renewed by desire to be a publishing author.

Michael Samuels – for his book "Just Ask The Universe".

Pam Grout – for her book "E2 (E Squared)".

and last but not least,

Laina Buenostar – for her book "Happy Money".

Are just some of the authors that appear on my favorite authors list, which seems to be growing daily.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My inspiration for getting out of bed each day is to experience and to accomplish tasked that I didn’t accomplish on the previous day. I look at each new day as a day to grow further spiritually, mentally, and physically. Because each day that I open my eyes, is another day to learn a new lesson that can potentially seep into a new book I’m writing, or change my current perspective, views, or beliefs about the world in which we live in.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I use my downtime to spend time with my family, playing video games, watching movies and television, developing a new book, networking, working on music with my baby brother Nuggie Da Kidd, and traveling. I love to experience new things outside of my realm of understanding and experience, because if I didn’t allow myself to have a social life, I wouldn’t have any new material to pull from, to write new stories for my fans.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
The majority of eBooks that I discover are referred to me by my business partner Glam Gyrl. Whenever she comes across a good book that she believes I’d be interested in reading, or if she feels that the book addresses an issue or problem that I am currently going through, she would call me up and tell me about the book, and I’d eventually get on my phone and download the eBook.

In addition, there are times that I find eBooks on my own. For example, I’ve wanted to publish an eBook for years, but I didn’t know how to go about creating one. However, one day, I opened my kindle app on my phone and typed in “How to Publish and eBook” and after reading over the list it gave me, I discovered Mark Coker, which in turn introduced me to Smashwords (which I believe was the universe’s way of answering my prayers). After that, I became an eBook junky, and before I knew it, I was downloading eBooks left and right and reading them on the go.
Published 2014-04-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mind Games: A Brick City Story
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 108,910. Language: American English. Published: April 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » Urban life, Fiction » African American fiction » General
Sex, Drugs, Love, Lies, Secrets, and Betrayal are just a few things Des encounters on his road to redemption. Sworn to secrecy about his inheritance, Des secretly began making plans to leave his life in the streets behind, only to open Pandora’s Box, and unleash a wave of chaos and destruction in the lives of those he love.