1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
After years of teaching and going through a rigorous doctoral program, writing became one of my hobbies. After graduate school and the dissertation process, I decided to write educational books in order to help various walks of life. In the process, I thought that I would change my focus from non-fiction to fiction and create a book that could be eventually adapted into a screenplay for a movie. My screenwriting excursion all started with my book being published back in 2016 and even before then. I envisioned the book being a sensation as I wrote it! The book “pulled itself together” and I knew that there was nothing out there like it. Which is why I did not waste time turning the book into a screenplay.
2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
I have been writing now for approximately 15 years and have published several books (7) and articles in magazines including the following:
AFCA (Adding Motivation to Coaching Concepts can be Self-Contagious (2006), and completed a doctoral dissertation entitled, A Qualitative Ethnographic Study of African American Leadership in Higher Education Administration (2010). He also published 7 books entitled: The Triangle Plan: A Guide to a Successful Life Derived from Personal Experience (2011), American Christianity: Truth or Tradition? A Personal Perspective (2012), The Dissertation Process That Works: A Doctoral Guide to Success (2013), Christian Leadership: Alpha to Omega (2015), Personal Finance: An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management (2015) and Heroes From Heaven: Battle Ground Earth (2016), Teaching in Higher Ed. A Plan of Action. Published by DIVERSITY in Ed Magazine Spring 2016 and The Online Virtual Experience and Diversified Teaching Methods. Published by DIVERSITY in Ed Magazine Spring 2020.
3. What made you want to self-publish?
The first person who had an impact on me as a writer would have to be my junior high English teacher, Mrs. Davis. I always enjoyed writing, but she made class fun and interesting and writing was easy to understand. In terms of the book and screensplay Heroes From Heaven, the first person to arouse me was my wife. No pun intended! As I composed the book, she enjoyed the creation from start to finish as she knew each character and the entire story. When I first started writing it around 2013, I conversed with my wife some of the events that were happening in the United States as well as around the world, and these ideas caused me to write a creative story. Ironically, a few of the events that I wrote about came true a couple years later. In my book I talked about the statues being taken down long before it occurred. The persecution of Religion as well as the mistreatment of women was also emphasized.
4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend GKP?
You have a gift to write so do not procrastinate. Just start writing and the book will “pull itself together!” Perhaps start with an outline and just write. You can add and subtract as you write. When ready, have someone you can trust read it and make recommendations (several people). But, remember! It is your book. Therefore, keep your point of view even though you get suggestions. Find a good self-publishing entity with a sound background and reputation that is not in it to rip you off. Self-publishing companies “go under after several years or so, so one must be careful when choosing and stay in communication with the publisher. Do your homework online and have numerous questions ready to ask before signing on to a publisher. If you have an attorney, have them look over the publisher and their history as well as background and paperwork. I recommend Gatekeeper Press due to these facets.
5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
Marketing can be done by one who is savvy in terms of using social media platforms which are free. In addition, you can use other avenues available depending on one’s contacts and networking abilities.
6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
Read # 4
7. What social media platforms are you on?
8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?
Always have attorney representation for all matters involving writing such as publisher and copyright facets.
9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2020 (and beyond)?
Finding the right self-publisher that will be truthful and durable in time.
Some of the challenges in my writing thus far involve coming to a happy medium in terms of suggestions from others without changing one’s own story and meaning can be troublesome at times, and trusting some who say they want to see the screenplay do well when in reality it about their own self-interest. Overall, the challenges which can be a blessing in disguise and are all great learning experiences.
10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?
My book, Heroes from Heaven (2016) completed a successful Barnes and Noble book tour from the east coast NY, NJ, PA, DE, WV, MD, and DE, ending in Burbank, CA. The book has been made into a screenplay and has won numerous awards including Best Script, Fan favorite, Best Writer selected by the Christian Film festival (2017). Hollywood Weekly Magazine featured me in their September 2017 Special Emmy Edition which included many celebrities including the amazing Dolly Parton. I was also featured in the February Black History Edition (2018) both on the front cover and exclusively inside the magazine. This edition featured him along with sports star LeBron James and comedian Kevin Hart just to name a few. In addition, my book Heroes from Heaven was selected and nominated 3 times including Best Script, by the International Action On Film (AOF) Festival (2018).