My most recent softcover book is a daily devotional targeted towards inspiring single mothers, and its title is Everyday Single Mom Life and Dating Inspirations. It contains a daily one-page dose of soulful spirituality, tips to raise your kids with care, advice on romance and relationships, keys to unlock your creativity, encouragement to manifest your destiny, a bit of poetry and the essence of love. Having been raised by an unconditionally loving single mom, it was my way of giving back to her and women like her.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was born and raised in Detroit, got my master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan which landed me a job in Los Angeles designing satellite antennas for Hughes Aircraft. After three years of engineering, I was in the movie “Get Shorty” and soon had an idea for a screenplay that put God in mirrors. That was my life-changing moment. It caused me to become a writer, and I’ve been at it for over 15 years now. While it was a rocky road that included 9 months of homelessness while trying to get a Hollywood agent in LA, it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. If you have to live life to express it, living so dynamically has provided an ample palette with which to draw from, and wisdom was the result.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
One of the toughest tasks for any writer is getting that first foot in the door to establish legitimacy. For the 10 screenplays I’ve written, I’ve learned that you truly do need an agent to represent you. Otherwise, they reject your work as being “unsolicited material” because of potential lawsuits that could come from not having that third party representation. So my path to publication was a struggle from 1995-2008. Yet, that’s when I met an author at a party who referred me to her publisher. That’s what got “Everyday Single Mom” published with excellent distribution at the end of 2009. In other words, writing also requires a lot of networking, face-to-face, where people meet you, shake your hand, hear your story, etc. After that, the sales and marketing of yourself and your book(s) becomes the next hurdle. Yet, because writing is a labor of love, it’s a worthwhile journey.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
My start in writing began when I was an engineer in LA running optimization programs that often took an hour to chug through all the calculations. During those in-between times, I’d write long emails to my friend in Michigan. Eventually, we thought those emails would make a great book similar to the meaty intellectual content of the movie “My Dinner with Andre” and the structure of the “Griffin & Sabine” series that was popular in the 1990’s. After printing the 800 pages of personal emails we wrote to each other, we did one editing pass, realized that such a personal book could bring potential lawsuits, and parted paths. However, right before we shelved our dreams of publishing it, I had the film idea to put God in mirrors and decided to turn into a screenwriter. I think living in Los Angeles had an influence on that decision, but it’s a choice I am grateful for. Making a leap of faith to try and manifest your dreams should never be a regret. Too few actually do it. Never ask “what if?”
Do you have any writing rituals?
No. I’ve found that the muse comes and goes like the tides. Sometimes it ebbs; sometimes it flows. It’s your job as a writer to surf the waves of inspiration when they arrive. However, being that “a writer writes,” even though you may not writing for a book or project, your daily emails and social media correspondence should always be targeted towards writing well… while establishing your own personal style. Even writing a simple poem for a friend can be the catalyst for a torrent of output on your current book at hand. Just keep writing while remembering that it’s the timely silences that seem to make the music flow… so even a down-time may be a necessary step in the writer’s journey.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
My favorite books that encouraged me to write were every book in the “Dune” series by Frank Herbert and “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. They were fulcrum books that definitely inspired me to become a writer years later. I appreciated how they’d go in depth as to seeing things from all angles, not just from one perspective.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Yes, my next book will be another book of daily inspirations to establish an “Everyday” brand of books. This time around, it will be for a wider audience with a focus on daily ideas for smart and thrifty living. Having done numerous booksignings for my “Everyday Single Mom” book, I learned that while it’s a strong niche that enabled me to get published, many bookstore customers who walk in the store during a booksigning are not single mothers. Thus, I wanted to establish a brand of books while enlarging my potential audience base.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
After “Everyday Single Mom” was published as a softcover book, I was able to release my backlog of books and screenplays as ebooks for Nooks and Kindles via Barnes & Noble and Amazon. To me, this seems the future of publishing. The royalties are much more generous because of less hands in your publishing pie, but also, kids today are being taught to read screens, not pages of a book. Thus, if you have a book that agents and publishers don’t seem to notice (for whatever reason), don’t be afraid to self-publish it as an ebook. What that will do is establish you as a legitimate author, and if you generate great sales, the agents and publishers will be coming to you… hoping for a piece of the pie… but also offering generous advances because you showed you can sell a book non-traditionally. The 20th century was all about traditional publishing. The 21st century will be about renegade self-published authors of ebooks who use the internet well and learn the PR tricks necessary to generate money from other ancillary avenues. Just don’t give up. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?