About his most recent book
"Steps to Manhood is a book full of poetry of a young man's growth through struggle as he fights to find his purpose in life. There is poetry for all audiences that will truly inspire. Each poem in this book will reach a certain individual, to relate with their own life experiences. Along with deep quotes within the pages to make you think or gain motivation.
When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
I first wanted to become an author during my high school years. This was way before my college years. At that time, I saw a lot of things going on in the world today. I felt like a lot of things needed to be said that people were afraid to speak on. I wanted to be that voice that took a bold step to talk about those topics and have it printed. The unique thing was putting a spin on it in the art form of poetry to make it unique to me. That’s what influenced me to write me to become an author. My influences are great people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Nas and more. I looked to up great leader and read books as well around these characteristics that encouraged me more.
How did you decide on the idea for your 1st book? 2nd book? 3rd book, etc?
My first book was during my high school years. So around that time I was being heavily brought up around a Christian background. Strongly religious view and strong faith. I was also young at the time as well just 17. While writing I believed that every poem I put out was a testimony which is how I came out with the book titled “100 Testimonies of a Young Soul.”
My second book is titled “Just Another Black Voice.” This book is another poetry book, but it was at the time of the not so long ago police shootings. I felt like a lot of people did not understand the true value of a black life. Stereotypes made things worse as well with anger spread out. When this book was put out, I was hoping to be that voice to help people see otherwise and understand our pain.
Finally, my recent and 3rd book “Steps to Manhood” is my 3rd published poetry book that hits on all the topics and my previous books and more. I even added motivation quotes in between to help inspire others. That title formed with believing that my struggles and challenges I face now to manhood will encourage others. This book is for women and men. This book was finished right before I graduated college.
How long did it take you to complete your first book? What was the process like?
My first book process was fun. I was encouraged to write the more I shared my material with friends in the classrooms. All through my senior year I just wrote and thought of things that touched on my mind. Did not have a clue how to get published at the time, but I enjoyed writing and impressing my friends. The time period to finish was months balancing everything going on at the time in school.
What’s so rewarding about writing books and being an author?
The number one rewarding thing is showing that a person of color can actually publish a book. Another thing on top of that is showing that you can do this at a young age as well. Age should not limit the ability of what you can do as long as you put your mind to it. With that said, writing books gives me a chance to meet great people and relate to them. I heard a lot of stories and I am thankful that they are willing to share their experiences with me.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up?
No, I admit I face my challenges in life. One thing for sure though I was not going to just give up. I just have in my mind that I do not want to be on my deathbed wondering what if. When it is too late at that time.
There’s more to being an author than writing a book. How do you manage to handle the business side of things?
I have a strong drive to accomplish things. That’s my foundation, but I learn through experiences I believe that how we all learn. We try things, make mistakes and then adapt to make things better. Additionally, in college I took business course being a business major, so I have an overall good understanding.
Do you have an editor or do you edit your own books?
I do my own editing and allow others to look over my work.
Who does the cover art for your book(s)?
The first two books I let the publisher form a cover art. For My recent book I took it into my hands by booking a photo shoot and doing the cover art on my own using adobe Photoshop.
Do you ever encounter writer’s block? How do you get past it?
Yes of course I do at times. To get past that I just play music or go outside and live life.
How often do you write?
Almost everyday something comes in my mind. What I do is make small notes on my phone and build off the idea later in depth.
Tell us about your last book signing.
My last signing was fun. It was at the Shrine of The Black Madonna in Houston. Saw a lot of great people and amazing black art which is always a plus. This was after I attended the National Black Book Festival and before I got interviewed on Urban Houston Network.
Beside social media, what other methods are you using to get the word out about your book(s)?
Word of mouth, speaking events, volunteering, open mic events and vendor events.
As a Man of Color, what inspires you the most?
God first and that anything is possible no matter what your background is.
Who is your biggest influence?
I have a lot of influences, but I will have to say my biggest one is Martin Luther King Jr. He helped put everyone together no matter where you came from.
Have you ever done something in the past you regret? How did you get through it?
I wouldn't say I regret, but I made mistakes in my past signing and how to promoted myself and the book. Without those mistakes though I would not get better to were I am at now.
How do you get through the tough times in life when life throws what it throws at you?
I simply just smile, because this storm will only make me stronger. After that storm I will have another testimony for others to be uplifted from.
What is one goal you want to accomplish for yourself in 2013?
In 2017 I want to become more national. I want to travel throughout the states and show the world what is possible.
What do you have planned next?
As of now I am looking up book festivals to attend this year, radio shows, online shows, more YouTube videos, open mic events, opportunities to speak and preparing to start seminar to help people publish their first book. The skies is the limit.
How can readers and others in the literary community reach you?
Everything can be found on my website from social media, all my other talents and more at http://www.yourvoiceissoulproductions.com/