I both love and hate books that don’t leave a discrete ending for the reader. Have you ever felt the need to write sequels?
I am in the process of finishing the sequel of my book “Up From Where We’ve Come.” I realized early on that it would be impossible to cram my whole life into one volume, so I decided to break it up into multiple books.
There’s always another book in the pipeline to write… Tell me about it! Does it have a working title?
I am still early in the process, working on the first draft of the next installment, so I am not interested in divulging my next title, at least not yet.
Some advice other writers have given is that your first book is best sitting in a drawer for a while, because then you feel stronger about chopping up ‘your baby’. Do you still have a copy of your first draft? How different is this from the final published version of “Up From Where We’ve Come”?
I do still have a copy of the first draft. The difference is that the first draft has many more words, because once I get everything written down I have to make sure my writing is as concise as possible. The chopping up and process of elimination is very important to the final book.
Do you have a dedicated writing space? How does it meet your writing needs?
I write when and wherever the spirit hits me, but more often than not at my personal computer. Sometimes I will also write on the couch or in bed. The most important thing, though, is that I am comfortable, no matter where I am writing that day.
What is your writing process? Have you ever thought about changing it? Other authors I have interviewed talk about having an outline – post-it notes in an office, or writing in paper journals. Is there something like that in your writing technique? Or is it all digital for you?
I wrote my first draft of “Up From Where We’ve Come” on a typewriter, since I started writing the book before I owned my first computer. It was only later that I started typing it into a digital format. Because I am not a trained author and am writing my life story, it is straight from my memory bank instead of using outlines.
How do you know when a book or short story is finished? How do you know to step away and let the story speak for itself?
I am not a trained author so I simply go by rote. I simply follow my inner emotions. Like I said before, I knew I would have a difficult time putting my entire life in one book, so the move from Mississippi to California was a great place to pause for the first volume.
Do you have a preference for e-book or paperback format? This is for both your own reading and your writing.
Since I’ve never read an e-book, I guess that answer would be quite obvious. I can’t speak for an experience I’ve never had. I have however, read many paper books so, I guess you could call me ‘old- school’!
Social media is becoming a big thing. How does managing media outlets come into marketing your brand and your books?
I have a Twitter, and Instagram, and a Facebook, but I am so busy and do not usually have time to look after my social media profiles. I’m afraid I have to leave that up to the experts.
You have answered other sets of interview questions, is there something you wish someone would have asked you? Or conversely, something you wish they hadn’t asked?
No not really. Thanks for your time Rosemarie
It’s worth at this point detailing some of background to Wright’s book. Born in 1940 in the Deep South, Wright grew up in an America segregated by race. Although the Union had won the Civil War the century previously, a war fought over the slave system that had made Southern white landowners rich, and the slaves were supposedly given their freedom after emancipation, for many very little had changed by the time Wright was born. Slavery was replaced by another form of servitude, namely sharecropping. Now, instead of slaves being owned by the landowners, the landowners would provide some of their land to the newly ‘freed’ blacks, as well as poor white farmers, along with some rudimentary housing, equipment and maybe even a mule; a local merchant would provide the farmer with credit to purchase food and supplies. In return, at harvest the sharecropper would take a share of the crop produced; the sharecropper would take the rest, minus anything else was owed.
One of the stories that stand out in the book is the first time that Wright took a ride in a car into Clarksdale with the rest of his family. His amazement at being in a car for the first time is fascinating to read for a modern audience who’ve been around cars all their lives. Yet their ownership of the car did not last long: Wright’s father had bought the car with the financial help of Mr Miles, but further financial woes and the devious assistant to Mr Brookings, a man named Leo, conned Wright into selling the car, a blow to Wright’s father who tried for years to better his family’s desperate situation.
(A letter to the first lady)
It is so obvious your speech was stolen Mrs. Obama, but about the best thing I can say is, they did the same thing to our music. Everyone is trying to perform R&B and Rock & Roll music, which we all but single handedly, created. Yet, today we’ve practically been kicked aside from the economic aspects of our unique art form as well as our culture.
My point is; this is an important chapter in American history, which we’ve all but been denied participation. So we wander around in this country, not knowing what we’re up against, nor realizing the potential of our fate?
In fact, most of us do not know that we, as a people, in the very near future, could possibly be considered expendable due mostly to the fact that we were brought here specifically to pick and to cultivate cotton! So, as far as some of our captures are concerned, we have presently outlived our usefulness.
I know, those of you who live in Los Angeles are more than likely thinking “Hollywood like you should,” meaning some of us are blinded by the make believe facade of Hollywood, so you’re probably thinking what I am saying is ludicrous.
Meanwhile, our children (and in too many cases, we ourselves) do not have a clue as to what we’re up against? Why for instance, are our neighborhoods inundated with liquor stores, crack houses, and a church on every corner, pistols, and all sorts of ways for us to self-destruct? Now I know nobody wants to hear this, but the fact is that as far as some white people are concerned, we are no longer needed. And thanks to the gun lobbyist, the gun shows, the NRA and of course the movies and shows coming out of Hollywood, our children barely stand a chance of survival.
What I mean about the movies is if you’ve noticed, the villain is always black. At least he is ninety nine percent of the time, stone cold black! Whether he comes from beneath the sea or from the far reaches of out of space, he is more than likely black!
So do not think these vicious black images don’t affect us as a people, because that is exactly what they are designed to do. It’s the equivalent to the Nazi’s defamation campaigns against the Jews during and before World War ll.
The Jewish people however, at the least, formed a line of defense but I’m afraid we African Americans though, just may end up getting blindsided. So all I can say in the meantime is, watch out for Trump!
History does actually repeat itself and don’t you forget it. There’s an old saying, which states; “those who do not know their history, are doomed to failure.” I can almost guarantee most African Americans knows less about their history than any other race on the planet. The reason is, our history is so dismal, so we hate to face it head on. But unless you wish to be doomed to failure, you must stop and examine your history.
This is why I wrote “UP From Where We’ve Come” a testament to our most recent history. Something that we must deal with, if we wish to continue moving forward. This book is the missing link between modern day living and slavery. And according to critics; “UP From Where We’ve Come” is a subject that’s long since been overlooked by the general society, and is something that absolutely must be addressed before we can leap into the future. In other words; you must know your history in order to obtain a future existence. Anyone who wants to deny you access to your history should therefore, be considered to be your staunchest enemy.
Soul musicians really blossomed from the late 50’s to the 80’s.
A few of my favorites
What should my 10th musician be? Leave them in the comments.
My latest music video shot at H.O.M.E. in Beverly Hills featuring Charles Malik Whitfied (Otis from The Temptations) and Farrah Franklin (From the original Destiny’s Child)
Rehearsal before show time
We had so much fun on sight.
Bullet, Farrah Fawcett, Charles Wright, Ejyptian Queens