I always wanted to write as a child. I remember walking into a newsagent with my mother expecting to eat some chocolate but she introduced me to a Marvel comic that I couldn’t read. I didn’t moan at all as I saw the opportunity to treasure a cartoon character at home; a chance to glance onto each scene as I saw fit without waiting for kids’ programmes to schedule! Since I couldn’t read a single word, it was even the time that I’ve discovered having a creative mind — making up my own version on what was happening. A bit of schooling and obtaining a children’s illustrated dictionary did help to understand the flow in graphic novels. It started my love to write speech clouds, and I designed a comic script in my youth but the thrill was short-lived…I wasn’t good at doing art.
Not deterred, I wanted to still write dialogues by completing a novel one day.
It wasn’t until many years later that I’ve decided to take up on a book project: Operation Superfly. I wrote the first letter; word then sentence to go into the plot. Committed to write so many pages a week which I’ve succeeded in six months. The next simple step was to ask literary agents to represent my story. Actually, it was very time-consuming making enquiries when reading all their different requirements: double space manuscripts; perhaps single space; no more than 1500-3,000 words; why should I be considered etc. Their response was all the same though: The work required a major re-edit. Slightly embarrassed, it was also the moment I’d discovered that I’ve rushed the final draft. After that, I’d joined a writers’ website where people can share their ideas and thoughts on other people’s works. The website is run by a major publishing house and is funded by a government body. They hold an annual competition that the one with the most oomph from its members was to be put forward to be published! It was very exciting to think of the possibilities… I had a negative feedback. It was damning and they all spoken of my writing as too quirky. (click this link to read their views).
Obviously, my style was a little too quirky, and to hear many writers criticizing my project book made me want to scream: Why?
I heard no answer but I was to take up the challenge to read classical literature. I made a nice hot drink of cocoa; sat in my leather executive chair and opened a Jane Austen novel, Sense and Sensibility, and read the first page. I had thought that I wouldn’t get to the end except finishing my drink…I was wrong as I enjoyed it leaving my drink cold! Why? It’s all because she saw literature as an art. Art is something that nobody can say that they understand. Look at Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Mona Lisa. She’s popular because of her smile yet art critics see it as enigma. The magnificent Michelangelo; he did a portrait of Moses having horns on his head but why? To me I think I understand but it’s extremely difficult to put into simple words but it’s art! Back to my enjoyment on classical literature, I’ve began the journey to read other authors: Pauline Hopkins, Charles Dickens etc. It was a tremendous pleasure to read their works which nearly made myself forget that I’d a book project to complete!
It was a major shake-up and in the end, I’ve decided to become a self-publishing black writer. It has a new title too: