Friday, May 28, 2010
RIP GARY COLEMAN
I was just interviewed by Dorothy Dreyer for her blog - We Do Write. I enjoyed answering her insightful questions and am looking forward to getting some reader responses either there or here at A Line A Day. Happy reading, happy Memorial Day with much debt and respect owed to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and happy unofficial start of Summer!
Welcome, Roy! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I was born on the idyllic island of St. Thomas and now reside in a quaint New Jersey town where the residents are taxed far too heavily. In between I grew up in the Bronx, NY which is the setting of my debut novel - Patches of Grey. I began working on it while a student at NYU. This doesn’t mean it’s autobiographical, although I have received *side-eyes* regarding a few passages from my siblings (I’m the eldest of 5) who felt they recognized some snatches from our reality. I truthfully plead coincidence. Patches is only autobiographical in the sense that some of the issues it tackles are ones of personal interest to me, ones I’m rather opinionated about. Yet my goal and hopefully achievement was not to write a preachy book that lays out my world view and dictates to readers how they should feel, but rather, to tell an engaging story with issues of social relevance significant to the narrative. When not writing or spending time with my family, helping my daughter grow up into the most amazing person in the world, I’m a big sports fan. The Knicks are my basketball love and the Jets are my football love, so much so that this Caribbean born scribe is willing to endure cold winter days in the Meadowlands watching the latter play. Tennis is my other sports obsession, although I’d rather be out on the court than watching. My game has a long way to go, but that’s okay because I’m a patient and determined man. These are pretty necessary traits for a writer to have, along with enjoying the sight of my own words, which explains why I’ve become quite enamored with blogging and Twitter.
Let's talk about your books. What are the names and genres?
I suppose the label of literary fiction applies to my writing, though I basically consider myself to be a writer of stories that don’t neatly fall into any particular genre. Since the majority of major characters in Patches of Grey are teens, technically it covers territory one might consider Young Adult. But the language is a bit rougher than what you’d find in most YA novels, and the tone more intense. I suppose one could say it’s an urban novel since that aptly describes the setting, but my goals are a bit loftier than glorifying so called street life. Essentially Patches is a story of family, of how it shapes us, how we try to break free of the nest with varying degrees of success, and no matter how far away we may venture a part of us will always remain behind. It’s also a story of race, how it defines us, how we use it to figure out ourselves and others, and how it doesn’t really define anything at all because the shared color of our blood trumps the degree of melanin in our skins. If African American/Black is considered to be a writing genre then I suppose one would toss Patches in there as well, being that I’m black and so are most of characters in it. But would it be black fiction if I wrote it but the majority of characters were white (which is the case in a fair amount of my shorter fiction, not to mention cases where I make no mention of characters’ race at all)? How about if the story remained the same but I happened to be white? Are you stumped? Exactly, who the heck knows, which is why I’m not too concerned with literary labels. Individual readers can decide for themselves what they wish to consider my writing, just as I leave it up to them to decide its merits. In addition to my novel and short stories I’ve also had a novella published as an ebook by SynergEbooks. Feeding the Squirrels is even more genre-less than Patches of Grey. It’s more or less about sex yet isn’t nearly graphic enough to be considered erotica, nor romantic enough to be called Romance. Anti-romance is more like it, or so it may seem for much of the story. It has absolutely nothing to do with race, but I’m still black so is it black fiction? LOL. Perhaps my goal is never to be pinned down, whether on page on in life.