Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TAKE TEN: Author Jacqueline Rhinehart

When it comes to books that Conversations has read and enjoyed as interactive journeys with the author, in 2008 Jacqueline Rhinehart's* MY ORGANIC SOUL rises to the top of that list. Chosen as one of Conversations Book Club's "25 Best Kept Literary Secrets of 2008", it allows you to enjoy adages that inspire and encourage as well as give you the opportunity to add your own voice to the pages. We talked with the author about the motivation of the book and what she hopes it does for those who share the experience.

Jacqueline, thanks for a taking out a few moments to talk with Conversations LIVE! today. Before we get to your book My Organic Soul, tell us about your business.
Organic Soul Multicultural Marketing is a marketing consultancy . . .I advise companies such as packaged goods/financial / travel industries on ways to connect and market their products to multicultural consumers. My niche is the integration of entertainment elements into traditional marketing practices.

It seems as though you have used your adult life to try and make the lives of others better. Would you agree with that?
My interest has always been the intellectual and cultural condition of man - that's does not provide a clear career trek , but it does imbue my work with a lot of passion and curiosity!

If I had met you 10 years ago, what would be the biggest difference in the Jacqueline Rhinehart then and the one we see today?
Not a lot! Which is not say that I haven't changed... but if you had been a perceptive ,thoughtful friend you would have sensed the woman I would "blossom" into. I liken it to the evolution of a rose - the rose bud is not going to become a sunflower - 4 days into its evolution - it will still be rose ,even when the rose petals turn brown and wither - it will still be a rose. That's what you would have witnessed 10 years ago, the evolution of a rose. Its a change, sure, but not into something else- but a deeper, wiser, more joyous me - the one you knew when you first knew me!

Your book My Organic Soul is a combination of wisdom that encompasses religion, music, sports and includes the thoughts of everyday people as well. Where did the idea for doing the book come from?
In conversation with a friend,( who journaled) we were talking about the intersection - the influence of media/ hip hop/ religion, and consequently, "where was the book that spoke to us?" and a light went
off ! That's it - create a book/journal that would be the repository, for all that's going on - our philosophical mash-up , like a great hip-hop record!

Respected rapper and activist Chuck D wrote the foreword to the book. How did the two of you meet, and what was it like to have his blessing on the project.
Actually, I had not met Chuck D before the creation of this project- I am a fan like most ! We reached out to him, my agent, Gwen Quinn and I, and sent him the book proposal with my intro and sample of the book pages. He then went on to expound on the theme - he really got it ! That was gratifying.

People are always writing down or remembering quotes are adages that mean a great deal to them. Once the entire book had been compiled what led you to want to share it with the world by publishing it?
There was to me, a pronounced need to address the generational divide I began to sense within the ranks of post civil right group and the hip hop generation. A respect for the wisdom that both generations posess, not this resentment that sometimes wells up in intergenerational communication melt downs - i.e. Jesse Jackson vs. Barack Obama ; Ice T and the Superman rapper - there was just an unnecessary discord.

In the dedication and the promotion of the book you mention talking to yourself. Talk to our readers about how you feel that knowing oneself adds to better understanding others.
I say in the dedication that I thank my mother for her encouragement to talk to myself. She believed that I knew the answers I searched for, but I should trust myself and hold each thought captive - flip it over, deconstruct it - know from whence it came.
To hold thoughts captive and speak back to them . It is the only way to not let thoughts lead you - but to lead them.

This year Barack Obama was elected our 44th President of the United States and our first black President. One of the quotes in the book is from Public Enemy and it says "It takes a nation of milions to hold us back." With that in mind, what do you hope Obama's achievement does to encourage the same passion and drive in others?
Well the inverse of the quote is obviously true - it takes a nation of a million to lift us up too! I hope in the micro, Obama's election will provide an example to today's black man of what promise he holds, IF he emulates the values evident in Obama - separation from old ideologies that limit the woman's role,that limit the inclusion of "others", that aren't humble , a man that doesn't let EGO lead everything in his life - his relationship, his career.

We haven't seen this preeminent, iconic a black man - one whose life and background are so accessible and familiar to many black men - in a long time , if ever.

Do you have any advice for those who will read your book, pick up a pen and wonder how they can best add their own voice to its pages?
These quotes speak to each other ( which is why they are juxaposed and arranged in this order) they are the conversation that I have in my own head. And as I encounter thoughts and create my own life, I hope that readers too will have their own conversation - and it can lead anywhere! A conversation that can go anywhere! So, come on now and finish the book its your story and - It is about you - not me!

Thank you again, Jacqueline, for taking out the time to talk with us today. If our readers want to find out more information about you, how can they do so?
THANK YOU! You can Check out www.jacquelinerhinehart.com and www.myorganicsoulbook.com or www.organicsoulmarketing.com

* Recently author Jacqueline Rhinehart was a guest on Conversations LIVE! Radio. You can hear her interview here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationslive/2008/11/07/Author-Jacqueline-Rhinehart-talks-with-Conversations-LIVE

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TAKE TEN: Bestselling author Elaine Flowers

Conversations talked with author Elaine Flowers as she was promoting her second book ITS MORNING, a collection of stories with rich characters that readers will love to discover and discuss as well as empathize with. The book was chosen as one of Conversations "25 Best Kept Literary Secrets of 2008", and during the interview she talked about her return to the literary world and how she feels about the response of the new project. Here is our conversation.

Elaine, thank you for taking out time out of your busy schedule to talk with Conversations Magazine! Before we get into your new book IT'S MORNING, begin by tell our readers a little bit about who Elaine Flowers is.
Although this is my second book, I’m still a new author on the scene. I am a divorced mother of two adult children. A full time writer and lover of everything literary.

When you were growing up, did those around you have any idea that you would take the path that you have and become an accomplished author?
No, in fact when I wrote my first book “Black Beauty“ no one in my family even knew I was writing a book and they were shocked when I told them I planned to publish it. It took me five years to finish it and I didn’t want the pressure of them asking me when the book would be finished, so I kept it to myself and wrote late at night and sometimes between clients at the salon. My family had no idea that I had any interest in writing professionally. But they have been very supportive and excited about my work. I have met other grassroots authors who say they don’t have the support of family and close friends so I don’t’ take that for granted.

One of the things I like to do when I am preparing for these interviews is research my guests so I can best serve our audience. You seem to have taken a hiatus from the literary industry before resurfacing this year with the new book. Tell our readers about your first book and why you took the break.
My first book is my baby. “Black Beauty“ is about three women and two of them work in a beauty salon named Black Beauty. When I independently published the first book I had to come out of writer mode and wear many different hats as a publisher. For me, and I’m not speaking for any other author out there who published their own work, but that took me away from the practice of writing. There is a certain element that I need to create in and I just don’t do my best work when I am running around and being overly interactive with people, as you have to do when you are busy with the business of publishing and promoting. Although “It’s Morning“ was written before “Black Beauty“ was even published there were a couple of other books that I was working on during that time off as well as searching for a publisher.

I was struck that your book IT'S MORNING has characters that are just as passionate and diverse as those created by Judith Krantz, Jackie Collins and even Danielle Steel, however, most stores will categorize you in the African-American section when shelving you. I want you to speak about your intended audience when writing and how you counter the obvious limitations that are put on authors as talented as yourself who just happen to be black.
First let me say thank you for that lovely compliment! I am going to answer this question like an artist. I do write with black readers in mind. I don’t concern myself with trying to cross over, or thinking how I can invite a more diverse group into the demographic of readers that I write for. Growing up I read many books that didn’t have characters that looked like me and I’m not bitter about that at all. One of my favorite books back in the day was “The Promise” by Danielle Steele. And like many other writers who were also avid readers growing up, I always wanted to read stories where the characters looked and behaved, culturally speaking, like me. So, this is the reason I’m moved to write what I write.

Addressing the categorizing of AA books in the stores, I would love to see them do away with that and categorize books based on genre alone. And maybe with this new shift in the atmosphere that we all witnessed this past Tuesday, eventually this can happen. And other cultures and races maybe will be more interested in us as a people and desire to read about us. I’m excited to see where this new frontier and true diversity that is obviously taking place right now is going to impact the literary world.

Let me also add, that the publisher may not share my exact views because at the end of the day it is all about book sales and if writing more diversely will sell more books then that’s what needs to happen. I don’t want to speak on behalf of Brian Smith or Hollygrove, but I believe we share the same ideas about being true to the art, which is one of the reasons we clicked so well right off the bat.

Along the lines of the last question, Elaine, I want to talk about your role in marketing and promoting. You are published through Hollygrove Publishing, a company who has been nationally recognized and respected. With that being said, the author still has a major part to play in getting their books out to the public. Let's say I am a new author on the scene. What advice would you give me?
My advice is so simple, when I share it with others who ask the same or a similar question of advice to new writers or authors they almost look at me with disappointment because they were expecting something more profound. But, my advice is this; be true to yourself, read as much as possible, and write everyday. To expound on that, I would also say not to concern yourself with the finish line—because none of us start there. Don’t worry about becoming some famous, world-renowned author and big time celebrity. And if you’re writing to become famous, forget it. That’s just the wrong attitude to have. When you write, just tell your story, give your advice, or inspire someone, depending on what kind of books you write, and don’t concern yourself with all of the other stuff.

In the music industry artists sometime talk about the "sophomore jinx" when they have experienced extraordinary success with their first project. Since you had been away for a while what did you do to prepare for your return and did you have concerns about how you would be received?
Well, I’ve never heard of the sophomore jinx, but I can tell you that I don’t overly concern myself with what others think or how me, or my work will be received. And it takes way too much work to try to be something or someone that I’m not so I don’t bother myself with that. I’m just always hopeful that the readers will embrace the voice of my characters and the stories that I write.

The reviews I have read on Amazon about the new book have been incredible. Do you read reviews, and were you surprised at the response so far?
Yes, I do read reviews. And I could not be more thrilled with what I’ve read. I wouldn’t say that I was surprised but I am truly humbled and grateful. I know for a fact that human nature suggest that when people are dissatisfied they quicker to speak up then when they are satisfied. So, I’m thrilled that readers took the time to give a review instead of just keeping it to themselves how much they enjoyed the book because I need to hear what they think in order to stay motivated to do what I do.

Success comes in many forms and varies from person to person. What is success for you today when it comes to your writing?
Success to me is the absolute enjoyment I get out of creating these characters and weaving together the stories that I tell and having readers be moved and take things personal by getting angry or totally relating to what’s happening in the books. Being able to write everyday is a privilege that I don’t take for granted. I know that other people have different ideas of success and have different ideas of success for me, but I feel successful already. The only thing I would add to the success that I’m enjoying right now is to alleviate some of the simple financial burdens I experience from writing full time. Most writers have other careers or work that they do to keep with the expense of daily living. And I am a retired hairstylist and salon owner and used to make plenty of money that came fairly easily, but you couldn’t pay me to go back to doing that. On most days I enjoy the struggle of the artist it keeps the creativity sharp I think. But then there are days that I think “okay, this isn’t fun today. I need a job!”

What would you like to say to your fans that enjoyed your first book and have stood by patiently waiting for you and the release of IT'S MORNING? Well, I’m a little uncomfortable with the title ‘fans’ so I’ll call them readers. But, I will say that I appreciate them so much. And it’s because of them that I’m motivated to keep going. And actually, the readers were waiting on my novel “Broken Appointments” which has two characters spinning off from the first novel “Black Beauty.” I kind of slipped “It’s Morning” in on them unexpectedly. But, I’m hopeful that they can look for “Broken Appointments” next year.

Thank you so much, Elaine, for your time. How can our readers find out more about you and purchase your book online?
Thank you so much for inviting me to do this interview. And, I have joined the new age and can be reached at www.myspace.com/elaineflowers . And the books are available at all booksellers, and online at www.Amazon.com or www.hollygrovepublishing.com

Bestselling author Elaine Flowers also talked to Conversations LIVE! Radio about herself and her career. Listen to the interview here:http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationslive/2008/11/07/Author-Elaine-Flowers-talks-with-Conversations-LIVE

Saturday, November 8, 2008

TAKE TEN with author Gary Andrew Poole

Conversations Book Club became aware of author Gary Andrew Poole in late October 2008. He is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, TIME, GQ, USA Today, and the Independent on Sunday (London), among other publications. His first book--The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American Football Legend, published by Houghton Mifflin--is in bookstores. In a conversation with Cyrus A. Webb he talked about the history he made by writing the book, what success means to him and what advice he has for new and aspiring authors.

Gary, thank you for taking ten with Conversations today. Before we get into the book The Galloping Ghost, why don't you tell our readers a little about your background.
I was born and raised in Colorado. My dad worked as a geologist and so, as a kid, I spent a lot of time in remote areas with him. On those extended trips in the American West we had no television or radio so I spent a lot of time reading. After graduating college in Colorado, I moved around: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. I also went to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and that proved to be a formative experience for me. I have many interests, but other than spending time with my family, I feel most comfortable reporting and writing stories.

You have been able to do quite a bit of writing for notable publications before this. Are your family or those who knew you growing up surprised at the direction your life as taken, especially your becoming an accomplished author?
I don't ever really talk with my friends about my writing life, or sit around drinking beers and b.s. about being an "accomplished author." I am guessing they're not super-surprised that I have written for some great publications and authored a book. People who know me have seen the evolution. I am definitely not an over-night success. My first published article was in 1987 or so, and I have been grinding ever since. I was the guy in college who was writing short stories and sending them to literary journals, and writing articles and pitching them to newspapers and magazines and working for the college paper. While I was learning on the job, I was getting published almost immediately. At night I was re-typing passages written by Tolstoy so I could get the rhythm of his language. Earlier in my career, my ambitions were definitely larger than my skill level, but I have kept at it. I have been lucky enough to write for publications like the New York Times and TIME, as well as write a book, but I learned my craft at smaller publications.
When did it hit you that writing was something you not only enjoyed but wanted to share with the world?

In most times in life, you don't have an "A-ha," moment. Life is more complicated, and nuanced than that. But in my writing life, I did have one of those life-changers. I was in college. I did not have a clue about what I wanted to become. I was considering a career in photography. I loved photography and I thought I was semi-talented, but I wasn't sure I would ever be good enough. So I thought I might become a foreign language professor, but in all honesty I was taking language classes to meet girls, and, unfortunately, I was practically flunking out of French. I was really unsure of what I would do with my life. I always loved writing and reading and I idolized writers. I just never imagined I could be one. One day in my Journalism 101 class, a newspaper columnist came and talked to us. The speech changed my life. He lead off his talk by saying he was tired and hung-over: he had spent most of the night with a celebrity, wrote up the story while listening to the Rolling Stones at full blast, and then spent the morning with a local priest: he was following around the Father as he served the under-served.

That hooked me right away. He talked about journalism and how it gives you a license, so to speak, to talk with anyone. That appealed to me. The columnist mixed curse words and literary references and he was passionate about reporting, and the importance of writing, how it can make a difference in peoples lives. He also talked about re-writing, and how writing is something that you must commit to. The whole talk resonated with me. I started reading his work: he was the type of writer who would live with homeless people and tell their stories. I still remember one winter night between semesters and I was at a truck stop after working a night shift. I was reading his column and I just started crying I was so moved by the writing. I wanted to have that sort of impact on people.

The book The Galloping Ghost marks not only the most extensive volume that has been written about Red Grange but your first book as well. Now that you are a part of history, does it surprise you what you've done?
I feel very blessed.

I had told you prior to this interview that I had never heard of Red Grange before you wrote me about your book. What was it about his life and that attracted you to the story and why did you think it was something that was relevant today?
I see Red Grange as a great American character. Grange has been called the greatest ever college football player (ESPN), and he helped bring credibility to the NFL as the pro game's first superstar. He was an excellent athlete, arguably the most important football player in history, but his story is more complicated than just his feats on the field. He wrestled with different issues, and the interesting part of sports is the back-story. Many of the issues he dealt with--poverty, money, concussions, fame, paternity suits--are issues still being discussed today. Grange is the Babe Ruth of football. But surprisingly, not much had been written about him. I wanted to write his story; I think it is a timeless one.

In a previous interview you were asked how Grange would do today playing professional football. I want to know what can those playing professional ball today learn from his life in sports.
I think pro players can read this book and get an unvarnished history of their game, they can learn about its importance to this country, and they can learn that many--if not all--of the issues Grange dealt with are still issues today.

With the subject matter and the country's love of the game, I think the obvious question to ask would be have you been approached about bringing this story alive through either a documentary or on the big screen?
I think the story would lend itself to the big screen. We're working on making that a reality.

Success is measured in different ways for different individuals and situations. How would you measure as regards to The Galloping Ghost and your writing career as a whole?
That is a difficult question and I don't know how to answer it. There are different touchstone moments: my first published article, my first New York Times piece, seeing my book in print for the first time, good reviews, getting interviewed by Bob Edwards, having my kids see my book in my local bookstore, different awards I have won. All of those are nice, of course, but for me--with The Galloping Ghost and my career--I think the journey is the reward. I find my greatest pleasure at 3 a.m. when I have re-worked a sentence 106 times, and I finally make it as perfect as I can.

It has become common practice for me to ask writers such as yourself what advice you would give to those who see your example and want to know how they can take their work to the next level.
Four-fold answer:
01: Write. Working on your craft is the most important part of being a writer. I would never tell someone to write an hour everyday, or anything so specific. Some people are disciplined, others work in spurts. I don't believe in formulas. But I think it is important to write, and that is why journalism can be a good starting point in a writing career. There are some wannabe writers who spend too much of their time worrying about getting published when they need to be working on their craft.
02: Read. I find a lot of writers are surprisingly not as well-versed as they should be in the best books, magazines, newspapers and blogs.
03: Accept rejection but stay persistent. As a writer, you will experience a lot of rejection, especially early in your career, but it is important to understand that it is incredibly competitive in the publishing world. Remember: if you work on your craft and keep improving, it becomes easier. It really isn't as much about college degrees and connections, as it is talent. Writing is very much a meritocracy.
04: Follow your passion. In all writing, but especially book-writing, it is important to follow your interests. If you're interested in football, write about football. If you adore organic farming, write about that. If you love mysteries, write mysteries. It takes a tremendous amount of work and commitment to write a book; you have to string together 130,000 words.

Thank you so much for your time, Gary. If our listeners want to find out more about you, the book or just share their feedback with you, how can they do so?
Thanks, Cyrus. For more information about my book, you can go to my Website: www.garyandrewpoole.com. To contact me, email is best: info@garyandrewpoole.com

TAKE TEN with author Monica Marie Jones

Driven and determined, author Monica Marie Jones has given readers exactly what they would want in a page-turner: a relatable storyline, relatable characters and discussion points that will bring both sexes together for an honest assessment of who they are and what they want. Moderated by Conversations Book Club founder Cyrus A. Webb, the author shared what have been her ingredients for success. Here is their conversation.

· Monica, thanks for taking out a few moments to share your thoughts during this "Take Ten" interview. Before we get into your book FLOSS why don't you tell our readers a little about yourself.
Well first and foremost I am a word lover! So in addition to FLOSS I have also written and published an inspirational fiction novel called The Ups and Downs of Being Round and a poetry book called Taste My Soul. I was also a contributing author in New Directions for Youth Development and Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul. When I am not writing I am reading voraciously. I also absolutely love to travel and exercise. I either teach or take kickboxing classes at least five days a week! I love to dance and have been studying various forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz and liturgical for over twenty years now!

· You recently were interviewed on our radio show and you shared with me how personal your first book, THE UPS AND DOWNS OF BEING ROUND, was to you. Did you have the intention to make your sophomore project as revealing?
Releasing a book that is close to the heart is both liberating and frightening. FLOSS was based on some things that I observed and experienced but it was nowhere near as personal as The Ups and Downs of Being Round. As I grow in my writing I hope to take my fictional books further away from my personal experiences which will force me to do my research!

· There are many who find the actual writing process to be the easiest when compared to the marketing that has to be done. What are your thoughts on the two?
Marketing in itself is a full time job! I find myself spending far more time marketing my existing books than I do writing new ones. I would love to find more of a balance. My ideal situation is to be in a position where I have a staff that can handle all of the marketing and public relations so that I can just sit back and focus on the writing part of it.

· FLOSS was the first book that I have read of yours. As a man it was great for me to read a book that took into account the feeling of both sexes. Since so many book clubs are mainly women, do you think it would be a good idea for co-ed groups to come together and discuss the issues that you address in the book?
FLOSS definitely has some great conversation starters for co-ed groups. I would encourage book groups that are comprised of all women to invite some men to read the book and join them for them for a juicy discussion! I would be glad to provide discussion questions for such an occasion.

· What has surprised you so far when it comes to how people have responded to your two books?
With the Ups and Downs of Being Round, in my mind, I was just writing a book based on my experience. I was surprised that it was totally received as inspirational fiction and I was particularly happy to see that it really spoke to a lot of young women and girls. I have been told by many that it really moved them to action when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes.

With FLOSS, my surprise came with how well received it was by men. I always felt like I had a gift for tapping into the male psyche, but that was just my own opinion. My opinions were confirmed when I began to get feedback and reviews from men saying how much they enjoyed and related to the book.

· One of the things that struck me about you, Monica, was that you said in our radio interview that you were so into writing that you made the decision to do it full-time. Not all who write have that same passion, even though they want to be taken more seriously. What would you say to that group?
All that I have to say is that it’s possible and the fulfillment that you receive when you live your purpose and your passion is priceless. It’s not easy, but the challenge makes it that much more fun. There is no better feeling than waking up in the morning and knowing that all that you have to do is what you love to do. If you believe in yourself and work as hard for yourself as you work for others (i.e. your boss or the company that you work for) you will reap the benefits…AND others will believe in you too.

· With any career, there are goals in mind. When others look back at your writing career, what do you hope they say about you?
I hope that others look back at me and say that they were encouraged, inspired, educated, motivated and entertained. Not only by my writing, but also by my motivational speaking and by my being a living example of what it means to truly live in your purpose by pursuing your passion.

· I know you are busy promoting both books at this time, but can you tell our readers what is in store for you in the New Year?
There are SEVERAL things in store for the New Year. I plan to continue to tour to promote my existing books. I am currently working on four more novels and another poetry book and I hope to release at least two of them in the New Year. I am going to take some classes to learn how to write screen plays. I am also working on developing a talk show (TV) and a radio show.

· Thank you for your time, Monica. If our readers would like to find out more information about you where would you suggest they go online to do so?
For more information readers can visit my website at www.moncamariejones.com, my MySpace pages at www.myspace.com/monicamariejones.com or www.myspace.com/flossthenovel, I am also on Facebook, Tagged, and Twitter, all under the same name, Monica Marie Jones, and finally I can be reached via email at monicamjones@hotmail.com

When in doubt, just type Monica Marie Jones into the Google search bar and you will find me.

· Finally, what would you like to say to your fans and those who will read your books after this interview?
Thank you for supporting my dream. I used to write in my journal but then I felt led to share my experiences and thoughts with the hopes that my words might encourage, educate, inspire, motivate and entertain others. It is my hope that my book left you with one, if not all of those things. I appreciate you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Take Ten" with author/playwright M. G. Hardie

All the world is a stage---well at least author/playwright M. G. Hardie sees it that way. In his book/play EVERY DAY LIFE he takes us into the lives of four friends as they address the issues of the world while becoming aware of more issues of their own. Hardie talks about that, the work that goes into promoting a work like his and why he will continue despite the hate that comes his way. Here is our conversation.

M. G., Thank you for taking out time to talk with Conversations. Before we get into our writing career and the book EVERY DAY LIFE, tell our readers a little about yourself.
First of all thank you Cyrus for the opportunity to be interviewed by Conversations. I appreciate the review as well, you were much too kind. You are doing an excellent job of getting the word out on a wide range of authors. I call Cali my home and I have written fiction stories, sci-fi, and a whole lot of poems all unpublished. I have been a lifeguard, played semi-pro basketball. I have even written and filmed movies in school. Oh, I have a couple degrees and once I even dropped a rap album in 1999 that went nickel.

You have recently released your debut book EVERY DAY LIFE. What has the publishing and marketing aspect has been like for you?
It has been one learning experience after the other. Writing the book was the easy part. As a writer I am glad I went through the process instead of being told what to do or what to expect.

Can you give us an idea of the things that inspire your stories?
I am inspired by just about everything. I love talking to people especially women because they do tend to stick together, but they don’t always agree. I love good movies, poems, music, and my children inspire my stories. When I looked at what was missing from the market and I saw that EveryDay Life would be the first to fill the gap I used that as inspiration.

Is there any amount of M. G. in any or all the characters?
At sometime or another in my life I have been all of the characters. As you noted in your review that EveryDay Life is listed as Non-Fiction, yet it is a play. I didn’t do that as some sort of gimmick, the people in EveryDay Life actually do exist and at that time they actually did most of the things that are portrayed in the book.
What about the actual story itself. Can you give us an idea of what you decided to tell this story and after making the decision why did you decide to write it as a play?

If you step back and look at life it is as if we are on the world’s biggest stage and all of us are players on that stage. These are real and serious issues and I really didn’t see anyone dealing with this subject matter. These are the types of subjects intelligent people should be discussing not glossing over. EveryDay Life does make you laugh but it also leaves you with a lot of things to talk about. It takes courage for men to share their feelings and thoughts. What everyone has experienced is valid, but when you start talking about how men feel no one wants to hear it.

A lot of what is out there has already been done, where is the challenge in that? So I took the road least travelled. Why does a Play have to be fictional? If we followed rules all the time we wouldn’t be talking about Barack now. So when someone says that you can’t do something because of the rules, the most important question should be “Why?” Why do I have to follow what is done by other people? I’m MG.
An EveryDay Life example of that would be that most historians say that Hip-Hop began in the 70’s or even in ’68, but EveryDay Life contends that it started long before that and who the characters list as rappers is even more surprising. EveryDay Life asks the questions how is it that a human being born in America can be called a minority, and furthermore how is it possible that we have accepted this label or any other label. Being different does not necessarily mean that you are wrong.

Many authors I talk with are surprised as to how much leg work they still have to do in order to make sure their book doesn't just fade into the background. How are you making sure that this is not the case with your book and that it can go far?
I was surprised by the amount of time that goes into that aspect of being an author. I approached this as any other challenge, Plan and Adapt. I drive to fairs, go to book stores, send emails, post on sites and network with others. EveryDay Life is even in music stores and that is exactly where it should be... in the Hip-Hop section.

Out of the four characters, which one would you say reminds you the most of who you represent today and why?
I would say that the L reminds me the most of me today, but they all are a piece of me. These characters actually live they don’t just exist in my book. Some readers may know someone like E, or perhaps they may have been like C at one time in their life. In EveryDay Life you’ll find truth, characters and themes you have never seen written about before and they are not just from the male perspective and in many ways they are universal.

In a review that I recently wrote about your book, I said it was a mixture of the movies THE WOOD and THE BEST MAN along with the humor of your favorite Tyler Perry movie. Would you agree or disagree?
Tyler Perry...Who? Not really Tyler Perry has done a lot in a relatively short amount of time. He has got people watching Plays and looking at themselves in a much deeper way and it says a lot to be compared to him. If you throw in some Seinfeld, Friday, Pulp Fiction, Do the Right Thing and stir in some Boys in the Hood let it marinate for six to seven hours, while listening to Tupac after you read A Raisin in the Sun then you’ll have EveryDay Life.

What do you hope readers of Every Day Life get from the book, whether they are male or female?
My hope was to bring more males into reading literature and also to have more females understand our point of view. I want males and females alike to enjoy EveryDay Life through opening up dialogue. My book probably brings up issues you didn’t even know you had. I intended EDL to be a conversation starter so I put a lot of humor in it so I could talk about larger Black-American issues. There are many messages to be dug up between the pages of EveryDay Life.

Can you give us an idea of what is on the horizon for you?
Although I have been hated on I will continue to get EveryDay Life to the masses. I am also looking to work with Hip-Hop artist and Entertainment companies that could help me bring EveryDay Life to a stage or a screen near you. So Diddy if you are reading this EveryDay Life is the new frontier for Hip-Hop.

Thank you again for your time, M. G. If our readers want to get in contact with you, how can they do so?
Visit me on my site Myspace.com/mghardie I am also on Black Planet, GoodReads.com and a number of other sites. To schedule and interview hit me up at MGhardie@Yahoo.com. Be sure to go out a get a copy of EveryDay Life laugh and discuss, send me a review, or comment on my page. Thank You again for having me.