APKY/AMP: Hello Mylow. Good to have you for the AuthorMeProfessionals interview. Could you please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer. What inspired you to write your first book?
I became a writer because I realized I had a way with words since I wrote a lot of poetry (I have a poetry book out as well “You Can Still Rise Again: A Collection of Poems for the Struggle”). My brother said I should do an autobiography but I didn’t feel I’ve lived long enough, at least at that time.
I was inspired to write my book because I had struggled so long with alcoholism and substance abuse. I lived without hope and upon finding hope I wanted to help others see that there is hope and freedom through Christ.
APKY/AMP: A solid start and motive, Mylow. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
I write non-fiction/Urban Adult but thought about trying Christian Romance.
APKY/AMP: Right. And is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is, there is always hope and to never ever give up no matter how many times you fall or how long it takes.
APKY/AMP: A very important message, Mylow. What have you had published to-date?
Against the Gates of Hell: A Crack House Exodus.
APKY/AMP: Good. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write what you feel, what you know. It’s good to heed advice but if something is on your heart and you believe in it… follow it up. Always trust your heart
APKY/AMP: Correct. Tells us why we should buy your book.
Because it deals with a subject (Drug Abuse) that affects all of our lives but there is so little positive light shed on it. I need people to see addiction from the one going through it. But also, families go through it as well and this helps them to see better what the on struggling is dealing with.
APKY/AMP: I do agree with you here. So how much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Not nearly as much as I need to. I’ve found that as an unknown, it’s all about word of mouth. If you have a good product that you believe in, you’ve got to let people know about it. When you are dealing with small founds you’ve got to do whatever is available to you. Social networking has worked some. My publisher did a lot when we launched but much of it is me. And that’s a subject I need to learn more about in terms of ways to market.
APKY/AMP: You’re not alone there, Mylow. We have some marketing tips on our page you could look up which, I hope will assist you. Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
I was submitted for an NAACP Image Award last year for best new author but was not nominated.
APKY/AMP: Even the submission alone says a lot to and about a writer. Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
I always have a pad and am jotting down notes but I do all my writing at my desk.
APKY/AMP: J You want to know an open secret, Mylow? Most of us write run around with pen and pad – or place these on the night stand! Do you write under a pseudonym? If so why and do you think it makes a difference?
I use my real name.
APKY/AMP: Good for you. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
I don’t but as you get better known I think it would help. The contradiction is, if I had one now I would probably do better but I’m not famous yet and nowhere near making famous money.
APKY/AMP: Which is rather paradoxical because an agent IS supposed to make you known! What are you working on at the moment / next?
I ‘m writing a sequel, like a follow up to the characters and introducing new ones. Plan on doing a spinoff on another story but want to keep this one going, like a soap opera.
APKY/AMP: Mylow, I wish you all the best for the sequel. Tell me, do you manage to write every day?
I want to say yes but it gets difficult sometimes but usually.
APKY/AMP: Happens to the best of us. J What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
For me it’s just, not knowing where to go next. The cure is to just keep writing and re-writing. I pray before I write.
APKY/AMP: Again, good for you. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and off you are with it?
I start out with a story line and know where I want to go but sometimes the plot takes you other places. I’ve found that the story more or less writes itself.
APKY/AMP: Yes, I know that one too. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
My characters start off as parts of me, at least in the first book. Most of the main characters are where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be as a person. Their names are 99% of family, friends and people who’ve made significant input into my life. Since the source is real the characters, I hope will come across as authentic.
APKY/AMP: I’m sure they will. Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
My wife is who I use as a sounding board then, my former editor who I still talk with.
APKY/AMP: Good choices. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
I edit as I go for the most part but found it can become more time consuming and I’m doing less writing so I try to just go with the story then go back… if that makes sense.
APKY/AMP: Oh, yes, it does! Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Definitely a computer.
APKY/AMP: Okay. And what point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
I use a lot of dialogue which is an unorthodox way of writing but I need the reader to “be there” so I write if I’m there as well. .. as I see it.
APKY/AMP: Uh-huh. What do you like to read?
Self- help and autobiographies but… I don’t do much reading at all much to the chagrin of some of my writing friends.
APKY/AMP: J Then what do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks?
I write a sports column sometimes (oops, that’s writing). I am a big sports fan, mainly football so I’m always keeping up with what’s going on back in Philly. I collect sports memorabilia.
APKY/AMP: Okay. So where can we find out about you and your work?
www.mylowyoung.com , on twitter @mylowyoung and facebook.
APKY/AMP: Right. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
That would be it… thank you very much!
APKY/AMP: Thank you, Mylow. I now invite you to include an extract of your writing:
Here’s chapter 30…
Peaches sat on the sofa, scantily clad, as Kerby walked through the door. She was apprehensive about his disposition and she hoped her lack of apparel would pacify, even seduce him. She didn’t want to let on that she was still afraid. Kerby closed the door behind him and went directly to the bedroom, barely nodding in her direction. He quickly put his pistol and badge away and was putting the money in the drawer when Peaches walked in. “I’m sorry about earlier.” she said, slinking up to him. That’s when she noticed the blood. “How’d you get blood on your coat?” she asked. “You alright? Baby where’ve you been?” Kerby didn’t answer. She noticed the roll of bills right before he closed the drawer, taking the bag of dope and tossing it up on the bed. He removed his jacket and wiped the blood from its front and sleeve then threw it on a chair in the corner.
“Bring me a pipe.” he said, climbing up onto the bed, scattering the small packets of crack across the comforter.
“You mad at me?” she asked, climbing up with him.
“No.” Kerby took a handful of packets and slid them across the bed to Peaches. She turned, placing all but one on the bedside table. The two quickly got to work filling their pipes. For the next few moments the only sound to be heard was the flicking of cigarette lighters and the sizzle of more poison. After finding temporary relief from a long awaited hit Kerby leaned back on a pillow against the headboard. Peaches leaned over and looked up into his face. “Why won’t you talk to me baby?” she asked. “Kerby?” she asked again.
“You’re makin’ me blow my hit.” he said. Peaches then backed away from him and lit her pipe again. Kerby put his lighter back to his pipe and moments later ended his silence.
“Can I ask you a question?” he said. “What do you know about love?”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“When you was trippin’, you said you loved me. You was trippin’ right?”
“No, you were trippin’.” she said. “You scared the hell out of me.”
“So...” he paused. “...does fear make you lie for effect, or does it cause you to tell the truth?”
“Fear made me say what I wouldn’t ordinarily say.” she said. “In my world,” she explained. “That’s an unspoken subject. That word never comes up. You tell somebody you love them and that gives them a free pass to hurt you.”
“But that’s what love is right? I mean, you’re givin’ a person the freedom to hurt you or love you back. Maybe I don’t understand what you’re sayin’, I don’t know. Maybe it’s this rock.”
“I’ve got more hurt than I can handle.” Peaches said. “I’m sayin’...” Her voice began to crack. “...being here with you, this is the best time I’ve had in a long, long time, maybe in my whole life. I feel like somebody when I’m with you.” She put her pipe down to dry her eyes. “Maybe it’s love, maybe it ain’t. But I’m happy for a change.” she cried. “Is that okay or is that wrong? Can I be happy? Is there some law that says a ‘ho can’t be happy?” Kerby got up to get Peaches something for her eyes. He climbed back up on the bed and gave her some tissue, pulling her to himself.
“You’ve got to know this, Peaches.” Kerby said trying to offer her comfort. “You’re not a whore and quit sayin’ that. We’ve both made some terrible choices, still makin’ ‘em. But that’s not who we are.” Kerby couldn’t believe the words coming from his mouth. He didn’t believe them for himself, how could he encourage someone else? It was God speaking to the both of them! “That’s not who you are. Look at me.” he said. “I love you too.”
“You don’t love me!” she snapped.
“I do.” Kerby said. “You’re a very special woman. I’ve always believed that”
“Look,” she said. “I know you’re in love with Keyara. I know I wasn’t your first choice. How could I be?”
“You’re gonna’ make some man very happy one day.” Kerby told her.
“Yeah? But not you right?”
“I already have a wife...” he said. “At least for now.”
Peaches thought about telling Kerby about the phone call but hesitated. “Can’t have a junky for a wife huh?” she asked.
“Can’t have one for a husband either.” he replied. “Or I wouldn’t be here.”
“Love and happiness.” Peaches softly sang the opening to an Al Green song. “Can a junky ever really be loved?” she asked. “Like, mad, crazy love?”
“I don’t know Peaches. I guess.” Kerby answered.
“Can a junky ever be happy?” she asked.
“No.” Kerby replied. “How?”
APKY/AMP: Thank you once again, Mylow, and all the best for your future.