Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Growing up in a farm in northwestern Haiti, I daydreamed of becoming a singer. Sometimes, I’d imagine singing in a stadium filled with people screaming fans, calling out my name. I know, right? I used to write songs, but I was too shy to stand in front of people and sing them. So I read a lot instead.
I wanted to study something along the line of arts, or English Literature, however my folks insisted on Information Technology, something I am not fond of. So, I bitterly went and got it over with. But I still read and write every day. This is my debut, and I’m glad you’re part of it. Let’s make it count.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas come from everywhere and everything. Ideas literally hunt us every day, begging us to write them. Please write me! Please write me! Sometimes they come from words we hear, scents, songs, movies, and laughter, pain. They’re all around, begging for someone to pay attention to them.
Originally I wanted to write a love story about two teenagers living in Pearl Harbor during the Second World War. I went to Hawaii for two weeks to do research. When I came back, I posted all my important findings on my walls: notes, posters, pictures, news stories, names from the 1940s. For two days nothing good came out of my $3,500 in traveling expenses. I walked around the apartment like a mad scientist waiting to discover the Holy Grail of all formulas. Then I heard a voice saying, “Why don’t you write about the Heavens?” Just like that. And at that moment, it dawned unto me that there isn’t one day that goes by that I don’t think about the Heavens. That same day I wrote the first two chapters of Seat of Truth. And from there the book grew organically into what you’re about to experience.
Why do you write?
Too many reasons to name but let me try:
- Writing is an anchor to me, like a sanctuary. When the world is bigger than I can handle, writing takes it all away and sets me free.
- Honestly, come to think of it, writing is the only thing I know I truly love. Everything else is boring. Which is why I am lousy at most things, especially Information Technology.
- I write because I love writing. There is something inherent about crafting a sentence, then a paragraph, and that exhilarating feeling you experience when you know you just nailed it.
- I write because I love the occasional visitation to commune with Divine Beings. I know for a fact that there are countless passages in Seat of Truth that I am not account for. There is no way I could have come up with them. So when I have Visitors, I make the best out of them. I write faster than normal. As those sacred beings are about to leave, I run after them and gather crumbs of precious sentences and directions to follow in the story. For instance, when I was writing the description of Gate of Exchange & Forgotten Hope, I remember experiencing headaches and anxiety. I mimicked so many ways to structure the sentences; I was never fully satisfied. But I kept going back to it. Then one night the visitors came. I rattled the keys like I was running out of time. Later, after my friends had left, I went back to put the sentences, the words, in the proper order. And boy! It’s any writer’s best dream. I will forever be grateful for that paragraph. This happened again and again throughout the book.
- And last but not least, I write because I hope you will keep me going. There is so much I wanted to share with you. Writing is a very solitary calling—always alone, at home, in hotel rooms, parks, or libraries, creating characters, breathing life into them, animating them into real people, hoping to touch some lives for the better; for a small measure of hope. I would love to hear how my stories have touched you, or someone you know. Your testimony would mean so much in my confinement.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Brace yourself for the answer: 16 years. Yep! You see it is never too late to start, or to do the right thing. Right?
What is your writing schedule?
I get the most done in the early hours, preferably from five to seven in the morning. Then I get ready to go to work. When I have two jobs, I get a lot done during my commute. If I don’t have to go to work, I hit the gym after my first writing session. After my workout I begin to read. Later in the afternoon I do some editing. From there, I let the rest of the day become what it must.
What is your advice for new writers?
Read and write! Read and write! Writing is a game of love. The more you read and write, the better your writing becomes. Set time aside for your reading and writing ambitions, and please, FOCUS! Don’t let distractions steal that joy inside of you. I know many of you are pursuing dreams. Whether it’s songwriting, playing an instrument, painting, sewing, starting a business, or getting into fashion, I can’t stress enough how you must be consistent and persistent and go fervently after it. God alone knows how exhilarated, fulfilled, happy I felt the moment I held that first finished book in my hands. Even if nothing else comes of it, I will forever be grateful and proud.
Do you answer to all your emails?
Yes, I do. My fan base is organic; they’re not too many, and I am perfectly happy with them. I take time to read every email and reply to my fans. I’d like to hear from you. If you have any question that’s not in the Q&A, please ask me.
What are your favorite books or authors?
That’s a fair question. I read all genres. Some of my favorite authors are C.S. Lewis, John Grisham, Dan Brown, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John le Carré, Andre D’Autant, Julia Navarro, Dany Laferrière, Julia Navarro, and Roxane Gay, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Some of my favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Things They Carried, The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud, The Stranger, White Teeth, How to Make Love to a Negro (Without Getting Tired), Stephen King: On Writing, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, A Dash of Style, The Grapes of Wrath, The Alchemist, Origin, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Homecoming.
What are your favorite movies and TV shows?
I love TV. I read a lot of shooting scripts and go to the movies often to help my screenwriting ambitions. If I were to name even some of my favorites, we might run out of space.
Oh! No, no! Back up! You’re going to love this.
When I first saw a TV, I was seven, almost eight years old. It was when my father hauled me behind him—with my small suitcase containing all my earthly possessions: a suite that was way too small for me. The first day I arrived in the big city into the neighbors’ house, I immediately noticed the square box between large bookshelves. I remember wondering how these white folks were able to fit into that small glass box. It was a mystery to me how they get inside that thing. I fell in love with television instantly.
We didn’t have a TV in our home, but the kids next door let me watch Tom & Jerry sometimes. Later in life—when I could afford to buy one, I did. However, I choose not to have one for the past ten years. TV proved to be a distraction for me, and I want to become a writer. Nonetheless, I do have some favorite TV shows: Lucifer, Supergirl (especially Alex Danvers), Suits, and Burden of Truth.
And since you insist… Some of my favorite movies are: Inception, The Usual Suspects, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Basic Instinct, Legends of the Fall, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Dark Knight, 7even, Driving Miss Daisy, Constantine, Hidden Figures, Signs, Unbreakable, The Last of the Mohicans, The Gods Must Be Crazy, Stand by Me, The Breakfast Club, and The Black Panther.
I want to write a book. What do I do?
What’s your favorite dessert?
Do you play any sports?