Monday, January 05, 2009
FEATURED AUTHOR: David L.
David L. is the President and CEO of Total Package Publications, an independently-run publishing company with major distribution that includes Baker & Taylor, Walden Books, Amazon, and most recently, Ingram. His first novel, Over Your Dead Body has been received with critical acclaim and multiple awards and has been optioned for a movie deal with a Los Angeles-based independent film company. Over Your Dead Body accurately details the unfortunate occurrences of separation, followed by divorce and forces every married couple to “look in the mirror” and ask themselves the question: “Is My Marriage In Trouble?” It is by no means to glorify separation and divorce, instead, to highlight a cautionary tale of what could happen if one allows their relationship to get to the point where there is no “turning back.” David L.’s most recent release, Chalk Outline Confessions has also been receiving numerous nominations for its ability to capture the realism and graphic display of the suspense and thriller African-American genre.
David L. has expanded his literary services recently and has begun working with enthusiastic authors seeking a publishing outlet to showcase their craft and share in his passion for writing. In addition to his novels, David L. has also published various articles and has written as a guest columnist for various periodicals ranging from race relations in the U.S., self publishing do’s and don’ts, to working with troubled youth in the community. David L. holds a Bachelors Degree in Communications and Human Relations as well as a Masters Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Administration. He will begin working on his Doctorate in Social Work in September 2009. David L.’s area of expertise includes couples therapy, family crisis intervention, and marriage counseling.
Over Your Dead Body
Like all relationships, sometimes there are problems that need to be addressed. During one fateful night after returning home from his co-worker’s apartment, Janelle accuses her husband of adultery. There is just one catch: Preston has remained faithful up to this stage of their marriage! Underlying feelings of contempt and disdain quickly form as both Janelle and Preston allow outside influences to get the best of them as their failing marriage continue to spiral downward. A game of cat and mouse ensues as Preston and Janelle become engrossed in battle with their children as the ultimate prize. No one is safe as each character utilizes their entire array of wit, cunning, and deviousness to dispel the other’s reputation. With each passing chapter, Preston becomes more determined to vindicate his image and exact revenge on his wife. With nothing else to lose, everyone becomes expendable in his eyes and consequently, all intended participants become “chess pieces” in what is considered the game of his life.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
My primary reason for writing this novel is to allow the reader a glimpse on what it really means to go from intense love for another individual to blind rage and hate. There is a saying that goes: there is a thin line between love and hate. I bring that theory to life in my novel. Why? Because media and society tells us with commercial billboards and talk shows that walking away from a once sacred institution like marriage is o.k. My goal is to allow readers to take that extra step and try to work out their issues with their loved ones. Whether it is with their significant other or casual romance.
Why did you choose to write this book?
As a licensed social worker working in the state of New York, I've counseled many couples and worked to help reunite families so I do have experience in tellling my tale. So often, couples walk away from a relationship, mainly because of mis-communication or because of others interfering with their healing process when things go wrong. If that couple took the same energy that they invested in at the initial phases of their relationship, possibly issues and conflicts could be worked out with a greater sense of urgency. This book is a cautionary tale and not in anyway meant to glorify any of the violence that may go on throughout the book.
What did you learn while writing this book?
While writing this book, I often sent off sample excerpts to friends and casual acquaintances to get their opinion on how the storyline was developing. Much to my surprise, many of them could directly relate to many of the characters, and some genuinely felt that the storyline was premised on their own life!
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
This is not an overnight hobby or spur-of-the-moment idea! I first realized I wanted to write and had the GOD-given talent to do so way back in grade school. While everyone was playing Atari and trying to get a paper route, I was making and selling comic books to the neighborhood kids. Not just writing them. I was coming up with the storyline, cover design, character outline – everything! I was about eleven or twelve. That eventually evolved into other writing projects such as the school newspaper. I would write about current and controversial topics that plagued my community on an ongoing basis. I appreciated the reaction of my peers and the positive feedback, so I kept writing. Eventually, my articles turned into full-scale stories. In conclusion - I take my craft seriously!
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
I continue to take bits and pieces of information from writers that I've had the fortune of meet. I continue to be amazed over how similar the publishing industry is compared to the music industry. Very similar to the music biz, in publishing, distribution and niche marketing is key. No matter how well you’ve written a body of work, no one will ever know unless it is distributed and promoted correctly. Secondly, you need to establish a core fan base. Readers can sometimes be very fickle and possibly forget about you when that next “hot” author comes out. My goal from the very beginning was, and still is to stay humble and appreciative of those that supported my vision from day one.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
My toughest test is to continue writing and not allow complacency to become a barrier. There may be times that the politics of the business may cause me to become eager to retire or focus primarily on my other authors, however, I would be doing my readers a disservice. In other words, I'm focused on putting out a novel annually. Not because I have to, but because it is one of my self-imposed decisions in order to remain relevant to my core fanbase.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I try to keep my eye to the streets on everything possible! When I’m not writing, I am looking for every opportunity to brand myself and take my writing skills to the next level. Activities that I’m constantly involved in include public speaking in the areas of race relations, self-publishing, and effective marketing and my personal passion – working with at-risk foster care youth in the community. I’m often asked what the last book I’ve read was and my answer is always the same: “the time it takes me to read someone else’s book, I could be hard at work writing my next one!”
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. Knowing that branding your work and promotion is quite possibly the hardest thing when it comes to self publishing! For those out there that think the job is complete when your book is ready - think again!
2. The more successful you become, expect the further you will have to travel in order to reach everyone that loves your books!
3. Never sleep until you retire. The moment you slow down, someone is ready to step in your shoes and turn you into yesterdays news!
How do you reach new readers?
First and foremost, begin promoting your work well before its release date allow readers to read advance excerpts of your work. Create a buzz. Create demand and impatience. You can’t have a fan following without it. Third, always strive to be as humble as possible and treat every potential book purchaser the same. A bad reputation for being standoffish and apathetic to your audience can and will be your downfall. During book signings, smile and personally greet everyone whether they purchase your book or not. The ones who do not purchase your books today may not be financially able at that moment; however, a smile will leave a lasting impression. Last but definitely not least, create your own “lane.” This means be as original as possible and develop a style you can call your own. By doing so, you can almost guarantee more leverage in obtaining radio and print publicity and a following that will keep your name alive for many, many years to come!
If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?
1. Iceberg Slim
2. Donald Goines
3. Elijah Muhammad
Why? Simply because all three did it before it became the "in" thing to do. Right now, bookshelves and vendor booths are crowded with copycat imitators of the above individuals. I would sit down with them at dinner and find out what their inspiration was. Did they do it for fame or to reach the masses? More importantly, did they at any moment realize what a influence they would have on the next generation?
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do: Give yourself realistic time restrictions - if any at all. Try to avoid deadlines at all costs (unless you are signed to a publishing house - you will probably have no choice). I write with emotion so I have to be in the right state of mind based on the part of the story I am working on and the reader knows when one is "forcing" something onto paper. I feel that "realness" gives the story more life. More sincerity for the overall product.
Don't: Never, never (I'll say it again: NEVER) distance yourself from your fanbase! The people that built you up from nothing can just as easily knock you off of your pedestal. Stay humble (there is that word again!) and treat everyone with dignity (even those that don't support your product). Times change and so do people. That person that didn't give you any support today could be your biggest fan tomorrow!
Our theme for this month is Family Literacy, what do you do to promote literacy in your family?
I promote literacy in my family as well as others by reiterating the importance of reading. Each one, teach one. Four words that hold alot of weight. In order to build our communities and rise to the next level, we need to teach the seriousness of "Each One Teach One."
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Very easy: email: firstname.lastname@example.org (I read all emails within 48 hours and respond accordingly).
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Again very easy: visit my website at: www.totalpackagepublications.com and you can read a sample excerpt of my upcoming novel - My Life Is A Movie...you could also possibly win a $25 gift certificate! The release date is March 2009, however, readers will be able to purchase it directly on my website the week before Valentines Day! (just in time for that lucky loved one of your life!)
Look out for Over Your Dead Body - the movie. Coming summer 2009.
- I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.
I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.
I’m available for:
Online promotion coaching
Contact me at:email@example.com