Interview with poet and author Jamell Crouthers

Jamell Crouthers is a poet, writer, and author of 5 books with the 6th book coming soon. He started writing poetry at the age of 13. It wasn't until his 30s where he realized he had a true talent for writing and in poetry format. He began formulating ideas to write books and he thought of bringing together poetry and societal issues into one and from there, the ideas materialized. We have conducted an interview with him.

How different are these two books that you have written: "America Under Mind Control and Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun"?

These books are very different in the approach and how it was written. America Under Mind Control tackles all of the issues going on in this country and how our minds are controlled on an everyday basis. Some of the subjects I tackle are the education system, our money spending habits, credit cards, student loans and how this country is operated. There are no characters in this book, it's just a broad perspective of what's going on in America.

Code Blue deals with a police officer who's been on the police force for some time and learns that his fellow partners are corrupt and racist and the police commissioner contributes to that. He chronicles cases he's involved in and he is trying to decide whether to report it or stick to his oath to the badge, gun and a guaranteed pension after 20 years. These books tackle societal issues, just from different perspectives.

When you first got started in writing, how did you craft your characters? What about the settings?

Crafting characters is one of the biggest challenges because they have to be believable along with being able to relate to them. When I wrote the World We Live In series, I wrote names and then I figure out their personalities, a back story to their lives and the issues they're dealing with in their lives. Those books have 19 different characters and as you read those books, you'll eventually relate to one character at some point.

Code Blue, it's one main character so developing him was a little more easier since there was a focus on one person so I'm able to write a plethora of different emotions and feelings as the book goes along. The settings I try to use as much imagery as possible while writing my books to put the person there as if they're experiencing it themselves.

What actually inspired you to start writing?

It's crazy because I went on a trip to Los Angeles in 2015 and I was burnt out from refereeing basketball and working in a corporate office and I knew I needed to change my life. I knew I was good at writing poetry but I wanted to write about something that no one else was writing. So I decided to put poetry and societal issues into one and from there the ideas started formulating.
I've been writing poems since I was 13 on and off but never took it seriously to the point where I could write a book and self-publish it myself. The more I started considering it, the more I became committed to it. Six books in, I'm entrenched in this journey of wanting to impact others through my writing and storytelling.

What do you enjoy writing about?

I enjoy writing about life in general and things we all go through. I write a lot of shorter poems about my life, things I'm thinking about and going through. It's hard to share your life journey and stories with others sometimes but I always think, someone is probably thinking and feeling the same way I am. I enjoy the process of writing about societal issues that will make someone think, feel, emote and express what they're thinking at that moment.

Which is the most challenging aspect of writing in your personal opinion that you want to share with other writers?

The most challenging is the mental focus it takes to continually write content and be consistent with it. With social media readily available to me at any given moment, numerous technological devices, it's easy to get distracted and not have mental focus on your writing. Life tends to get in the way too when you have friends and family who want to see you, go out and do things.

There are a few things I want to share with writers. Don't get too high or get to low with this process, it's arduous and tedious. Learn every aspect of this business if you're a newcomer (publishing, rights, royalties, writing, editing, marketing, book covers, publishing them on different websites, paperbacks, audiobooks, budgeting), learn every single thing. You'll have to make numerous sacrifices to get projects done, books written and marketing done.

Secondly, if you have no mental focus to continually write content, it's going to be hard to stay in this if you want to make a career out of it. After you write your first book and publish it, start working on your second book. Make series out of your books, it keeps readers coming back. Reviews are crucial and it's a daunting task so don't fret if you don't get them right away, I'm still dealing with that battle.

Thirdly, write what works for you, don't follow the trends, believe me when I tell you. I speak to a lot of readers who are tired of seeing the same subjects: erotica, romance, sci-fi and any other popular genre. Social media is crucial in all that you do, find at least 3-5 good ones you like and use those regularly.

Lastly, it's not a race to the finish line, so don't rush to win the race, a steady pace wins in book publishing. Strangers will support you faster than those closer to you. You would think it's the opposite but in this business, it really isn't. Enjoy and embrace the journey, with each little thing you accomplish every day, you're one day closer to your ultimate goal.

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