Welcome, Eddie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I put a lot of my experiences and testimony into my characters. Many of the struggles you see are glimpses into my life. I spread them out over more than one character.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
A friend of mine got the bright idea to cut eye-holes into empty Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets. We decorated them and drove around town looking like morons. We got some strange looks at traffic lights. Then we backed through a fast food drive-thru. That was my idea of teenage rowdiness. And there was no alcohol involved.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I spent the first 10 years of my writing life in denial. I started working in a prison ministry. The prisoners wanted some study material, so I started writing out my studies to print and give them. Later, it expanded to the internet. One day I finally realized that I kind of liked this writing stuff.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorite genre is biographies and other non-fiction books. I rarely read fiction until I got interested in writing it. When I started writing fiction, I discovered a real love for the craft. I read several books on the craft of fiction, but I also started reading fiction books. I figured that I couldn’t expect to write a good story if I didn’t know what it looked like. In the last two years, I’ve read approximately 120 fiction books. I read almost all genres. I’ve even read (and enjoyed) some Christian romance. But don’t tell anyone – it’s our little secret! The only thing I don’t appreciate is foul language and sex scenes in books. Both rob the story and take the reader out of the plot.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I beat up my dog – but don’t worry, he likes it. It’s important to find time to slow down and be quiet. It’s a challenge to stop, but taking quiet time is a must. For me, I write in my quiet time. Some call it journaling, but for me, it’s just writing. I find that God speaks to me when I lay everything aside and write about a passage of scripture. When He opens my eyes to something new, it’s refreshing and energizing.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
A writing program I have has a database of names. Sometimes I use this. Other times I use the internet. This is especially true when looking for an ethnic name. I try to never use the same first letter in a name of a prominent character. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, I stick to this rule. I have trouble with names, so two similar sounding names, or two starting with the same letter can be confusing.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Becoming a father is my greatest accomplishment. My wife and five children are the most important part of my life.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dog. What is there not to like about dogs. Plus, dogs become what you invest in them.
What is your favorite food?
My wife’s beef vegetable soup.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’m dyslexic, so I get a lot of homophones crossed up, and mix up characters. I have to proof read a lot, plus I get other eyes to look at it.
Tell us about the featured book.
I Called Him Dancer originates from a song written and performed by Tralena Walker and Tom Webster. They spoke at the Atlanta Writers Club in 2009 and talked about how to pack a story into a few lyrics. They performed this song and then mentioned how much they would like to see the story turned into a novel. I had an epiphany. The whole plot unfolded in my head and I agreed to write the book.
Please give us the first page of the book.
A homeless man pulled his tattered coat closer to his neck, trying to block out the early morning chill while walking toward
Central Park. A woman stood before him, looking at a display outside the Majestic Theater. His eyes were drawn to the display and saw an actress in the picture wearing a fancy ballroom dress. A chilling cold ached through his body, and his legs froze in place, but forgotten memories warmed away the chill as he admired the posters outside the Broadway theater.
“It’s a good play, isn’t it?” The man in rags turned to face the woman. By her stylish long gray coat, he could tell she was accustomed to the finer things of
. New York
The woman gave an uncomfortable smile and walked away.
With trembling hands, the man ran his fingers across the theater display. Grime smudged onto the clear sheet of acrylic guarding the words, Return of the Phantom. A High-energy sequel to Broadway’s longest running play. He started to leave, but stopped again at the next poster. A gold frame held the lovely picture. With the tip of his finger, he outlined the face of Christine Daaé.
“Alina hasn’t changed.” He tapped his finger on the man wearing the phantom’s mask. “Looks like there’s a new Erik.” Leaning close, he examined the picture. “Yep. That definitely isn’t Antonio.”
A deep sigh escaped from the pit of his stomach. “Things should have been different.” He tried to imagine his face in the picture, half hidden behind the mask. Patting the display like the shoulder of an old friend, he turned and lumbered down the street toward his favorite tipping spot just off Broadway.
How can readers find you on the Internet?My website/blog is at www.eddiesnipes.com. I can be found on Facebook under the username, eddiesnipes. Or, contact me on twitter @eddiesnipes
Thank you, Eddie, for spending this time with us.
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