Hello Therone welcome to Books2Mention Magazine. We are happy to have this opportunity to learn more about you and your writing technique.
Congratulations to you on the success of your first book Love Don't Live Here. The reviews have been really great and readers are anxiously anticipating your next release.
B2M: When did you decide to embark upon your literary journey?
THERONE: I wrote my first manuscript back in 1989. So I guess one can say that this is when I really looked at writing as a possible profession.
B2M: Do you believe that creative writing is a gift or is it learned?
THERONE: I believe that the ability to write is a gift. But creative writing is something that you learn and get better at.
B2M: What has been your biggest obstacle as an author?
THERONE: The biggest obstacle that I have faced is the politics within the African American market. It's very hard for any African American author who is not signed to one of the larger companies, who does not write hard-core urban lit to navigate through the maze of distribution and stores when they are all connected in one way or another and have a vested interest economically in pushing what's popular over other genres. For this reason I have concentrated on the streets, and mainstream store markets.
B2M: Therone, why should people read your work?
THERONE: For starters, I represent the fundamentals that African American literature was built on. Black literature has always played an important part in the social progress of not just black Americans, but Americans as a whole. We have always championed and brought important issues to the forefront. My literature is a reflection of these ideals. And most of all, I'm a writer not an entertainer. Love Don't Live Here is a novel, but it's very true to life as to how it really goes down everyday..
B2M: Do you write to entertain readers or to present a point of view and deliver a message of wisdom and hope?
THERONE: I write to entertain, educate and inspire. If it's just a quote or one paragraph, I know there is something that anyone can take into their lives with them after reading one of my stories.
B2M: You have stated that your mission is to create a positive social movement within the literary, audio and visual industry. How do you foresee fulfilling this mission?
THERONE: For starters it starts with me, and the type of literature that I choose to write and publish. I am laying the foundation down for change and creating a platform. I will be accepting manuscripts starting Dec '06. And then it's about networking, which I have been doing a whole lot of lately. And I've come to realize that there are a whole lot of authors that see eye to eye with me. I am in talks with a few to possibly do business in some capacity with them, from publicity down to doing joint ventures.
Most of all its creating the market, this is why I constantly stay touring and doing signings to meet the people face to face. And as a result I've gained alot of valuable info about what they like and want. There is a big world out there and a whole lot of people. And not everyone likes the same thing. It's become people's nature to just accept what the next person likes. But the more options they have, the more of a variety they will choose to like.
When I speak of audio and visual, I mean music and film. For starters, I network with people in the music industry. For instance I just edited an article written by Sincere who is a rap artist manager/photographer in the Ohio area. The article is called "Hip-Hop On Life Support." The article basically addresses the same issues that I feel about literature and was published by www.kandunonline.com the month of June.
Unlike music, where I just network and I will always keep it to writing and editing articles; I am seriously pursuing writing movie scripts in the near future. At the moment there hasn't been too many movies coming out which address social issues that affect us all as a people without being subjective to just one group.
I have my work cut out for me because; there is alot of opposition. But there may be in the long run a whole lot more people who want to see something more than the norm.
B2M: You have overcome some difficult challenges in your life. Do you feel these experiences have given you a strong vantage point in being able to create realistic stories that readers can relate to?
THERONE: To this question I will say in a way yes, and then I will also say no. I know people, and know of people that have gone through way more than me. But what makes me different than some is my ability to understand and draw from these situations in a way that most find difficult to. I look at things alot different than most people-some of it is experience and some of it is what I've been born with.
B2M: What advice would you like to offer to future authors?
THERONE: First of all, I would like to tell them to read as many books on the lit business as possible. Secondly, to write from the heart because there is an audience for everyone. If you feel one way there are millions of people who feel the same. Thirdly, and maybe the most important since this is becoming a big business I will have to say to look out for yourself and know what you are signing before you sign your name on the dotted line. One man's ignorance is the next man's gain, so don't sell yourself and talent short for what looks like a pot of gold today when in the long run you can obtain many pots of gold. And most of all be firm, and about your business. In other words treat it like a business because if not, you will end up like many writers who may have sold alot of books but have not seen the rewards from it all. They have the fame and accreditation of being on the best sellers list. But what does it really mean-when they did not benefit.
B2M: What would you like readers to know about Therone?
THERONE: I would like readers to know that I love literature just as much as them, maybe even more. Touring and meeting them is the best thing I like about this business, besides writing stories that I feel are important to them and their loved ones.
B2M: What type of books do you enjoy reading?
THERONE: I like reading many genres, for starters American and world politics, philosophy (no not Greek philosophy b/c there is no such thing-they stole what they learned from African Egyptians) and contemporary fiction, and some urban lit. As long as the story is deeper than sex, drugs and violence as the main theme. A story in any genre can have them-but if you can take me beyond the emotions of it then I'm down to read. My favorite books are The Prince by Nicolli Machievelli, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Think and Grow Rich a Black Choice, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, the whole Easly Rawlings series by Walter Mosley, Toni Morrison etc. I also like to step outside the norm and read John Gresham and James Patterson. Man, I could go on and on. But lately, I have only been reading books on literature, philosophical works, self-help and business books.
B2M: Can you provide our readers with a sneak preview of your next project?
THERONE: Hmmmm--I think I'm going to keep that on raps. But I will give you the low down on what No Love Lost is about. It's the follow up to Love Don't Live Here-and basically about Jermaine and Derrik becoming teens, feeling their oats and breaking away from the guidance and sense of family that their mothers worked so hard to provide. In the end one ends up dead, and the other finds himself in a situation that is life threatening. But will he use his ability to decide whether he is going to get his life together and follow the life that his mother had sought to provide? Or follow the path that he has chosen so far, which has brought him and the people who love him nothing but grief?
B2M: Are there individuals in your life who help motivate and inspire you through the writing process?
THERONE: Wow! I had to think for a long minute on this one. I cannot say anyone in particular, but I will say that I'm inspired by life. And just recently, I have become aquatinted with a few writing friends who I keep in contact with and we talk about literature. One of them I am actually hoping that he joins Third Eye Publishing. And I have a lady friend who knew me back when I was hustling, and acting crazy. She always gives me inspiration and good words.
B2M: What do you do to stay grounded and maintain a sense of balance in your life?
THERONE: I had taken a hiatus from exercise, but I'm back on my schedule-so this gives me mental balance. I also like to know what is going on around the world. This helps whenever I become stressed about what I'm going through to realize that there are people in the world who can do nothing about their situations. They cannot even aspire to achieve their dreams--and thoughts of this, humbles me right away.
I also like to have fun. Amazingly, I'm not serious all the time. I can be a clown when I have the time and want to be. So I like to do fun things as well. Spending time with my nephews and niece are at the top of the list.
And ladies of course--with yall we go crazy! And without ladies I would go completely insane!
Books2Mention Magazine commends you for transforming your life and for your dedication to educate and motivate readers. Therone, you are truly a talented author with a promising future ahead of you. Keep writing realistic stories that are meaningful.
Thanks for interviewing with Books2Mention Magazine. Pease be sure to come back again and keep readers informed about all of your future endeavors.
Much Success To You!
The Staff @ Books2Mention Magazine
You are welcome to visit the website of Therone Shellman at www.thirdeyepublishing.org and also www.myspace.com/theroneshellman
Books by Therone Shellman include:
Love Don't Live Here