The collection of stories that author Tony Brooks has assembled is unprecedented. Apparent, is his ability to masterfully evoke the thought processes and emotions of his readers. In truth, there is much more to "Diaries of Black Men" than the reader could ever imagine. The soon-to-be-bestseller has received raving reviews from readers of both genders, and all backgrounds. Recently, eMediaCampaigns! sat down with author Tony Brooks. We discussed his childhood, his love for writing, his vision for an international alliance with positive people, and of course, his latest release, "Diaries of Black Men."
eMediaCampaigns!: Good Afternoon, Tony. Thank you for meeting with us today.
Tony Brooks: Good Afternoon, Fran. It's an honor to be here.
EMC: Tell us about your background and how you became interested in writing.
TB: I am from the East Coast, Harrisburg, PA. I graduated from IUP -- Indiana University of Pennsylvania. My mother raised six of us by herself. The lyrics of the song by the Temptations, "Poppa Was a Rollin Stone," exemplified my father's lifestyle. It is funny because, even though our father didn't live with us, we all loved him dearly. I believe the love I had for my father is something that is intrinsic to every child whether they come from a dysfunctional or functional family environment. The processing of that dysfunction in your life will determine who you become as a person.
My father was not a very good role model. Consequently, I consciously and unconsciously acquired and inherited his behaviors and incorporated some of his negative habits. Now that last thought sounded somewhat confusing, but those are the only words that I could come up with. They describe how I am feeling when I think about my background, and explain how I got interested in writing.
I believe it was all the confusion, heartache, struggles and adversities that my mother had to endure while raising six kids by herself, that became the seed which germinated within me for a lifetime. It finally blossomed -- metaphorically speaking -- into my writing about the suppressed emotions, feelings, and setbacks in my life.
EMC: Was there ever a time when you questioned your ability to write?
TB: I never really questioned my writing ability because I used writing as an outlet and it was always from my heart. Writing is therapeutic and cathartic for me. I write like I feel -- or have felt -- at some point in my life. God's blessed me with a very creative imagination which really makes my imagination run wild when I write about some of the things that I write about. What does that mean? It means that I have not lived all the things that I write about. But, I have an imagination that allows me to speculate and extrapolate on things and from experiences of others and then assimilate those thoughts into my words and stories.
EMC: Diaries of Black Men has received exceptionally favorable reviews from its readers and critics. What have you personally heard from the published authors and producers in the industry who have read book?
TB: I've been very encouraged by others in the industry. The one comment that is indelibly etched in my psyche came from a friend of mine, author Mary B. Morrison. She said -- and I'm paraphrasing -- "It is not a question of whether or not you become a prolific writer, the question is when!" She doesn't know it but that has stuck with me. I've also had people in the industry approach me about turning Diaries Of Black Men into a movie production. That too is very encouraging and positive.
EMC: Were there any responses that surprised you?
TB: Yes, the fact that so many people could personally relate to the stories. I was surprised and excited because I really get inspired knowing that I can evoke a collage of emotions from the stories. A good friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a while said, "Man, 'Tone,' I really liked your book. It made me laugh and cry." I knew that this person was sincere. Thank you, brother T. Walker from San Jose University for your positive and encouraging words.
"Diaries of Black Men" is a raw and compelling internal look at the Black experience . . . it is rife with poignant humor and abundantly compassionate. Readers are in for a treat; not only for its authentic lens to people of color, but for illuminating the human condition."
-Ranjan Patel, Psy.D., Psychotherapist
EMC!: Was there a particular message or theme that you sought to convey before, or as you wrote Diaries of Black Men?
TB: Not really one particular message because, too often, "we," as black men, get labeled and stereotyped. In reality, we are enigmatic and puzzling. That diversity is the beauty of life and it makes it so unpredictable. My book touches on many different facets of life from different perspectives and backdrops. In reality that collections of stories could easily be embodied in one person. Think about all the things that have happened to you in your life. I frequently have people say to me "I should write a book!" Then they go on to tell me about their life experiences which is real surprise because I've listened to some incredible stories.
"... too often, 'we,' as black men get labeled and stereotyped. In reality, we are enigmatic and puzzling."
- Tony Brooks, Author
EMC!: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what books are you reading now?
TB: When I was young, I liked reading books by James Baldwin and Donald Goines. Now, talk about differences the aforementioned authors are like night and day (laugh). This buttresses my argument that we are complex individuals. We can appreciate some rap music, some types of jazz and R&B. We can go to a party and salsa or we can go to a nightclub pretend to be "Usher." We like BBQ ribs and we can also appreciate a good piece of prime rib...even though I stopped eating meat twenty-five years ago (laugh).
EMC: Most writers will acknowledge that they struggle with occasional "writer's block." Does the same hold true for you? If so, how do you manage it?
TB: I've heard of "writer's block" but I've never really had to deal with it. Perhaps if someone gave me a million dollar contract to write a series of books ... then that phenomena could become a dilemma for me (laugh). I am being facetious; but really serious in a sense. With that million dollars, I could see me and my family in Jamaica "chilling" for a few days. That would automatically eliminate a writer's block because I would just be enjoying the moment and not think about deadlines or commitments.
I think most people experience "life's block" when there are pressures in their life. People have different thresholds which determine how they react to various pressures in their lives. (If you put enough pressure and heat on a coal, it becomes a diamond). This holds true for writers. Some writers -- I would imagin
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