Tag Archives: Free Interview

Judith Black– Writer

 What made you want to become a storyteller?

I tried a number of other professions, teacher, waitress, community organizer, actress and none of them felt, (as Goldie Locks would say whenever she got to the baby bears food, chair, or bed) just right.  I used to tell stories to students in my pre-school class and this was the time of day that lit us all up. Then I saw Jay O’Callahan tell tales, and thought, I’d like to that!  When I tried on the storytellers’ life, it offered the opportunity to do all the things I both love and am good at.  That is, it fit like a comfortable suit of cloths.

 Was the journey difficult?

Ah the suffering to become a true artist!  The truth is that I had a degree from Wheelock College in Early Childhood Development, had studied theater at RADA, and worked in a couple repertory companies, before taking the leap.  Thus, I had a strong background to jump from.  The hardest part was trusting the wisdom and truth of the stories themselves.  I thought that if I didn’t jump around, acting out all the characters and being 103% entertaining, no one would listen.  The first time I peeked out from the tale, people were deeply engaged, not in me, but in the journey.  Learning to provide and trust that connection has been the most difficult and gratifying part of this work.

What were some of your favorite stories growing up?

Two types of tales resonate in my memory.  The first are the ones my father would tell about his life as a soldier during WWII.  We (my siblings and I)  would howl with laughter as he acted out how he spat out liver he’d hoped was steak.  The second are the ancient fairy tales that I would listen to on records for hours and hours. I understood instinctively, as a child, that these stories were about me!

 

Is there a difference between writing a story and telling a story?

Big time!  A writer must convey emotions, small details, physicality with words.  A storyteller can do all this with the tone of her voice, how she uses her body, and what she is seeing through her eyes.

If you could be one character in a story who would you be and why?

The absolute joy of storytelling is that you are every character. This is what makes you weary of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys.’  Once you step into someone’s shoes you realize that none of see ourselves as ‘bad guys.’  We are all people trying to do what we think is best.  Sometimes that thing hurts other people, but if we take the time to become that character, we can understand them and can possibly change their behavior.

If you could have coffee with one famous storyteller who would it be and why?

Jesus

I would love to know what his intentions were with his tales and how he feels we have used them.

 

What inspires you as a storyteller?

The power of story to help people learn about themselves and others.

 

What advice would you give a storyteller faced with writer’s block?

 

Get out of yourself and into the world.

 

What stories are you working on presently?

 

A new show about women and aging in America.  It’s a very serious comedy.

Have just completed a wonderful new piece called Esau MY Son, about raising the child you didn’t think would be yours!  “Darling, our people become doctors, lawyers, accountants!  We don’t join the Marine Corps!”

 

Finally, what advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in storytelling?

Tell stories where ever and when ever you can.  That’s how you both get better at it and create audiences who love it.

 

Where can kids and parents find out more about your work?

 

www.storiesalive.com

 

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.

Advertisements

Jiba Molei Anderson– Writer

Jiba Molei Anderson is an accomplished illustrator, graphic designer, writer, and educator. In 2002, Jiba formed Griot Enterprises and created its flagship property, The Horsemen. Currently, Jiba is working on Heroes Of Hip Hop for Top Cow and Getback for Markosia Publishing in addition to producing a new Horsemen book. He has also written the educational text Manifesto: The Tao of Jiba Molei Anderson and is currently writing the script for The Horsemen animated film. Jiba also has podcast radio show, Ghetto Of The Mind, which can be found on Itunes. In addition, he teaches courses in Animation and Video Game Design at the Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg.

What made you want to become a writer?

I became a writer out of necessity. I have always considered myself an illustrator first, graphic designer second. I’ve been creating characters ever since I was a little kid. And every character I created had to have some sort of story to justify their appearance and how they related to other characters that I created.

 

As I continued creating characters and designing costumes, I also started acting in school plays, which exposed me to scriptwriting, drama, all of the necessary literary tools needed to affect a good theatrical production. Of course, being an avid comic book reader and book reader didn’t hurt either. I always wrote little short stories and poems in grade school and high school. I’ve always been attracted to language.

 

The Horsemen was my “portfolio” piece for the comic book industry. As such, I just wanted to show the powers that be what I could do (i.e. penciling, inking, coloring, design, and writing). It just so happened that people were most attracted to The Horsemen because of my storytelling.

 

Was the journey difficult? Any help? Any obstacles?

No. Aside from the regular problems writers face (coming up with ideas, finding the “right” word, etc.), I just did it to the best of my ability. Thank goodness that was enough for readers to appreciate my work.

 

Any lessons learned on your writer’s journey?

Words have power. If you can articulate your ideas in a way that people not only understand, but also enjoy, you can influence people. I just try to be responsible with my words. I try to make sure that my voice is a positive one.

 

Where does that inner drive to write come from?

I love words. I have something to say and I want the whole world to hear my voice. I hope that doesn’t sound to egotistical.

 

How do you keep readers turning pages?

I always try to have each page be a complete “micro-thought,” which is part of the larger “macro-thought”. At the end of that page, I try to have that “micro-thought” spark a new “micro-thought” (the next page), which when all thoughts are read in sequence, reveals the big picture, so to speak.

 

I make sure that each “micro-thought” has an impact and delivers an emotional or visceral response to keep the reader not only entertained, but also intrigued and anxious to get that next piece of the puzzle.

 

How often will you revise and re-write your work?

I try to get it right the first time. So, while I’m writing, I’ll stop at a certain point and look over the work I produced. If it doesn’t “sound” right to me, I’ll “edit in the can.” By doing so, I probably revise maybe once or twice after the script is done. I rarely, if ever, do complete re-writes because I think they’re a waste of time. The only time I’ll actually re-write a piece is if I’ve lost it completely due to a computer glitch (as I am doing with the script for The Horsemen movie right now).

 

Re-writes suck.

 

What are some creative ways you’ve learned to generate ideas?

I listen to music, I’ll watch movies, I’ll daydream, I’ll do stream-of-consciousness, I’ll read, all of the usual tricks.

 

Sometimes, my best ideas come from joking around with my friends. Comedy is a great catalyst.

 

What are some practical solutions for writer’s block?

Don’t force it. Unplug. Decompress. Don’t think about it. It’s in those moments of calm that you will replenish yourself and those creative juices will start flowing again.

 

Do you have a favorite book?

I don’t like to play favorites. My favorite book is most likely the last book I’ve read. However, The Power of Myth, The Hero With An African Face, Wildseed, Black Gangster, Soul On Ice, and Tell Me How Long The Train’s Been Gone pop up in terms of straight literature. When it comes to comics, it ranges from the first twelve issues of The Authority to 100 Bullets, V for Vendetta to Infinite Crisis, Sin City to JLA/Avengers.

 

Do you have a favorite time of day when you like to write?

Because of my very tight work schedule, I write when I can. There’s no “magic” hour. Although, I tend to favor working at night when I don’t have to deal with the 9 to 5 grind. Being creative helps me relax.

 

What is one saying or proverb you live by?

“Know thyself,” “Seize The Day,” and “That which does not kill you will only make you stronger.”

 

What advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?

First, write. Second, write what you know. Third, read. Fourth, be aware of the world around you. Fifth, live life like every day is an adventure.

 

Where can parents and kids find out more about your work?

Go to: http://www.griotenterprises.com for more info or, just Google my name, Jiba Molei Anderson.

 

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.


Henry Chang– Writer

Henry Chang is a native New Yorker who grew up on the mean streets of Chinatown. He is a graduate of the City College of New York, and has been previously been published in Bridge Magazine, Yellow Pearl,  On A Bed of Rice, and The NuyorAsian Anthology. He resides in New York City. Chinatown Beat is his first novel.

What made you want to become a writer?

I became an avid reader during my high school and college years. The voices I heard in the books and magazines inspired me to tell my own stories through writing. Growing up in Chinatown I experienced many things and I felt I had a lot of stories to tell.

 

Was the journey difficult?

It was a difficult journey because you have to deal with the everyday stuff of life, like your job, and family, and then still find the time, place, and energy to try to be creative. For me, writing the stories was a labor of love.  After I’d found a voice to write from, I wrote every chance I could; in restaurants, on paper napkins, and in coffee shops, libraries, anywhere I had a thought, or a scene in my head. I tried to keep a pen and pocket pad handy, jotting down observations while in the subway, in the park, even on the beach. You have to love what you’re doing creatively, whether it’s writing, painting, photography, or anything else you do to express yourself. You shouldn’t follow your ideas and goals only because you see money or fame as the prize, but because you love what you’re doing and you’re happy expressing yourself.

 

Any lessons learned on your writer’s journey?

On my journey, I learned to never give up, and to move on to the next project instead of getting stuck, If one thing doesn’t succeed, try something else. Keep all your work together, in case you want to go back to it one day. Like myself, you may be discovered years later.

 

Where does that inner drive to write come from?

The inner drive to write comes from your desire to express an idea, or story, something you feel is worthwhile and needs to be shown.

 

How do you keep readers turning pages?

You have to reveal parts of your story at the proper time, when the characters are ready, not before, in order to build suspense or intrigue. You have to plot and pace the events in your story.

 

How often will you revise and re-write your work?

There are more than a few re-writes already as I go from longhand writing, then typing into the computer to Word editing. Then more revising with an editor from the company that’s publishing my work. I wind up revising and re-writng a lot. That’s okay, as long as you are true to your story and you’re happy with it.

 

What are some creative ways you’ve learned to generate ideas?

Reading books, magazines, and newspapers certainly is a good idea. The internet is also a good resource for research and ideas. Whenever I’m traveling, I tend to jot down images I’ve observed,  using quick notes about things. If I have a camera handy, I’ll take some snapshots to remind me later of the people, the places, or even the colors of the setting. Writing is an organic process for me; this means I like to feel and use my senses to experience whatever I’m writing about. This method may not be for everyone, but I put myself out in the freezing cold, under the burning sun, or pouring rain, so I feel and describe what my characters in the story are feeling or seeing. I never put myself in danger, but I allow myself to make unusual observations, to see the world differently, to see how people react in different environments.

 

Another way to generate ideas might be to take what you intend to write about, meditate or think about it in a completely silent, isolated setting, for an hour or so, and be ready to write down what ideas come to mind.Don’t just sit there staring at a blank page and expect something to happen.

 

What are some practical solutions for writer’s block?

Go out into the environments of your characters, and see, hear, smell, taste what your characters are experiencing.

 

Do you have a favorite book?

Offhand, I liked Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe because it’s such a great New York City story, and NYC is where I live.

 

Do you have a favorite time of day when you like to write?

I like to write soon after I get up in the morning, when my mind is fresh, focused, and open to new ideas. I also like to write later in the evening, because things happen in nightlife that don’t occur in the daytime.

 

What is one saying or proverb you live by?

I’ve always believed in the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”.  Be pro-active, have your plan ready before you take action.

 

What advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?

Get the proper guidance counseling and direction at school, look for internships in the writing industry, do a lot of reading to find out how you want to write and what you want to write. There’s usually not a lot of money in writing, so also consider teaching or journalism while you’re crafting your writing.

 

Where can parents and kids find out more about your work?

Go to my website  Chinatownbeat.com  for more information about the book and related .links.

 

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions