Sunday, November 11, 2012

Author Feature Dijorn Moss

Welcome Dijorn The Spotlight Is On You

Tell us about yourself

I am someone who is constantly analyzing my relationships. My relationship with God remains my most important relationship. I always want to make sure that I am setting the best example for my son Caleb. Am I being attentive to my wife Trinea’s needs? Finally, am I giving my readers stories that are both inspiring and exciting to read? 

Tell our readers about your journey to writing
In my humble opinion, writing has always been and will always be the most powerful tool a human being could possess. I started writing because I felt like I did not have a voice. I started writing became I was moved and inspired by the stories and the poems of other writers. I started writing because I can’t dance and I don’t have a jump shot.
Tell us about your journey becoming a successfully published author
Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author? When I write I think about my mother. My mother worked rotating shifts at a job that was traditionally held by men. Who will tell her story of courage and struggles to raise two children? I will and a teacher name Iris helped me when she introduced me to poetry. From poetry I expanded to writing plays and from plays I expanded to writing novels. 

What was your path towards publication like?
Emotional and hard.  My first love is playwriting. I had a play I wrote entitled Mothers to the Struggle   at the time the play was being reviewed by two perspective theaters. I applied for the ABC Writing Fellowship and I applied for Graduate School. I also wrote the first four chapters of a novel called My father’s House in which it was tore up by my professor and classmates. In a span of two weeks everything one of those opportunities fell through and then I submitted the first four chapters of my novel to Urban Christian. I thought that I was only setting myself up for further disappointment when I got a call from my editor Joy congratulating me and offering me a book deal. Like I said emotionally and hard, but to God be the Glory!

What books or authors made a difference in your life?
Recently the Alchemist has had a huge impact on my life. The book has reminded me how important it is to pursue your dreams and how not to settle. I recommend that book to everyone. As far as authors goes, I am a big fan of Toni Morrison, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, James Baldwin, Michael Connelly and Sista Soulja. All of these authors have influenced me in some way and I continue to tell to them for knowledge, wisdom and inspiration.

What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?  
That writing is what I was meant to do with my life. These years I have faced a lot of tragic moments and yet my writing never fell off and I continued to grow and improve as a writer. If I can face tragedy and still be able to perform at my best, then I am meant to write.
In writing your novels, how do your develop the plot? Did you have difficulty keeping the story on point? How much research was required, if any? The plot comes rather quickly for me so I keep a journal on me at all times. When an idea for a story comes I think of a way that I can put a different spin on the story. Every story has already been written so the key is how well can you make your story new and fresh and better than the previous stories? After that I think of the characters that will drive the story and how will they make this story work. Of course the characters end up taking my simple story in a different direction and I am grateful as a result. As far as research goes, I save that for the rewrites, I leave the first draft for my instincts and the subsequent drafts for my mind. It is important to research to give your characters credibility.

How do you balance your life as an author with your duties as a business person, employee, parent and/or spouse?
I use to keep hectic before my son was born. On Saturdays I use to spend 12 hours a day writing or working on a manuscript. Now that Caleb is born, I save my writing for at night when he’s asleep. I realized that I am a lot more productive. During the course of the years I will spend writing and working on various projects, I balance that with taking at least a month or two off to spend with my family. During that time I do not do any writing, I just spend quality time with my family. As far as work goes, my job allows me write while at the same time pay bills.

What is your best advice for getting past writer's block?
Does an outline, a lot of aspiring writer get too caught in what they see in the movies? They see a writer plugging away on the keys and producing this great masterpiece. An outline is a blueprint for your story and there is nothing wrong with having a blueprint before you start building especially when you get to a pivotal point in your story. Another good technique I use is when I feel like I’m not getting enough out of a character I will conduct an interview. I will take a character to every action they have committed in the story; I will ask the question why? As the character begins to explain to me why they have done certain things, I start to get a better understanding of the story.

What was the best writing-related advice you ever received?
I got great advice from my two writing mentors and Stephen King. My mentor Scott Sublett use to always ask me what my characters want and who was stopping them from getting what they want? My other mentor Ethel Walker use to ask the question of Why? Why should I care what happens to these characters? Finally, Stephen King talks about how in the early years he uses to pin his rejection letter through a nail right above his typewriter. One day the nail couldn’t hold any more rejection letters and the letters came crashing down on King. So King said he drove a spike through his rejection and kept on writing. That is what I have done, I have drove a spike through my rejections and I have kept on writing. Or as Psalms 118:22 says: “The stone which the builders reject has become the chief cornerstone.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book?
The Retreat 2 picks up where the first retreat has left off. Almost a year has passed and the Four Brothers of God have grown closer as a result, but new revelations threats everything that they have worked for in the last year.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
The Retreat 1 and 2 are inspired by my first Men’s retreat. Men get bashed on reality TV, movies, books and so forth. I felt like their needed to be a story of a group of men who uses their faith to guide them into being better husbands, fathers and men. They are not perfect men, but each day they strive to do the right thing by God and the people who they care about.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?
Writing a sequel is hard because you have to write a story that justifies a sequel in the first place. You have to offer a story that takes the reader deeper into the lives of these characters. Second you have to drown out the success of the first book because that can cause a writer to second guess themselves or cheat the reader by delivering a lackluster story.
Did you have to do any special research for your book?
I used the research I got for the first book and extended it to the follow up. I wanted the Retreat 2 to get more into the psyche of these characters and who they are and what makes them tick. 

What’s ahead for your writing?
I am writing my next book which will come out next year. I am excited to have a book come out back to back years. I am also returning back to playwriting.

What opportunities have opened up because of your writing?
I have had a chance to travel and talk to people from all over the country regarding my writing. I have even had a chance to inspire people who are incarcerated. It’s been a great ride and I’m just starting to see the possibilities.

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