cool what's up everybody it's your boy Leroy McKenzie jr. and it's the third Monday so it's the brain you development series brought to you by black professional men and J&F enterprises and we have got a great podcast for you this evening we're going to be talking all things color shooting writing this evening because as you all may or may not know coming up at this August black professional men is having the black literature literary Expo right here in Baltimore so if you're anyway in the DMV area on all this the 10th you want to be there from 11:00 to 4:00 p.m. we're gonna be right downtown at the War Memorial Building and we have got just a great day planned for everyone it's gonna be a day of community it's gonna be a day of fun it's gonna be a day of music food you're gonna be able to get and meet and greet some great literary authors right here in the Baltimore area if you are vendor was still we still have some space available for small business owners as well as if you are an author looking to looking to gain some exposure for your book that you have written or even a book that you have coming out that will be out by August you certainly want to be there because this is one of those be in the room events that you don't want to miss that's the black professional men black literary Expo all of the information will be you can go to the website black black professional men dot org you can go on there and register you can also go on and check out all of the great things that black professional men are doing here and around the city of Baltimore because as you all know our mission our purpose is to is to secure and is to secure the future of the african-american male and that's what we're all about that's what we're and one of the things that we're doing is having a literary Expo we want to show you that it's it's not a bad thing to to be able to read to be able to write and to be able to be an author so we want to focus on literacy we want to make it cool to be literate again so that's what we're gonna be doing on in August and tonight I have one of rather my special guest is is one of the authors that is going to be at the expo and y'all in for a treat I just want to let y'all know we he's not gonna tell y'all about the book y'all go had to get it for yourself because he is a he is an author he is a writer but not just an author and a writer but he he he has something that I think is very special in his book and we're going to get into that all of that tonight we're gonna talk a little bit about it the writing process he's kind of like his thing that he does to be able to create and be who he is so it's none other than mr. Theodore Langston Crawford may I ain't never told you to play I love your middle name that likes and I love that so I'm gonna let you start off by just telling the folks just a little bit about you your background and everything like that and then we'll start you know we'll start the conversation as that call it will start to talk about right sure like sure hey I really appreciate a first of all I can't really take much credit for let me just say that and that name was given to me by my father my father was actually a huge Langston Hughes fan so name was given to me at birth so I'm just saying because I don't want people thinking listen that was my birth name so I just wanted to say there Thank You Leroy I really appreciate this opportunity you know I'm a huge huge fan of yours so thank you so much for the to me the talk about this I like what you're doing and and I just trust everybody just be a part of what Li what Mackenzie got going on because it is indeed something special he only touched one a little bit of it and he doesn't want to toot his own horn but believe me it's some great thing is that he's working on it and you definitely be a part of so I appreciate the opportunity absolutely well yeah I'm excited I'm excited about the about the the Expo and just being a part of it this would be my first time being there but from what I've been hearing about it in terms of the attendance in terms of the excitement and the energy I'm really excited to be a part of it just being able to talk to people more about literacy awareness and one of the things that's exciting to me is being able to talk to parents and encourage encouraging the parents to bring it bring the children yeah bring the children yes you know at a very early age start that the concept of reading at a very early age because what that does is hitting it it engages them and it builds a sense of curiosity and a legal a lot of other things where you can't help us east elastically be an impact of it yeah yeah so yeah I just want to stress that so thank you again for the opportunity Roy yeah absolutely absolutely absolutely and and you know I'm I'm a big fan you're not just a friend but I'm a fan of of theater Crawford and his writings and everything like that so it's actually you know it's my pleasure to have you on here because I want people to to grab this book that we're gonna be talking about in a minute because I promise you once once y'all pick it up and start reading you will not be able to put it down because it is you know it is one of those one of those books that will that will capture you capture you from from the first moment on but I want you to talk start off by talking a little bit about how you got into writing and what made you want to you know stop being a writer sure sure um as I mentioned before early on I was I was just a kid who just was very imaginative and would write plays like we literally had when I was in my neighborhood I grew up in South Baltimore cheerio okay and on my street where there was a bunch of kids we literally had please like I actually would scripts okay okay one involved the time machine and we got this crazy idea to get this huge cardboard box and I would out script and I wrote down everything and I wrote out the characters then and I hadn't loved everybody we rehearsed it was it was just a crazy fun time and it started from there and unfortunately at their age going into writing in terms of a career I wasn't really familiar with or exposed to alive so the only profession that I knew of doing that time was to be like maybe an editor or working for like a newspaper or something like that and that just really didn't interest me okay as I got older I started doing spoken word poetry began to perform in the Baltimore circuit for those who are from Baltimore may be familiar with poets ology only one in nineteen mid 90s they were very popular it was a glove several up-and-coming poets who were just travel to different circuits and they would just perform so wherever they were I would I would be a part of it we would go to town the five seasons downtown um Rams town I can't think of the name of the spot but just different places and I started performing paltry and as I did it I just kind of had this yearning to want to do something a little bit more I wanted to to grow more so I decided let me let me let me try this and push it and I came up with these concepts these characters and that's where the novel came so I decided I find what it is let me commit to it place to work and I would drive every single day from Linthicum to Baltimore Barnes and Noble's that price tree and I would write from six to eleven every single day Oh what rate for hours I did one same table and I would just write it out okay right right right right and they develop now over the over time the storyline may have changed a little bit the characters begin to develop but it got to the point to where the actual characters became so real to me that they were just writing themselves right right they were writing themselves so to me it wasn't really me writing a novel or a story it which is really everything was kind of just playing out so as I began to develop and begin to understand I had to understand and learn what it meant to be a good writer because I didn't know so okay I started I joined the Baltimore Writers Guild because I needed to understand well if I'm going to do this what does it mean to be a good writer that's all I wanted to be affiliated with other writers to learn about the industry what it meant to be a good writer how to get published how to get an agent Oh how to market all those things so I did that and as I did that I began I became more and more familiar with what it meant to I should be a good writer and still I was very raw it like the novelist stuff went through several different variations and revisions a constant updates here and there to where we are right now so there's a lot of things in between there that I'm leaving out so I'm giving a very short version of it but that's kind of a very wide overview of how I got to this point okay okay now and we'll talk a little bit about the the writing process but but what when did you when did you realize that hey this writing thing is something I know you talked about writing the scripts as a little boy and everything like that but when was it that you said when you started to think in terms of wow I think I really got something here as far as the as far as the novel because like you said you hadn't written anything before and to go from never writing before to now all of a sudden writing a fiction but it wasn't like you were ready nonfiction which you know which even kind of you know you have a kind of an idea that you're developing as far as content and stuff like that but this fiction is creating you know yeah correct creating means these these these these characters that just come from anywhere now yeah your your book which the title of it is a time to remember talk about I guess what have that how that came but will you get got the idea to write this kind of work from oh man liver is crazy let me tell you something I when I first started this the concept was basically a sort of like a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Type O okay question that's where it started from so basically the the idea of these characters who were jumping out of trees and fighting flying okay that's that's where I started from okay and as the characters develop it went so it's only different direction it's wholly direction then answer your question in terms of when did I feel that one of the first things that I did was before I shared it with anybody I got a copy written okay I felt like okay if I'm if I'm gonna be serious about this eventually I gotta share this with somebody now as I share this with people people even gonna say hey this is pretty good what I'm gonna say is this is crap right nobody just get rid of it but in order for me to get to that point I had to get a copy right so I got a copy written and then once I got a copy written I said okay you know what now was time now it was time for me to find out because up to this point it's only been just me me believing in it me feel like okay this this has a possibility so I did allow here's another thing and we may talk about this later but you can always have your friends and your family read write which you have right but here's the thing and people need to understand this your friends your family they want to see you succeed what little ease most dear and ones most most of the time so you shared us with them what do you think they want to say oh this is great this is the greatest thing I've ever read this is this is so I'm not it I didn't want that I didn't want that so I I got a copy written and by me being affiliated with the Writers Guild I was able to connect with certain people and one of them was another writer another young guy like myself and he read it and he looked at me he said man this is he's like I love the way you write he's like she did this he said this is actually pretty good but you keep in mind and the version was extremely I'm gonna say Robert in a very early version right version of it so back then he was telling me he was like man this is really something else so at that point I was like you know what I need to really carry this through so I continue to work want to continue to work on it trying to find ways where I can make sure that it's well-written keep in mind this is for me I can't speak like everybody everybody that writes has a different approach a process but absolutely I don't really read other people's novels what I do read is either you know historical writing such as maybe like a quote at the corner where sort of smiley things that I need you but in terms of fiction especially Mariana I don't read and the reason why I don't read is because I don't want subconsciously in a very indirect way for anything to come into my creative space right so that's the reason why I don't so if I'm not reading how do I know that this is good compared to what other people have that's a challenge that I had so I had to get a copy written and then once I let one maybe two people read it and I got the feedback which was hey this is this is actually pretty good they kind of went on from there and that's great and like you say one key thing that he said is I think every off writer has they have testified their own process absolutely because for each of us there is a you know it's a different process for us to get to where it is from what I say is whatever is in our head to actually what is on paper because we're the only ones that can see that absolutely and know what it is you know and I like the fact that you said you don't you don't want to compare what you write to what others what others has already written or don't want to have their influence because it can I think it can seep in you know sometimes because now I think you know the I think for most writers whether it's fiction or nonfiction there's a there's most stuff that has not that hasn't been written about you know and so it's gonna be a different dynamic to it and everything like that but what I also say just like I tell entrepreneurs is nobody can tell your story the way that you can tell it you may say you all may have the same overarching topic that you're talking about but the way you see it is not gonna be the way that another author that writes suspense thriller which is what the genre that you're in is going to see it and write it and and that's the that is the thing that I enjoy about your writing is that I can't like I said I can I can't think of another book another movie that had the dynamics that your book has even though it has the stories within the stories that we talked about it doesn't have the dynamics that yours has and I'm like man that was something fresh something new and I know you did that intentionally because it was how you like you said you weren't looking to have the outside influences that you know that you could have from the other writers so I think that's um I think that's great um I want you to talk about a little bit I know we talked you talked a little bit about your the writing process but when you when you go into once your your your manuscript you got your manuscript done No and and you've developed your characters and those kind of things what was what when they to you designing the cover of your book time to remember it I'm gonna actually I want people to see it so I'm gonna hold it up right here i'ma hold there oh this art alright not not this not a biggest seem like there is a story with every single one of these because it really isn't but I'll get a show version so that's actually this is actually the second cover okay okay the first cover was completely totally different and what it was was that the story line is based on two main characters four brothers and it was split down the middle I had a graphic designer kind of just listen to me and it kind of gave me some different options and we went with wine okay and the free bag that I was getting was it's okay and it was one particular lady who work in a bookstore she was a huge she was a huge fan of the book she was like man it's like she was like this is really great she said why don't you consider putting yourself on the book cover I said I'm not doing it I said I'm not doing it she's like what I said I I just I don't want anything to take away from the actual storyline I just you know I don't want to do that she said okay she said maybe you want to think about it and the feedback that I kept getting was I liked the book I really do this is really something different but I was thrown off by the book cover because it just didn't seem like it fit so then at the wild it's like okay you know what maybe I need to humble myself a little bit and then I say okay you know what let me let me give it a shot and see how it goes so I gave a shot and I said you know what I'm gonna give it a shot and if you don't we're gonna go back to the original cover but it's not and this movie came up with that's when we came up with now for for the folks that they aren't familiar with the book the time to remember Kevin little synopsis just a book with about so that they can say no yeah I thought so remember is a is a high drama mr. suspense novel and it it it depicts two main characters who are brothers who are biological brothers however they're both adopted they don't know of each other existence at all and it's not until their biological father is murdered now one brother is raised here in Baltimore by family the other one is taken by what the Asian family down in Beijing so all his entire life he's raised over there in Beijing so at the funeral that's where they learn of each other's existence and that's when they meet each other so their families connect they develop a friendship however as they look more into what happened with your father's murder that's when they realized something is going on that's when it realized there's some there's there's a cover-up there's a government cover-up that's directly responsible for the death and the murder of their father when that happens that's when things start to really develop because now they're beginning to ask questions now they're going to the police strange things are starting to happen and and it leads to a lot of different unexpected situations and a very shocking surprising ending it's it's very you kind of touched on a little bit leave or it's very very unexpected but it's it's unexpected from a very authentic place so it's it's unexpected with the goal of not being unexpected it's unexpected with the goal of being surreal and and and authentic because what happens is exactly what's supposed to happen if if that makes sense no absolutely absolutely absolutely and I'm telling you yeah absolutely absolutely and and folks are going to have to gonna have to read this book to understand it's one of those books that that that will that keeps you from the beginning to the in because they're you know a lot of books that you know the people have or that they get and even movies that you know that they have that they get that will that capture you from the beginning all the way to the end because it has that much you know that much intrigue to it and it keeps you it keeps your interest it keeps you on you know on the edge of your seat where you're you're looking to read that next page because you want to find out what's going to happen what's going to happen next like you mentioned with the with the with the different things that they're on that the cover-up once the cover-up starts to reveal itself you know how that unfolds and everything and then the twist and turn that the you know that the the you know that the novel takes you through and and here's the thing to just a little bit of about the book talk about because can you just give just give them the names of the characters because I think you did something that that was really great and that I talked about you had a story within a story you know and you kind of deal with different issues which I really thought was great but just talk about talk about how you were able to develop each of the individual characters because you have the two the two main characters that you mentioned and I'll let you give the names but then the to cut the kind of outer you know kind of outer characters that you that you shaped around them which I thought was really good yeah yeah yeah but the two main characters are the two brothers I mentioned van and James band being the brother raised and Beijing and James being raised in Baltimore so James already has a family here and then has his own family so what's happening is you're you're you're basically combining not just them two but you're combining two different cultures and also the people who are directly connected with them right so they have their own voice they had their own opinion to have their own mentality the way they go about being that their own energy um one of one of James's one of the main characters not primary characters but one of them encouragers has about with mental as a mental illness and I thought that was important because I'm gonna give too much away but mental illness is is has become sort of like a terrible thing within our community especially within the african-american community taboo meaning we see it we know there's something there but we don't want to own up to it we kind of want to just brush it under the rug yeah but in Wow our families are being impacted you know whether it's depression bipolar schizophrenia what I mean just different things so I thought is important because one of the characters which went outside you would never ever think that this person has this challenge because they're attractive they're successful and they're smart but there's something that's going on on the inside that gets revealed eventually so I really wanted to kind of touch on that because I feel like it's something that it's affecting our community what's it it's the fact that every about a lot of people's yeah I just not their needs but they want the entire country all societies right but we're not doing enough there's resources out there but we're kind of just brushing it under the rug but while you're doing that families are being messed up well children are being messed up because people don't want to get help so there's some there's some some aspects of the story that has different components laughs and they begin to reshape and kind of take on his own course but I need it but in the end it all comes together absolutely absolutely and and like you said that the different I think the different messages that you touched on because that's not the only message that you touch on here there's several others but we're gonna talk about those because we want people to get the book together to read it and find out for themselves about about those things but it is something you you address issues that I think affect the community which i think is really great as well that we don't talk about you know it's the couple of issues in there outside of like you say it outside of the the mental health issues there's some other issues that our communities need to deal with and we don't but you address them in a you know in a forum like this in a book form like this which i think is really another great way you know for people to be able to read and they can start a dialogue for you know for people to be able to address these you know these kinds of these kinds of issues and to get a to gain a better understanding of them so I think that's great when you when you when you're reading a novel man I'm I'm a very well I can be a very impatient reader and I think a lot of people are the same way so when you get to the point to where you're turning the pages and you're kind of just okay we're just going and you know already know what's gonna happen or you're not really interested almost like going to the movies you pay your money you buy your movie ticket you're sitting on the movie theater and for the next two hours or twenty half hours you don't think about nothing if it's a good movie right right right if it's a good movie you're not thinking about nothing you're not thinking about your finances you're not thinking about you hold anything but your job right you're sitting down and then movie theater and you into that world right and I feel as all that writing this type of reading of writing should be the exact same thing um where's or you just swept away you're not you know to the points aware or you want to do we just finish because because you connected with the carriages and you're connected with the storyline that's that's the place that I really really try to tap into there's a little writer write did you then how much research did you have to do to you know to do the writing for for this book for those that may be aspiring writers or even just you know just write as already lot lots because because I'm dealing with so many different dynamic characters well one has a culture from Beijing from I'm from Baltimore so I'm pretty familiar with the culture Baltimore but right right there's so many aspects outside of just location I mean with the Minster only that that we talked about a lot of research and I wouldn't care writer any any subject matter that you are touching on as an author that that's affecting your your characters do your research do as much research as you possibly can because it'll make it so much easier for you because it'll make it easier for you and it becomes very very genuine at the same time unbelievable so yeah a lot of research may Allah some years of research I've had people ask me where'd you you know how do you know what did you do I just I just use my resources and I took a lot of time doing my research and that's important for a a writer whether you're fiction or nonfiction but when you create here when you're creating something like you did like you had you really did you talked about the the one character being from Beijing so you had to figure out that culture you know you can you know like you said have you ever been you know the question is have you ever been to Beijing all of those things so if you if you're someone who's never been to Beijing how how do you create this character that comes from there other than having you know having to do the research to find out about the culture to find out about the the different the different dialect because you even did that with the dialect from from there as well as more so with the dialect here here in Baltimore I think and I thought that's that's one of the keys to to writing is what we write in something like this when you're writing an on think when you're writing a fiction book and you have to hone in on the area that a particular character is either from or you know is visiting or something like that because there's certain things that you know that you do have to kind of know and like you say in order to be able to be authentic you know yeah what I'm like one of the characters not a main character but another there was some Jamaica really really taken upon myself to really research that culture right and when I first started writing the novel I had a hard time with that because because I wasn't familiar like all I did was just right so I'm writing writing writing and I didn't really take the time to do the research I was happening was the image that I was putting out of my perception of the cultures was totally off totally off so I had to go back back after spending all this time do my research not rewriting the entire novel but just kind of going back and focus on making sure that the culture is consistent and it shows through the actually novel right right right right absolutely absolutely and and that becomes like you said that becomes very important because if you try if you're reading a fiction novel and and things don't match up as a reader I think you can be you know you can kind of be thinking you can kind of be thrown off and everything like that so that you know think that that's great so you you've developed your characters you've done your research you've put the manuscript together you got the manuscript kind of where you want it yeah talk about going into the editing private talk about going through and going into the editing process that you had to go through that you go through with writing the novel okay so let me say this as a writer this is this is very important you can look at your novel until you're blue in the face you can even get to the point to where you you just you just know like like you know the back of your hand right you will not be able to give it a nod that it needs for a thorough edits you just can't how do I know because I tried it this is me being young and full of wishful thinking and optimism no no so writers among other things take the time and that's the money get it edited professionally but you don't want is to have you and your novel can be great the storyline can be great you can have some great creative concepts that no one has ever seen however when you when you're reading when your readers are reading it and they start to see things in there I'm not even talking about necessarily typos look at me grandma it could be inconsistencies you know what's happening you're selling yourself short because the reader is like wow this is what I pay my money for this is what I pay my money for now they may continue to read but as a as they read they're having a hard time getting into it because now they've got to focus on one day the stuff that you missed right as a writer right you can't you can I know a lot of people try to do it themselves take it upon yourself invest invest I'm not I'm not saying a mortgage a house or anything like that but just take the time invest some money if you believe in it if you believe in it think of your novel as your baby you know as your child you want to see you want to nurture your child you know you want to give you a child the best education you want to give you a child the best opportunity to grow the best schools the best healthcare you know all that invest in an editor or your your manuscript yeah and now and I can't and I don't think that that can be reiterated enough of I think two of the most important people that you need on your team as as a writer as an author one is is a is a graphic designer develop because you got that book cover has got to be point yes you know because if it's not on point trust me it's the first thing that people see when whether it's in a bookstore whether you're at a and an event as an author where you have your books on your table as a speaker even as a speaker that has a book you want to make sure that that cover is and trust me you can tell the difference see I know you know you can tell the difference when somebody somebody who may have just just done to cover themselves or whatever or just had a bad you know covered as a graphic user and then someone who took the time and invested in a graphic designer and and and an editor same thing with the editing because the number the number to turn off for any reader is going is trying to read a novel and or read a book just period I'm saying that just a novel but reading a book and the inconsistencies like you talked about but then also the you know the grammar those and and this is a lesson that I learned this is me personally my my third book that I had I lied to you not I had the font size of 10 and for anybody that's a writer knows that font size of a 10 is very small yeah it's very small and I and and when I had when I was selling my books and and I had had one of my um when I went on one of my friends who had an in and that was supporting me and was an older lady and she said she said she said I can't read this she said the font is too small she said I had to get a magnifying glass to read it and it didn't dawn on me about the you know because I was trying to honestly with mob with that book and I learned I was trying to fit it into a certain number of pages because I had written it before I'd actually typed it up or and put it into the format and everything so it wasn't like I was typing it and in the format that it was supposed to be in so I'm trying to fit it into I think I was trying to get under 250 pages you know so in order for me to do that oh okay in order for me to do that I had to I was like what if I make the font smaller then I can get it to the size that I wanted to get it to and everything like that and it'll be fine and she was the first one to say something and then I had a couple other people talk about that font size and I was like oh my god I was like dad I was like oh man I was like that will never happen to me again I said if I gotta have more pages I'll have more pages I said but that font size has got to be correct I said because the the least amount of distractions and this is for all the writers out there you want to have the least amount of distractions when when your reader is reading through a book and as an author when you're going through that editing process and this is something that Theo and I talk about you as an author you want to put yourself in that position as a reader and you want to look at it from a readers perspective and if there are things that you see that that don't either flow or that the grammar you too much misspell words those are things that you have to pay attention to and that's what your editor is there for you know because they should be able to catch those things to let you know as the writer so don't get mad at the editor don't get mad if they come back to you and tell you you know about switching this or changing that or about the font size and all of those things it's all a part of the process to make the book like they'll said you want it to be if you want it to be the best product that it you know that it should be and you want it to be able to read smoothly for you know for people that are going to be reading it so that in the midst of any time that they read it whether it's one you know them sitting down for the whole day and reading a book or each time that they pick up the book to read it it's a it's a consistent you know smooth read for them and it takes them I like how you say it takes them out of the place of what whatever may be going on for themselves and it puts them right there in the middle of a fiction book where you know where they can see themselves as the different characters that are there which is one of the things that you're great at because I can actually see that I can actually see this book in in my head at your that descriptive of how you play out how you created the scenes and everything like that so it's one of those things that you as a writer you want to be able to do that you want to put the person that's reading right in the middle right you want to put them right there in the story that you're telling so that they can actually physically see it's like they should you read in your book should be like looking at a move you know that it should be that descriptive you know to people so you want to make sure that and and and if you're able to do that in the best way trust me I think people will they'll love your they'll love your your book you know they'll enjoy it and even if it's a nonfiction book the message that you're trying to convey in a nonfiction book you want people to be able to see that and come away with it and and that's my next question for you what do you want the reader to come away from by reading a time to remember after they've read the book what do you want to see them come away come away with well um couple things number one hopefully they were you know engaged enough to where they're compelled to want to know what happened at the end because there's a huge dynamic shift towards the very end which left a lot of people wondering what what happened so I'm in a process working on part two part two will be released so that's that's that's one of the main things um you know I one of my favorite when I was young when I was young and I stressed this one of my role models was not the main course I think it was everybody's though because you know because he was someone that you know yeah inspiration huge inspiration but if you ever read um get their hands one of the things that he talked about is when he was young he had such a hard time in school him his brother he's yeah anger issues at a hard time in school you know his mother you know single mom raised and the thing that she did that changed everything for him and his brother was she made them go to the library every single day and they had to read a book every single day he stay and of course in a very beginning there was like not everyone do that but it had no choice right but once they did that they change everything for them everything because what it did was it opened up so many other aspects of things that they weren't exposed to so as you're reading it makes you want to learn one understand more so me putting in these different cultures and aspects of things that's going on with these characters it's not just because but because I also want the reader to learn more about what's going on and realize there's more beyond which you may understand but it's up to us to want to know what's out there it's so much know and if you live in if you live a life where you just closed mind it's everything you don't want to broaden your horizon you don't want to see what else is out there you don't want to travel you don't want to know about how other coaches of your role this is how I do things I've been this way all my life I can't help it Shane when anybody then let's see how they get you well so what I try to do is I try to get people to think beyond their scope of what they seem to know which is why I have these different dynamics and different cultures in the novel so hopefully by the time that they're done number one their entry to the points away to where they want to learn more and they want to know about what's happening at the very end but also they come away feeling wow they've really grown in terms of one is understand more about what's out there yeah absolutely I want you to talk a little bit about the genre that you're in and because you you you kind of talked to me a little bit about the importance of the genre that you're in and what you found out beating it talked a little bit about that and and being a black man in the genre that you that you're here okay so um yeah it's a it's a fast-paced mystery suspense novel the challenge that we have in our community as african-americans is look wherever you are right now on your cell phone if you own your laptop go to Google go to Google put in type black I'm sorry don't even put in black just hype mystery suspense authors just type that mystery suspense authors and see what you come up with you're gonna get a wave a wave of mystery suspense authors it looks nothing like me I mean a man of color okay it's a shame and I don't know what what happened because in the mid 90s the trajectory was so promising because we had all my Atari very Macmillan Walter Mosley was he is the only one that you're gonna get when you when you type in mystery suspense novelist what emoji is the only one he comes like way down the line okay even her yeah 20 more soon there's only many authors during the mid 90s and it was like an explosion I have no idea what happened I have no idea what happened so so to answer your question I'm really hoping that and there's some other man really good authors that's okay like really talented really tired they're authors that are out there so I'm hoping that as we attend these events like you mentioned the Expo coming up in August that we can change the trajectory once again back to where was before yes that's what I'm hoping yeah absolutely and I think it's important for for us to be represented in in across the board of genres you know like you said I mean because we should be able to write mystery suspense novels we should be able to write children's books we should be able to write the the poetry which we you know which we were both apart of we should also be able to write the I don't know what you would consider term McMillan's and and and those type of offers that just write drama I don't know if that's if that's their particular genre that they that they're in because there was like you said there was this this explosion Michael Bay's right yeah of black authors in in the 90s and even into the 2000s and and there's been this kind of there's been this dip you know that that has that has happened and and I think you would think that even now with the technology being the way that it is and and the increase in technology that that would have that would have assisted those you know those particular authors but then also it's actually and you can talk a little bit about this and then I got a couple more questions before we get out of here but if you notice the a lot of the brick-and-mortar bookstores have are closing down a lot of their stores look that's affecting you talk about talk a little bit about how that's affecting authors and and and even those authors from back in the 90s and everything like that yeah I mean if you if you go into I mean there's toast Barnes & Noble's but if you go into wine just just go in sued african-american literacy section which you're gonna find is you're gonna find look this is crazy you're gonna find Toni Morrison we all know the great writer Toni Morrison what you know you love it it color purple you're you're gonna find her novels in the same section as hard core streets sex right you're gonna find you're gonna find her I mean 20 Morrison is as good as a writer as there is anybody I'm gonna find her novels in that same area so basically they consider us when I say us I mean african-americans people of color that's where they consider us that that's your honor that genre they're gonna stick right in there and that's that's yeah yeah that frustrates me that when I go to like you said Barnes & Noble even books-a-million even Walmart you know and even when you go to the library for those that have not been to the library they just have an urban fiction section and they put everything in isolation right it's like if we can't they don't put the they don't put the authors like you say that Toni Morrison should be with it shouldn't even be a distinction it just should be fiction nonfiction and then maybe if you have like you said suspense thriller that's where all of those books because I even got mad because and this was years ago when they used to put those little stickers on her on the books african-american often I don't know if you remember him saying those but they would put those all on the book so that you knew it was a black awesome which I'm like why do you have to distinguish that on there ya know that it was a black out you know that it's a black author and then that like I said even now you go into the library and they have the urban fiction section and they have everything stuck in there you know and I thought a dirt to me that does a disservice to authors like you like he said authors like Toni Morrison Alice Walker Nikki Giovanni all of those my and joining us yeah yeah all of these great Walter Mosley's like you talked about all of these great writers that we have you know even Omar chuckling I mean Omar Tyree cause it's not his his really isn't urban you know I mean it's Aaron didn't say urban but it's fiction yeah you know it's great stories there are my mom my man and I am rinsing him Travis humming Travis Hunter Carl Webber these are some great writers absolutely not urban great writers they tell great stories you know and and I think that that's one of the things that if you want to say the one of those things that needs to be dispelled like you said that is one of those very things that needs to be distinctly dispelled broken down because there are some great writers that's you know black that happened to be black writers yeah but their stories your story that you have a time to remember is one that Trent that transfer is transferable to any body you know any any group of ethnic group yeah thank you can can read this story and the yes you do write it from a a black man's perspective because that's who you are yeah but but this story can be read by anyone and I promise you that they will enjoy it because it's entertaining it has it and I told you this before I just say publicly whatever but it's it's a story that has all of the elements of a great story and and I'm gonna keep saying it till we see it on the screen of a great movie because it has those it has the intrigue it has the antagonist all of those drama-filled things it deals with it deals with messages great messages that come with it so you know so we we have to stop putting these labels on great writing thank you you know really do you really do have to stop doing that so I want to say look if you if that's what you prefer to that Street hardcore fee that's fine right that's that's fine we're not saying there's you know don't read it exactly that's that's fine all we're saying is is that there's there's there's different genres and everything should not be looped in together because that's not what this fiction is is as you mentioned in 20 Morrison and other great writers and so on and so on you know and that's all we're saying absolutely absolutely because I mean and as a as a reader you you should want to read different you know different types of you know of books right now because I'm telling you the greatest thing that books does for I think individuals want to increases your vocabulary but at the same time it actually it exercises your mind to be able to think and the be able to just see things differently like you talked about you know because your book you you could you get to understand a little bit about Beijing you know a little bit about that you know a little bit about that culture right and everything like that and you're even like you said for someone who's not from Baltimore you get you get to understand a little bit about the culture of Baltimore you know which i think is is really great so as a you know as a reader you know you'll gain those things from you know from reading different types of books you know you know and everything so that's great so last couple of things for you um how can people connect with you I want people to be able to you to be able to connect with you and then also once the once the once the book is is available for re-release which which is gonna come which is count which is coming out how can they you know connect with sure sure um Facebook you can contact me Theodore L Crawford on Facebook the website is going to be Theodore dot Crawford Beetle Crawford calm sorry Theodore Crawford calm so as you mentioned the pre-release we're gonna be doing we're actually looking to have it in prep reduction and pretty soon so please gonna look out for that but yeah you can contact me through either Facebook or you can talk to me directly through the website cool cool absolutely and the last thing what would advice would you have for an aspiring writer that talk to that young Theodore that was that was that was starting out getting ready to start writing what advice would you would you give him a few things number one is it's very important that you surround yourself with people that's that's in the scoville of where you're trying to go so you're trying to be a writer you want to you wind up you want to be a part of different groups like for me it was a Baltimore writers view you need that because you need to understand how the industry works those groups learn it understand it enrich yourself in so many different ways believe in yourself but have a sense of humility understand that what you have may be special but you want to make it as best as you possibly can in the very best version absolutely absolutely and understand it and I think you touched on something really important about understanding that that this is a business and you should know the business side of it as well oh yeah it's huge and and it's not saying that you have to know everything you know you don't have to know everything but you do it you should know you should know the process because I can't tell you how many times that you know the importance of it and and I talked about one of the lessons that I learned with my writing or the writing process and even dealing with publishers I mean printers I'm sorry dealing with printers when I had when I was writing my first book and I had mr. Coates from black classic press which is a printing company that I you know that I do the printing through he actually was someone that took me and and showed me the printing process so that I could understand how books go from you know from giving them a a raw manuscript or giving them a a file to actually laying out the book so that it when it comes to when you get it and it looks like this that doesn't just happen magically there's a process that's the point that's a good point because as a writer you just thought about you're not thinking about Wow oh you think it is seeing it in its very best version but you're not thinking about what happens transitioning from one to the next to the next to the next so the business side of it yeah you like you need to learn and understand that so yes the point absolutely and last thing talk about what you got coming up I know you mentioned a little bit about you know about the books but I know this is the the first book but talk about talk about what you got going on going on next yeah so after this one part she was only coming out a time to remember part two the Battle of battling I know the title sounds kind of crazy but it makes sense or science remember parts here so so hopefully if you like part one you will enjoy part two even more because part she was gonna be even more exciting the way that is coming up right now also I'm will be writing a novel called Sherri Hill I'm from South Baltimore I'm from the Cherry Hill community so if you you are familiar with the novel is going to take place in 19 between 1984 1987 Wow if you're familiar with for those of us who are old enough remember the 80s TV show Wonder Years um little boy Fred Savage will who kind of totally story from the 1960s everything very similar to that so growing anymore from Baltimore knows you may not be from Cherry Hill but you know of Jerry oh absolutely you know I'm sure he'll so that's gonna be coming out as well so I'm working on that in terms of where I'm going to be you mentioned the black professional men thanks for coming up in August I'm also gonna be at the boss from a book festival in November yes you guys meal with dad actually downtown while Vernon or the entire weekend so excited about both of those events but I stress please please come out parents bring your children yes bring them what that's one of the most gratifying things about this is being able to meet people but also being able to to meet the parents meet the parents meet the kids and a lot of times what I do is I meet the kids I me the parents and if they buy the book I like it I'll take a picture with them in a lot of times I put from the website but the best part is having them get the book and then I'm going my website and then they tell me what they thought of the book that's goal right there it's it's no better feeling than for someone to come up and tell you something that you put your blood sweat and tears into that you brought to life you know and for them to tell you that somebody else to tell you that it impacted them and and whatever way it impacted them because we look and we as black folks be honest you want people to get okay so guess what they're gonna do okay so you want me to go to your website okay guess look I'm a buddy a website and if anything is trash yeah well I want to thank you we're gonna kind of kind of close out with this but I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to you know to come and talk to us about the writing process and everything like that and and you're you know taking us through your journey into writing and so that this will hopefully this will inspire another writer they'll be able to see this and they're able to say wow I see a brother like Theodore likes them Crawford doing it and I know I know that I can do it so I appreciate you taking time out and and we want everybody to come on out to the black professional men black literary a literary Expo that's going to be in our be on August attempt that Saturday August from 11:00 to 4:00 come on out you can meet greet mr. Theodore you can actually talk to him you can actually get a signed copy of his book at that event he'll have those they're ready for you take like he's mentioned taking Pitt take pictures with you and you can actually have a have a great conversation and I think that that's good to me I think that's the great thing about Expos and festivals and everything like that where you can you can actually meet an author one-on-one you can actually talk to them about you know their particular projects or whatever and stuff like that they're there books and and you can get that one-on-one that you that you wouldn't necessarily get if it's just if you just ordered it offline you know online and everything like that I think there's a there's such a good you you make more of a connection when you're able to see them face-to-face and talk to him about that we need that Leroy man let me tell you something when I was in middle school I never forget this Montel Williams came to my school you know cuz he's from maryland's okay came to my school man and at the time he had just come out of the Naval Academy it's his talk show I just started so he was kind of like catch fire but there's something special about being able to touch somebody play the shake hands with someone and for them to say hey you you have something like I believe in you so when I make kids man I tell them you wanna be a writer do it tonight come tell me your story like tell me what is it about what have done so far how can I help you you know I'm all for that sometimes that's all it takes for someone to feel confidence where they can be like you know what wow wow I can actually do this so I think you leave work for this opportunity as I mentioned before from the very beginning of the segment listen everybody that's watching you want to be a part of what Leroy is building because there is some exciting things that's going on he's extremely humble so he's not going to talk about what he's doing a whole whole lot but trust me you want to be a part of it you want to be a part of it and you want to maintain that connection with lavon McCain because he's town did he's wise he's smart and he's got some great things going on the Baltimore City so I appreciate you you know I appreciate that and and like we said it's all about it's about it might seem this year's chase T impact it's about impacting people to you know to be able to make them better and the way that we do that we do that through books we do that through our conversations that we have with them and everything like that and spite like you talked about which i think is great the campaign that you're doing the literacy campaign doing along with your book it's about literacy it's about our kids and getting them and re-engaged in reading again making every showing them that reading is fun that writing can be fun and and the things that you can create with being a writer so I thank you as well bra so I want to thank you all for tuning in this is the brand new development series you all know what we do every third Monday we're here trying to bring you all some some great inspiring individuals that are doing some impactful things and as you all know the black professional men their mission our purpose is to secure the future of the african-american male that's what we do that's what we're trying to do that's what we part of what we're doing with the with the black literary Expo so we hope you'll come out bring the whole family you can meet some phenomenal smart small business owners as well as some phenomenal authors and writers and and we will continue to do that we'll continue to beat that drum so that everyone can understand and see all that all that we are and can be all that we are purposed to be so we want to thank y'all for tuning in again Theo thank you man y'all know how I in 2019 will about chasing the impact as I said we're trying to make you better by the end of this year than you were at the beginning of of the year so we'll talk to y'all next month we'll see y'all same time same place and we'll have an even more of an impact so we talk to y'all soon appreciate you doing all right thanks

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