Opportunity Knocks


After completing ADINKRAHENE: Fear of a Black Planet, I was torn between revamping one of my old novels or starting a new one. I ultimately decided to start from scratch. But now that I have more time to dedicate to my writing, I must once again display the same kind of discipline that enabled me to become a published novelist.

Fortunately for me, I have 21 pages of an unfinished screenplay to work from. Like all screenplays, it was written in the third person, in the active voice. The writing style is short, choppy, to the point. The biggest challenge for me, however, has been staying true to the story that I was trying to tell through the screenplay.  I just have to avoid the temptation to write, well, short, choppy and pointed prose.

Short, choppy and pointed is great for screenplays, but not novels. When you’re writing a novel, you have to use the canvas of the reader’s mind to paint the settings and establish distinctive moods with your play on words. More importantly, the reader should be able to see your characters for who and what they are. Some will be perfect, others imperfect. They will also have mannerisms that are uniquely suited to them.

When I was a full-time employee, I used my hour-long lunch breaks to create content. Yes, there were days when I wanted to put the project down and just savor my lunch. There were also days when I wanted to chat more with my co-workers. But I knew if I did that, I would never be able to type that last sentence, or share my published novel with the world. I was on a mission: publish a 50-100,000-word novel by the end of May 2014. I achieved that goal, and I have been satisfied with the opportunities that have opened up to me as a result.

In June 2014, I appeared on TV One’s Newsone Now with Roland S. Martin. I enjoyed chatting with Roland about my life as a stay-at-home parent. But I’m not going to lie; it felt good when he introduced me as “Novelist Jeffery A. Faulkerson.” Even though I didn’t get a chance to publicize my debut novel, Roland’s introduction was a recognition of my hustle.

Next up is the National Black Book Festival in Houston, Texas. This event has been on my radar for years because it is one of many places where authors like myself get a chance to interact with new readers. These new readers will have questions about my novel, and I will count it a privilege and honor to be there to offer detailed responses. And if members of the Adinkrahene Nation (i.e., purchasers of my novel) are present, I look forward to collecting input for Book Two: Fear of a Beloved Community and Book Three: Fear of an Alien Presence.

As I lay the foundation for the writing of these books, I feel the need to study the writing of iconic writers.  I am currently reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred. It’s a science fiction masterpiece that has the main character time shifting from Butler’s present to the antebellum South. I’m loving this piece, especially after reading Rom Wills’  The Sankofans novella.  Butler’s novel is intriguing, and, at times, I have a difficult time putting it down.

My current project has nothing to do with science fiction. It’s a sports drama. Like I said before, my initial intent was to complete the screenplay, submit it to an agent, and then pray he would be able to pitch it to one of the Hollywood studios. I guess at the time I feared success. The only thing I did in 2013 to promote my story ideas was participate in a pitchfest event at the Screenwriters World Conference in Los Angeles, California. Don’t get me wrong; reciting memorized loglines and summaries for prospective buyers is great practice for making sales. But during my brief conversation with some of these buyers, I knew I sounded a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher. I should have realized right then and there that my story ideas were better suited for the people, and the quickest way to get the same to them was through self-publication.

In his song Lose Yourself, rapper Eminem tells us that we only have one shot to blow (up).  I don’t know what the future holds for me. I honestly can’t tell you if my writings will “blow up” one day, make J. A. Faulkerson a household name. All I know is I can’t be concerned with such nonsense. Offering up stories that resonate with you, my loyal readers, is paramount.  And if you keep meeting me halfway by purchasing one of my products, I’m certain a new generation of Americans will understand the importance of co-existing.

Thank you for your support.