Beyond the Books

Character Interview: Dr. Jane Beekman from Dwaine Rieves’ literary novel ‘Shirtless Men Drink Free’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Jane Beekman from Dwaine Rieves’ new literary fiction work titled, Shirtless Men Drink Free.  Jane is a 49-year-old pathologist and business entrepreneur living in Atlanta, Georgia.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Jane.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

It hurts to admit it, but yes—I think the novel’s portrayal of my role (including my failures) in this tough election year is accurate.  I like to think I’m a good doctor, but I do confess to weaknesses when it comes to what some people might call superstition.  But, tell me, who doesn’t have few superstitions—let’s call them

inexplicable beliefs—hiding away deep within him or herself?  I was rattled—my mother had just died, my husband was obsessed with clearing the name of his father—and here I was in the middle of a campaign trying to help my brother-in-law become the next governor.  And, Yes.  I’ll always believe it.  One morning, I saw the soul of my mother. 

Do I believe in ghosts or messages coming to us from some vaporous world?  No.  But the book is correct—I saw my mother’s soul. Only briefly, there—above her dying body.  I’ll never doubt it.  I felt her soul arise in the air, felt it hesitate, felt it come to me alone.  She knew I would believe in the sight, and so she kept fighting until her soul just couldn’t take any more.  My mother was a fighter right up until the end—even after the end.  Get it?  In the air, her soul was fighting, agitated, trying to tell me something.  You can call it crazy, but I know what I felt, what I believe.  I just wish I had known what the others were feeling.  Especially Jackson.  He is, thank goodness, the main character.  I so wanted him to succeed.  Selfish, I guess.  Now, I guess we can all see why.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Oh, I have sometimes wondered what it would have been like to be the main player in this story.  But that Jackson!  Such a talker, such a personality, such a hard campaigner.  And that body!  Teaches you all about the sacrifices a politician must make.  But Georgia is a tough old place, full of tough people.  It takes Jackson’s kind to win.  Despite all, I think my mother would have been proud of him.  Maybe she actually is!  There I go again—the soul thing.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m a worker.  When Jackson’s team asked me to help in his campaign, I only pretended to balk.  I was eager to work the crowds, to put my people-skills to work for the greater good.  God knows, you learn to work people in the business world.  Besides, I’m a pathologist—put me before a voter and I’ll show you where his weak parts are.  After all, medicine is an art, much like politics.  Jackson would agree with that—I’m sure of it.  Shitless Men Drink Free—it’s far more than a bar slogan.  I learned the hard way.  In politics, who doesn’t?

Worse trait?

I was selfish.  I wanted too much to please my mother—her soul—to help it find some peace in Jackson’s victory.  My husband Price was like that also, a fixer.  Only Price wanted to fix the legacy of his father.  Price calls it our Hamlet complex—Remember?  The ghost of the dead father-king telling Hamlet to “Remember me.”  Remembering too much can make you selfish, make the memory itself a king.  But that soul—I saw it.  I felt it.  I did.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Oh, Sweetie.  I’ve got Meryl Streep written all over me.  But that’s a cliché, isn’t it?  My selfishness again!  Oh, I’d be pleased with any woman who can put up with all the Georgia election shenanigans.  The harder role would be Jackson’s.  He has to be a doer and a looker—and with the smarts to make a great governor.  Folks in Georgia are not that easy to please. 

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Of course, I do—I’m married to him!  But, as you know, there are a great many kinds of love, like that love you have for your parents.   Sometimes, I think that’s the strongest kind, the most moving.  Love for a parent—you just can’t break free of it.  Ask Jackson.  Remember Hamlet.  Sometimes—at least when it comes to strong-opinion people—I think Georgia’s not all that different from Denmark.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I don’t want to give away too much, but when that jaundiced guy showed up at the house, I knew things were going to get a whole lot more complicated.  That’s when I began to pay the penalty for my selfishness.  But I still believe it was worth it.  Her soul—I saw it.  I did. 

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Of course, I would like to be Lily—Jackson’s campaign manager.  Lily is smart—probably the wealthiest black woman in Atlanta.  Lily always believed me, believed in me.  Lily, in a way, was a substitute for my mother, the embodiment of my mother. “Poor people,” she kept saying.  “We are such poor people.”  And she was right.  It was her soul speaking.  There I go again.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Sweetie, the soul has no ending.  This I learned from my mother.  Or maybe it was Atlanta teaching me this lesson, maybe the campaign.  Maybe it was all that time we spent in Baltimore.  Shirtless Men Drink Free is a lesson I’ll always remember.  Even though I’m a woman; in my soul, I’m a shirtless man drinking free.  Let’s just say things turned out the best for Georgia.  And, considering Jackson, even the nation. 

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d tell him to not worry so much about us folks in Atlanta.  He sure as hell can’t change us.  I’d tell him to rip off his shirt, to drink free when he starts thinking about that next campaign.  Isn’t that the dream for us all?  To be out there, free.  No.  It’s not about winning.  It’s about the soul we have to set free.

Thank you for this interview, Jane.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

You’ll be seeing a lot more of my world in a poetry book that hopefully is arriving soon.   We’re not settled on the title yet, but it will have a lot to do with sex, greed and fried pies.   I’m from the South, see. 


Dwaine Rieves was born and raised in Monroe County, Mississippi.  During a career as a research pharmaceutical scientist and critical care physician, he began writing poetry and creative prose.  His poetry has won the Tupelo Press Prize for Poetry and the River Styx International Poetry Prize.  His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review and other publications.  He can be reached at 


In Shirtless Men Drink Free, Doctor Jane Beekman has seen her dying mother’s soul, a vision above the bed—a soul struggling with a decision, some undone task, something in this world too noble to leave.  The question that lingers—why?—prompts a shift in the doctor’s priorities.  In this election year, Jane must do what her mother, an aspiring social activist, would have done. Soon, Jane is embroiled in the world of Georgia politics, working to make sure her dynamic younger brother-in-law Jackson Beekman is selected the next governor, regardless of what the soul of the candidate’s dead father or that of his living brother—Jane’s husband—might want done. 

Indeed, it is a mother’s persistence and a father’s legacy that will ultimately turn one Beekman brother against the other, launching a struggle with moral consequences that may extend far beyond Georgia. Set amidst 2004’s polarizing election fears—immigrants and job take-overs, terrorists in waiting, homosexuals and outsider agendas—Shirtless Men Drink Free makes vivid the human soul’s struggle in a world bedeviled by desire and the fears that leave us all asking—Why? 

Engaging, beautifully written and resplendent with realism, Shirtless Men Drink Free is a standout debut destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.  A meticulously crafted tale that showcases an outstanding new voice in Southern fiction, Shirtless Men Drink Free has garnered high advance praise:

“This is brilliant and rare work, as attentive to an absorbing plot as it is to a poetic, chiseled cadence.”—Paul Lisicky, award-winning author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship 

“These characters are all too real. Rieves, as Faulkner, McMurtry and Larry Brown, writes people and story that will worm, burrow into you.  Change you even.” Adam Van Winkle, Founder and Editor, Cowboy Jamboree

“Vividly sensuous, this novel is full of textures, sounds and smells.  Rieves tells a terrific story with the sensitivity of a poet.” —Margaret Meyers, author of Swimming in the Congo

Published by Tupelo Press joint venture partner Leapfolio, Shirtless Men Drink Free will be published in trade paper (ISBN: 978-1-946507-04-4, 326 pages, $16.95) and eBook editions.  The novel will be available where fine books are sold, with an arrival on January 22, 2019.

SHIRTLESS MEN DRINK FREE is also available for pre-order on Amazon or at Tupelo Press:


Review: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery, by Jean Paul Paulynice

3D-bigTitle: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery

Author: Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA


Publisher’s contact info: INFO@PAULYNICECONSULTING.COM


Genre: Self-help/Inspirational

Publication Date: February 28, 2019

Price: (print, ebook, audio)

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-0-8 (Paperback) $12.99

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-1-5 (eBook) $6.99  

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook) $9.99

Do you feel as though you’re on autopilot, going through the motions every day—wake up, go to work, come back home, have dinner, sleep, repeat—without real meaning, depth, and purpose in your life?

Even if you have a fulfilling job and earn a good salary, that doesn’t mean you’ve found your passion in life. The problem is, finding your passion can be elusive, especially in our present society where we are constantly seeking external validation from others and are being judged in public platforms more than ever (i.e. social media). Perhaps the wisest statement in this book is that “the moment you start to listen to yourself, you can start shutting out all the noise.” This little book is all about soul-searching, self-analysis, and reflection. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and seek out your passions. Sometimes you have to change your mindset and shift your perspective about things in order for transformation and growth to take place. Likewise, it’s also about the choices you make, not so much the major ones but the little ones you make on a daily basis.

In his light, honest, and engaging prose, Jean Paul Paulynice encourages you to do some introspection so you can begin your path toward finding your passion and bliss in life. For those who journal, the reflection questions he asks make very good journaling prompts. A very quick read, under fifty pages, It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! is a little morsel of goodness and wisdom that will help on your journey to self-discovery.

Character Interview: RahRah from Debra H. Goldstein’s cozy mystery, ‘One Taste Too Many’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today RahRah from Debra H. Goldstein’s new cozy mystery, One Taste Too Many.  RahRah is a five to seven-year-old Siamese cat living in Wheaton, Alabama.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, RahRah. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

one taste too manyEven though there were times I came across as a little demanding or bossy, I think I was fairly portrayed in One Taste Too Many. There is one incident I’d like to clarify. My owner, Sarah Blair, thought my behavior occasionally was generated by fear, but the reality is that whenever I realized I might be in danger, I used my intellect to take steps to protect myself. In retrospect, it might have been a good idea for Sarah to often do the same thing.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Debra H. Goldstein did a good job showing how strong and independent my personality is. She caught my looks, humor, playfulness and intelligence. Occasionally, she gave the impression I might be a tad stubborn, but believe me, there always is a good reason for whatever I do.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My strongest trait is my loyalty to the owners who care about me. When the senior Mrs. Blair, who everyone called Mother Blair, plucked me from the swirling New Orleans’ hurricane waters, we became devoted to each other. After she died and her son, who was divorcing Sarah for Bimbo, refused to let me live with him because of his cat allergy, Sarah adopted me. I sometimes give her a hard time because I’m the head of our household, but we care deeply about each other.

Worse trait?

I don’t have a worse trait. Sometimes people think I’m stubborn, but it simply is because I know what I’m doing and don’t tolerate fools lightly.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I think Sarah could have been played perfectly by the younger Sandra Bullock from her Miss Congeniality days, but we’d need a star search to find the right actor to portray me. Grumpy Cat is too serious and fat and most of the cats in the food commercials don’t have my style or tan coloring.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

No, I don’t have a love interest. I adore my owner and on her behalf check out any person who might have an interest in her, but at least in One Taste Too Many, the first book of the Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, I’m condemned to be single.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Between you and me, I was nervous from page one. When Sarah found out Bill, her ex, was dead, I had a bad feeling. It was only a few pages later when I discovered his bimbo wasn’t content with breaking up their marriage. She wanted me, too.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Because I lead a comfortable life of luxury, the last person I’d want to trade places with is my owner, Sarah Blair. Married at eighteen, she now finds herself starting over and it isn’t easy. Sarah’s twenty-eight, working as a law firm receptionist, and living in a studio apartment with me. The idea of me giving up having no responsibilities, soaking up rays of sunshine whenever I want, and having my food prepared exactly as I like it is not a lifestyle I want to live.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I love the ending of the book. I’m in it. What could be wrong with that? I also like the front of the book. In case you didn’t notice, I’m the only character the artist featured on the cover.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Subsequent books, like Two Bites Too Many, which comes out in October, will always include me, but may add other animals, too.  Because of that, Debra and I already discussed this topic. Whether you call it words of wisdom or rules of the roost, she understands I always expect to be the front and center animal.  After all, I’m a main character with my own cover to prove it.

Thank you for this interview, RahRah.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Definitely. Sarah can’t live without me. I hope you enjoy our One Taste Too Many adventures and look forward to seeing what happens in Two Bites Too Many.


debra headshot (1)

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Find out more about Debra at .


For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired town she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant.

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!


Barnes & Noble:




Hudson Booksellers:










5 Questions with John Ford Clayton, Author of ‘Manipulated’

The Dark Phantom Review

John Ford Clayton lives in Harriman, Tennessee with his wife Kara, and canine companions Lucy, Ginger and Clyde. He has two grown sons, Ben and Eli, and a daughter-in-law, Christina. He earned a BS in Finance from Murray State University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He is active in his East Tennessee John Ford Clayton Photocommunity having served on the local boards of the Boys and Girls Club and a federal credit union, on church leadership and creative teams, and on a parks and recreation advisory committee. When he’s not writing he works as a project management consultant supporting Federal project teams. John is a huge fan of Disney parks and University of Kentucky basketball. Visit his website at
Find out more about Manipulated.

Q: What’s inside the mind of a political thriller author?

A: In our hyper-polarized 2018 political climate, where any discussion of politics…

View original post 491 more words

Character Interview: Samuel from ‘Secret Agent Angel’

We’re thrilled to have here today Samuel, an angel, from Ray Sutherland’s new inspirational suspense novel Secret Agent Angel. Samuel is an angel who comes to earth disguised as a human.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Samuel.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

front cover finalSince I’m the narrator, I have no complaint. I would like to point out how different it is to be here on the earth instead of in my natural home in Heaven. That’s one of the most interesting and fun parts of coming to earth disguised as a regular human.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

In narrating the book I tried hard to let my personality show. That’s one element of angels that’s the same on earth and on the other side. So the book shows my personality quite well, I think.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Persistence, or dedication, which might be a better label. That’s built into me. Sometimes I have to change plans in the middle of a job  and now and then I even have to admit failure. But perseverance in the work I’m sent to do isn’t a choice I make. It’s a compulsion.

Worse trait?

I’m a junk food junkie. When I’m here on earth, I enjoy taking advantage of the physical process of gaining energy and mass which is to say eating. I have a sweet tooth when I’m in human form and I love all kinds of food.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I have a very different appearance every time I come over to the earth so there’s no one actor to portray me in all of my jobs. In the stories in Secret Agent Angel, I’m here in the non-descript appearance of everyman so any character actor could do the job quite well. Ben Foster would be a good choice. Or Jakob Oftebro, the Norwegian actor. Possibly one of the Wahlbergs.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I’m not made for romantic relationships. Our relationships with each other are of a very different sort, so while I have a strong interest in romance, my role is to enjoy watching humans who are in love. Seeing young people fall in love is wonderful.  Old people, too.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I come over in human form, I’m normally limited to human senses and knowledge-mostly. So usually I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out any more than do the people I’m with. As a result, I’m always nervous about the outcome. My being there doesn’t ensure that everything turns out right and sometimes it doesn’t. That makes things more interesting.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I think that Frankie the young criminal was the saddest part of the story. He had talent, skill, and opportunity, but he wasted it all on criminal pursuits. To have such opportunities and to do nothing with them is very sad.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

The ending is uplifting and optimistic but with just a small undercurrent of pathos. It’s a mostly happy conclusion-with, of course, enough loose ends for a sequel.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

If Professor Sutherland does a sequel, I hope he will continue to let me speak in my own voice. Narrating this story was a lot of fun.

Thank you for this interview, Samuel.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

We angels are always around and working, even when you can’t see us. There are a lot more stories that could be told. I’ll be here, one way or another.


Ray Sutherland is a Kentucky native who grew up on a farm outside of Bowling Green. He served in the Army, spent two years in Germany, received his B.A. in religion from Western Kentucky University, and his PhD in the Bible from Vanderbilt University.  Ray has served of Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke for over thirty years, pastored a small church for nine years, and is retired from the Army Reserve. He and his wife Regina live in North Carolina. They have two sons and four grandchildren. Visit him at Find out more about his book on Amazon.

Spotlight and Filling in the Blanks with Linda Lo Scuro, Author of ‘The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter’

Sicilian Woman-US-revised.indd

Genre: Mystery/Women’s Fiction

Author: Linda Lo Scuro

Publisher:   Sparkling Books

Purchase link:

Follow the author:

Twitter /  Facebook

About The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter

When the novel opens, Maria, the novel’s protagonist is living a charmed and comfortable life with her husband, banker Humphrey and children, in London.   The daughter of Sicilian immigrants, Maria turned her back on her origins during her teens to fully embrace the English way of life.

Despite her troubled and humble childhood, Maria, through her intelligence, beauty and sheer determination, triumphantly works her way up to join the upper middle-class of British society.  But when a minor incident awakens feelings of revenge in her, Maria is forced to confront–and examine—her past.

As she delves deeper into her mother’s family history, a murky past unravels—and Maria is swept up in a deadly and dangerous mire of vendetta.  Will Maria’s carefully-constructed, seemingly-idyllic life unravel?  Expect the unexpected in this outstanding new mystery….

The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter is a brilliantly-plotted, exceedingly well-told tale.  Novelist Linda Lo Scuro delivers a confident and captivating tale brimming with tantalizing twists, turns, and surprise, a to-die-for plot, and realistic, multi-dimensional characters.  Thoughtful and thought-provoking, rich and riveting, The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter is destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

Filling in the Blanks with the Author…

The best part of writing is being engrossed in the story.

The most challenging part of writing is finding the time to do it.

My absolute favorite part of the writing process is being engrossed in the story, seeing how the characters develop and what they do.

My absolute least favorite part of the writing process isediting.

I seem to come up with the best writing ideas when ….the ideas come at different times, even when it’s inconvenient so I have to rush off and write them down.

If I ever get “stuck” when I am writing, I get through it bydoing some editing.

Pride and Prejudice is the book that changed my life.

Pride and Prejudice is the book I wish I had written.

Life is better with a book.

Interview with Jamell Crouthers, Author of Code Blue

Police Chief Bulletin #1
My fellow police officers, thank you for
your hard work,
Putting your life in the line of duty
every day.
This will be the first of many bulletins
that I will be sending,
Your supervising officer will be having
meetings about my bulletins.
I want to address an issue that’s been
going on in our community,
There have been too many minorities
driving in our neighborhoods.
I’ve been told by residents that they’re
scared and afraid of them,
I don’t know exactly why as I am not in
the streets everyday.
In order to get control of our community
again we must pull over cars,
Any car that is expensive and they look
out of place, pull them over.
Find a reason to pull these cars over,
whether it’s a tail light,
Or they can be driving too slow, too fast,
failure to signal when changing lanes.
There are certain cars to look for,
especially tinted windows,
Ferraris, Bentleys, Mercedes Benz,
Lamborghinis, you get my drift.
You know the procedure, asking for a
driver’s license and registration,
Make sure that you’re assertive in your
behavior and taking control of situations.
I want officers to be partnered up in the
cars while you’re on duty,
We need to conduct these pullovers between
7pm and 5am daily.
It seems to be that at night these
minorities are driving through our neighborhood,
Even if you recognize cars and know who
these people are, pull them over.
I can’t have our citizens of our community
constantly calling me about this,
So let’s clean this up as soon as possible
and I want it tracked how many you do.
I want three done a week amongst partners
and body cams will show that,
If you have to agitate a driver to
escalate a situation, do it.
Cars swerving means they must be drunk or
high so sniff out the car,
Find a purpose and reason to search the
car without a warrant.
I appreciate your time in reading this
If you have any questions or concerns,
please consult your supervising officer.
Police Chief”
–From Code
by Jamell Crouthers
Jamell Crouthers is a poet, author, blogger and podcaster who has taken on a journey of writing in the prime of his life. He has been writing poetry since the age of 13 but never thought he could utilize his talent to tell stories and write books. He is not the traditional author as he writes his books in poetry format with a focus on storylines and societal issues.
After publishing 11 books (so far), his goals and plans are to continue writing books on taboo subjects that aren’t discussed enough in today’s world and bringing those main subjects tothe forefront. Jamell’s blogs tackle societal issues, how he writes his books, his journey as an author and some motivational blogs that will get you to focus on your goals. His goal and moniker is, “to change the world, one book at a time.”
Book Description:
The Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun series chronicles a police officer named Gary who has been on the force for a few years. He soon is entrenched in a lot of lies, corruption, racism and agendas being pushed by his superiors. The question throughout this series is whether he as a good cop becomes part of the corruption or does he report it?
Part of this series features his son Gary, Jr who is a young teenager wanting to be like his father and go into the police force. He soon learns through the news daily that the police force is not what it really is. Gary ends up having to share the truths of what goes on at work and the relationship between him and his son changes because of it. Now it becomes up to Gary what he is going to do about what goes on at work.
Welcome, Jamell! Your series, Code Blue, sounds thrilling! Can you tell us why you wrote it?
Jamell: I wrote the Code Blue series because of all that’s been going on in America with police brutality, racism and corruption on the police force. I felt that I needed to write something but it had to be different than the average police book you would read. With all of the news coverage, I wanted to ask the
all-important question, do good cops know who the bad ones are.
Your protagonist, Gary, is put in a sticky situation. Does he become part of the corruption or does he report it? What a situation to be in. Can you tell us more about Gary?
Jamell: I don’t want to give away too much but if it’s a series, you can say he condones the corruption and is involved in it to where he covers up for his partners and lies to his family about what’s going on. Let’s just say it takes
him time to report all of it and his guilty conscience and sanity become a major component to his life. Gary is a compassionate person who wants nothing more than to make the neighborhood he grew up in and his city a better, safer place to live. He’s definitely a family man who has a young son and a wife that he loves dearly and has great parents who raised him to do right by others. The only problem is he’s involved in a lot of things he never thought he would be and it ends up costing him the most important people in his life, his family and friends.
Can you tell us a little about the other main characters?
Jamell: The other main character in this series is Gary, Jr. He is a young teenager who is growing into his own and starting to see the world for what it really is. He’s no longer living in this shell that his father tried to put him in (moving to the suburbs, putting him in a better school, living in a nice home). The series takes a different dynamic where Gary and Gary, Jr talk to each other through letters and it gets to a place where their relationship becomes
tumultuous and it’s due to Gary not being honest with what goes on in the streets every night he goes to work.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?
Jamell: In Code Blue Part 1, I will say the pivotal moment is when Gary’s partners shoot and kill a man who wasn’t the suspect in a store robbery. They botched the ID because the suspect was wearing a hoodie and so was the man that they killed. Gary’s ride to the police station that night was very long and the question is, will he write up another falsified report of what happened or will he tell the truth.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
Jamell: I definitely will say yes my writing has improved and it’s because I’m constantly challenging myself to write story lines that have relevance to what’s currently going on in the world. With me working on various series, and
a plethora of characters, there’s always the challenge of how can I keep a reader engaged in these characters? How can I make the reader feel, emote and understand these characters and where they are coming from. It’s all about
putting the reader in these character’s shoes to make them say, “Hey this character is me, or I know someone who has gone through this.”
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Jamell: I edit and proofread my work and it’s a tedious and arduous process but eventually, it gets done.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Jamell: Yes it does in some ways, which is why some of my books I’ve paid someone to make them for me and some I’ve been fortunate to make on my own. One of my series I’ve changed the book cover 3 times to make it more appealing.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
Jamell: I wanted to be a lawyer at first, I was into police shows like New York Undercover, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and SVU (I’ve literally grown up watching Mariska Hargitay) and then I wanted to be a sports broadcaster (I have old YouTube videos of me talking about the NBA).
Do your novels carry a message?
Jamell: My novels definitely do, each book carries a message and I want readers to take the time to think about the world, discuss it with others and try to make the world a better place to live in. A lot of us are fortunate to live
comfortable lives but there are others who need us to be there for them or to understand them and who they are. We spend too much time being judgmental of others and not being compassionate enough.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?
Jamell: There are a lot of books coming in the near future, I do podcasts where I discuss societal issues and in my spare time I’m always listening to music. I love my sports (basketball, football and baseball) and I’m big on family and
keeping my close knit friends around me. My quote with my writing journey is, “Trying to change the world, one book at a time.”
%d bloggers like this: