Intimate Conversation with Andrea Clinton
Andrea Clinton is a novelist, poet and essayist, and aspiring screenwriter/filmmaker. As a Montclair State University graduate, she posses’ a degree in English, Film and Journalism. She’s the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization, People Helping People; worked as Editor in Chief of AMISTAD newspaper, New Jersey; and is presently working on a biography and screenplay featuring the life of her uncle George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic and the Clinton family.
BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
What drives me is my passion for story telling and entertaining the readers or listeners (I’ve been summoned to randomly make up and tell stories). I write to enlighten or to pull the readers coattail to an issue or subject matter. I pray the impact that my books have on readers is that: The upper class begin to learn and are introduced to the other classes and what they live and experience, why they make the decisions they make, etc.; I give the middle class a chance to learn not to look down their noses at the poor or lower class, but have a respect for their struggle and to recognize that they are being played in the game as well.
I also give the less fortunate a chance to not revere the upper class so much, as their problems are as great as their money. My writing offers the lower class a way to reach for the stars by obtaining KNOW-HOW. I teach them how to work hard to maintain that sense of “down-to-earthness” we posses, that the other classes wish they had and seek, but can’t find because of the airs they put on and their ongoing evil to maintain what they have. I want to show the poor or lowered class that we really aren’t missing as much as we believe, and we’re much happier than we think.
BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
Realness with an understanding that: Our upbringing/what and how we’re taught, our environment, innate qualities that we get thru genetics or are God given, instincts and drives such as Self-preservation and Desires all play a role in how we turn out, how we think and the decisions we make. We have to look at all of these things and decide who we will be, hopefully enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong.
BPM: Introduce us to your new book, Life Knows No Bounds: One Who Loves You More.The book is about Alisa, a money grubbing gold digger who’s following in the foot steps of the older girls who came before her. She’s got several men thinking she’s their woman, and when one drops her off at home, another picks her up.
She has gold, diamonds, money and more, but when her family gets on her case about the trouble it’s causing, Alisa decides to get her one man with riches to take care of her, thus Omar. Omar has his own issues trying to stop hustling drugs and going back to being the Muslim he grew up as without the street troubles, but when he and Alisa come together, it’s like clash of the titans and he loses his focus. Then, Hell erupts in, “Life Knows No Bounds: One Who Loves You More.”
BPM: Introduce us to your main characters in One Who Loves You More.
Alisa is the main character and she is a hand full. She’s not too long out of high school and acting a fool. She thinks she’s grown but has much the behavior of a young minded girl in a woman’s body. She shares her mind set with you but this doesn’t make her inviting. She is who she is, young and dumb. But, you couldn’t tell her that because she is head strong in what she feels, but is always contradicting herself with her behavior and her tongue lashes that cut like a knife. She doesn’t want to face that she loves Omar because in her mind, she’s still a gold digger; no strings attached and still tries to wear this title like a tiara.
BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Omar was probably my favorite, he and Man-Man; I loved their friendship and dedication to having a true and real friend. I made them alike so that they would appreciate that about themselves. Omar is like most of us, succumbing to his environment but knowing he can do better and wants to do better, but stuck in the game because it’s all he knew for over 10 years or so. Man-Man seems so “street” you think he just doesn’t care, but, he wants peace, just doesn’t know how to get it, feels trapped and never shows what he’s really thinking or feeling. But they both accept where they are and have each others back while there.
Man-Man is much like my brother Salaam, he’s dead – was murdered. You could never know when he was up to something or not because like Billy the Kid, he always had this little laugh or smirk. When Omar is mad, he bites down on his jaw bone and you see the veins in his head pop out, but when Man-Man is mad, he does this little giggle, like, “hmmp – hmm hmm!”
Omar, I created from a character I felt I could see my friend Sean Blakemore play. Sean is an actor who played in “Motives I & II” with Vivica Fox and “Restraining Order” with Robins Givens. I always wanted to make this book into a play and maybe even an HBO or SHOWTIME (or some other cable channel) series. So, I tried to envision Sean as Omar, especially since he inspired me to add more male characters and said he was down to play the role.
BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer? Who are your mentors?
I would say as a person, Islam humbles me and any power I feel should probably be interpreted as blessed. As a writer, my professors back at college who helped me to think of the type of writer I wanted to be and if I wanted to be put in a little box or write creatively in many genres, they are my mentors. A good professor shows you paths and gives you one to grow on; they should mentor. My mentors are my professors I listed in my book and people I barely met like Whoopi Goldberg who graduated from Montclair State University with her masters when I graduation with my BFA. The words she spoke reminded me of the obstacles to come and helped me to set my mind straight to continue full steam ahead and not listen to naysayers, and as she emphasized, “Know that they are coming.”
BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
There were too many young girls out there using men for money. Like the main character, they use men so much it’s almost a form of prostitution, but they don’t see it that way as they may never have sex with these men, just use them for what they can get from them.
BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
I would like to say, when Alisa and Omar decide there is definitely something there, and speak to each other with their eyes just after he gave her his leather trench; and a cross between when he addresses her about another guy and/or when they have it out at her house. I say that part because it reminds me of so many relationships where we allow our emotions to make us stubborn and hide how we really feel, and we end up not giving in to our mate and are left sad and alone.
BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
All the girls out there using men for money like it’s a profession. They need to know the dangers of such Ways of life. I could tell you some despicable situations women have gotten themselves into messing with men in such fashions.
BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
It will give young girls something to think about. The book challenges girls to consider getting an education; get your own money instead of using men for their money and suffering what there is to suffer, because, there is a price to pay.
BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
I guess using men for money is a quick resolve to being poor or getting the things they want. With sex so free – for – all these days, some of them look at it like a quick harmless gain if they do partake in sex for money. But majority in this new game they play are not having sex with these men they make their mark. They instead make the man think they’re his woman, and then get that money, jewelry, credit cards, etc. And it’s dangerous because these men REALLY think these girls are their woman, their mate.
To top it all off, the girls have rules also. Three, four or six months tops. Then, they find some ill excuse to drop them and get a new sucker. Because there was no sex involved, meaning he waited on her, a lot of the men take it personal and feel played and some have been known to be dangerous.
BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
“Bang Bang” because it’s got: Love, Loss, is Live with action and like the streets it comes to a head, letting you know early how these people in the book are living.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Enlightenment; enlightenment on the dangers of playing around with people’s emotions, etc. When you put the book down, walk away feeling like, “What? Wow! That’s an aspect I haven’t heard of, thought about, seen in a while, etc.”
I want them to feel like they gained something that can help them or help them, help someone else. Really, I want them to sit as many young girls/women down and like they used to say in the ’70’s, “Tell ’em like it is!” Let them know feelings are precious and not to be taken lightly. Get your own! Get a degree; get a trade.
BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
I don’t know; I think I might, might help the reader experience the characters instead of just reading about them and saying, “Oh, that Omar is something else” or “Alisa is a trip.” Because Alisa has a lot of crap with her; she’s no walk in the park. But the readers will experience her and what she’s going through even when they don’t agree with her or understand fully what the heck she’s doing or her motives. Omar, you can’t help but love him, and I did that on purpose. He’s much like my brother, he and Man-Man in the sense that they are lovable people, but out there doing wrong, and you hope they get it together before it’s too late. For my brother, it was too late; let’s see how it goes with Omar or Man-Man.
But you don’t just read this; you feel this in your chest at times. I’ve had some tell me as they read the chapters, they went through so many emotions from chapter to chapter and sometimes from page to page. That’s the Realism genre. Real stuff making you feel mad, glad, happy or sad for the characters. Naturalism stems from Realism and Naturalism, which is the basis of the book, shows the character’s self-preservation/greed drive, hustling and their desires via their attraction to one another throughout.
And, the reader feels it, gets goose bumps or chills, and is excited to move on in the book hoping Alisa get’s hers, hoping Omar get’s a grip. But it’s all thru the emotional aspects of the novel, not just the words on the page. I believe it’s heart felt and how I arrived there, or so I’ve been told, was, I wrote it with the flow of a soap opera in my head. I took myself through all of that drama just to appease my readers.
BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
We’re about to launch our newspaper again, this will help us to contribute to supporting the hard working authors, artist, actors, and so on, as well as keep our community up on the news around the world. I think the reward right now is to be exposed to so many opportunities. I think I’ll be even more rewarded when I began speaking engagements, speaking to the youth and young girls and women about this new trend.
Upcoming releases: There’s the second book in the “Life Knows No Bounds” chronicle titled, “A Blessing and A Curse,” then there is a non fiction book on Writing. So many students in high school and college are having a hard time writing properly; scoring low on SAT’s and essays and research papers in school. So, I want to shed light on that. I have a writing component I used with my students and they still email me today saying Thank You because it helped them with their college writing. Those books will be forthcoming in the Spring season 2011. By fall I pray to have a book done on Critical and Analytical Thinking for tests, decision making and life. I don’t know, maybe I’ll make it three different books since a book on life would take on a life of its own.
BPM: How can our readers reach you online?