Jamell Crouthers is a poet who focuses on issues that impact society on a daily basis. He stopped by for a chat to talk about his life and his work.
(TRIGGER WARNING! These books deal with real-life issues and the excerpt may trigger certain individuals.)
Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?
My favorite character is Robert from the Struggles and Growth of a Man because I’m able to emote his thoughts and feelings about life, his struggles growing up as a man and all of the experiences he’s dealt with. He went from being a troubled child on the streets selling drugs to having his guidance counselor and mentor in his high school saving him from a prison sentence or death. He deals with having a drug addicted mother, his father left the family and he has a brother in prison for drug dealing. So his life story of living in a tough neighborhood, he’s forced to grow up fast and be the man of the house after his father left. I enjoy writing his experiences and also writing about the social stigmas that men have to always be strong and not emote or show feelings. It’s something that Robert learns is not true and it’s okay to show his emotions.
Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.
The scenes from The World We Live In Part 1 and 2 were hard to write. I discuss a lot of societal issues that we face in the world today. I discuss rape, domestic violence, drug addiction, alcoholism, a man being gay and a lot of other things. The first chapter writing Christina’s experience of being raped at a party was hard to write. It’s very emotional to write about especially me being a man and knowing the social stigmas that come with that. I express my thoughts and feelings through her and what she’s going through at that time. It hits home in a powerful but impactful way that gets people to think and realize this is a major issue in the world today.
What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?
The most rewarding part of being an author is being able to share stories about the realities of life and the societal issues that are going on around us. I’m able to create characters and share stories that the reader may relate to in some way. The reader may have experienced it themselves, have a family member who has dealt with it or someone else they may know. I get a sense of fulfillment knowing that my books relate to readers and it’s different than the traditional books that you read. I’ve always been good at writing poetry and I have concerns about the world we live in. To be able to incorporate world issues and poetry into books, it’s something I enjoy doing.
What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?
The best advice is to brainstorm before you write, write every idea down in a book, write what’s on your mind and learn everything on your own. Be in control of your own destiny, this is a business so do what is best for you in regards to your book(s). Learning how to make book covers, editing your own work, formatting, marketing and writing your own synopsis, it’s great to see all facets of publishing a book.
Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.
My writing ritual is I work in the afternoon or at night, I always listen to music, I have something to drink near me and I just write whatever is on my mind. I consult my book that I write all of my ideas in so I know how to write the character’s story. Everything flows when I’m in a zone and I can write for long periods of time once I get in a rhythm.
Was being an author something you always wanted to do?
Definitely not. I went to school for journalism/communications, more on the television production side. I’ve always had goals and aspirations to be working in sports. It wasn’t until last year after a trip to California where I thought of a book idea and The Struggles and Growth of a Man came to mind. After that, things just took off and I started writing all of my book ideas I had. A year later, I’m already 4 books in with another three coming this year.
If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I would have to say my grandmother because I always enjoyed spending time with her as a kid. Also because she loved to read and I wonder what she’s thinking about my books in heaven right now. She probably enjoys watching over me as I write all of these books about the world. I just hope I’m making her proud along with all of my other family members in heaven.
Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?
I am not am a victim of my circumstances,
My life has changed drastically since it happened.
It was just a harmless night of fun with a bunch of friends,
But it all went downhill when I lost track of my friends.
The alcohol got into my body and I was intoxicated,
Things didn’t feel right and everything became a blur.
My memory was fading and I lost track of where I was,
The music felt psychedelic all of a sudden.
My mind and eyes became a trance and people were blurry,
The strobe lights didn’t help the cause as I couldn’t recognize people.
Lost in blurred thoughts and trying not to lose sense of my judgment,
Before I knew it, I was in a room surrounded by men.
I didn’t know what to do as I was helpless,
They were all laughing and knew what they had done to me.
The punch that I was drinking was spiked with a drug,
Now I know why I feel the way I do.
Intoxication, nerves, and horror going through me,
As I’m ready to bolt out of this room but I can’t.
You all know what happened next as my clothes were ripped off,
And 4 men attacked and raped me for a good 30 minutes.
Touching, grabbing, slapping, penetration,
As these drunk cowards were violating me through adrenaline.
I was trying to scream, yell, fight and claw,
But no one can hear me through the loud music downstairs.
Where are my friends? Why haven’t they come looking for me?
All of these thoughts are racing through my mind.
I can’t even describe all that happened to me,
The thought of how they violated me and stole my innocence kills me.
I felt worthless, dirty and not even human when they were done,
The nightmares and flashes running through my head are constant.
As they all left the room, they yelled vulgar things at me,
And threatened me with repercussions if I went to authorities.
Laying there naked and all alone in a corner,
With ripped clothes that I can’t even wear home.
Shit, where is my purse, where is my wallet, cell phone,
Laying in this room in a ball crying my eyes out.
These guys that violated me I know them, I don’t understand,
I thought they were cool and were my friends.
They just wanted to fuck me and thought it was cute,
And then I realized they left evidence in the room.
In a dizzy spell trying to collect myself from my drenched face of tears,
I managed to pull myself together and get dressed.
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