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Intimate Conversation with J.D. Mason

Intimate Conversation Interview with bestselling author J.D. Mason

J.D. Mason is the author of several bestselling novels including, And On The Eighth Day She Rested, This Fire Down In My Soul, and You Gotta Sin To Get Saved, which has been selected as one of the best books of 2008 by Black Expressions and the RAWSISTAZ Online Bookclub, and has been nominated for The Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award in the African American Fiction category. She is the recipient of the Atlanta Choice Award for her novel One Day I Saw A Black King, and her novel Don’t Want No Sugar was also nominated The Romantic Times Magazine award for Best Contemporary Fiction. Her novels have consistently been selected by The Black Expressions Book Club as main selections, and her work has appeared on bestseller lists in the Dallas Morning News, Black Expressions Book Club, and on Her upcoming novel, That Devil’s No Friend of Mine, will be released in March 2009 from St. Martin ’s Press and will be featured in the March 2009 edition of Essence Magazine. Also, look for a new release from Mason in Fall 2009, called Hot Flashes—a feisty coming of age story for the mature woman.

Ella: JD, Tell us about your passion for writing.
I love to entertain, and since I’m not a good singer, actor, or dancer, I decided to tell stories. When I was a teenager, I used to daydream that I was Irene Cara and knew the Fame soundtrack by heart. I’d sing into a hairbrush, and dance around my room, putting on my own show in front of thousands. In retrospect, I guess I’m cool with the fact that those dreams never saw the light of day, because I love what I do. There’s a quiet, humble dignity in creating people, worlds and situations from nothing. It’s a privilege I’m careful to never take for granted. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to do this for the rest of my life, so I just make sure to put my best effort forward with every book, and to enjoy it while it lasts—which will hopefully be for a very, very long time.

Ella: JD, introduce us to your new book.
That Devil’s No Friend of Mine by J.D. Mason
When Bishop Fontaine passed away, he left behind more than a list of good deeds. He was known as a caring friend and doting father...but he was also manipulative and controlling, especially to those he loved. His death begins to unravel deep secrets and shocking desires among the people he cared most about. Five very different people whose lives are only connected by Bishop suddenly find themselves up close and personal as desires, dreams and passions collide.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am Powerful because...I know how to keep it moving. Life happens, and when it does, it isn’t always pretty or easy, and it isn’t always my fault. And then again, sometimes, it is. Like everybody else, I stumble and I fall, but unlike some people, I know how to get up too, dust my jeans off, and steer myself where I want to go. God taught me how to do that, and He promised that as long as I keep getting up, He’ll be there to help me up. The road might not always be smooth, in fact, it seldom is, the door might not be open—again, it hardly ever is. But even though the door might be locked, there’s always a window, and when that fails, I set my sights on the chimney. The easiest thing anybody can do is to give up. It’s much, much harder to get up, and I’ve always figured that when the day comes that I stop getting up; my time here on this Earth is done.

Ella: Why is celebrating Black History important 365 days a year?
Our new President is a prime example of why this question is so important. On any given day, any one of us is capable of making history. I believe that to truly understand the impact of that, we need to comprehend what others, who have come before us, have done, and then take from that the endless possibilities of history we can make in our time. Victories and accomplishments of our people didn’t happen over the course of a mere 28 days, and to limit study and celebration of those accomplishments to one month of the year, would only serve to give us a very narrow scope of what blacks in this country have accomplished. In my opinion, we need more days in the year to cover everything!

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I was born in Paris, Texas (about 100 miles northeast of Dallas), but we moved to Denver, Colorado when I was about two, so Denver is home for me.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
This book has quite a few characters, but if I have to limit it to two characters, my first favorite would be Rayne Fitzgerald, the sultry, R&B singer, who is a recovering heroine addict. She’s complicated, but real, and her bluesy nature was really fun to write.

The other character I’d choose as a favorite would probably be Cole “The Hammer” Burkette. Cole’s a brotha who grew up on the mean streets of Philly, went on to become a professional boxer, and has a heart of gold. At least, he tries to. He loves his wife, Nora, and he only wants the best for both of them, but Nora doesn’t make it easy, and she manages to consistently bring out the worst in him.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
Well, I’ve worked really hard on this book to explore some serious relationship dynamics that I think really offer unique perspectives of issues like domestic violence, addiction, and one situation that begs the question: was one particular relationship molestation or consensual? Often times, people tend to think they know what’s going on in people’s lives, but really and truly, unless you’re a part of it, you never really get the whole story. I wanted to give readers a different version of stories they think they’ve heard before. And maybe they have, but maybe they haven’t heard them told quite like this.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I’d really like to see people step outside their comfort zones on this one, and try checking these situations out from a different perspective than they normally would ever think to consider.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
That it doesn’t get any easier. That Devil’s No Friend of Mine is my 9th book (including anthologies/short stories) and I used to think that by now, if I were blessed enough to still be in this business, I’d have writing down to a science by now. But with each book, it gets harder and harder to try and come up with a story that you haven’t told before, or to tell one that is hopefully at least as good as the last one you wrote. And of course, you pray that it’s not worse.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer? How did you do it? You are truly on a roll my sister!
Right now, I’m going to say that to this point, I think my most significant achievement is the fact that I’m still here. This is a tough business to find success in, and competition is fierce. I realize just how fierce every time I walk into a Borders or Barnes and Noble and see all those books on the shelves and on tables, and I wonder how, out of all of these books to choose from, people still manage to find one written by me? It’s awe-inspiring, and humbling.

And I’m not sure how I’ve managed to stay in this game. I think I’m more surprised than anyone that I have. I just know that I strive continually to put out the best book I possibly can. And I work hard on each and every one. Do I hit the mark every time? No. I mean, some people love a particular book, and others might hate it. But the level of effort from me is the same. I put 120% of myself into all of them.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Writers-don’t be afraid to step outside of yourselves when you create your characters. They are not you, and you’re not them. So, you’re not going to see eye to eye on every thing your characters do or say. And that’s great. I think the biggest lesson I had to learn as a writer was not to take these characters personally, but to get personal with them—and to stay separate.

And the only thing I would change about my journey is that I would’ve committed myself to becoming a full time writer, no matter what, when I was nine, and not twenty-nine. I wouldn’t have let anything or anyone stand in my way.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Creativity-think unique thoughts and run with them, no matter how embarrassing or ridiculous other people might think they are. It’s your job as a writer to turn the embarrassing and ridiculous into something people want to read.

Confidence-the rejection is going to come, so are the bad reviews and hurtful comments. But you have to believe in yourself and in your work especially when it seems like no one else does. That’s not to say that you need to turn a blind eye to criticism or that you might need to consider honing your craft and even taking some classes. But if this is something you want to do, then you should want to put forth the effort to become good at it, and you should feel proud of yourself.

Networking/Marketing-it doesn’t matter if you sign a contract and get a mega-multi-kazillion dollar advance or not. Chances are, at some point in your career as a writer, you’re going to have to step out from behind your laptop to shake some hands, speak in front of crowds, or stand by the trunk of your car and hustle some books. We’ve all done it, at some point and time and we all will continue to do it. Being shy in this business doesn’t sell books. Trust me. I know.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on getting a book ready for release in Fall 2009, called Hot Flash and it’s about a scandalous group of ladies in their forties who reunite at their 30 year high school reunion, and find themselves caught up in things readers just wouldn’t believe. I’m also pitching the idea to some producers for a possible television series.

I’ve just finished the first draft of a follow up book to You Gotta Sin To Get Saved because of all the emails I got from people telling me that I needed to do one and that they’d be mad at me if I let John King, Connie, Reesy and the rest of the gang go out like that, so that should be out in the first half of next year.

And I’ve recently had my first sci-fi/horror series picked up, and I’ll be jumping into that project with both feet. Those books will be written under a pseudonym, so no one will know that they’re written by me unless they do really, really well. LOL

Ella: You are on fire! Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
Again, Hot Flash comes out in the Fall of this year, Somebody Pick Up My Pieces (follow up to Gotta Sin) will be out probably around April of next year, and the first installment of the horror series will be out early next year.

Thank you JD Mason, Bestselling Author/Award Winning Author

Books by JD Mason
Sleep Don't Come Easy (Available in paperback)
You Gotta Sin To Get Saved (Available in Stores everywhere)
This Fire Down In My Soul (now available in paperback)

Check out my updated website: or
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