Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review of Deadbeat by Brian W. Smith, Interview with Brian W. Smith, and Giveaway


Deadbeat

 
Goodreads Description:
A man becomes addicted to drugs and alcohol and then abandons his wife and child. He becomes homeless, and ten years later he has a chance encounter with his son (who is now fifteen years old). The encounter is the beginning of his quest to sobriety and reclaiming his family.
Paperback, 232 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Hollygrove Publishing 

My thoughts:
The book starts out with a homeless man pushing a rickety shopping cart in the 90 degree New Orleans heat.    Everything this homeless man had left is in this shopping cart.  Some young punks came along and started picking on him and tried to take his cart.  He did what he had to and defended himself  by beating one of the boys named Bookie.  A friend of  Bookie named QJ found a lead pipe and he was going to attack the homeless man for beating his friend Bookie.  QJ was told by a homeless woman who was nearby not to do it, and he was having second thoughts about hitting the homeless man.

"Don't do it son" said the homeless man.
"Shut yo ass up!" QJ retorted.  "You split my boy's eye.  I'm about to split yo head".
"I only hit him because he tried to steal my stuff," the man said.  "The stuff in that cart is all I got...since I lost you QJ."
Time seemed to stand still as QJ stood there with a perplxed look on his face.  He thought he heard the man say, "since I lost you, QJ."
Apparently QJ's facial expression reflected his bewilderment.  He could feel his anger grow as he looked into the begging eyes of the bleeding homeless man.
"What did you just say?"
"You heard me, son.  It's me--your daddy."p. 12
The homeless man then told  QJ to run and told him where to hide from the police. QJ couldn't believe what he heard -- the homeless man said that he was his daddy.  That couldn't be right.  His mother told him that his father was dead.

The homeless man's name is Quincy.  He was married to QJ's mom, and then they had QJ.  They started having marital problems and then he started drinking and got into drugs. When QJ was five, Quincy's wife Carmen sent him to the store with some money, and he didn't return for 3 days.  He just didn't seem to care anymore.

"Without any forewarning, Quincy packed a bag full of clothes, a large bottle of Hennessey he had in the cabinet, tip-toed into QJ's bedroom and kissed the child on his forehead, and then left the house.  A decade would pass before he would come face-to-face with his son again." p. 17.
QJ confronted his mom and wondered why she lied about his dad being dead. She had told him that his dad died in a car accident.   She wanted to protect him because Quincy was into drugs and left when QJ was 5.

QJ's godmother is Lawana.  She is really the one who tried to keep QJ in line.  Lawana didn't really like Quincy back when he was married to Carmen, so she told Carmen that telling QJ that his daddy was dead was okay.  

QJ started asking himself questions like why his dad never contacted him and how did he get to be homeless.  Then his friends wanted to go back and take care of that homeless man.  QJ was stuck.  He wasn't sure what to do.  Should he admit that the homeless man is  his dad, should he try to protect him, or should he help beat the homeless man.  After all even if he was his father, it's not like he ever tried to contact him.

Quincy then ran into his old friend Scoop who is also now homeless.  Scoop really gave him some good advice, but would Quincy take his advice?

Carmen started asking God for help.  She didn't know how to explain what happened between her and Quincy to QJ.  Carmen was seeing Terry, but QJ didn't like Terry at all.

Brian W. Smith never fails to add humor to his writing either.  Lawana was at a club with Angela.  She saw a cute guy and she was watching him, then she saw him digging in his nose while Angela left the table.  Angela came back and "booger boy" came to their table.  His name was Spencer and he shook hands with Angela.  Afterward Lawana confessed to her friend what he had been doing.

"Ugggh!" Angela screamed. "Bitch you let me shake his hand and you knew he probably still had boogers still dangling on it." p.78

I laughed out loud at this one!

Once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down and finished it within a day.  I had so many emotions running through me while I was reading.  I was glad that the man and his son found each other after all these years, but QJ seemed just so darned stubborn.   I just really felt for the homeless man, especially when he lost his belongings, including his blanket that he had since childhood.  What happened to Quincy to drive him to be homeless and how did he know QJ was his son?   The ending was a total surprise to me!  This book is one of my favorites so far this year and Brian W. Smith's best book so far!  His writing is fresh and the topics he covers in his books really make you think.


5 out of 5 diamonds
I  highly recommend this book!  Favorite of 2011!

Thank you to the author Brian W. Smith for sending me an autographed review copy.  I was not compensated for my review. 

My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.



Brian W. Smith
Interview

I see from previous interviews that you have done that you are from New Orleans.  Deadbeat is set in New Orleans, so is that where a lot of your inspiration comes from?  How long did you live there?  I was born and raised in New Orleans – primarily the Uptown area (17th Ward) in a ‘hood called Hollygrove. That’s why my publishing company is called Hollygrove Publishing. Most of my inspiration for my books comes from my hometown, but the city also molded my perspective on business. It’s where I learned how to get my grind on.

I also read that you didn't start writing until 2005 when you went through some personal issues and from your journals.  Does writing and reflecting back on your life help you to better deal with the pain that you went through? I’m only 41 years old, but I’ve lived a very eventful life. Scenes from my life can be found in many of my books: Mama’s Lies – Daddy’s Pain, BEATER, and Donna’s Dilemma. My earlier books were very therapeutic. They helped me deal with some child hood memories involving domestic violence. Now that I’m on my 10th book, I’m writing more about topics that I find interesting, and less about things that have caused me personal pain.

I also see that you left the corporate world to become a writer.   What did you do before you were a writer? In my last corporate job I was the Director of Employee Safety and Security for North America for a global company. I spent most of my time flying around the country purchasing access control equipment, arguing with OSHA officials, and writing company policy. The pay was good and I racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles, but I was bored out of mind.

I know that you are owner of Hollygrove Publishing. Was it tough to get that going and did you decide as soon as you started writing that you wanted to have a publishing company? I’ve been called a control freak, but I’m really not…well, maybe a little…lol. Therefore, I never bothered shopping my first books, The S.W.A.P. Game and Mama’s Lies-Daddy’s Pain— I always intended to self-publish both books. I was never intimidated at the thought of opening my own publishing company because I’d owned a business before. In fact, I started my first business (a grass cutting service) at 13 years of age. By the age of 16 I was earning a few hundred dollars a month cutting hair. By the time I was 32 years old I’d opened and closed two more businesses. On top of all that hands on experience, I have a MBA; so, sitting back and waiting on some agent to give me a break never crossed my mind. I hate waiting on other people to get around to making me a priority.

It really wasn’t tough getting the publishing company off the ground because I was blessed to have a six figure salary at my corporate job. So, I didn’t have to deal with that “starving artist” situation. My daytime salary afforded me the resources I needed to bank roll Hollygrove Publishing in the early stages when the company wasn’t making any money.


How do you come up with the stories and characters? Every author has his/her method of writing books. I search for moral dilemmas. In my opinion, a “real” moral dilemma is the type of issue that will divide the opinions in a room. Once I find an issue that I feel will divide a room (meaning splitting the opinions of a group of people), I develop a storyline to fit around the dilemma I choose to write about.


How do you research for your books.  I will use Deadbeat as an example.  Your books just really come to life and it just seems like you must go out there on the street and interview people or something, or are these stories from life experiences that you have had. I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but I’ve never researched the topic of any of my books. The closest thing to research I’ve ever done was a non-scientific poll I took while writing the novel, Mama’s Lies-Daddy’s Pain. I stood outside a shopping mall and asked one hundred women if they knew any woman who’d lied about the identity of their child’s father. Sad to say, 76 out of those 100 women knew at least one woman who’d falsely accused a man of fathering a child. As far as the novel, DEADBEAT is concerned; I never spoke to any homeless people. Honestly, I didn’t need to. Growing up in New Orleans, I saw homeless people everywhere. I simply used my observations of homeless people throughout the course of my life to write that story.

Do you have any certain process that you go through when you write a book? I’m a little unorthodox. Most authors do these elaborate character profiles to help them develop the personality of each of the primary characters. I don’t get into all that. I got too much stuff to do to be sitting down doing all that formal stuff. I make up the characters and their personalities while I’m typing.

I do my writing either early in the morning (around 8am) or late at night (after 11pm). If I’m writing in the morning I can probably be found with my laptop sipping on a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop or tucked away in the corner of a Panera Bread store. If I’m writing late at night you will probably catch me with my laptop at my kitchen table sipping on a glass of Hennessey. I do my best writing at night…lol. 

What do you like to do when you are not writing (hobbies, etc.)? I’m a loner. I’m often so busy that when I do get some free time I like to spend it alone. Like I said earlier, I’ve lived an eventful life; therefore, I’m over the social gatherings, parties, Happy Hours, etc. Been there, done that, got a t-shirt. If I’m not chillin’ in a book store you can probably find me kickin’ it with my two sons (17 and 12). My sons are my homies.

Are you reading anything right now? Not really. Lately, I’ve been going back through my home library and pulling out several business and motivational books by authors like Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill. Rarely do I read fiction. I’d like to, but I just can’t get into it – I know that sounds crazy coming from a fiction author. If I’m reading someone else’s fiction book, that’s less time I’m spending focusing on my own books and/or company. Also, I don’t ever want to be accused of plagiarism. I can look any reader in the eye and say without a shadow of a doubt that the stuff they read in one of my books came from my mind – none of what I’ve written has been “borrowed” from any other author. The premise may be old (because there is nothing new under the sun), but the words and scenarios in my books are all mine.

What is next for you in 2011? I’m touring with a group of male authors. We call it the Love Literature Tour and we are scheduled to appear in several cities: from Denver, CO to Atlanta, GA. I will also be a featured author at several literary events: National Black Book Festival, Bayou Writers Conference, National Book Club Conference, and the Fall Into Books Literary Conference.

Will you be coming to Michigan for any kind of book tour? I will be coming to Kalamazoo, Michigan in the Spring to meet with a book club, and I may be doing a book signing with Monique D. Mensah in the Detroit area this year…that hasn’t been confirmed yet.


How can readers reach you? My website is www.hollygrovepublishing.com and on facebook at
facebook.com/HollygrovePublishing


I would like to thank Brian for taking the time to answer my interview questions and for answering them so fast!  I really love his books and wanted to find out more about him!


GIVEAWAY

Now aren't you excited to read Brian W. Smith's books now and see what he is all about?  Go visit his website or visit him on Facebook!
I really wanted to give away a copy of Deadbeat because I know I am not the only one who is going to love this book. 

Brian told me he  could even do better than that!  He would like to give the first  three people to comment on this post a  Hollygrove Publishing gift pack which includes a few of his books and some books by the other authors on his label.

All you have to do is be a follower of my blog and post your comment.  Please leave your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Please comment even if there are more than 3 comments because I would like to draw another name and give that person an autographed copy of Deadbeat that I will purchase myself!  I will pick a winner for my giveaway on February 14.

7 comments:

  1. Here I am..I would LOVE a gift bag. Solae.Dehvine@sexmentality.com

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  2. Thanks for posting the Interview - you know I love some Brian

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  3. Nice questions Cheryl - i have read some interviews with Mr. Smith and usually I see the same questions zzzzzz - so its nice to know new things about my favorite author - I always wondered did he do research for some of his stories but Life is our greatest teacher...

    I hope he does come to Detroit that's 45 minutes away - LOL - but I do plan on attending the Fall Back Into Books Conference. I'm too excited

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  4. Enjoy reading your post. I also enjoyed reading about Mr. Smith. I have been seeing his name quite a bit and I hear he is from my new hometown. Hope to see him at the Houston Book Fair this year.

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  5. I loved that interview you did. He sounds like a very interesting person and this book sounds like it has a lot going on in it.

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  6. Solae, nice to see you visited! You won a gift pack because you were number 1!

    Mrs. Simmons, thanks! I love me some Brian too! I am hoping to meet him in person at at least one event this year! You won a gift pack because you were the number 2 person to post!

    Sidne, Thanks. I am sure he will be happy to meet you! Enjoy your gift pack because you are the #3 person that posted!

    Staci, Thanks. Yes he is very interesting and a very nice man and excellent author! I will enter you in to win the signed copy of Deadbeat!

    SueBooBadoos - I will put you in the drawing to win the copy of Deadbeat!

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