About the Author
Thirty-three year old Thomas McRae is a self described “stocky African American” man with literary accomplishments and dreams. Having recently self-published a short fiction novel inspired by universal themes – love, pain, failures, and triumphs – McRae discussed himself and his work with us here.
About the Book
This book is based on a dysfunctional family who goes through their ups and downs in a series of short and funny stories. The Jones family is back for a all out laugh tells with family drama comedy and suspense. This time the stories centers around the earlier years of Edward Jones and his brother Marcus Jones Junior. The two boys reminisce about their crazy Walt Disney vocation with Lillian McBride their biological grandmother and relive the moments when Edward Jones invited his aunt minister Tierra Joy and baby girl Princess Joy along with Lillian McBride to his elementary school graduation. I think it's safe to say that these short stories are filled with entertainment and humor that will last a lifetime.
1. What motivates you too write and where does your inspiration come from?
I have several motivations first is my surroundings, my family and friends, plus some of my own personal life experiences. But my inspiration is my Lord and Savior and my best friend in the whole wide world my mother Mrs. Sylvia A McRae. She is my rock, my most loyal confidant and she's without a doubt my heart in human form.
2. When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer / story teller?
The reality is I've always been a writer, since I was in elementary school up to my early twenties. But the fact is I never had the confidence in myself to pursue this dream mainly because I have had a limited support system within my family and supposedly friends. But it comes a time in everyone's life when you have to throw caution to the wind and make a name for yourself and be your own man. I decided right after Hurricane Sandy I was going to do something with my words and not hide behind them.
3. What are your current future projects?
I have several short fiction novels I am working on each one is based on personal life experiences or someone I know. Expect each book to be very similar to Pimp in the pulpit and the titles of each book are The Funeral, Six Winters and Seven Summer's, Ghetto Superstar and Street Trash which is the 1st short fiction novel I ever did and I'm going to bring it back and properly promote it. Along with a great deal of poetry books which I have sitting on my shelf just waiting to be released along with the newest one I'm working on which is titled Fatal Impact. Believe me when I say this you're not going to be disappointed because every book I write it's full of passion desire and personal truth.
4. What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories?
I have been blessed with the opportunity to be on several online radio shows, not to mention numerous newspaper articles from my local paper The Wave in Far Rockaway Queens New York. Plus I also took part in the Downtown Brooklyn Book Fair in New York along with several flea markets and other personal events. Such as online blog interviews and even a interview from my job magazine The Bulletin.
5. What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like the car, or restaurant or at work?
That's the beauty about having a cell phone if I don't have a pen and paper on me I can write out a text on whatever poem I'm thinking about at that moment in time. As far as the novels go I usually wait until I have a free moment then I just start typing everything down on my laptop and once I'm done or want to take a break from writing. I just go back to see what I've done and make sure that the grammar is correct but more importantly I like to make certain I didn't overlook anything or forgot to add something in.
6. How do you think you have evolved as a person and author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others how and why?
I believe I have evolved because I'm more confident in myself as a person despite all the negativity around me. I believe I've changed because I develop a thicker skin but at the same time I'm very loving and genuinely kind. Everybody that I know that has bought my book or for the most part I have sent for review has enjoyed my book and got something out of it whether it's personal or just simply entertainment. I think everyone has a gift and some special talent that should be used to touch not only the people around us but anyone and everyone around the world.
7. Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are underrated or don't matter at all?
In my honest opinion I think any review can hurt or help an author. It depends on how it's written and in what context its taken out of. But whether or not you get a good or bad review that shouldn't determine who you are as a writer, as long as you believe in your heart that you're talented and your book has a purpose then another person's opinion shouldn't be your opinion of yourself. For example if you look up my book Pimp in the pulpit by Thomas McRae go to goodreads.com you will see that one of the bloggers gave me not such a flattering review. Now was I a little disappointed yes of course but I didn't take it personal because everyone is entitled to their own opinion because that is what makes us unique and special through God's eyes.
8. What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
When I first started out I relied on my father and a couple of people to help me sale and promote my book. I started to get worried because my numbers weren't that impressive but as time went on and I started to branched out on my own using the internet and marketing with my own personal strategy. I finally began to realize that I had nothing to fear because whether I sold a hundred thousand or 10 copies I was a success because I decided to do it on my own and not depend on anyone else. But more importantly I truly began to realize I was a success when I look back and thought of the people I knew and how some of there lives was wasted and thrown away. No I'm not judging anyone for whatever mistakes they made I'm merely saying I am grateful that I decided to go a different direction and be a better person and a better man. Success isn't about how much money you have it's about being a positive influence for those around you and those who are observing you, even if they secretly are helping that you will fail.
9. If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work?
I can't answer that question because truthfully I am generally proud of every book I have ever published. Now granted most of them I sold without using any internet service or bloggers. But now that I'm using the internet more I'm getting more attention and it feels good knowing that my book isn't just being sold locally in my backyard. But all over the United States and in other countries that's the beauty about Book Bloggers online they can reach a larger audience through websites and Instagram.
10. What is the intended audience for your book?
It doesn't matter who reads my book as long as they enjoy it or get something out of it. Pimp in the pulpit 1 & 2 are short fiction novels that was inspired by my life and my family trials and tribulations.
11. If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world what would that message be?
First I would say please support my books Pimp in the pulpit 1 & 2 because they are short but excellent reads and secondly I would tell people no matter what happens in life always pursue your dream and follow your passion because dreams are what keeps us alive and passion is what inspires us to achieve greatness.
12. What makes a good story, why?
Life Experiences and personal events makes the best stories. Speaking from your heart and giving a piece of your soul is what makes the best literature and motion film projects. Nothing speaks to the average person then speaking from your heart and telling your own personal story .
13. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes I do read both good and bad no I don't respond to them not often anyway. But on occasion especially if it was nice but I try not to take anything personal because life is too short and I wasted so much time being angry at so many people.
14. What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience for you?
I try to see everything as a positive experience. Because what doesn't break you can only make you stronger.
15. Were your characters based on real life people / events or did you make it all up?
Pimp in the pulpit 1 & 2 are base on my family drama and personal life. Even though everything isn't fact there's still a lot of truth, comedy and suspense. Let's be honest everybody's family has at least one screw up and nut job mine just happened to have quite a few.
16. Do you view writing as a career, love, hobby, therapy or all of the above?
All of the above because my goal is to make a career out of it. I love it very much, it's definitely very therapeutic and it started out as a hobby.
17. What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing and traditional?
When you are a traditional publisher the benefit is you have someone backing you and doing a lot of the leg work. But the downside to that is that you lose more creative control and your input is very limited. But as a self publishing author you decide how things go and the way it should be. Plus you can move at your own pace and make the final decisions. in my humble opinion whether your self-publishing or traditional the author should always have the final say because it's their words and their story that is being told.
18. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Pimp in the pulpit 1 & 2 are short novels that speaks volumes despite a little bit of pages. Each story is personal and handpick through recent or regular conversations, there's nothing about neither book you won't relate to or enjoy not as long as you keep an open mind.
19. What is the best piece of advice you have received as a writer to date?
The best piece of advice I got was from my mother. And she told me that no matter what happens stay focused and determine because your blessing is coming. She also told me that I gave so much to so many people and that God is going to make sure that he smiles on me.
20. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
I would tell that individual to never get discouraged and give it your all. I would also inform them to do their research because there are a lot of scammers out there waiting to take advantage of misguided and uninformed writers.
21. Is there anything else you like to share with your readers?
Yes please support me and buy my two novels Pimp in the Pulpit 1 and 2 because they are a great read and you can get so much out of them. Both books are good for holidays or even birthday gifts it depends on the person's taste. You can order them online at barnesandnoble.com Google books.com amazon.com and fishpond.com. Or go to Google search enter Pimp in the pulpit by Thomas McRae and review all the current and up-to-date information.