TODAY, I’M PLEASED to host Eddie K. Wright, and his new memoir, Voice for the Silent Fathers. I’m in the middle of my own blog tour at the moment and appreciate this opportunity to feature another memoir writer’s work. Check out the blurb. Read the interview and brief excerpt. And then leave a comment for Eddie.
Oh, and don’t forget to enter the raffle to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card AND pick up a free copy of Eddie’s memoir on Smashwords.
Voice for the Silent Fathers by Eddie K. Wright
Eddie shares his story of becoming a father at 18 years old, who realized his son was showing “stereotypical” signs of being gay while still in diapers. Spending most of his adult life engulfed in the street gangster/hip-hop culture where this subject was not only hushed but deeply frowned upon, he gives us the voice for what’s been kept silent for far too long, confronting almost every aspect of this taboo topic. It took years for him to silently accept his son’s homosexuality, regardless of all the signs. When his son was five years old, his favorite color was pink and there was nothing Dad could do about it. By the age of fourteen, he was an internet sensation, dancing on YouTube and building his fan base to guarantee success when performing as a drag queen a few years later. Eddie addresses the questions most are scared to ask: Was there anything I could do to stop my son’s homosexuality? When did I know my son was gay? What made him that way? Parents will find comfort in reading that Eddie admits that his son’s feminine behaviors embarrassed him and he seriously contemplated abandonment, a choice that too many fathers feel they have to choose.
He shares witnessing the desperation in the eyes of fathers, from all walks of life, who have pulled him aside, away from listening ears, wanting to know the answers to these frequently asked questions and agonizing about the possibility that their sons might be gay.
Q: What or who inspired you to start writing?
A: Faced with a 25-year mandatory minimum, I began keeping a journal to maintain my sanity. But then after forming a friendship with a volunteer Chaplin, Dwight Lewis, who came to visit the jail every week, I wrote him a letter that he read to his congregation of 2,000. He then asked me to write his Christmas service and encouraged me to take my writing seriously.
Q: When did you decide to write your story? What was your personal inciting incident?
A: Once I decided to write, I knew the story of a father dealing with having a gay son needed to be told. So I knew it would be a great book simply from the surprises I would get from people when I admitted my son is gay. Fathers just don’t talk about this topic. But I had to wait for the story to develop as the years passed, and in that time, my writing also developed to be able to express the story so that my readers experienced what I was going through.
I had two personal inciting incidents. The first was my son’s struggle with everyday life and attempting suicide due to his conflicting emotions, some of which I was responsible for. Voice for the Silent Fathers was our bridge to healing our relationship. The second was when the Supreme Court passed gay marriage. All my friends took that as a sign for me to publish so I started the process.
Q: From start to publication, how long did it take to complete your book? Tell us a little about this journey.
A: Voice for the Silent Fathers is the type of story that was writing itself. I had to let the story tell itself first and come full circle. When I finally sat down and put it on paper, it took about six months and then another two months on the re-write. In the meantime, my sister was already working the publishing side, which allowed me to just write. I would say the process took a year from start to finish, but that’s with a lot of work on both ends. We’re still working the book almost 2 years later.
Q: What would you say you have gained, both personally and as a writer, through the process of writing your story?
A: Personally, I’ve gained the main objective of the book: a healthy relationship with my son. He played a big part of the writing process since I would send the chapters to him for his approval. I know I wrote about some very personal issues and the last thing I wanted was to expose moments that he wasn’t willing to share with the world. He never rejected a chapter and including him in the process helped even more. Writing is an excellent form of therapy.
Q: What are your hopes for this book?
A: I hope that it helps those that are having a difficult time accepting others differences. I spent years trying to change my son from being gay with the threat of rejecting my love as a father. Accepting my son’s homosexuality wasn’t’ even heard of in my generation, especially with my gangster mentality. But real love doesn’t come with conditions and my fears, which came from a lack of understanding, didn’t justify not being the father my done deserves. Voice for the Silent Fathers explains my side of the story as a male parent, and I hope it’s useful for others.
Q: Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder your writing? What other forms of feedback did you rely on while writing your memoir?
A: Yes, I would consider the friends and other writers I meet with a critique group. Some are brutally honest with no ulterior motive other than to help my writing. It helps a lot, especially when I read my chapters out loud. I can sense the flow, seeing if they laugh at the right spot, or stand up and give me a hug because it’s called for. I have my publisher reach out to people on the internet who would like to read my manuscript prior to my final draft. They are everyday readers whose opinions mean the most.
Q: Describe your writing process.
A: I start my day with a two-hour workout where I think about what I’m going to write about for the day. After my shower, I get a hot cup of black coffee, pull my plastic chair up to the side of my bottom bunk bed, that I use as a desk. As I sip my coffee, I begin to write what comes to mind. I start with the introduction, then write a few chapters before I come back and make an outline.
Q: What would you say is your greatest writing challenge and what techniques have you used to overcome it?
A: The greatest challenge is looking at a blank sheet of paper! Once I get started and begin to start flowing, I make it a point when it’s around time to stop to not finish what I was writing so it’s easier to take off with the flow the next day.
Q: What’s on your desk now (any projects, writing, speaking, etc.)?
A: Right now, I’m working on the final draft of The Evolution of a Gangster Turned Guru, which is about my past 13-year journey of transformation. It’s due to be published at the beginning of 2019. My publisher has also planned a Voice for the Silent Fathers BBQ and Discussion event for Father’s Day. It is a community event that will be hosted live on the radio. There is a panel of speakers, and I will call in live to answer questions.
Q: What advice would you give to those who want to write a memoir?
A: Just write and get it all out. Don’t edit yourself to make yourself look good. Your reader wants to know about the embarrassing flaws and mistakes as much as the good choices, so they can relate to who you really are.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: I just want to thank you for having me. I really enjoyed answering your questions. I appreciate the support for Voice for the Silent Fathers and if you’re looking for a must-read, can’t-put-down story, Voice for that Silent Fathers is it! Thanks again!
Excerpt from Chapter One:
My son Drew was born September 20, 1990. I don’t know if homosexuality is a biological or mental condition. I never thought Drew would grow up making the conscious decision to be gay, the way other kids were making plans to become firefighters, police officers, or doctors.
When I would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would tell me all the normal kid choices. He never straight out said, “Dad, I want to be a gay ballerina dancer!” However, as a father with a keen street intuition, I sensed something was having an effect on Drew.
At a very young age, he began displaying mannerisms similar to his mother. He started sucking his teeth and rolling his eyes. He would tilt his head and alter his voice to imitate a girlish tone and it would get on my nerves. This was happening when he was around four or five years old, and I avoided paying too much attention to those signs for fear of re-reinforcing those flamboyant behaviors.
Around others, especially the women in Drew’s life, I was depicted as “Mr. Macho.” I was the bad guy who was always “over-reacting” when I addressed and attempted to correct certain mannerisms that just couldn’t be ignored.
My “Gaydar” was active, watching all his behaviors for a “Gayness Alert!” which would make me rush in, like the heterosexual swat team, to stop whatever he was doing and make it more boyish.
GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY
Eddie will award a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
About the Author
First-time author Eddie K. Wright is a fitness trainer, yoga instructor, spiritual motivational speaker, and an inmate at a federal prison. His personal transformation upon realizing the Universal laws and love of life, supports his conviction in his Gangster to Guru book series. The premier release, Voice for the Silent Fathers, details the struggle and inner conflict with being the parent of a homosexual child during the day — and a known, connected gangster at night. Overcoming his “no son of mine” mentality by realizing the true meaning of unconditional love wasn’t easy, but his deep insight, heartfelt honesty, and “laugh to keep from crying” attitude makes for a humorous read for anyone touched by this issue. Which means it’s for everyone!
Lots and Lots of Ways to Connect
Visit Voice for the Silent Fathers website
Subscribe to his blog: http://eddiekwright.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Eddie-K.-Wright/e/B01F4CM97A
GoodReads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/EddieKWright
Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/eddiekwright
Google+ profile: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108458666961975685042
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMPvPZ_UeY9yUkNsFZrPUuQ
Gangster Turned Guru Series website: http://gangstertoguru.com
Publishers website: http://mwrightgroup.com