LaMonique Hamilton is a freelance writer, editor, musician, speaker and media mogul in the making by day, momma 24/7, a modern-day renaissance woman, and a follower of the plans promised by God to prosper and not harm, to give hope and a future (Jer 29:11). She is the founder and CEO of PIE Media, which promotes positive media for positive artists. Her first publication, PieHole Magazine, debuted May 2011 online.
- When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, but it was instilled in me that anything creative or artistic would be better suited as a hobby than a career. It wasn’t until I was in college, on the path to become a corporate attorney, that a very wise professor honed in on my true passion and encouraged me to become a writer. That conversation changed my direction, and ultimately, my life.
- What quality do you think that a good writer must possess in order to become successful?
Tenacity. Good writers are not necessarily the writers with the greatest talent or gift, but the ones who are determined to become as skillful as possible, plow through the countless rejections, accept and learn from criticism, and keep writing no matter what the circumstance. Good writers are consumed by the search to find and infinitely refine their voice.
- If you can remember, what was the first book you read that made you read it from the perspective of a writer, with a critical eye, and not just as a reader?
Misery by Stephen King. I was in sixth grade, and it was the first adult novel my mother allowed me to buy. I’m almost sure I lied to her about its contents. I read that book three times in a row, and several times since. That novel is character-driven, and I needed to know how King developed Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes. They were so alive, flawed, raw, and human. I wanted to write like that. I saw the movie years later, and liked it, even as I lamented some of the characteristics formed in my imagination. That’s when I also decided to read the books that inspired movies as often as possible.
- What avenues of writing interests you the most? Do you think you would find more satisfaction in writing books or in writing for television and movies?
I’ve realized certain things about my creative voice as I’ve delved deeper into this writing madness. One of those things is that I’m a very visual person. Many times, when I’m creating a character, I can actually see them. That makes writing screenplays and teleplays very natural. However, I am also a sucker for a real challenge, which is why I always return to the written story. I want to conquer it. I want to come completely apart and pull myself together for it. I’m not sure that makes sense, but when I have poured everything that I have into a piece, I am unglued. I cry and laugh at the same time, and I have no sense of time and place. It takes a little while to put myself back together, usually when my son jolts me back into reality. Blessedly, he’s also an artist, so he gets it.
- You started PIEhole Magazine in 2011. What was the driving force behind this brand you are building?
I’m surrounded by so many talented artists and positive people, and I wanted to figure out a way to promote them. I guess one of the biggest driving forces behind PIEhole and the PIE Media brand is impatience. I have no intention of waiting until I have some hotshot position in New York or LA before I let the world know about these wonderful and talented people that I’ve been blessed to meet or experience through their art. Sometimes, you have to bloom where you are planted. We can’t wait until we think we have the clout, the forum, or the money to build up others. PIEhole is my way to build up others with the resources I have, and I think that because I’m faithful in that, I’ve been given more resources to do even more.
- What does PIEhole mean to you? What do you want it to come to mean to the rest of the world?
PIEhole is my second baby. I love it, am concerned for it, want it to perform at its highest capacity, and in the end, I want it to contribute something positive to society. I have to work on the business model of PIEhole on a global scale, but I think of it as a more intimate endeavor with my readers. I want whomever reads or contributes to it to come away from the experience inspired and ready to take positive action. If concrete decisions are made to step out on faith and do that thing that they’ve been dreaming and fearing at the same time, then PIEhole has done its job.
- How hard is it to be the editor and publisher of your own magazine? What other publications do you write for at present? How do you find the balance in writing for other publications as well as your own publication?
Being an editor and publisher is ridiculous! I don’t recommend it. In an ideal world, this would be two different jobs. Editors focus on content. Publishers focus on money. I have to focus on both, which divides my time in unimaginable ways. I do also work as a freelance writer. I’ve written for several online and written publications, and am currently collaborating with two magazines, which is very exciting. I find the balance by prioritizing. My message is important to me. This magazine is important. Making money to support my family is important. Reality television is not important. Trolling the interwebs checking on people who could care less about me is not important. I teach my son that the proper order to live a good life is God, family, work, friends, then everything else. And yes, work comes before friends. Your work supports your family, and when your work and your God-given purpose are one in the same, then this order is even more important. Your true friends get that. Drop the rest of them, quickly. Finding the balance is not that hard once we draw a hard line in the sand about what we truly care about.
- Where do you see yourself within your career in the next 10 to 15 years?
Struggling. Does that sound weird? I’m working to not struggle financially, but I will always be working on the next challenge. The next novel. The next screenplay. The next magazine. I like digging myself out of these creative holes. I become stronger everytime I meet a goal. I love that feeling.
- I know that you are currently working on a novel. Can you share any details about it and what the world can expect from your debut novel? Perhaps you can share some details on when we can expect its release.
I’m willing to share a few things with you. The book is actually a collection of short stories that reads as a novel. It involves history, religion, mystery, and magic. These characters are currently tearing me apart inside. It will be available in Winter 2014. I will start releasing teasers on my website at the end of the summer.
- Do you believe there can be an expiration date on a person’s dreams becoming a reality? In your opinion does realizing a dream take a lot of patience?
There are no expiration dates on dreams. I was thirty before I felt strong enough to leave my corporate job and pursue this full time. My friends were celebrating a decade in their respective industries and beginning to settle down, and I was starting all over again. With a kid. By myself. Your expiration date is not the issue. Everyone’s got one of those — it’s that second date on the tombstone. Your dream will take time, probably more time than you want it to. But mostly, your dream takes you giving everything you have every single day, especially when it’s hard and especially when you’re the only one in your corner.
- Who was your favorite author growing up? Who is currently your favorite author? What are you reading now?
In high school, I had a thing for John Updike. I don’t think I have a favorite author now. There are so many great new authors out now, and I love checking out their work. My son and I are going to start reading the Steve Jobs biography together at the end of this week. It’s not often that we’re interested in the same book, so I’m taking full advantage of this opportunity.
- What is it that you believe qualifies someone as being a success? Do you think wealth is equal to being successful?
There are some very unhappy wealthy people in the world. They suck the joy out of every place they enter. Being successful is simply living in your purpose. Our purpose is often multi-dimensional, and if one part is off, everything is off balance. My purpose is to be a mom, writer, musician and entrepreneur. I have to give credence to all of it. I believe when we honor God by respecting all that is asked of us, He will bring honor to us. That is success.
- What advice would you give to the writers out there who are still trying to figure out how to make a go at this?
Ever seen that Disney movie, Meet the Robinsons? Keep moving forward.
- I feel like so many of us writers, or artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think us creative types should be unafraid to be whoever it is that we feel we have the right to be. So what is your write 2 be? What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?
My story is uniquely my own, and it fosters my artistic voice. No one can replicate it or take it away from me. I have the write 2 be Positive.Innovative.Engaging. I truly love living the PIE life!
About PIEhole magazine:
PIE — Positive. Innovative. Engaging.
PIEhole Magazine is positive media for positive artists and all who support them. We’re here to inspire and move you to action.
Editor-in-Chief LaMonique Hamilton, tired of watching enormously talented people who incorporate great messages of hope, integrity, and inclusion in their work overshadowed by artists (or hieresses) who make headlines for their latest antics and bad behavior started PIEhole Magazine as a product of PIE Publishing (formerly Pumpkin Pie Publishing) in May 2011. After complaining about the negative state of media for several years, she decided if she wanted media to change, she would have to do something. In addition to writing songs, prose, plays, and poetry that motivate and inspire people to action, she works with other artists with forward-thinking, unafraid voices, and assists them in bringing forth and marketing their work.
PIEhole Magazine was founded in the belief that true artists cannot wait for inspiration. They cannot jump on whatever bandwagon is popular this week. True artists are trendsetters, change-makers, and motivators.
We encourage our readers to create their own language.