For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box
About Eddie Cisneros
Employed as a doorman for over twenty four years, Eddie C has been quoted as saying “I am not a doorman who chooses to write, but a writer who happens to be a doorman.” Apart from his novel series of Hispanicus: The apostate life of Antonio Pintero, Eddie has two finished screenplays under his belt. A stylized thriller titled “Bend” about New York City homicide detectives on the trail of a serial killer, and it’s sequel. He also served as a contributing writer for the real estate website BrickUnderground.com for two years, with more than forty posts in a bi-weekly segment that was titled “A Doorman Speaks” which dealt with the inside workings and stories in a residential building, all voiced by none other than, a doorman. Eddie also has a memoir of sorts even though he continues to work in said field titled “Opening Doors: A New York City doorman’s secrets and stories”, which has garnered the attention of several blog websites in the past including write-ups in New York magazine and the New York Post. The project is on on the shelf as of now with the hopes of it being shopped to publishers in the near future.
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
You know, I’m not going to say it was fully influenced by my moms but, I’m going to give her some props. My mother worked in the school system as a paraprofessional. So I’d say going back to when I was much younger I guess I would see her writing and coming up with ideas to hook up the bulletin board in class. She’d let me help her out and what not, so its safe to say wanting to write and the entire idea of creating “something” was kind of being embedded in me at a very young age. As I got older, I grew up loving film in general. My favorites are horror movies.
I literally remember typing away on this big old silver typewriter. It was the kind that looked like a smallish but heavy briefcase. You then popped the cover off and there were the keys. I used this thing for school but, best of all, l would hammer out all kinds of dark stories and even these low budget movie scripts that my friends and I swore we were going to film around the neighborhood. Continuing with high school, I took courses in creative writing and journalism. I went through a phase where I was in this rap group, we were called Da Darchaf (The dark half) literally spelled just like that. But again, that consisted of me writing in tons and tons of black and white marble notebooks. I took courses in script writing with a group called Gotham Writer’s Workshop and even served as a contributing writer for a real estate website. To me, its basically a passion for writing. I tend to get carried away writing a text even.
Writing is this gratifying challenge to me. You get to come up with this idea, and from that point, can fully run wild with it, creating different characters and thinking about a plotline and all types of things that fully make your story come to life to make it that much more interesting. Its those things that continue to and have always inspired to me write.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? What projects are you currently working on?
My series is titled Hispanicus: The apostate life of Antonio Pintero. The first book was released in August with the second installment dropping some time for the new year, either January or middle February. The book is currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, or even direct from my publisher which is Print house books. The website is printhousebooks.com As for myself, I am very active on Twitter and everyone can connect with me @eddiecauthor Hispanicus tells the fictional story of Antonio Pintero, a Bronx born drug dealer who as an adult is retelling his life story. After having a change of heart if you will, he decides to right his wrongs fearing something bad is going to happen to him. Its a very deep and powerful story that given a bigger platform, I believe could be something special.
I actually haven’t been working on any particular project lately, although I do have ideas brewing in my head. For one, I would love to go back to script writing and kind of put together this outline for a film idea I have titled “The Superintendent”. I describe it as a Home Alone meets Die Hard. I also have this other idea for either a story or screenplay titled “Hooky Party”. About these grown ups with some pretty decent professions that are basically coerced into cutting out from work to gather at a what turns out to be this huge like old school outta control kickass hooky party. I’m definitely going to have fun with that one.
3) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
I would have to say being fortunate enough to have been signed to three different publishing companies, all of them for the same book, lol. I’ll explain.
I was first signed by this one company who shall remain nameless, going back say six, seven years maybe? They were based out in Atlanta. I languished there for like two years with nothing to show for it. At the time of them reaching out to me, I was ecstatic you know. I simply saw it as a publishing company wanting to sign me and that was it. Suddenly, it became waiting, and waiting, and waiting. My whole situation was even broken down like this to me by the owner of the company. He described me as being this basketball player who has been riding the bench, and now was going to be my time to get to play and show the world what kind of skills I had. Unfortunately, I never got to touch the ball, in fact traded, lol. I say traded to be funny but the truth was I politely asked to be released. It was a lesson learned but in this industry, you’re going to have many of those.
My second company was yet another independent one and the ultimate problem here to me was a conflict of interest. While I am very humble to have gotten the chance to see two parts of my series released, at that time called His-Panic, my publisher at the time was also an author. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will never knock anyone’s hustle. Do what you must and can in order to promo yourself. I just felt it becoming far too redundant when reading an article or listening in on some podcast show this author/publisher was on and only, and I mean only speaking about their project. Not once mentioning the stable of authors and their projects this person was amassing for their publishing company. My whole take on that, sticking with the sports analogy, If you’re going to own a team then you manage and run it. You can’t suit up and get on the court and play as well. I think it becomes too difficult to juggle both.
My publisher now? So far, everything has been on the up and up. I feel a lot more comfortable and believe I’ve gained a lot of experience with my past trials and tribulations. I’m just keeping fingers crossed this is where I’m able to hang around for a longer time and get to score some points.
That last statement kind of leads into the second part of your question because I feel I’ve been through quite some things. You have to take into consideration, all these events were spread out through several years. Throw in the years spent on writing, re-writing, sending out query letters to what it seemed like every publisher big and small I could think of, trying to reach out to literary agents. You wait around for months until one responds, and that can turn out to be a big fat zero. Which would now bring you back to square one and its the entire process over and over again. Like I said before, writing to me is a passion. You have to believe in your craft, believe in yourself and your story. And for whatever amount of doors that are closed along your journey, just know that there has to be that one door where if you turn the knob, you’re able to open it and walk on in.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I’d say 90 percent of my writing has been done and finished at work so, that’s the schedule . But we’ll keep that on the low. I’m supposed to be working, not working on writing, lol. As far as outlining? I’ll jot down some things from time to time but its mostly if say while writing a certain scene, or wanting to describe something in particular, I’m going to have to further research on the internet, then yes, outlining kind of comes into play and helps out.
On the last part of the question. I truly think finishing is not a problem for me, its actually more about starting. And I literally mean that for a lot of things in my life relegated to other than writing. The good thing with me is that I’ve always been able to retain all kinds of ideas and even dialogue between characters in my head. Again, the problem is finding that right frame of mind to sit down and get it all typed up.
5) Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Having been on the set one day watching a scene being shot for my series of Hispanicus during the morning, then running to be at another meeting in the afternoon with some major movie company wanting to buy a script of mine, in between tweeting how blessed I am to be in this position at this very moment in time five years after the fact that in an interview with write 2 be magazine I was once asked that very same question.
6) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Not necessarily. Writing is way different than many other things. If you’re an athlete, then yes, you have a limited window to be noticed and hopefully make a name for yourself. If you wanted to be an actor or an actress? Unfortunately, you would love to cash in on your good looks while you are young to hopefully land some nice roles. But when it comes to writing, I don’t think there’s a specific age for someone to pick up a pen or open a laptop and hash out a story. Someone could be in their fifties or sixties and decide they want to write an autobiography on the interesting life they may have lead. To me, being a successful writer has more to do with having a way with words and knowing how to put them together. As for age? Not a factor because in the end, words are timeless!
7) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What’s the first book you read that made you know that you could do this for a career? What book are you currently reading?
It was back in ’94 upon taking a part-time gig as a doorman, I actually was waiting to be called into the NYC police academy. This was for Housing. At that time I was like gung-ho about police everything and anything. At one point, I kind of had this fascination with eventually becoming a homicide detective. I don’t know, for some reason I thought it was cool as hell to like duck under the yellow caution tape and flash a badge and then walking around a crime scene trying to put clues together. Needless to say, I ended up getting cold feet and the whole police academy thing went out the window. I do remember reading this book though, it was called “Homicide: A year on the killing streets” by David Simon. The book followed these different detectives and their varied stories on the streets of Baltimore. But the writing and the stories themselves, some of them unnerving, really got under your skin. The fact that I would have loved to become a cop just to get to that ranking of an homicide detective, the book resonated on a personal level.
I couldn’t really pinpoint one book that made me say, yes, I am going to write! The greatest thing about literature is that, no mater what genre you like and read, its the ability by the author to transport you to that moment in time within the book. And reading all types, I felt, at a young age that I could put together words well enough to make a reader do the same. And so I wrote. And the more I wrote as years went on, the better the writing. I still think that even now, I continue to grow as a writer, wanting to push my work to different heights.
Unfortunately, right now, I kind of took a little rest from writing and or reading lengthy manuscripts. I’ve been really focused on trying to promote my series on all kinds of media platforms. The last book I read was a quick one, several months ago, I’d say before the summer. A horror book by Clive Barker titled “The Hellbound Heart”.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
I’m a little vain but as far as just reading my book for the hell of it? No. Now, do I know my books from front to end? An emphatic yes! I’m just anal I guess. When I write, it might be just three or four paragraphs in, and I’ll go straight to the beginning of the page and read the entire thing all over again. I’ve always done this. Its more on the lines of wanting to make sure that what I’m writing is fluid and has consistency. It kind of also helps in self editing a bit. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve come across misspelled words and stuff.
9) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing? Are you more of an e-book person or a traditional book person?
Its weird to say “at my age” simply because I’m 45, I think that’s still relatively young, but, I’m happy I’ve gotten to see many changes throughout my years. I mean, I’m talking about remembering 8-track, 45′ records, cassettes, CD’s, I’ve seen Beta Max, VHS, laser Disc, DVD, to digital downloads now and whatever other forms of music and movies and all kinds of things that await us. So, getting back to the question and regarding change? I get it. I’m willing to accept it. I would have loved to have been signed to a major publishing company back in the days and would have embraced a nice advance. I could have just sat back and let the publishing company do what they must and hope they spread the word of my book and pretty much just wait to get paid. I think now its more of a hustle for authors. You have to push yourself promoting on your own, trying to keep up with social media just the same in order to be recognized and hope people take a liking to you and want to read your work. But I also think there are more opportunities for writers. The options of self publishing with various companies including Amazon which have shown they are here to stay for awhile. I guess it all comes down to accepting change and simply giving it a try. As for change regarding a piece of literary work? Hell to the no on E-books. I can’t! It might come off as contradictory but I’m one that needs a physical copy of a book in my hand. There’s just a different feel to flipping pages compared to swiping a nook or an Ipad in order to continue reading. I can’t do it.
10) I feel like so many of us writers, us artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think we 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?
I would say my write 2 be a Latino author who has the capability of transcending urban lit to an even higher level. My series of Hispanicus is raw. And while being a piece of fictional work, it has that level of realism in it. The way I write, I want not only a reader to connect with the work, but also be literally placed right smack in the middle of any particular scene. I want them to feel. To be able to visualize a character or scenario as if they themselves were in the exact same situation at hand. I want a reader to be able to smell, taste, the grit and grime of the story being lifted right off the pages and causing some kind of sick, sensory overload.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read many books in my time by some great authors. I’ve also read different types of genres. My series of Hispanicus, while being fiction, kind of hits home to many people that I’ve spoken to in the past on different levels. Be it, knowing what it was like to grow up poor, or in a rough neighborhood. Knowing individuals who were into drugs, perhaps sold them or even lost their lives by the effects of drugs. Having been raised by a single parent while one or perhaps both figures were kind of messed up in their own ways. But the one thing everyone has in common with their critique of my book, has been, the book is very visual. In fact, I’ve had some people ask me whether or not the book is some kind of semi-autobiography of sorts, and its not. Its just the way I write I guess. And to get those kind of reactions, then yes, as an author, I’m somewhat validated as having had some kind of literary impact on my readers. And that to me is, authenticity at its best!
Locate Eddie’s book by clicking on the link below:
Bonus: Jimmetta, thank you for this opportunity and if you will, I have a couple questions for you.
1.) Writers tend to be creatures of habit. I’m always curious about other writers and how they prepare and motivate themselves to write?
I was very intrigued by your question Eddie! First, my motivation to write begins with a desire that began when I was just six years old. That was when I knew I wanted to be a writer and create stories. That desire has only intensified over the years and of course my goal to see my name and my books on the New York Times Bestsellers list some day fuels my drive as well.
As far as writing my actual novels I have discovered through trial and error that outlining is what works for me and my productivity level. Writing blogs and articles usually comes from a desire to inspire someone with my experiences and my viewpoint.
2.) As I further continue to promote myself and my book, what have been some platforms or methods in which you have found success getting the word out? I would greatly appreciate any advice.
I wish that I could say that I was some type of expert in the marketing department but I am still trying to figure out the winning formula for that one. I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and even Reddit to get the word out but I admittedly could be much more tenacious with my social media marketing. I know others also use Instagram and Snapchat but I don’t have those platforms. Also if you don’t have a blog you may want to think about getting one to maybe talk about your journey as a writer and your process and how you work or to talk about whatever topics you choose but just to create a good, solid fan base. If this is going to be a long term series you may even want to create a blog or fanpage (on Facebook) under the characters name to gain more interest for your character. Whatever form of social media you use just try as hard as you can to be consistent with it and send something out at least once daily if you are able to. I hope that some of this helps.