Derrick Gray is a Christian Minister, business owner, filmmaker and author. A Long Island native and lover of all things hip-hop, he knows God’s not through with us yet.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! 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? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Hello. Thanks for having me. I have loved writing from an early age. When I was younger I would write different skits and shorts that we’d videotape and still laugh at to this day. As I got older I have written other forms of entertainment, stage play, short film, songs. However, this is my first published work as an author. What I love most about being a writer is being able to express myself in words that can inspire another person is powerful. What frustrates me the most about writing is the ability to be able to let it go and to release the work without feeling that I have to rewrite.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My book is called the 10 Win Commandments. This is a book that is both motivational and inspirational, for those who are looking to take life to the proverbial next level, but include God in the process.
You can reach me at teamderrickgray.com
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
Inspiration for me comes from all places. I draw it from other authors, creative folks, friends, family etc. There is no single source with where it comes from.
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? What projects are you currently working on?
Yes, early morning is best for me. I usually set aside blocks of time that I can dedicate to getting it done. Yes I do outline. I find that it’s very necessary. This is my first novel, so this book may not be the best indicator of how long it takes to finish a work. This one was a few years in the works. Currently I am co-authoring an anthology due to be released in November of this year titled ‘For Such a Time As This’.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
The autobiography of Malcolm X is the first book that ever touched me emotionally. My favorite author is Robert Ludlum. Currently I’m reading Start With Why by Simon Sinek
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
The release of this first book would have to be my greatest writing accomplishment thus far. Where do I see myself in the next five years, hmmm, that’s a good question. I see myself continuing to create in whatever avenue that opens up. I also plan to work on some feature films that I have written.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
Being rejected is part of being creative. Not everyone will get what you do, or what you’re writing and that’s okay. Just write for those who are your audience. My advice to other writers would be to do your homework. Become a student of the process.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
For sure I definitely find it harder to balance the two. The author platform is probably tougher for me than the actual writing of the book.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
I wouldn’t say that I hate it, but it is somewhat difficult. Whenever I do read back, I try to read as much as possible with an unbiased mind but placing myself in the mindset of someone reading it for the first time.
10) 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?
To be successful? I guess that depends on the definition of success, and I’m not sure if a cutoff age exists for that. Personally I don’t think it’s ever too late for someone to write if inspiration hits. Not at all. I wrote about that in the book. There’s no age limit in God’s time table. Scores of people have had major accomplishments in their later years in life.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I try to write from the heart and keep it simple enough for anyone to comprehend. I am learning that writing or should I say good writing is a discipline, and it takes work. There is always room for improvement, so I am studying to be better at this wonderful craft.