Andrew Snorton was raised in New Jersey, is a Wake Forest alum, former teacher (Gwinnett County Public Schools in Metro-Atlanta), and writer for multiple magazines, including Examiner.com (March 2010-July 2016).  His first work (released in January 2017), Deeper than your deepest sleep:  thoughts on love with Joseph Snorton, is a poetic rendition of conversation with his distant and long-lost family member, Joseph.  During his conversation, they center their discussion on love and its multiple forms through the lenses of relationships with their family members, friends, and loved ones, including the past, present, and future.  His second book (released in February 2018), 9 stories of faith:  volume 1, is the first of a reader series which is even more ambitious.  Through interviews with 9 different individuals of different faiths (the first volume covers Christianity, Hindu, and Islam), all are asked the central questions of what is your biggest daily hurdle or challenge and what do you do in order to manage and lead a life of meaning and purpose.  With responses ranging from consistent reading, prayer, and meditation, to employment of means conventional and creative, it allows readers to understand that everyone is dealing with something.   His newest book (hardcover and e-book), nothing Minor, takes a look at his 2019 coverage of minor league baseball (A, AA, and AAA) in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.   With contributions from EmoryRose Photography and complete with photos, interviews, and game coverage, there’s a special section on the Negro Southern Leagues Museum, it’s an intimate read for fans of baseball and beyond, so get in the game.  All books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (just click on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble images to order your copies)!

His audiobook series takes things to a more creative level!  The Author’s Mixtape – Volume 1:  Organic Musings from HTooOh, is a true organic collaboration with 3rd Level EMG.  Once going into the studio, he is given a random topic and given 10 minutes to produce a spoken word piece; as a result of the 2-hour studio session, it’s a 7-track audiobook (2 spoken word pieces with music and 5 done tradionally) covering a wide range of topics of relevance to a myriad of current events, thoughts, and ideas.  Available on nearly 300 platforms including (but not limited to) Itunes, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and more, it is an engaging and enriching masterpiece that is the first of more to come (click HERE to find out more, including your online purchase).  The release of the 8-track audiobook The Author’s Mixtape – Volume 2:  Beyond the holi-daze.  Beyond history…takes it to the next level with more tracks, all organic, including a discovery bound to entertain, enlighten, and more (click HERE to purchase).   Get the Bag, is a 9-track experience building on the music and spoken-word standard of the entire series.  The newest release, Volume 4:  The Collab, is a 9-track creative work featuring Kris10; both do 4 individual tracks along with a duet, taking the series to the next level!  All volumes are available on nearly 300 platforms, including Spotify, Soundcloud, Shazam, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon Music, Itunes, and Apple Music.

“Deeper” and “9 stories ” are rated by the Author Academy Awards for their 2019 their top-1000 list!

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?

Great question!  As for a calling, I’d say it grew over time.  I previously wrote for Examiner.com (online magazine) from March 2010 to July 2016 when they shut down.  I knew I wanted to continue writing, so while I do so via my business/media outlet (asnortonccs.com), I knew I wanted to do more. 

After speaking with friends of mine who’ve written (mainly Tyressa Ty and Darius Gourdine), I finally embarked on my author journey and released my first book in 2017.  I’d say I reconnected with a gift and calling to write (3 books and 5 audiobooks); I truly embrace and enjoy being a writer, with the biggest reason of finding my voice so I can help others find theirs.  We all have a story to share, but sometimes, we feel we may not have “it” verbally or writing-wise.  I feel it’s important and truly love it when someone shares with me, “THAT’s how I felt/feel.  Thank you for putting into words”.

The most frustrating aspect simply comes to getting started (LOL), as that’s really the hardest part.  Any writer understands we have to CONSISTENTLY share our stories of impact and our larger work.  We have to do so DAILY and via any and all constructive outlets (i.e. radio, television, online newspapers/magazines, podcasts, and of course, this amazing outlet).  If we don’t share or show, the people won’t know, and there’s someone out there who needs to hear from US.

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? 

My debut (2017), Deeper than your deepest sleep:  thoughts on love with Joseph Snorton, is ideal for any reader who enjoys poetry.  It’s based on conversation with a long-lost (male) family member as we discuss the action of love through multiple lenses (i.e. family, friends, the community, people who are in [or out] of our lives, and self-reflection).  My second book, 9 stories of faith:  volume 1 (2018), is ideal for any reader who yearns for stories of motivation, encouragement, and empowerment.  All of the people I interviewed share how via their faith (Christianity, Hinduism, or Islam), best practices in health and wellness, their support network, and just changing their way of thinking, how they live lives of purpose despite their biggest daily challenges (i.e. physical health, mental health, life after incarceration, and other hard-hitting challenges).  My look at minor league baseball, nothing Minor (2020), focuses on my coverage of the game in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.  I made sure to interview African-American players (as their percentage in Major League Baseball is less than 10% of all players – that NEEDS to change), a number of whom are now in the Major Leagues.  Likewise, there’s some great game coverage and an insert on the Negro Southern Leagues Museum among other great features for fans of the game on all levels; add the life-lessons and player insights and you’ll want to “get in the game” today.

My audiobook series, The Author’s Mixtape, is truly a creative masterpiece. We combine the freestyle experience of hip-hop and improvisational style of jazz as we do all of the writing and recording in studio (meaning we do NOT pre-write anything).  It is a sensational experience to your ear and spirit as we tackle a wide-range of topics.  For the most recent volumes (4 and 5), I team up with co-author Kris10 to bring even more music, duets, and creative thought-provoking messages to truly have anyone pause, reflect, and renew.

To find out more about all of the books and audiobooks, readers may visit my website (asnortonccs.wixsite.com/authorpage/) as well as adding me on Facebook (add the page Author Andrew Snorton), Instagram/Twitter (@authorasnorton), YouTube (Author ASnorton), and emailing me at authorasnorton@gmail.com for autographed copies, speaking engagements, and related collaborations.

3) What projects are you currently working on?

My most recent project is the release of the audiobook The Author’s Mixtape (Volume 5);  Forward thinking * Being * Doing featuring Kris10.  After introducing her for The Author’s Mixtape (Volume 4):  The Collab, she takes center-stage with some truly amazing work.  We perform 2 duets and I add a few tracks as again, all of the tracks are “straight from the dome (and heart)”, so it’s a true freestyle experience.  All of the audiobooks are available on nearly 300 streaming platforms (including Tidal, Spotify, Soundcloud, Itunes, Amazon, Apple Music, Shazaam, Deezer, and others).

I am looking forward to upcoming events in Chicago (September 27th interview on the Drive at 5 With Roman), along with pop-up events in Chandler, AZ (October 15th-16th), Atlanta (October 23rd), Chicago (October 24th), and Winston-Salem (October 29th).  I am super-excited for the upcoming “Art-Ober” series taking place October 8th-10th in Petersburg, VA.  I’m partnering with Jazze Entertainment and 1820hats for a truly creative weekend experience; it’s complete with a fashion show mixer and kickoff featuring 1820hats (October 8th), a Saturday afternoon downtown stroll to connect with some amazing businesses/vendors and more (October 9th), an evening Sip and Smoke (cigar-based on October 9th), and then I’ll close out as the headliner for the Sunday (October 10th) Books and Brunch event.

4) 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?

Getting published!

Seriously, that is a big accomplishment as many don’t even get that far.  In 2019, my first two books are rated as Top-1000 reads by the Author Academy Awards, and I’m really excited to be a nominee for Author of the Year by the Atlanta-based Black Only Awards (November 2021).  The accolades are great, but getting published to read more readers and be a voice for those who have not quite found theirs is very important to me.

Five years from now?  I see myself writing and recording more books/audiobooks, and hopefully, making a bigger impact in the lives of people via my writing.  Again, the aware are good and getting recognized by your peers is truly amazing, but I don’t want to lose sight of the real reason why I write.  I’ll go where He or She (God) takes me.

5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?

The hardest part of rejection is from those people who know you, yet they will not allow themselves to fully embrace your evolution or dedication to your craft.  You can’t assume everyone (i.e. family and friends) who knows you to automatically support you.  You take time to pause and decompress so you don’t let your mind or spirit get clouded.

You put your energy in more positive pursuits and realize there’s a larger universe of people out there who are waiting on YOU and YOUR work, including those who do and don’t know who you are.  It’s a daily reminder to remain dedicated to your craft, work-ethic, and work-product.  If you do that on a regular basis and it will take you to spaces and places beyond those who reject you now only to come around later.

6) 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?

For the audiobooks yes, I make sure (since August 2019) to release one every 6 months.  This allows for a bigger creative window for some ideas and topics to pursue; likewise, given the history behind the months (August is my birthday month and February is Black History Month), it just adds to the impact and deeper “why”.  

When I write, it depends.  I definitely have a schedule for writing my books where I’ll map out when during the day, time of day, and location (especially pre-Covid) where I’ll write so I keep my energy at a high level.  My last book (nothing Minor) is written mainly from home since you could not really go anywhere last spring/summer.  Outlining helps so you can be organized and have a steady ebb and flow for readers to follow, so I’ll usually write first and organize it later.  As for completing a novel, it depends.  My first book took me about 2 months (live situations will DEFINITELY motivate you to get your work done, LOL).  My second book took me closer to 6 month and my last book about a year when you consider the collection of content.

As for the audiobooks, it’s within the 2 hour studio sessions as noted earlier.

7) 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?

It is never too late.  Don’t let anyone, including YOURSELF, convince you that it is too late!

The most important thing is getting started.  If you have it in you, let it out as there’s SOMEONE who can connect with your work.  Again, do not let any darn body (I wanted to say something else, so just use your imagination) tell you that you can’t because you’re too old or whatever.  Filter out the noise and get it done!

8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you?  Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?

Oh goodness yes!

My mother will tell you as a kid, the book At the Pond was my favorite; in fact, she intentionally hid it as I would read it to her literally every day!

That ‘s definitely it as it’s the bridge for me to WANT to read.  Emotionally, I’d say Before the Mayflower from the standpoint of the rich history of people of African descent which is strategically buried (or worse), leaving people akin to walking across the street blind and blindfolded.  Other books that come to mind include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Stolen Legacy, Songs of Innocence and Experience, Stride Toward Freedom, Why Black People Tend to Shout, and of course, the Bible. 

Currently, I’m re-reading Building Atlanta (the autobiography of the late HG Russell as his is an extraordinary story) and I have a slew of other authors’ books which have been sitting on my table to get to, so bear with me!

9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?

The Pandemic allowed me to pause, reboot, refocus, and just get deeper connected with my writing and the topics I have yet to cover.  I definitely benefit from this time to slow things down.  The audiobook series has an added vigor and energy thanks to incorporating a guest author (again, Kris10 is truly AMAZING; I cannot wait until she does her own projects with writing, music, and more).  Just getting connected with the talents that have always been there but I never really realized existed is really the biggest takeaway.  If anything, it keeps me excited and more driven to just pursue more of my passion and continue to realize my purpose as an author and beyond.

I think the best insight from the “now-normal” is the adage “Delays don’t mean defeat”. Yes, there are plenty of things that are put on hold, but sometimes, that is a good thing.  It allows you to take better inventory and look closer at growth and win-win opportunities.  It means you have to add more tools to your toolbox as we all have to “move” a little differently and in many instances, more efficiently and creatively.

10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you? 

This is another good question.  I am an advocate of the self-publishing industry.  Yes, there’s more on you to do (and make sure you have a good team for editing, press/media, and related items as it’s on YOU), but you learn a lot about how things work.  Traditional publishing is good just given the resources they have available, but remember, the more someone else does for you, the more they’ll take, so you really have to be out there consistently.  This includes your content as some publishers will edit per their formula, so your voice may get lost in the shuffle.

Eventually, you want and need to do both.  Again, I encourage starting off self-publishing and gradually move to the traditional route.

On a related note, just remember you are an author.  Don’t let anyone tell you due to your ethnic background, gender, or other demographic measure, that you don’t measure up.  There are quality writers everywhere, so embrace the diversity and larger richness of authors from across the board.

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?

For me, it’s always about being authentic and accessible.  It’s equally about talking with your audience instead of above them.

As long as I keep that at the forefront and reflect on the books that “speak” with me, I’m sure I’ll continue to build and evolve.  Will I always write poetry, motivation, and sports related?  Not always, but clearly I can, and that means I can expand on the topics and genres covered.  Will I always do a freestyle audiobook?  Not always, but I know I can and do so creatively, which means there’s more creativity in me.

If finding my voice so others can find theirs is central, I think I’m on the right track, or at least the right car and seat on the train (LOL)!