Monday, May 11, 2015

Interview with R.L. Byrd, author of Black Coffee

Title: Black Coffee
Author: R.L. Byrd
Publisher: R.L. Byrd Publishing
Pages: 304 

There are ALWAYS two sides to every story. In R.L. Byrd's debut novel, Looking for Sweet Love, the Love Forum Divas told their side. 

Now it's the Brothers' turn. . . .

 The Love Forum is back and the relationship dilemmas continue within the infamous Dallas, Texas, urban radio station, K103.5. DK "Love" Niles, the popular Disc Jockey from the DK and Melissa Morning Show, takes over the reins of hosting the new Love Forum called The Brothers Speak, and man, are the Brothas talking. DK, in his pursuit to finding good love himself, discusses relationships from a black man's point of view and enlist the help of the husbands, boyfriends and lovers of the Love Forum Divas. Known as the Brotherhood; DK, Quentin, Miguel, Michael, Donnell, Pastor Levine, Dr. Houston and Brass aim to set the record straight and talk about dating black women, marriage, infidelity, personal struggles, what distinguishes a throw-back from a keeper, and answers the question the radio listeners really want to know: What really went down in their relationships? 

Along the way, the Brothers break the silence on some of the most pressing social issues challenging today's black males: Disproportionate homicide rates, unintentional injuries, suicide, HIV/AIDS, and disparities in employment and graduation rates.If you thought the Love Forum Divas were dealing with issues, you may be surprised at what the brothers have to say about those relationship woes. In the end--when all is said and done--one Diva will be asking, "Am I drinking the right cup of Black Coffee?"

For More Information

Black Coffee  is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

Q: Please tell us about Black Coffee, and what inspired you to write it.

A: Black Coffee is the answer to a voice that hasn’t been represented (in my opinion) all too well, if not, well enough . . . that would be the Black male voice.

Black Coffee was my attempt at providing that voice. Everything that we had seen (the abuser); heard about (the DL brother); or were portrayed to be (the non-committal man or womanizer); I flipped it and said, “Look, we’re all human here. It’s a two-way street you know. Men get hurt; men get cheated on; men have not-so-great relationships. Let’s hear those stories too.” But as I laid out the story-line, it quickly became not only that voice, but my social issues book for men of color.

Q: What themes do you explore in Black Coffee?

A: As I penned Black Coffee, as I mentioned earlier, it not only became the male voice to its predecessor, Looking for Sweet Love which is told from the female perspective, but my social issues book for men of color; addressing social issues, such as: Homicide, Unemployment, Suicide and HIV/AIDS (thus, the acronym HUSH for Project H.U.S.H.). It also touches on taboo subjects within the black community and the community at large that are all too often swept under the rug.

Q: Why do you write?

A: Writing has always been a part of me. It’s my therapy (so to speak), my calm to the storm of a world I live within. Also, being a very introverted person, it’s my escape . . . my voice . . . my piece of earth where I can live the lives I wouldn’t dare live (or be able to live) in this skin—living life, vicariously, through my work, I guess.

Q: How picky are you with language?

A: I believe language should reflect the time and place of your storyline; however, a reader wrote me and said that Looking for Sweet Love (my debut novel) was like, “Waiting to Exhale on crack; in a good way.” (You know I cringed when I read that, right?) But, after some thought, I could relate to what they were saying. I write in a “real” and “raw” kind of way—unrestrained—the way you would talk to your best male friend or best female friend, in private conversations. To tell you the truth, I guess I’m so engrossed in being politically correct on my day job that all the political correctness just escapes me in my writing.

Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?

A: WOW! That’s a great question. Funny you should ask that, because, although I can write just about any time of the day, amazingly, I find that my creative juiced flow at night between the hours of 11:00 PM and 2:00 to 3:00 AM. It’s almost as if I’m possessed with this bountiful narration and dialogue as the keystrokes fly in the wee hours of the night and morning.

Q: What is your worst time as a writer?

A: That would definitely have to be time on the business side (and it is a business) away from the creative side; LOL, which could be a whole other book within itself.

Q: Your best?

A: Writing, and enjoying the craft of writing, as well as interacting with readers. 

Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?

A: I don’t think anything would stop me from writing, but there are many things that would stop me from publishing.

Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?

A: Interacting with readers and other authors. Those one-on-one interactions are the best. Especially learning from and sharing experiences with other authors. And with the readers, you actually get to hear the feedback (both positive and negative) about your work and also find out what they like and dislike about the work that’s out in the world.

Q: Is writing an obsession to you?

A: I wouldn’t say it’s an obsession, more so a calling.

Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?

A: I’m sure most writers’ stories are related to their own life experiences; rather directly or indirectly. In my case, they are connected directly and indirectly. And to be brutally honest, I wrote Looking for Sweet Love on the downswing of a relationship and Black Coffee during the healing process. Maybe that’s why Black Coffee is such an emotional journey which addresses social issues parallel with the overall theme of men being “Quiet Sons,” or intentionally holding feelings inside and not expressing them.

Q: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?

A: Most definitely. There is the joy of writing (which we writers love to do), the necessity of business (which we writers have to do), and enlightening readers on the ills of the world (which we writers are compelled to do).  Writing soothes the pains of the latter two.

Q: Where is your book available?

A: Black Coffee is available at major retailers (e.g., Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Powell’s) and can be ordered through most of the Indie or independently owned bookstores.

Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?

A: Readers can find out about me, my work, and Project HUSH via
Twitter:  @author_rlbyrd

 R.L. Byrd was born in the coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, in a time where America and the South was growing and evolving. His early upbringing there, would shape his world not only as a person, but as a writer. His passion for writing was delayed by a similar passion for Architecture which he pursued by obtaining a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1992. After many years of carrying stories, characters and images in his mind, R. L. found them revisiting him on a more frequent basis as the years rolled by; and beginning in 2007, it wasn’t a day that went by that the pull to write didn’t lure him back to the pen and paper. Looking for Sweet Love (2010) was his debut novel, followed by the sequelBlack Coffee (2012, reissued in 2014).

He is currently working on his third novel, The Art of Scandal (a story inspired by true events), scheduled to be released soon.

  For More Information
  Connect with R.L. on Twitter and Facebook
  Find out more about R.L. at his website  

No comments: