The Memoirs of a Hoodstar: American’s Nightmare- Young, Black & Misunderstood
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The state of the African American community inspired me to write this book. Growing up in a single parent home in the inner city created what seemed like insurmountable odds for my personal success. Our community was strife with the same old realities of prostitution, severe drug use, poverty, crime and gangs. We were young, poor, angry and often very desperate for a change. Those factors somehow combined to create a volatile generation of young, black men that would capture the country's attention with nightly news reports of gun and gang violence. From that moment on there was a clear divide between us, the angry young black men, and the rest of society. I wrote this book as an open letter expressing the dreams, failures, pains and successes of this group of men. I wrote this book to show the world these men are not the pariahs of society but the actual sons of the very society that created them. We were not "domestic terrorists" just misguided capitalists who did not see our opportunity in the society in which we lived. We are American fathers, husbands, sons and uncles. Despite what the mass media and the politicians told the world we are actually HUMANS who want for our children the same thing everyone else desired for their families.
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
This book is about the human struggle for survival in a world that sees you as marginal, even undesirable. Anyone who relates to the human struggle for survival will be an audience for this book. But more specifically, any person who has personally dealt with the inner-city struggle, the judicial system or the penal system will relate to this story. There are over 2 million Americans in the penal system in this country so not only will they see a story of hope in this book perhaps even their friends and families will see a light of hope from this tale.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
I hope this book leaves the reader with a sense of hope. Hope for the ones that may not see any sign of hope for their own futures; hope for the son who seems lost in a life of crime and violence; hope for the child who feels he has no chance at a successful life; hope for a community under relentless attack from their own government; hope for the child who does not know his imprisoned parent; hope for the wife who loves a man imprisoned; hope for life.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
For my fellow authors I offer a few words of wisdom. First, This industry prints MILLIONS books every year from authors of every genre. Your book is only one. Second, the marketing of your project is just as important as the content if you wish to sell books and not just write as a personal hobby. Authors need to allocate a good portion of their resources specifically for marketing to ensure the book reaches its target audience. You may have discovered the cure to cancer but if no one knows about it, know one will benefit. Lastly, it takes a team of good partners to make a book successful. A lot of authors, myself included, are somewhat recluse while creating our woks. It gives us more time to focus and less distraction while in creative mode but you will need the help of good, competent professionals to make your book a successful novel.
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
My experience writing this novel has shown me several trends about the book industry. Hard copy print is a dying medium. We live in an information age were information is transmitted in milliseconds. Consumers have become accustomed to reading information from their digital gadgets. The demands for our personal time and the pace in which information is transmitted has altered how we read. Very few people have the time to sit still and read a novel. Now consumers want to read their novels, business books from their iPhones, cell phones, tablets or laptops computers. I see an ever-increasing demand in the eBook market, as well as digital. This is creating a demand for new ways to market books. The old ways of book signings, book shows, etc. are being replaced with mass texts, emails and Facebook live moments. Authors must figure out new ways to reach and interact with their audiences.
6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
Writing this book created a myriad of challenges for me personally. First, since I am a member of the very community I wrote about I struggled with all the emotions that arose while touching on these very sensitive issues. As a child I had family members who struggled with substance abuse so that topic was very personal to me. I grew up poor in the inner city, so I struggled with that issue while writing this book. My family experienced the loss of two family members, both young black males, at the hands of local police officers so that created some unforeseen emotion for me while I wrote this novel. The mass incarceration of millions of young black males created mixed feelings for me. While I understood why society seen the actions and behaviors of these young men as completely unacceptable, I also knew the history and understood the desperation of these men. I was angry yet saddened, if that makes any sense. Lastly, just learning the "business" side of this industry was a challenge. Like most novices I expected to write a book, sell millions of copies, appear on the Jimmy Kimmel show, sell millions of copies and make the NY Times best seller list - all on my first book. Then I learned the reality: this is a business that requires a lot of resources and a lot of personal hustle to succeed. All of my dreams are still possible, but it will take a lot more than just writing a good book. It is a business.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
We are living in very peculiar times right now in the U.S. Every night we are seeing news reports of conflicts between the races. Every day we see nightly news reports of another innocent victim of police violence. The incarceration rate in the U.S. is higher than any other nation in the world. Why? What is going on with the social fabric of America? Why are these kids so upset they are killing other students in mass shootings at school? What is the appeal of street gangs to our kids? The issues are no longer limited to the inner city. These issues have bled out to our suburban communities all over the country. “Memoirs of a Hoodstar” answers some of these questions for the reader. “Memoirs of a Hoodstar” enlightens the reader to the hopes, dreams, ambitions, disappointments, pains of an entire segment of the population that may not have the attention of the national politicians but certainly has heavy influence over the youth in our society. If we want to understand some of the issues, we must first understand the very people who must deal with them daily. For $20, my book can help the reader understand.
D. Durand Hall is an African American businessman and rehabilitated citizen. During his incarceration, he studied over seven hundred books to understand the legal and cultural ramifications of imprisonment on African American men and their families. As founder and CEO of Urban Multimedia Communications, LLC, he is now committed to creating platforms that inform and promote the minority struggle to the world. For more info, see: www.memoirsofahoodstar.com