Monday, July 3, 2023

Interview With Author Issa


Issa is a civil rights attorney, writer, researcher, and traveler. His work revolves around law, society, and spirituality, often learning to maneuver cultural intersections with different opinions and views of our world.


1. What inspired you to write this book?
I would say three main points. One, I wanted to write about a journey, because it feels like that’s what life is. I also wanted to explore the idea of conflicts… conflicts in our lives, on individual and global levels. It’s as if we just don’t know how to help each other, how to find solutions. And third, hope, making effort, persistence, because we have to keep at it, but I think too often we give up on ourselves and each other.

In large part, these ideas started out with my work. I work as an attorney on criminal defense and civil rights issues, and over the years I have come across cases that just don’t make sense – we are prone to punishing the ‘little guy’ over stupid misdemeanors, pushing people deeper into poverty, instead of looking for productive solutions. On the other end of the spectrum, we have violent conflicts in various parts of the world. I’m convinced that everybody – everybody – loses in a war. There is no winning. So, I wanted to write about a person who is pushed to help, and persists at it.

2. What exactly is it about and who is it written for?
From one perspective, it’s about that journey. The story is about Asant, and his decisions. It starts with him and a friend planning and then attempting a bank robbery.

From another perspective, it’s about desperation, fear, seeking redemption, and us humans looking for help.

Asant flees his country out of fear, but like many of us, he is also seeking to find his way, and to find redemption. So fear, and desperation, force him to take that step and to start thinking about doing good.

I would say it’s story written for those of us questioning our own lives, our own journeys, and the world around us.

3. What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book?
As a reader myself, I often find that I get something different from a given book than another reader might. So I think it’s hard to know what a story will deliver or how it will be received. That said, I hope Attempts encourages a few of us to acknowledge that it’s more beneficial to intend and do good, and to persist with that, than to resort to punishment and violence.

4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design?
The process of deciding on a title is interesting. With this book, at first it was Attempted Robbery. A couple of friends, however, expressed to me that although the story starts with that, it is not about that. Those friends also commented that a title like Attempted Robbery would build a different expectation for them as readers. One follow-up suggestion was Consequences. This was certainly closer to what the book is about – i.e. consequences of our actions. In the end, I decided on Attempts because I wanted to convey effort and persistence. I also wanted to contrast between the not-so-good attempts, such as theft, with that of attempts to do good.

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers – other than run!?
I think that’s funny. I would say stick to it, if you enjoy it of course. I think writing is amazing. It can be fun if you allow yourself to have fun with it. It can be liberating, adventurous, scary, even therapeutic. But, make sure joy stays as the top priority.

6. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
This is a tough question for me. I’m not sure. There are so many great books, so first thank you to the authors and the people helping authors along the way. It’s great that we have writing to exchange ideas, experiences, and facts about our world. By the same token, I think in part it is a tough industry to navigate; but, in a way it’s also a fun experience learning how to reach the readers who would enjoy your story. Where it’s heading, especially with AI coming into the picture, I don’t know. I would have to think about it a bit because there are so many factors and avenues involved today, such as the various social media apps, digital formats and outlets, and numerous marketers and marketing techniques. With all that said, I suspect, and this is coming from a new author, that the core will remain the same – that is finding and connecting with those readers who find your writing beneficial in some way, be it fiction or nonfiction.

7. Were there experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book?
Absolutely. Some from my work, some from everyday encounters, some from travels. In one trip, for example, while visiting an oasis, I encountered a couple of members of a local tribe, wearing traditional garb. We spoke for a few minutes. They came across tremendously kind, wise, confident, and I felt lucky and honored to have met them. There are a couple of sections in Attempts where I tried to incorporate this encounter and experience.

To take it a bit further, I would add my experiences as an attorney and also in regards to conflicts, or even moments when I maybe angry at something or when I choose confrontation. I have a few lessons from those moments that I tried to include in the story. Moments, perhaps lucky moments, when I managed to reconsider my perspective and chose an alternative approach than what my initial reaction would have been.

8. How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books is your writing similar to?
I like to think it’s simple and to the point. As to similarities, I dare only admire but not compare.

9. What challenges did you overcome in the writing of this book?
Imagination is a lot of fun, but it’s a challenge to put images and thoughts into words. Sometimes the mind is too fast and my fingers are too slow. Or when I find myself questioning where the story is heading. So, I would say a challenge has been to follow the motto of ‘just write’ and don’t think or question too much. Just write.

10. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?
Some of the feedback I received mentioned thought-provoking, journey, and captivating story. So I would say, do read it because it is a unique story with magical realism elements that delve into current social issues and questions. And it leaves us with hope.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  



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