Thursday, February 18, 2010

Q&A with Author, DD Turner

DD Turner, Author of
The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend:
Paths of Grand Wizardry

1) Tell us about yourself?

My name is Derrick Turner, writing under the pseudonym of D.D. Turner. I am from Brooklyn, New York but currently reside with my wife and three sons in Houston, Texas. While this is my first novel, I have pre-existing experience with public writing on a local level in NYC; some of my past experiences are music reviews for independent publications, press release campaigns for new/existing artists, program-pitch campaigns, and comic books.

2) Tell us about Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend, Paths of Grand Wizardry?

Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend details the story of a teenage boy who proudly professes his love and support for the culture of Hip Hop. However, he is unaware of the genealogical link that he has with an ancient African civilization that has sowed the seeds for the Hip Hop ideal several thousand years prior. With the current state of Hip Hop suffering as a result of the evil efforts of an opposing group, the teenage boy is given the task of going head-to-head with the opposition with a specific goal of saving the very culture that his ancient ancestors created.

3) For the culture of Hip Hop, this is an unexplored area up until now. How did you come up with the premise for the story?

I always like to say that I didn't come up with the story, but, that God gave it to me. It was 1999 and I had just voluntarily ended my employment with a dot com; On my last day of employment, I was sitting in my truck in the Wall Street area of NYC waiting for my fiancĂ© to end her day at work. While waiting, I revisited LL Cool J’s “Mr. Smith” album and on this particular day, track number 3 entitled “Hip Hop” resonated with me in a special way. During the full several minute length of that song, God provided me with a detailed, yet basic, description of the story. As soon as I got home, I got to work on a treatment for the story which would be delivered using the graphic/visual medium. After pitching the idea to some close friends that would be integral in the development of the story, we got to work on the first issue of the comic book. The first issue was released locally in NYC in late 1999. As always, I’m extremely thankful to God for speaking this into my heart and mind...Good lookin’ heavenly father!! I’m also thankful to LL Cool J for penning that song; it truly served as the vessel by which God’s plans came to me…Goodlookin’ big homie!

4) Tell us about the characters?

Characteristics of each character come from people that I have either come across, or are currently present in my life. Cris,who serves as the protagonist, has a lot of personal characteristics that come from myself as a teenager. And to be honest, some that I wish I had as a teenager. In the instance of Roger “Feedback” Cromwell, who serves as the antagonist, this cat is unlike anybody that I've ever encountered, but what I would imagine the most unforgiving, vile, evil, and cold person to be like. However, Feedback’s evil ways are not arbitrary. In fact, as you come to find out, he has influences that are well beyond his control and contribute largely to his horrid disposition. There are a host of other characters in the story that I am sure all readers will be able to identify with.

5) What will the readers get from the story?

Over the years, Hip Hop has been saddled with a bad reputation; this is largely a result of the street tales and misogynistic messages that have become mainstream in Rap music. But beneath this surface exists a rich culture that has been responsible for the success of many and has been the single most successful instance of a sub-culture responsible for easing the tension amidst race relations in our country. The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend literary series merely aims to expand upon this success; it provides a family friendly, fantasy-fiction work that delves into the rich culture of Hip Hop from a fictional perspective.Additionally and certainly not least important, it hopes to provide a resolve to the problems concerning literacy, particularly in those communities across the globe where the problem is most prevalent. Using relevance, it looks to provide encouragement to learn how to read, read better, or simply, read more.

6) For those of your readers that might be interested in exploring the area of creative writing,might you have some suggestions for them?

By no means, do I profess to be a popular Novelist with years of experience, but, I do know that there are some things that are fundamentally applicable. Check out my suggestions:

  • Write what interests you not what mainstream dictates. The scope of readers’ interests span far and wide.Therefore, there will always be someone that will express interest and read your story.

  • Allow yourself to be uninhibited when writing…The creative thought process knows no boundaries. If restrained,your creative thought process will abstain.

  • Forget about the editing/correction process when writing. They’ll be plenty of time for that when the work is completed.

  • Do it for the love of writing and not for the love of money.
7) Was there a specific incident that pushed you towards exploring writing (a novel) as an option?

How’d you know?! After writing, developing, and self-distributing the story as a comic book, my partners and I took a hiatus. My Wife and I began to start our family and some of my partners also experienced similar life changing events. We all agreed that sustainability of our families was that main priority. During the hiatus, I continued to write installments of the series, as well as play around developmentally with the work. In 2006, with only three of us remaining, we decided to embark on the journey again. As we were getting ready to start the sketch production for the installment, my childhood friend, who handled all of our art direction and drawings, became gravelly ill and was unable to proceed with his contributions. When it had become evident that a recovery was not realistic, I began to seek an alternate medium to keep the story alive…I began writing Paths of Grand Wizardry (first installment of the Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend literary series) in July and had a 32 chapter manuscript completed by the end of November…My friend died in January. Paths of Grand Wizardry is dedicated to his memory.

8) We often hear humble stories of self-published authors when they embark on this journey of literary authorship. What might be one of your most notable stories?

There are quite a bit but most are from the early days when the work was a comic book. My comrades and I had a lot of great times and misadventures. A notable occasion that stands out after the book was completed was what appeared to be my never ending quest to secure the services of a literary agent. I’m sure every author that has attempted to get an agent interested in their work can empathize with this experience…Straight up, it sucks! But for those of you that are embarking on this journey for the first time, I urge you to let that not be the source of your discouragement. Continue to press on. Your efforts will not go unrecognized…Word is born!

9) What might be your ultimate goal to achieve as an author?

To become an author that is world renowned for his style of writing and to write work that will leave a lasting impression.

10) What's coming up for D.D. Turner?

The list is rather long but I’ll keep it short and relevant. I am a firm believer in keeping multiple irons in the fire and striking with which ever one becomes red-hot first.

  • Currently working on the second installment of the series; tentatively entitled “Cipher and the Lost Relic of Alkebulan.”
  • Continue to develop the sub-plot of the third installment. Sub title not created as of yet.

  • Continue to explore the option of having the first installment of the series available as an audio book.

  • Down the line, looking to generate enough interest world-wide to leverage the opportunity to license translation rights to foreign publishers. I’d like the story to be available in other countries in the respective language.

  • Solicit interest in adapting the story to film.

  • Continue to work tirelessly to have the book available in every market throughout the country and subsequently throughout the world.

The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend
DD Turner
Xlibris Corporation (February 5, 2008)
$19.99 US; ISBN-10: 1425796931
A word from Vee:
DD, I would like to thank you for stopping by VJBS.
Talking about a breath of fresh air.
You've inspired me.
Peace, love, light and success to you, my friend.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Chicken or the Egg, and what's that got to do with blogging?

Okay, so it's been forever since I've blogged.
It's not that I haven't been inspired, but the inspiration usually comes when I'm no where near a computer. Of course I'll tell myself, "Now don't forget to blog about this," or "this would be perfect to blog about," and then just forget about it totally.

I sit here now as uninspired as can be. Nothing witty, philosophical, meaningful, enlightening, awe-inspiring, or even comical to talk about. I guess it's just another regular old day. lol. Even though I do love those too. But I as type I'm wondering which came first, the chicken or the egg? I guess you'd ask, "what does that have to do with blogging?" But I'm wondering if you should wait to be inspired to write, or if you should write while you're waiting to be inspired.
So I'm just gonna continue typing and maybe when I'm done, I'll know the answer to my question.

I watched the movie, Julie & Julia the other day. It didn't end like I wanted it to, but being that it was based on a true story, I guess that's life, huh? And life is gonna do what it does...surprise, change, rearrange, evolve, sometimes even disappoint, but never just what you want it to do. And Thank God, right? But I liked the movie. It was cute as can be. And I was still left inspired and even a little hungry too. I think I fell in love with Julia Child. She was too funny, and like a lot other great people, she was definitely before her time. I'm going to have study up on her a little more.

Oh, you know what? I have a cousin, Bianka Brunson, who is going to in a major motion picture this year. That is definitely worth talking about. Matter of fact, it's worth a post of it's own, so I'll be blogging about this very soon. But In Our lady of Victory, which is set to be released in March of 2010, Bianka is sharing the screen with Hollywood heavy weight and Academy Award winner, Ellen Burstyn, Carla Gugino, and David Boreanaz. Boy, if I were a jealous person, I would be sooooo green right now. Acting was the thing I grew up wanting to do. But for Bianka, all I have is love and adoration. I can't wait to see this movie.

Well that's about all for now. Still feeling uninspired. Still don't know the answer to my question, but one thing I do know is if you just happen to get hit with a bit of inspiration or creativity, stop right then and write it down, record it, or something. Inspiration is direct communication from the Mighty One. And if He feels you're not listening to Him, well maybe it would be easier for Him to just be talking to someone else.

Peace, Love, & Light.