SC: When did you decide you wanted
JDM: I came to realize how much
I loved writing when I was in the 4th grade,
but I didn't seriously set out to complete an entire novel until my
thirties, about 10 years ago.
SC: How many novels in all have you written?
JDM: I've written three novels.
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
JDM: It took entirely too long.
And on the Eighth Day She Rested was my
first novel, and it was my practice novel. Before I began working
book, I hadn't ever written anything that long before, and it went
through a million rewrites and even title
changes through the years.
SC: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
JDM: Inspiration can come from
anywhere, a song, a word, or a situation.
Once something touches me enough to want to write about it, I have to
find a title for it before I can even begin to write the story. At that
point, my title becomes my inspiration.
And music plays a huge part in
setting the tone for a story or character for me. For instance, in One
Saw a Black King, Marvin Gaye set the vibe of John King. In
Don't Want No Sugar, I relied on music by Bessie Smith
to set the tone.
SC: What made you decide to write a story On The Eighth Day She Rested??
Are the characters based on real people? Do you plan to write a sequel
JDM: Well, I started that
book so long ago, it's hard to remember why I
decided to write it. And on the Eighth Day She Rested is
a book that's
gone through many transitions over the years. In the beginning, I just
wanted to write a story
about a black woman who rose up from the ashes
and reinvented herself. I didn't really know how or why in the
but I knew I wanted the character to be someone other women could
relate to and to hopefully be inspired by.
of the characters in any of my books are based on people that I
know. They are composites of various people I might
know, or maybe of
people I've seen. As a writer, it's natural to take a little bit of
this and that, mix it
with your imagination and create someone like no
one you've ever met before. That's the fun part of writing.
have asked for a sequel of 8th day, but I can't see one ever
coming to fruition. Honestly, I feel that I've taken
Ruth as far as I
need to take her, and I can't think of anything new or different to add
to her story.
After writing your first novel, did you self-publish?? If so, how was
JDM: I did self publish 8th day,
twice as a matter of fact. I self
published because no agent or editor was interested in the project, and I
I'd worked too hard on it to just let it go. The experience was
interesting, for lack of a better term. Some
people are natural
entrepreneurs and excel at self publishing, even relish it. I struggled with
it because it
requires so much work, time, and effort. But it was a
worthwhile experience because I learned the power of determination
independence. Even now, I know that I could and would go back to it, and
that empowers me. It makes
me tired, just thinking about it, but I
feel more confident that I'm not at the mercy of the publishing industry,
SC: What made you decide to write a prequel to One Day I Saw a Black King
(Don't Want No
JDM: Black King was filled with
a ton of characters that just wouldn't let
me go after I finished that book. The characters Roberta and Adam had
rich, full stories that I felt deserved to be told, and that I believed
people would find interesting.
What feedback have you received from fans?
JDM: I still find it amazing that
I have fans. It doesn't seem like it was
that long ago when I was still hoping to find one Readers have
very supportive and complimentary of my work, and that's such a great
feeling. I try and answer each and
every email that I get, but that's
not always possible, so if you've emailed me and you never heard from
me, because it wasn't intentional.
SC: What authors do you
admire? Did one of them inspire you?
JDM: I admire authors who venture
to write outside the boundaries. I love
authors who dare to tell new and different stories, rich stories, and
that stay with you long after the book is closed. Terry McMillan
inspired most of us who write contemporary
AA fiction, because she
broke the mold and took chances and proved to the world that we have
stories to tell too,
and that we want to read them. But my favorite author
is Sandra Jackson Apoku. She's the author of
The River Where Blood is
Born and Hot Johnny and the Women Who Loved Him. I love the way she
in the historical with contemporary with folklore. She's one of
the few authors whose books I can go back and read
more than once.
SC: Is writing your only passion?
JDM: Almost. Writing is
something I absolutely have to do. Even if I'm
not writing books, every single day, I'm writing something, either
computer, or on a notebook I have to carry with me. It's an outlet
for me, my voice, and setting my words
free on paper, for me, means
setting them free¡Xperiod. There's not enough room for all of them inside
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
JDM: In 5 years, I'll be rich
and a few pounds thinner, and living in my
dream house. I'll be writing my 10th book which will be a bestseller
long before it hits the shelves in bookstores. Maybe by then, I'll have
taken up painting, or will have finally
learned to play the guitar, or
cook Greek food. I'll be healthy and even more proud of my children
than I already
am, and I'll be in love with someone handsome,
successful, romantic, and generous to a fault.
SC: What advice would
you give aspiring authors?
JDM: If at first you don't succeed,
try and try again. The testament of a
true writer isn't in the fact that they can write the perfect
in the first draft. Writers who can do that are just plain lucky.
Real writers are committed to rolling up
their sleeves and getting down
to the business of working. Real writers know that the first draft is
roadmap to the final draft, and they understand that writing
isn't about writing, it's about rewriting, and rewriting
polishing that story until it's good enough to make people drool. If
it's in your blood, then don't
give up on yourself. Work that story
until it's so good, no publisher in his/her right mind can turn it down.
What would you like readers to learn from your stories?
JDM: That people aren't perfect.
I go out of my way to create flawed
characters because human beings are flawed, every last one of us. And it's
what we're capable of. It's amazing how easy it is to screw
up, but it's just as amazing how strong we can be to
bounce back from
those screw ups. I want people to see a part of them selves in a
character, even if it's a
part they¡'d prefer to keep secret. I want my
characters to strike a chord, and when readers close one of my books,
want them to remember those characters and to wonder what ever happened
SC: Are you working on another
novel? What is it about?
JDM: I'm working on my 4th
novel entitled Confessions of the Other Woman,
and I think that title is pretty self explanatory.
can people purchase your books? Do you have a website?
JDM: My books are in bookstores
across the country, and if you go to a store
and they don't have my stuff in there, then shame on them. They're
also available online. And I do have a website, but I don't think
it'll be up much longer. I've had it
for awhile, but haven't updated it
because I'm not sure I want to keep it. Readers can email, though at
email@example.com, after the site goes down sometime in December.