(This interview was conducted with Donovin Freeman on September 30, 2012, prior to the release of “And Still…”)
Joey Pinkney: Hello, Donovin Freeman. Thank you for joining me and granting me this interview.
Donovin Freeman: No problem. I’m glad to be here.
Joey Pinkney: You are a man of many hats in the entertainment industry. Could you give a brief run down of your various projects and achievments?
Donovin Freeman: My first novel is entitled “Home”. It is based on a true story about my mother, her brother and her two sisters. After I did that, I started writing screenplays and finally directed and produced the movie “Stuck on Broke” which starred southern rapper OJ Da Juiceman and Nicki Minaj, but Nicki left. I followed that up with the release of my latest novel “Running in Place” which has been getting good buzz so far.
Joey Pinkney: The book industry has changed tremendously since the initial publication of “Home” in 2001. How has the change of the times caused you to revamp your approach to promoting and marketing your works?
Donovin Freeman: Of course, I use all the social media platforms twitter, facebook, etc. I also use traditional things like local newspaper and TV ads. I’m also planning on doing some stuff with bookclubs. I love that the internet has given everyone a level playing field.
Joey Pinkney: What sets “Home” away from other books that deal with the searing effect of drugs on the person, the family and the community-at-large?
Donovin Freeman: Well, like I said, it is based on a true story. My grandfather worked for Bumpy Johnson who the movie “Hoodlum” (starring Laurence Fishburne) was made about. He was also around Frank Lucas who the movie “American Gangster” (starring Denzel Washington) was made about.
“Home” is a story about the collateral damage that can be done by the drug trade. Fortunately, my mother and her siblings were rescued from that environment and have lived very good decent lives despite very rough beginnings.
Joey Pinkney: Your novel “Home” may indeed have a back story as rich as the story in the book. What has been your journey in getting “Home” from your imagination to actually being in the hands of your readers?
Donovin Freeman: Writing it was easy. It only took six months. The hard part was getting people to take notice. I got a book deal in 1996, but the publisher went bankrupt.
Luckily with the advancement of technology, print-on-demand has made it possible to share this amazing story. I can’t lie. I’ve had ups and downs, but I’ve hung in there. It has made me stronger.
Joey Pinkney: I read in your bio about the agent and the publisher that you initially tried to work with in getting your novel “Home” distributed. In hindsight, what were some of the warning signs that things might not be heading in the right direction?
Donovin Freeman: After I got the deal for “Home”, they approached me about publishing a screenplay. I had written titled “Three Time a Baby” and wanted to make it a book. They wanted me to pay them $3,000 dollars. I was like, “Hold up here. This doessn’t sound right.” (read more)