So with all of that being said, I want to shine a light on an author who has allowed me the privilege of showcasing his work on this site. Richard Charlton Pharris Jones writes about mystery with characters that are not considered mainstream. Gay or bi-sexuality isn't the norm even though it is in the real world, but his subject matter from what I can see gives credence to characters that can be mainstream if indeed society is ready for that. I have not read his books...at least not yet, but I look forward to the day when I will.
|Author Richard Charlton Pharris Jones|
JLW: What have been some of the greatest struggles that you've encountered since you've entered the literary industry?
RCPJ: One particular struggle that I've encountered since entering the literary industry is that most publishers want street fiction or urban lit. I wouldn't say that it's the greatest struggle because it's not how I want my work viewed. I think my books thus far, Two of Hearts and TRI, have more emotional depth, the stories are certainly one-of-a-kind love triangles (Two of hearts explores polyamory) and TRI involves brother / sister fraternal twins who become romantically / sexually involved with the same man), and my characters are not drug dealers / users, pimps, or vengeful women. I suppose there is a fan base for street lit / urban fiction, but I don't think many realize that the stories are basically the same premise and the publishers are churning them out with little to no editing. Admittedly, I am not a fan of ghetto fiction or street literature. I think with the advent of rap videos, you basically see the same thing ad nauseum, and from the few books of either genre, I read the same the over and over, and basically, some people did it better, where others have failed miserably. I guess if it gets people to reading, fine, but I think it limits them to that one genre instead of introducing them to Chester Himes, August Wilson, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allen Poe. I think readers ought to expand their libraries. They are missing so much.
RCPJ: I'm motivated every day to learn and write and read. That's what sets me apart from other writers or authors. I'm constantly reading everything from the LA Times to Soap Opera Digest to the local weekly magazines to biographies and true crime fiction. I had an English teacher once tell me to read everything that interests you and then read everything that doesn't. It will make you a better writer. I've never been motivated by money, so I'm strictly an artist in the sense who is motivated by what my readers' enjoy. I'm motivated to bring up those behind me as a mentor because I've had some people in my life who've taught me what I know and I'll always be appreciative for what they've taught me. I'm motivated every day to be the person God created me to be...loving, creative, and as uncensored as I can be without hurting anyone's feelings!
JLW: Name three things that no one knows about you that you don't mind revealing in this forum.
RCPJ: Three things that no one knows about me that I don't mind revealing: I'm pretty much an open book with those whom I allow close to me. I love collecting black male super hero action figures, that I love to read and travel and that I'm opinionated. I suppose one thing I could reveal is that I'm a voyeur. Standing in the background and not intruding, you can learn so much by examining the dynamics between people. I like to look at how they physically, as well as verbally, communicate with one another. The second thing I will reveal is that I am really a hopeful romantic, despite my dismal relationship track record. Before I become too set in my ways, I think it would be great to enter into a long-term relationship that's encouraging, supportive, creative, and passionate. My last significant relationship was in 1997, and that lasted all of six months, I just turned 46 so I'm way over due for some good lovin'! Thirdly, anyone will tell you I'm attracted to intelligence first and foremost, as well as a sense of humor. It doesn't take much to impress, not that anyone should go out their way, but put some effort into being who God created you to be.
JLW: Why did you select the genre that you write in?
RCPJ: Without preaching to the choir, I just may add some depth to a character who may be bi-sexual, or may be infected with HIV or Aids. It's not the sum total of who they are, but it certainly helps the reader to understand why these characters do what they do. I give them shades of gray so as not to surprise the reader at the end with a plot twist. I try to lay the groundwork either emotionally or physically. I also look at sibling and parental relationships and how they inform a character's present state of mind. There may be some unresolved issues that can drive plenty of story. The type of stories and characters I write are organically created. I see a situation and think to myself, romantic triangles have been done to death in film, television, and books, always two guys and a girl, two women and a dude, but never have seen a brother and sister act involved with the same guy as I wrote about in my 2nd novel TRI! I thought it was an interesting twist on an old formula. With Inanna, I reached back to the Greek tragedies. She was essentially a victim of her own hubris, and consequently, that leads to an unspeakable tragedy. Unfortunately, it causes turmoil with her fraternal twin brother and the man they both share! Also, I don't think I went out of my way to choose this particular genre, as I incorporate some heightened drama (soap opera-ish), true crime elements, as well as erotica into my novels. Most of the books I've reviewed over the years has this 'woe is me' feel to it and I'm quite sure most people cannot relate. They can relate to an all-consuming passion, they can relate to loving someone they know is totally wrong for them, they can relate to feeling unworthy to someone who is deemed too beautiful to approach, and they can relate to those demons (drugs / alcohol / low self-esteem) that drives even the most sane individuals into doing the most insane things in the name of love.
JLW: What is next for Richard Charlton Pharris Jones?
RCPJ: Grad is certainly next on Richard Charlton Pharris Jones' agenda, as well as editing his third novel, King of Hearts, a sequel to his first novel, Two of Hearts, which is told from the obsessive stalker's point-of-view, and writing his fourth novel, Pretty Boyz, which involves a clique of male erotic dancers who garners the unwanted attention of a possible serial killer in Los Angeles, and expanding his travel roster to Spain and Switzerland.
So there you have it. Here is an author that isn't afraid to push the envelope and give you something different. I hope to have the opportunity to review his work.
Best of luck to you Mr. Pharris Jones. Although I believe that luck will have nothing to do with your success!