Authors of Note FIBO Weekend Writers Panel Part 2: J Omarr


Current Residence: Jersey City, New Jersey

Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey

PRIDEINDEX: Provide a listing of all of your books and the year published. Where did you find the inspiration for each book?  

OMARR: MASAI August 2007 and  JUSTUS November 2009, the inspiration for the books came from a need to read real books with real characters that were like me, an out and proud gay man whose family is accepting.

PRIDEINDEX: When where you first published? And under what circumstances?

OMARR: I was first published in 2007 it wasn’t the best of circumstances but it was a good experience.  I sent a query to Publish America and they liked it.

 PRIDEINDEX: What is your earliest memory of being a writer?

OMARR: My earliest memory would be in grammar school.  My teacher made my class write a poem as an assignment.  I thought it was the most boring thing in the world, but I loved having my teacher’s approval.  My cousin and I were in the same class and my cousin had actually written a better poem and my teacher fawned all over her.  Because I wanted the same attention I re-wrote my poem just so it would be better.

PRIDEINDEX: Please describe your current or most recent project and tell us about any notable challenges you encountered. How do you identify and nurture ideas for new projects?

OMARR: My current project is called JUSTUS it’s the story of a man who is being forced to be an assassin for the largest drug cartel on the eastern seaboard by his lover, an abusive man named Steph.  Everything, to me, is a new idea for a project.  There really is no method to  my madness whatever I think up I jot down on a piece of paper, but I only write when I feel moved to write.  I try not to force myself to write because I wouldn’t want someone to feel like my book is a forced read.  I think if I enjoyed writing it and it just flows from me then people will enjoy reading it and do it with ease.

 PRIDEINDEX: Please describe 1-3 authors/writers/performers that have influenced your artistic style?

OMARR: E. Lynn Harris, Stanley Bennett Clay and V. C. Andrews

PRIDEINDEX: What 2 books and 2 CDs should everyone own?

OMARR: Two CD’s:  Chante Moore’s – A Love Supreme is one of those cd’s from beginning to end that just take you away.

Maxwell – Embrya he makes making love and love seem like one of the most beautiful experiences in life.

Two Books: There Eye’s Were Watching GOD – Zora Neal Hurston, just to understand how a story should always be full Circle.  And The Bible – Just to see how no story is new, we’re all writing repeats of the greatest story’s ever told. 

 PRIDEINDEX:Do you believe African American authors have an obligation to the African American community? Why or why not?

OMARR: No, I believe as an African American author you have an obligation to yourself to write what’s true for you, because you have some author’s of African American decent who don’t identify as such, and you also have some who didn’t grow up in an African American community.  I don’t think anyone should do something because their skin color dictates it.  As an author I think you should look beneath your skin and find what fits for you then follow that, the heart doesn’t have a color.

 PRIDEINDEX: What is the biggest misconception about you and/or your work?

OMARR: The biggest misconception about me would be that I am this outgoing jovial person, and it takes me a minute to warm up to people, but once I am comfortable, watch out! Lol The biggest misconception about the book, at first glance, is that it’s the typical hood novel.  But, once people begin reading it they realize that there is a story line and a message throughout the book. 

 PRIDEINDEX: What advice would you give aspiring writers?

OMARR: I would give them the same advice that E. Lynn Harris gave me, if you’re a writer and you truly consider yourself a writer the first thing you should do when beginning a new project is just that, write it out, don’t edit, don’t correct, don’t spell check and don’t re-read.  Write the idea until completion because then you would’ve have written the story you’ve intended to tell when you thought it up.  Once you’re done put it away for anywhere from two weeks to a month then go back and re-read it if it holds your interest then it’s a good story and you won’t have to worry about what someone else thinks.

 PRIDEINDEX: Are you married, single, dating?

OMARR: I have been in the same committed relationship for three years.

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