Eric Jerome Dickey - Author
SymplyEbony: Your earlier works were written in first person from multiple points of view. I’ve always been curious about your motivation to write that way.
EricJeromeDickey: When I first started, during the era of T-Rex, I was enamored by films like He Said, She Said, The Breakfast Club, and The Big Chill, so that probably had a big impact on my method of storytelling. (I was also big on Hitchcock and films like Thelma and Louise, then later on works like Josephine Hart’s Damage and Nabakov’s film versions of Lolita, as well as 158-lb Marriage by John Irving… will stop there with the list of difficult and challenging story-lines because the list is endless LOL :-) ) And also, in writing classes both at Cal State Pomona, Mt. SAC, and at UCLA, we had to do the same exercises, write pieces from multiple POVs, including the voice of the opposite gender.
Initially Friends and Lovers and Cheaters both had only 2 POVs, but during rewrites I added a third - an additional female POV in Friends and Lovers, and an additional male POV in Cheaters.
I’ve done a few combinations and permutations, found an angle that was new to my collection, to the Dickeverse, so each story, in some way, has its own feel, tone, texture, yada yada. (If there is a such thing as method writing, as there are method actors, I’d like to think I was close to qualifying to become a member of that guild.) Each Gideon novel is told from multiple POVs, protagonist and antagonist. Each antagonist is humanized to keep the story from being just another good/evil tale. Blackbirds is 3rd person limited, from voice to voice, more or less. One chapter in Milk in My Coffee broke the rules and is written 3rd person omniscient. I’ve employed/exploited quite a few writing techniques along the way. Doing a singular voice was and still is much harder. They have to be present in every scene and you have to find a creative way of allowing other characters to not only participate in the tale, but remain relevant from beginning to end.
Every first offering is an origin story in some way. (Wo)man against (wo)man. (Wo)man against nature. (Wo)man against her/himself. Each story is an exploration, a delve into the making of each character, and in it’s own way, like it or not, agree or not, a case study of the human condition and its relation to culture. It’s not yelled at you, but that is the foundation of each story, of most stories, a take of socialization, a tale of rebellion, or some sort of survival be it monetarily or the need to love, a written display of characters fighting to exist on their own terms. Every novel is about communication. We must communicate effectively. or it becomes esoteric and dies on the vine. The character's journey is about the character. No one else. Not about the reader. At I dare say, not about the writer. Narcissism ruins all journeys. If you are transmitting, you can’t receive. A reader has to listen and so does a writer. Let your internal firmware process and interrupt as needed. … You don’t have to agree, only be presented with enough motivation that you, as a reader, are able to understand, and then, be willing to be brave enough to take that ride.
SymplyEbony: To your fans, you’re a superstar in the literary field. Do you see that in yourself?
EricJeromeDickey: Nah. I’m just a work Joe and thankful for it, but thanks. (Actually I’m still surprised when folks show up at events. LOL. Always have been.) I sit in rooms and on panels with… mainstream... writers who will never have the word urban or any other biased adjective (not to be confused with genre titles such as Romance, Thriller - as urban is a location, not a genre, and black is not a genre, it’s the colonialist’s perception of… never mind. Wakanda forever! I digress. I wrote a novel that took place in Odenville, it was called URBAN. A novel written in Argentina was called urban… same for Antigua… Urban? GTFOH. I was in the heart of Trailer Park Land, then in the West Indies. International, perhaps? I digress…where was I… hell, you’re reading this… figure it out...) added to their title…. I sit in room at conferences and festivals with mainstream men and mainstream women who are simply called writers… and they have no idea who I am and neither does that audience. It’s cool. reminds me of when I was an engineer and had to do presentations to the Air Force. It follows you. Even as a writer. That aversion to blackness or black opinions is real. They couldn’t care less. I remain unaffected. Still, thanks.
God, I miss when there were indie AA bookshops coast to coast. Mainstream doesn’t have the competition so no need to stock you, and that’s how you become invisible. I’ve been in main stream spots, even last year, when you walk in, you feel like it’s a chore to have you that evening. Never happened in an AA store.
So it goes. Smile not disrupted.
SymplyEbony: You’re accessible to your readers. Does your relationship with your readers influence your writing?
EricJeromeDickey: Not at all. If so, I’d probably be on Freinds and Lovers #30, or would be on Milk in My Coffee #25. LOL. (Need to write in their kids, more than the original characters at this point) I write like no one is around and stay true to the story. It’s about the character’s journey. The things they do and say, not part of my day to day. The part I enjoy most is the creative part, before the readers or editors or any selling is involved. That part keeps me going. Readers are the end-users and are important. They are your readers, but still, they are strangers. No faces. You know them by screen names. They are abstract in so many ways. That would be like letting 10,000 or a million folks give you parenting advice.
I chat with some pretty cool people on Twitter and FB, but never really as a writer. Not to me anyway. I just talk to folks without trying to always up-sell a product. A few DM me and we chat about nothing off and on. We just talk. Some read my books. Some don’t.
SymplyEbony: Have you written anything in your past that makes you cringe when you read it now?
EricJeromeDickey: A few checks. No vale la pena. Jaja!
Escribi un historia sci-fi, el solo que he escrito, muy corta, dos o tres paginas, hace mucho anos, no es muy bueno… pero… no es muy mal… algún día tengo que desarrollarlo… fue antes de este carrera.
SymplyeEbony: If you could spend the day with one of your characters…who would it be and why?
EricJeromeDickey: Hmmm. Not Gideon. I want to come out alive. My side kicks ain’t what they used to be and I can’t do a spinning hook kick if i tried. LOL. I’ve created a lot of characters. Hmmm. I’d like to kick it in Ghana and Nigeria with Jake Ellis. Would be cool to have him show me around the Motherland/Fatherland.
Ask me that tomorrow, or after a glass of wine, would be a different answer. After midnight, all answers are Nia, Lola Mack, Nicole… maybe Señorita Raven on her off day.
If not, would love to kick it at James Thicke’s crib (An Accidental Affair) and chat about screenwriting, have drinks by the pool.
SymplyEbony: Have you ever pondered revisiting one of your original characters? If so, who? If not, why?
EricJeromeDickey: Hell, all of them. Where every story ends, a new story begins. But I am but one man, one writer, can only create so much alone, and at times it’s best to keep the train moving. Most were written to be one shot, not to be revisited, but over the years, a couple have been changed my mind. Nia. Gideon. Driver. Destiny.
SymplyEbony: Eric, you’ve been a huge inspiration to me! I appreciate you SymplyConversating with me today
EricJeromeDickey: Thanks so much! Happy Sunday!
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