Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon
Note: the following is from a website, Rock Publications, which is now defunct. I was pleased to be interviewed for The Rock Magazine and here it is, the interview below. Thanks for the support and please continue to stay safe!
-Charles L. Chatmon
THE ROCK: Who is Charles Catmon, tell us something about you?
Chatmon: First, I would like to thank you for the interview. As far what I'm about, I would consider myself to be somewhat of an observer. I look at situations in this life and write them down in the hope what I put down on paper will inspire at least one reader.
THE ROCK: Where are you from, and currently residing?
Chatmon: I'm a native of Los Angeles, California and I still live in the city.
THE ROCK: Are there any other writers in the family?
Chatmon: I have cousins who write poetry. I found this out during a family reunion in Texas sometime last year. I'm the only in the family who's published for now. I will say that I know a friend of the family who's a well known journalist and a bit of a mentor to me, but I think he knows who he is.
THE ROCK: When did you start writing?
Chatmon: At the age of 12, I just picked up a pen and wrote whatever was on my mind. It didn't matter if I wrote about myself or made up a story, I felt good so I continued to write, which to this day I enjoy a lot.
THE ROCK: What prepared you to become an author?
Chatmon: I grew up reading a lot of books, plus I had so many great mentors around me while I was developing my skills to be a writer. For example, my ninth grade homeroom teacher's husband wrote for television, and he gave great tips and encouragement along the way.
THE ROCK: What inspired you to become a writer?
Chatmon: I wish I could really say what exactly was 'the point' but I think when I wrote my first short story back in junior high, I started at 11 P.M. and didn't finish until 5 A.M. in the morning. I'm not kidding, lol. I remember when I was writing how much fun it was so I believe it was the joy of writing that inspired me.
THE ROCK: What inspired you to write your book?
Chatmon: Years ago, in an online chat room, one of the women said the men should have an online program where we could honor them. I met one of the men and told him I had a poem that I think the ladies would like. Long story short, after a presentation in a much larger chat room, a friend emailed me and said I should get started on a book, which I did.
THE ROCK: Tell us about your newest creation. What is the premise?
Chatmon: The Depths of My Soul is a collection of my love and social poetry. You have a character called The Observer leading you in the depths of romance and society. I cover the good, the bad and everything in between. The Voices of South Central is the second book, but I have mainly poems talking about the area I lived in for so long. I write about the positive and the negative to give those who live outside the community a better sense what goes on inside.
THE ROCK: Any publishing contracts in the working?
Chatmon: So far, I'm enjoying my time with Milligan Books, collaborating on my third book of poetry, A Question of Truth out later in 2006. After that, who knows?
(Note: this was changed into Storm Over South Central, the next book)
THE ROCK: Have you ever self-published? Why or why not?
Chatmon: When I started this journey six years ago, I didn't know anything about the publishing business. I didn't know what an ISBN number was, what copyright was all about, etc. In the future I plan to self-publish now that I have more awareness about producing a book and marketing it, which is key.
ÂÂ THE ROCK: What are "traditional publishers" looking for?
Chatmon: I imagine they want a story that is simple, easy plot to follow, characters the reader will care about and so on. However, it all depends on what criteria the individual traditional publisher wants and what the writer can bring to the table.
THE ROCK: If you were a publisher, what would be your niche? Why?
Chatmon: I would focus on fiction and open the genres up to any writer who can develop a good, well thought out novel, self help book with subjects that either entertain or challenge the readers.
THE ROCK: For an author, is having a publishing contract with a "traditional publisher" important professionally? Why?
Chatmon: It may help, but in the long run it's up to the author to make the most of the opportunity. If a self-publisher has a long range goal and has ambition, then they can be just as effective as the author who writes for a traditional publisher. What really matters is that you believe in what you write, because in the end, the readers will determine whether you deserve to be taken seriously or not.
THE ROCK: What are some of your professional and personal achievements?
Chatmon: Finally receiving that BA degree in English from Cal-State L.A. I was the only one in my immediate family who earned it. Touching a copy of The Depths of My Soul, my first book was my second proudest.
THE ROCK: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Chatmon: I'm an old school guy when it comes to my authors, but I'll say I enjoy reading Richard Wright, Langston Hughes to name a few.
THE ROCK: Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Chatmon: Enjoying life and being blessed to live another five years. I also would like to have most of my short stories and at least one novel published so I won't be known as just a poet.
THE ROCK: Where can readers find you?
Chatmon: They can find me on my website, www.charleslchatmon.com or they can send email to me. I love to hear from everyone. Thank you again for the interview, I appreciate it.
THE ROCK: Thank you very much, Mr. Chatmon.