Published on March 4th, 2016 | by Michelle Magee0
Who Is E.W. Brooks?
E.W. Brooks is an Army Wife, big sister and mentor with a big heart and an even bigger imagination. She is the founder of the Turn in the Gun Initiative, a grassroots effort to get illegal and unregistered guns off the street. Despite being so focused on building the “Mafietta” brand, Brooks always seeks out ways to support other women, especially other entrepreneurs. This author says her greatest joy comes from spending time with her family and seeing the smiling faces of those she’s helped to find a bit of light along their journey. I recently spoke to her about her book series and her life as a successful author. It was truly a pleasure. E.W. is truly an inspiration, she is driven, focused and talented which is the recipe for greatness. I am certain you will enjoy the interview and be online within minutes ordering her books!
Where are you from?
I am from small town North Carolina. As a matter of fact, I lived in a place called Norwood as I was growing up. A town with two stop lights where everyone knew everyone else and their business. A town, I was glad to leave. I knew there was an entire world out there, bigger and different from where I came from, and I wanted to put myself in a place to see it all.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always done really well in English and had an extreme love for writing. As an adolescent, my Grandmother – a retired school teacher, would communicate with me via letters. As a result, I learned very early to express myself in writing. That tool paid off and I penned my first book in 2013 in a matter of two or three weeks after writing the first 10 pages two years prior.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Wow. I’m not sure. I guess you can say, I first considered myself a writer when I read my first review of “Mafietta.” Seeing how readers reacted to my characters and their story energized me and led me to create an entire series.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote my first book to put a slant on a lifestyle, we as viewers, have become accustomed to seeing from a male perspective. I wanted to weave a tale that put a spin on things and showed the various issues as a woman would deal with them. I wanted a woman to run the underworld.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I prefer to write in third person, omniscient because I like to share the feelings of all my characters at various points throughout the story. There is something about being able to share the different points of view, especially about differing ideas or lifestyles that appeals to me because I can share varying views on the same topic.
Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Mafietta is about evolution. It is about the evolution of a family who didn’t start on the right side of the track. I’d like my readers to grasp the idea that it doesn’t matter where or how you start in life, only how you finish. Our communities have wealth, we just have to change how we generate and spend it sometimes. Mafietta places a mirror and that exact situation and shows how this woman gets her family away from an illegal life and into legitimate prosperity.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The experiences I write about are completely fiction. I did quite a bit of research before writing the “Mafietta” series. I read newspapers, court documents, and tons of gangster movies and documentaries to get a better idea of what it meant to live this kind of life. That made me more comfortable with creating the Bellows and their tumultuous life together.
What books have influenced your life most?
I have been most influenced in life by two pieces of literature. The first is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. That book taught me the power of words and I will never be able to explain how important that lesson has been.
The second is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I read it in high school because it was a requirement. However, I’ve read it from cover to cover at least 3 time since then. I love the idea that one may overcome the thing that haunts them or anything else for that matter as long as they have the will to do so. That may have been where the original theme, it doesn’t matter when you start-just how you finish that matters, was born so many years ago. That idea coupled with life’s lessons and my personal interests allowed me to create a book series that shows a family’s evolution from the life of organized crime to the boardroom.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I am a fan of Omar Tyree as well. Flyy Girl ignited my love for Urban Fiction. Then luckily, as I embarked upon a career in writing, I was introduced to Omar. We hit it off professionally and the rest is history. He has been a great help and is always there to take my questions and offer advice as I continue my career as an author, creator, and executive producer.
What book are you reading now?
Right now, I am reading, “The Peter Shue Story: The Life of the Party.” I met him at a Nas concert and bought his book out of sheer curiosity. His urban tale is a non-fictional account of his life. He lived things, I can only write about.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Outside of my husband, my largest supporters when writing the “Mafietta” series were my readers. They would read the books and share their thoughts and feelings about my characters. This pushed me to continue the Clarke Williams-Errol Bellow love story. My readers wanted more. It was my job to give it to them in a way that made them want to turn the pages of my book and then look for the next installation.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Absolutely not. When I write, the characters take on a life of their own. There are so many times that I sit down with an outline for my characters, only to have them stray from it as I wrote more. I would call it automatic writing because the thoughts just come and then the characters and their stories take over.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Brooks’ decision to live her dreams led her to Damon Dash and the doors of his Poppington Seminar in small town, North Carolina. Brooks had seen Dash’s infamous Breakfast Club interview and bought into his “Invest in Women” platform. Dash’s question was simple. “What is your business and how can I help you?” Brooks watched as Dash sat patiently waiting on a viable collaboration. Then this 36 year old Army Wife sits down wearing a t-shirt that read, “Mafietta,” and explained to Damon that she had her own money and was ready to shoot. She asked for mentorship and a co-sign, but walked away with a director. Dash called Brooks 3 days later after reading Mafietta: Rise of a Female Boss, the first book in the series, and the rest is history. The former Roc-A-Fella CEO would go on to direct the pilot with the help of Deelishis aka London Charles from Flava of Love and Battle Rapper Murda Mook.
When asked to name one thing she learned from working with Dash, Brooks replied, “I learned to take my emotions out of business and most importantly – to be a tough negotiator. He taught me a lot over the few months we worked together, and I would hope that he learned a couple of things from me as well.”
Do you have any advice for other writers?
At a time when Amazon has added a button for readers to report bad formatting and grammar, it is imperative that we as writers make sure we are releasing work of quality versus quantity. I saw a need and as a result, I will be working with a number of new authors via the Urban Writers Association where I look forward to helping a number of others achieve their goal of a published piece of work with proper editing and cover design.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Right now, I am working to clearly define Mafietta as a Movement. We want our followers to know that Mafietta is indeed a book series, but it is also a way of life for those unafraid to live their dreams. There will be a number of celebrity and career professional interviews that will lay out how some of the people we look up to made the decision to live their dreams. These articles and video interviews will appear on the “Mafietta Movement,” my blog.
I am also committed to events from now until May that will allow me to share various ways to market your business as economically as possible using today’s digital space, so check out my website’s calendar and let’s meet.