May 2012 Muse-Sings Feature Guest, Charles Banks Jr.
Topic: Caution Tape Poetry
1. Welcome Charles. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing? Oh, jeez! This is how we begin? Hmm… Well, I’m a writer, but that may be stating the obvious. Aside from self-publishing four collections of poetry, and being featured on a couple of other poetry sites, and included in two anthologies, I am a normal guy. I enjoy my privacy above all. Often, I like to watch Sundance/Independent films. Lately I have been immersed in the History Channel. I started writing at Age nine. In the beginning, short stories caught my attention. It was not until Age twelve that I developed an interest for Poetry. So, it is safe to say that I’ve been married to Poetry for eleven years now.
2. Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it? My latest book, End of the Road, can be looked at in a couple of different ways. On the surface, it is a picture of yearning, anger, angst, and understanding: this process is unique to most human experiences. Specifically, Curiosity, the character I have created in Poetry, has experienced a break-up, and must deal with its aftermath. If you are to look deeper than the obvious, Curiosity has lost his Muse, and must cope with that.
3. What kind of research was involved in writing your book? I did not do any research for this project. In the past, when I would work on a project, I would partake in reading poetry anthologies, or even my favorite poems. But this time around I did not want any influences to sway my thought process. Subconsciously, we tend to steal. I wanted to avoid that.
4. Where do you get your inspiration for writing? Look around us! There are tons of things to inspire us. The trees, the birds—trash. Inspiration can come from anything. It’s just up to the artist to accept it.
5. Was it always your goal to be a writer, or did you have other career ideas when you were growing up? I wanted to be a professional basketball player when I was younger. But around Age 14, I seriously thought about the likelihood of that. It hurt. It did, it did. I just felt like I had more control over the possibility of becoming a successful writer than a basketball player in the NBA.
6. Who are your favourite (a) poets (b) fiction writers? I’ve always loved the writing of Nicholas Sparks. All my life I have been a romance fan and what he has done for the romance genre is undeniable. I don’t have any favorite poets. I tend to gravitate toward poets and poems that are not famous. Those poets and poems you would find in the sewers of the world, so to speak.
7. How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online? Self-promotion can be an effective thing. For me, I’ve always had an interest in knowing how the business of literature works. In America, advertisement is probably the most important component of business. I began promoting my own writing on Myspace. Remember the Mysapce.com days? Anyway, I started networking with other writers Online and developed friendships. I live by this motto in advertisement. “Either you’re going to consume the product I am selling, or you’re going to get tired of me. But I WILL be heard, seen, and read!”
8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Write what you know. Often times, beginning writers want to sit down and write the next great American novel. It does not work that way. If you stay true to what you know, then everything else works itself out.
9. Any words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published? Learn the ropes of the publishing business. If you’re submitting to literary magazines, find out about the magazine. Find out what they have previously published—find out who is overseeing the contest. Who the editors are, ect… it is extremely hard to become published. So if and when it happens, take a moment to cherish the accomplishment.
10. Where can people (a) read your work online (b) buy your book? Do you have a blog? Website? Interested parties can read my work Online at charlesbanksjr.wordpress.com. That is my blog. On my blog there are links to my Facebook.com profile, as well as each of my four collections of poetry. My books are available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Lulu.com. There is also a link to my ReverbNation profile where interested parties can listen to my audio performances!