Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello. My name is Trevor L. Wooten and I am 46 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Trevor: I was born in Brooklyn, NY but I grew up and currently live in the Greenville, NC area.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Trevor: I received a BA in Art Design from NC A&T State University in 1994 and — after determining that I would need more training to successfully work in the comic book industry — I went on to earn a BFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 1996. I continued living in Savannah after graduation and, on September 11, 1998, I married my wife, Shaun Wooten, who is also an artist. She was a single mother of two girls, ages eight and sixteen months, when we met and in 2001 our son was born. I held several jobs during our 16 year stay in Savannah, but my favorite was my last one. As a Community Resource Officer, I drove to crime scenes and took non-emergency police reports for the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. To this day, it’s probably some of the best paid writing training that I’ve ever had. In 2010, my wife, our two youngest kids, and I moved back to North Carolina to be closer to my Mother, who is currently in her seventies, but does extremely well in most cases. I currently work in the Segregation Unit of a minimum security prison, when I’m not drawing and writing what the voices in my head command or doing freelance work.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Trevor: I will be completing my first collection of illustrated short stories and editorials, entitled Shades of Intellect, within the next few weeks. It will be available on my usual channels of Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. I’m really excited to be getting more work out there.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Trevor: I’d always leaned toward writing and literature throughout my school years. I especially loved history and mythology from various parts of the world. And I had a natural inclination toward things like grammar and usage that stayed with me. It took some time for me to realize it, but I’ve always loved writing and creating worlds. I leaned toward comics and Sequential Art because it consists of images aligned to tell stories. It’s the same with book covers. And Graphic Design is essentially creating art with letters in most cases, so that’s the best of both worlds.So, I guess your answers are: “always” and “because I can’t help myself”?
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Trevor: When I started taking script writing classes at Savannah College of Art & Design, I realized that my writing was just as good, if not better, than my art. I had been creating characters and building worlds since I was about 8 years old. And even though I had come into North Carolina A&T as an Architectural Engineering major (Bad mistake . . . you don’t want to know), the English professors were all asking me to consider at least a minor in English. I had always been an honor student and done well in those classes, but it was there at SCAD that it dawned on me that I could actually make a living with this, if I tried.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Trevor: I was a big fan of the TV show, Spenser for Hire, in high school and I would always notice during the end credits that the characters were based on the ones created by a man named Robert B. Parker. Well, in college I was browsing the shelves and found the Spenser series of books by none other than the late Robert B. Parker. I LOVED them. At this point I’ve read every single one and have started on what I call “the legacy books” by Ace Atkins. But, my point is, the more I read his work, the more I felt inspired to write more than just graphic novel scripts, the occasional short story, and poetry. I felt confident that I could write a full novel and make it work. At least, I hope it works . . .
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Trevor: I tend to like coming up with titles that involve either word play or some type of double meaning. With Mark of The Beast, we have a character in the book who is so heartless and cruel that he literally earns the nickname “The Beast”. And he’s trying to leave his “mark” wherever he can. Then of course there’re the obvious spiritual overtones that we of Judeo-Christian faith attach to that title. Plus, I do my own cover work, so I could take the duality to the next level visually.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Trevor: I would say that my style is still developing as I do. I tend to create in several different genres. My novel is of the crime/ mystery genre, while my comic, The Infinite: Witness for The Persecution, is more of a supernatural/ sci-fi allegory. I’m also currently working on the handbook to my superhero universe. And my short story collection features work ranging from mystery to sci-fi to supernatural. I feel that my voice is probably pretty distinct at this point, but each of these is its own animal and I’m sure I’m probably tailoring a few things here and there.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Trevor: A LOT of the main character’s life experiences are actually my own experiences. And several of the characters bear the names of people that I know or have known, even if the personalities are different.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Trevor: No. At this point, I rely a LOT on my education and my career and life experiences. I collect photo references from wherever I can and have bought several books that contribute to my illustrative work. Aside from that the internet and the library are my best friends. I don’t have the income or the leave time from my day job to travel that much.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Trevor: I do all of my own cover work. That’s one plus of being a writer and artist.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Trevor: Well, it’s not a book that overtly preaches anything, but over the course of the story you do get to see a diverse cast of people from various backgrounds, racial/ national origins, social standings, and genders coming together and contributing meaningfully to solve the problems with which they’re presented. I also feel that the main character proves that “nice guys” don’t always have to finish last, but that’s probably a matter of perspective.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Trevor: I have a Facebook friend from Arizona named Rana Kelly who is extremely talented. Her first novel, Until Her Darkness Goes, grabbed me from page one and really made me care about the characters. Aside from Robert B. Parker, who I mentioned earlier, I’d have to say that Neil Gaiman is a real inspiration to me. I love the fact that he works both in comic books and prose and has an incredible imagination. He’s well-read and creates things that I either would never have thought of or would never have done in quite that way.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Trevor: Aside from my family, I’d have to mention to incredible friends, Jennifer Gunn and Nicole Manning, who were my proof readers and provided my first audience in Georgia and North Carolina respectively. Nicole, especially, read almost two-thirds of the novel and getting her feedback was a huge help. It was also amazing to see someone actually anticipating what would come next and wanting me to “hurry up” with the next few chapters. My co-worker, Michael Garner, upon find out that I had published a book, not only bought several copies himself, but personally went around our job site and spread the word. That created several sales for me. I also have to mention World’s Coolest Comics & Toys in Greenville, NC. The owner, JR Verheul, and his family have been super supportive, passing out flyers for me when I only had an e-book. Once I was able to start producing books in print, JR made sure to buy some for the store. My first book signing was at World’s Coolest and I debuted the first issue of The Infinite there on Free Comic Book Day. Everyone there has truly been amazing to me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Trevor: Yes. Everything that I do creatively, at this stage, is a step toward making my company, Infinite Creations, self-sufficient. There will definitely be a time when self-publishing and freelance writing and art will be my full-time career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Trevor: As I get feedback from fellow authors and other knowledgeable people, one of the main criticisms that I hear consistently is that I can be overly descriptive at times. I think that stems from the artist in me and wanting the reader to “see what I see” in my mind. But, at this point, it’s probably best to let it stand and use what I’m learning in future projects.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Trevor: Yes. As a self-publisher, promotion is a huge part of the equation. I’m still working on how to make more people aware that I even have things out there to be purchased. That’s one reason that I appreciate your interviewing me so much. Thank you.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Trevor: In a perfect world, I’d love to do it myself. But since that’s such a long shot, I think Michael Colter, who plays Marvel’s Luke Cage in the Netflix show, would do an awesome job.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Trevor: Yes. First I would say, keep writing. Stay focused on your goal, even if it’s just a few sentences on some days. Every voice is important. Also, there are a LOT of avenues for getting your work published right now. Aside from just blogging or posting online, both Barnes & Noble and Amazon are allowing authors to self-publish both e-books and books in print. There’s no reason to wait on a “traditional publisher”, if you don’t want to.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Trevor: Yes. If you’ve bought any of my work, I hope that you’re enjoying it and that you’ll stick with me for future projects. I really appreciate each and every one of you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Trevor: I’m reading a biography called Crazy Is My Superpower by, former WWE wrestler, AJ Mendez Brooks and Until Her Darkness Goes by, my friend, Rana Kelly.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Trevor: Wow . . . I really don’t. I can remember my maternal Grandfather telling me as a teenager: “Boy, I was so glad when you learned how to read. I got tired of you asking, ‘Grandad, what’s that say?’” So, it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve always been enamored with words in some sense.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Trevor: Sharing a joke or private moment with a family member or friend can easily make me laugh. Seeing someone bullied or ostracized just because he/ she happens to not be in that position of “power” at a given time can make me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Trevor: I’d love to meet Jesus, just to be in His presence and witness what he did firsthand. Of course, I’d also be scared to death that I’d to something wrong or have impure thoughts or something.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Trevor: Yes. I started studying MMA a few years ago and, though I don’t currently attend an organized class, I still work out on my heavybag, grapple whenever I can and read up on every technique I can find. I also enjoy weightlifting, reading, collecting comic books and collecting action figures.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Trevor: I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was about 12 years old. I love the Marvel Netflix shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist); the DC/ CW shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl); WWE Wrestling; Lucha Underground (also wrestling); Into The Badlands; Orphan Black; Blindspot; and Supernatural to name a few. I think they fuel my creativity as much as what I read. I love the Marvel and DC movies, the new Star Wars movies, the Jason Bourne series, and things with a sci-fi or martial arts leaning.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Trevor: My favorite foods are Chinese food and pasta. My colors are black and purple. I have an iPod Classic with 8,500 songs from various genres, ranging from Rock to Hip-Hop to Country to Alternative to Gospel to Jazz to Blues to R&B. And I’m sure I’ve left something out there. I love all kinds of music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Trevor: Wow . . . I suppose I would still have art, but, as I’ve said, I tend to use that to tell stories. So, I guess to make it fair that would have to be gone too. Right? I believe I would probably end up being a counselor of some sort. I’m told that I’m a good listener and a LOT of my friends and family come to me when they feel the need to talk. So . . . I think that might be it.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Trevor: “He Helped Me.” (That or “Hey! Where’d He Go!?!”)
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Trevor: The best place for updates is probably my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TLWootenArt. My blog is www.enterthewoo.wordpress.com. And you can find apparel and other products related to my books and/ or philosophy at www.teepublic.com/user/wutan007. Again, thank you.