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?
Hi! Thank you for having me. My name is Michael Gaulden and I am 25 years of age, although, at times, I feel much older.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from San Diego, California. I was educated in Los Angeles. My mother is from Virginia. She’s a country girl who raised a city boy.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I received my Bachelors of Arts degree from UCLA where I was also certified as a qualitative and quantitative researcher. I am the current College & Career Exploration Coordinator& Internship Coordinator for the Monarch School, a K-12 public school that exclusively educates students impacted by homelessness. My grandfather was a Black Panther whom died before I was born. I like to think I’m the grandson of a revolutionary. My fight is more for human rights, human dignity, creative expression and the youth. I love music and of course writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My debut memoir, My Way Home will be out October 2017! I’m very excited about its release. I’ve published articles before but never a book. It’s been a life long goal of mine.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved poetry and narratives. When I was in my darkest places, a homeless youth without housing, food, and full of despair, I could always pick up my pen and escape my reality. It kept me sane. My imagination was never limited by my circumstances.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Deep down I always considered myself a writer. At that point in my life it was more of a feeling and written material. Anyone who writes is a writer. However, around 17 I wrote my first article published in the local San Diego newspaper, The Union Tribune. When that happened, I felt, maybe I can really do this. Maybe I can publish a story. Being published separates a writer from an author. It is a battle-hardened accolade.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I do a lot of speaking engagements, activism, and interacting with disadvantaged people. They all felt how I felt growing up, lost in darkness without a voice. One day a lady came up tome after a speech and said I should write a book. It could reach more people than I ever could by speakingvenue to venue alone. She said that I could be the voice of millions and show a hidden world invisible to most. I believed she was right. I can’t help people victimize themselves or wallow in self-pity, but I can stand with them as they change their respective realities.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It’s a play on the whole home-homeless dynamic. It took a lot of introspection. I believe a title is very important and should bring the book together. “My Way Home” implies a unique route home unconventional from the traditional without the safety innatelyassociatedwith familiar paths. Only instead of going through the dark woods toward home, I’m going through homelessness.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Memoir is a hard genre because there are so many authors with great stories to tell. It’s easy to get lost among them. I want my story to serve as a blueprint and text to evoke change, empathy and understanding in real life. I’m very detailed oriented. I want the reader to feel as if they are walking beside me as we traverse my trials and tribulations. If they can relate, I want them to learn viable solutions to problems. If they can’t relate, I wish for them to be able to experience walking in my shoes for deeper context of a worldwide epidemic. I believe details are very important.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My memoir sticks to the script. I had to change names and places because I still interact with some of the people in it. It’s my homeless life for sure, my soul on paper.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Not so much. I’ve been blessed to travel to Europe in my adulthood; I really enjoyed it there. As a child, I was forced to travel across the United States searching for a better life. All of these experiences make it easy for me to stay put and write from memory.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher and their designer over at WiDo Publishing, I believe they really took their time to fill the energy from the book and encapsulate it in the artwork. Job well done.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That story telling is powerful. I believe you are the author of your own life. If you don’t like something, no matter how desolate, you have the agency to change it. Sharing your story with others gives it purpose. Never be afraid. Always remember the obstacles you face in life is not your story. It is over-coming them, that’s the narrative.
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?
I can’t say that I have a favorite writer. I read different narratives for various purposes. W.E.B. Du Bois is my favorite author who wrote about life, society, and his ideologies about education and upward mobility. He and James Baldwin were huge inspirations for this memoir. They sparked my interest inmemoirs and such. As a child, I read a lot of K.A. Applegate. Way before I knew of J.K. Rowling or James Patterson. Applegate had a series called Animorphs that sparked my interest in fiction.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My current job, the Monarch School and my former college prep organization Reality Changers both supported my endeavors. Monarch allowed me the freedom to express my creativity and gave me the space to do so.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Without a doubt. This memoir is my debut novel of who I am. I have many projects in the works, fiction, historical fiction, and anything else I can dream of.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
For me, it’s too early for retrospection. However, I’m always looking for ways to improve in my craft so I’m sure there will be.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned more about the process of writing and publishing. It’s more than just sitting and writing. When people edit your material, they are always going to inject themselves in it. It’s up to you to stay true to your voice, take the critique you need and discard the rest. Don’t take editing personal but look at it as training to get your story in its best form.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I think Jayden Smith,actor Will Smith’s son would be a great candidate. He portrayed being homeless with his dad before in the “Pursuit of HappYness” so it wouldn’t be a hard sell. It would give him a great opportunity to dig deep and display his acting talents.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up. Writing is a lonely, extensive process. Be prepared for it. At the back of your mind, understand that there is a possibility that no one else outside of your network will ever read your art. However, write as if the whole world will read it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
To always believe in yourself even when others don’t. Everyone will not like you but learn to love yourself. Self-advocacy is imperative. If you don’t stand up for yourself, how can you expect someone else to? Life is definitely unfair. Hard work can help you even the odds. Take the good with the bad, endure the bumps and bruises and march on toward your dreams and aspirations. You have to create balance. Whatever you do is completely up to you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently re-reading James Baldwin: The Fire Next Time.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Haha not at all, probably one with my mom very young. Actually it was one of those Franklin the Turtle books. My mom had signed me up for the book club when I was learning to read.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I rarely cry although I do experience sadness.However, I try and laugh a lot. Life is too short and full of sorrow to not laugh and smile when you can. Good company, good vibes and the occasional bad joke make me happy. Happiness is key to life.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Tupac Shakur. He died at my current age and who knows what he could have gone on to achieve. I believe his message was hidden behind violence and mainstream commercial media. I believe he was a good person who wanted to change the world. He used music to amplify his voice. I’d also like to meet Martin Luther King Jr. Heused his voice in oration to unite a nation. I’d like to speak with him one on one, and learn from him.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like to play basketball and record music. Its fun and brings my friends together for positivity.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now Showtime’s “Power” is my favorite TV show. It has really good writing.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite food: doughnuts
Favorite Color: Deep red/wine color and Emerald Green.
Music: Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, & Drake
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would be a musician or an entrepreneur. I love business. I’ve recently started one so wish me luck!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies Michael Gaulden. He inspired greatness.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes you can find me at my website: http://michaelgaulden.com/
And on my publishers site: http://widopublishing.com/
In book stores October 2017
Thanks for having me! Feel free to reach out.