MEET DWAYNE MURRAY
Author of The Mouse That Roared
Dwayne was born in Harlem, grew up in the Bronx. He
graduated from Manhattan Vocational High School and attended one year of
college at Florida State University. He is now an "A" Journeyman with Local
3 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and lives in Bronx, New
About The Book
Read what happens to Ms. Sandra Lyte when after defying her religious and sanctified parents' wishes by entering a beauty contest they viewed as sinful and lustful. After being thrown out of the only home she ever knew, Sandra traveled to New York City wide-eyed and excited about starting a new life in the "Big Apple." Unaware and na´ve of what life is like in the heart of the city, Sandra now finds herself caught up in a life of drugs, deceit, power, and murder. This rollercoaster ride is filled with action and suspense, just be sure to exhale after every chapter.
What was your inspiration for writing The Mouse That Roared?
I must first identify my love for the "Big Screen." I am the ultimate movie buff. As a child you could always find me sneaking into movies like "Hell Up In Harlem", Sheba Baby", "Uptown Saturday Night", and many other 1970s black films. I always paid close attention to the plot and themes of movies. I am the one who always figures out the movie plot before anyone else does. With a strong love for movies, I had a desire to write my own screenplay. After further exploration and even after taking classes for screenplay writing, I found it very challenging to get my screenplay from paper to film. It was then I decided to take my screenplay and turn it into a novel, hence my very first novel The Mouse That Roared. After reading the reviews on Amazon.com and from readers who visited my website and signed my guestbook, it felt so good to get such positive feedback about the book. Relishing from and the positive energy, so far, with The Mouse That Roared it has motivated me to complete my second novel titled "Whatever It Takes" which was released July 21, 2007 and featured at the 2007 Harlem Book Fair. Please excuse my shameful attempt at promoting!
How did you develop the idea into a full - length story?
My experiences with watching movies and reading books, I knew I had to really build my characters. I started by purchasing magazines and I searched these magazine to find faces. It may seem strange to others, but after choosing faces for my characters, then I would staple it to a sheet of paper and begin to list personal attributes to form each character's personality. I chose a woman to be the heroine in my novel, because I admire both the mental and physical strength of women. Growing up in New York City and having an extended family of predominantly strong African American women, I had the honor and misfortune of actually seeing their strength tested and realized. With all the struggles I witnessed many of the strongest women in my life go through, I remember the smiles behind the tears, the many gentle hugs and kisses on the cheeks, and their ability to give unconditional love even in the mist of adversity. Therefore the idea behind my book The Mouse That Roared have much to do with the strong women who played a major role in my life as a child and even as a man.
Tell us about your book
This is a compelling drama about Sandra Lyte, a young woman who defied her religious father's wishes and entered a beauty contest in her home town. Little did she know her defiant choice would begin the gamut of chaos that will forever change her life. With no place to turn Sandra is forced to leave her family and roots in Virginia and buy a one way ticket to, "If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere!" New York.
From the time her feet hit the pavement, Sandra is faced with the harsh cold reality of life in the big city. Nonetheless, she finally meets someone offering the city's "Milk & Honey" on a silver platter, and confessing unconditional love until death do them part. Unbeknownst to Sandra she promises her heart to the very one who would shatter it forever and from this love she will experience her greatest loss.
This gut-wrenching, fast-paced thriller will magnify the journey of a woman, the referent power of family bonds, and what is meant by true friendship. Circumstances will exalt the most innocent, intellectual, and mild-mannered woman's true strength when she's forced into a corner.
Tell us how long you've been writing and what made you get into the literary field
I have been thinking about this novel for the past two year since it's creation as a screen play first. With the competition of getting this screen play off the ground being very difficult, I found it necessary to turn it into a novel simply because I felt it was a story that needed to be read by the general reading public. My closeness to all my characters compelled me to write and self-publish The Mouse That Roared. I wanted avid readers to know these characters as I do.
How do you, as a writer, find your way into the story? Do you use an outline or let the story unfold naturally?
In creating my characters, I did start with an outline. I sat down and applied a personality trait to all characters in the novel. We as individuals fit different molds. Some of us are brave, conceited, leaders, followers, go-getters, and devious. It was a process of sitting down and deciding what characters would fit which assigned traits and I ran with it.
Where do you get your ideas? How do you know you have a good tale to tell worthy of becoming a novel?
Scary enough the ideas came from my head and they also derived from my hopes of increasing the "shock factor." I have been called numerous times by family and close friends about the graphic scenes in The Mouse That Roared. There was only one man in my lifetime, so far, that created that shock factor for me and that was Alfred Hitchcock. I have to say Alfred Hitchcock has to be one of the major influences and literary lore in my life. No story or subject matter was taboo to him. Hitchcock felt that anything was possible in the story telling realm. Hitchcock wasn't afraid to tackle story themes others would run away from. I am most influenced by Hitchcock's concentration to details, and how all his characters were often vulnerable and never safe. That influence has enabled me, in my writing, to keep my mind open to all possibilities. Thinking back to old Alfred Hitchcock films and comparing them to The Mouse That Roared, they both offered mystery, thrills, suspense, and action.
How many hours a week do you devote to writing, including research?
It depends on the type of day I'm having. As a given I try to dedicate a minimum of three hours after work but if the "groove" hits me, I can commit to more time. During the weekends I can do more writing, if there's not a good movie in the theaters. The computer is an excellent source of research information that is readily available when needed. It's hard to pinpoint time, but I will be sure not to cheat my readers; meaning I give my writing 110% faithfully.
How do you keep a balance between family, work and writing?
Honestly my family is the biggest supporters of my endeavors as a writer. My wife is totally responsible for much of my Internet presence. My sons are also supportive by keeping in the loop with sporting events i.e., baseball, basketball and football scores and trades. When my wife hear of new literary events, newsletters, forums, etc she always inform me about them. My wife Angela was responsible for my connection with your newsletter publication. The balance between it all flows well most of the time, but overall it all balances out through the love and support of my dearest and closest fans - my family.
What literary organizations or writers groups would you recommend to writers in your genre?
I am a member of SPAN - The Small Publishers Association of North America. I am relatively new to this group so I'll save my opinion of it for now.
From your experience, what key ingredients do new writers need to succeed in the book industry?
I believe giving time to your book is important. I don't feel like I rushed the book, but time is always on your side when self publishing. I would share with other inspiring authors who want to write their own novels, the first step is to get your thoughts on paper. As soon as the words start flowing, before you know it you'll be finished with the first chapter. Outline your chapters and make the story flow. Never cheat your readers. Be sure to not leave unanswered questions forcing your readers to make assumptions. Always edit your work professionally and try to have at least two unbiased people, you can count on, read your rough draft. Ask them to make notes on any errors you may have missed. Be sure to do all editing, proofreading, spell and grammar check before sending it to the printer. I made mistakes in my book and some of the great authors have done the same, but that is not an excuse to not strive for perfection. The one thing I never want to be guilty of is cheating my readers. They pay their hard earn money to purchase your book and they deserve quality work.
I know you've written other books. Tell us about them
My sophomore novel titled Whatever It Takes was released July 21, 2007 and featured and the 2007 Harlem Book Fair. Whatever It Takes is a compelling novel depicting what happens when Butch and Zig Steel, carrying a 25 year grudge, finally gets their chance to unleash hell upon an unsuspecting prey. Their plan includes kidnapping, extortion and murder; all skillfully executed and absent of pity and remorse. The cherry on top of the Steel brothers' cake is 25 million dollars that feeds their hunger for revenge.
To complete their mission, it will involve the capturing of innocent nine year old Penny Baker, because she holds the key to it all. The only thing standing in the Steel brothers' way are two seasoned "Ride or Die" female detectives; Jesse James and Brenda Simple. The detectives' new mission in life is to do whatever it takes to protect Penny and bring the Steel Brothers to justice.
So far Whatever It Takes has received rave reviews as being another action-packed suspense novel. I can only hope they embrace my second novel as much as they did The Mouse That Roared.
Have you ever experienced writer's block, and if so, how did you deal with it so you could begin to write again?
So far I have never experienced writer's block. I have a note book with outlines of all the book ideas I have in my head. I am quick to jot them down before I forget. Sometimes I may have problems with the flow of things, but I've learned to step back take some time and come back to my writing refreshed.
Are you devoted to your genre or do you see yourself writing in another genre at some point in the future?
I was recently discussing this same issue with my wife. I have plans in the future to step out of the action suspense writing, but not too sure into "what". I believe by stepping out of your box really challenges a writer to explore their writing skills. I have plans in the future but not exactly sure of the genre.
Are you working on new material? If so, please tell us about what you are currently working on and when we can expect to see it on the market?
Well this interview is about The Mouse That Roared but my sophomore novel titled Whatever It Takes was released on July 21, 2007 and featured at the 2007 Harlem Book Fair. I invite readers who have yet to read either of my books to read the reviews posted on Amazon. Most readers were very satisfied with my novels and I am sure others readers will enjoy them too.
Getting a book published is the start. To have a long career as a full time writer, you need to move your books. Tell us about 2-3 effective ways you have found to get the word out about your book
Do you have any appearances planned?
Urban Knowledge Bookstore in Maryland 9/8/2007
DC Bookman in Washington DC 9/29/2007
Urban Knowledge Bookstore (Mandawmin Mall) 10/13/2007
Sisters Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Shop in New York City 10/27/2007
What would you like to see happen in your writing career 5-10 years from now?
I would like to have at least four other titles out including a trilogy I've been thinking about. Writing is an important aspect of my life and I would love to dedicate time to my writing. I also hope to see The Mouse That Roared on the silver screen. It's really an excellent read and my first love always been movies. If my book ever made it to the theaters, that would be a blessing.
Who are some of your favorite writers and what is it about their work you most admire?
I am also a devote reader of Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, Walter Mosley, and James Patterson. These writers have excellent story telling skills. They all know how to keep you turning the page. The intensity in their storytelling abilities is amazing. You know a book is good when you keep "bargaining" with yourself that you will go to bed after this chapter and it's already two o'clock in the morning and you have to get up by five. I met a lady on the train one morning and just handed her The Mouse That Roared. She was very gracious and because I was the author she promised to read it. She emailed me and spoke highly about the book. She also admitted she missed her stop in Manhattan twice because she couldn't peel herself away from the book. That's exactly what my favorite authors above did for me when I read their books.
How can others reach you?
I encourage readers to visit my website at www.MadboEnterprises.com. Send me emails at Madbo726@aol.com or request to be a friend on www.MySpace.com/Madbo726. I really look forward to meeting avid readers.
What last words of encouragement or advice would you like to leave with our subscribers?
I want my readers to know a little about myself. I was born in Harlem Hospital and raised in the Bronx. I graduated Manhattan Vocational High School in 1983. I attended Florida State University for one year then transferred to Empire State College where I obtained an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts majoring in Electrical Theory. I am happily married to my wife Angela for 20 years and we are the proud parents of two sons; Dwayne, Jr. who is 22 years old and Daniel who is 18 years old. I am currently an "A" Journeyman Electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #3. I recently accomplished my goal to write and self publish two novels The Mouse That Roared and Whatever It Takes.
My wife Angela has been my biggest supporter. She jumped right in, rolled up her sleeves and is responsible for setting up my connection to you Ms. Shivers and literary online publication. I know this process has been much easier because of her unconditional support. I am blessed to have her on my side. My sons have been supportive by allowing me to run ideas by them and they give me their honest opinions.
Lastly, it's gaining the respect from established literary sites like MGS Promotional Newsletter that open the doors for others to read this interview to learn more about me and my novels. I really can't thank you enough.
At times, it's a bit overwhelming but I am enjoying the ride. Most of all, I appreciate all the support given to me by readers and I can only wish that I receive continued support from the literary community.
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT- "If you have a story inside you let it out. Not living your dreams fosters regret. Do your thing and have fun with it!"
By Margie Gosa Shivers
Author of Once Is Never Enough