Sunday, April 5, 2020


Black Eden Kindle Edition

“That church is the devil’s playground,” she had warned him. But despite the warning from his now-dead wife, Benjamin Thomas has finally obtained the post he has been coveting for years: he and his son, Forrest, are now Pastor and Assistant Pastor of the First St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church. They are given a choice of housing: the parsonage beside the church or a mansion, an old plantation, that has been donated to the church by a former member. Because of its dark past: the horrors of slavery, the disappearance of a past pastor and his family, and the reported murder and suicide of another pastor and his wife, they were warned against taking the mansion. Ben chooses the mansion.

Forrest discovers that there is major corruption going on in the church and that the chairman of the Deacon Board, Gaston Burton Davis—who is also the town’s mayor—is at the core of it all. He also suspects that his father is being threatened in an effort to get him to go along with the corruption. The morning after a meeting with Deacon Davis, other members of the Deacon Board, and the head of the Trustee Board, Forrest knew that his suspicions were true. His father comes down to breakfast looking as if he had been fighting with the devil himself all night. And, indeed, he probably had been—the aftermath of his meeting with Deacon Davis and his pose from the church the night before. He could not just sit by and do nothing while his father was being harassed. With the help of one of the mothers of the church, Forrest tries to save his father, and the church, from the negative forces that are working against First St. Marks. In the meantime, the practice of tithing is explored.


Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school, etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I grew up in Venice, IL (also called The Island), a small town where everybody knew everybody, respected everybody and got along quite nicely. I now live in Palmdale, CA. I graduated from Dunbar High School in Madison, IL; attended Business School in St. Louis, MO, Graduated from Pikes Peak College in Colorado Springs, CO with a degree in Broadcasting; then went on to get my Doctorate Degree in Naturopathy from Trinity School of Natural Health. (It was in Venice, IL that I wrote my first play at the age of fourteen.)

 What inspired you to author this book?

I was so fed up with watching so-called preachers—all over this land—ripping off church-going people, scaring them (with the wrath of God) into emptying their pockets so they (the preachers) can fill their pockets/bank accounts. The greed in this country is overwhelming—and especially where it should not be—in our churches. I think it’s a sin and a shame.

 Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

My publisher and I searched until we found what we thought was a good cover for Black Eden—a stately, old, refurbished, mansion that was in public-domain.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Personally: my father, the late Mr. Joe Ben Dumas, was the most influential person in my life. With only an elementary education, he was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known.
He was continually giving my siblings and me excellent advice that we still follow today. There’s not just one special writer that I like to read or that has influenced my writing. I’ve read James Baldwin, Alexander Dumas, Sidney Sheldon, Terry McMillan . . . . I belong to a book club that reads only books by Black authors. There are so many good authors that I like to read. I listen to a lot of books-on-tape. I love Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts (aka J. D. Robb), and James Patterson, to name just a few.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I began this book quite a few years ago. My thoughts kept sitting down on me while writing Black Eden. I was struggling trying to finish it. I had to put it down and go on to something else. I wrote approximately five or six plays and another novel while waiting for something to happen to help me finish this book. Then it happened. One day while watching television, a minister just popped up—out of nowhere, it seemed--talking about the same subject-matter I was writing about in Black Eden, and I knew that was especially for me, that that was what I needed to hear to finish my book. I believe God was in the plan.

Tell your readers about your book.

Black Eden is about the good and bad within a church; about the struggles of a young man (a minister himself) who finds himself in the fight of his life while trying to save his father—and the church they are pastoring as Pastor and Assistant Pastor—from the evil forces within. This book also delves into the practice of tithing. (I must clarify that Black Eden is a novel, and that tithing is a matter about which one has to use one’s own judgment to decide how to handle.)

Who is your target audience, and why?

My target audience is church-folk and other readers who like to settle down with a good book.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My greatest success, so far, is that theaters around the country have produced some of my plays; one even received seven NAACP Theater Awards Nominations. I am also blessed to have had good parents and family members who loved me and supported me in all of my endeavors. I still have family members and many friends and acquaintances who come to my plays and read my books—and always ask for more.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

The one thing that sets me apart from other writers is that I don’t have a specific “genre.” My mind probably does not work the same as those of other writers. I guess I’m just not a conventional writer. My mind is all over the place. I might get an idea for a comedy, so I write a comedy; then I might get an idea for a drama, so I write a drama, or a mystery. I love them all, so I write about what I love and where my mind leads me. I don’t believe a writer has to stick to just one category.