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.
Born in San Francisco, Raised in Hayward, California. In the early stages of our lives, my brothers and I were raised by our mother (Dorothy Nash-Samuel) but had the support of our step-father (Big Ron). Youngest of 3 (Michael and Ronnie). Father of two (Alanna and Ronnie). Grew up with the thought of playing professional basketball, but after a knee injury, that never quite allowed me to get back to that level. I grew to love music as a career. Billboard, Top 10 Artist in over 77 countries and currently Top 5 in UK with my single “Why Are You Holding Back” and a new single to be released May 2, 2022, “Love In My Eyes.”
Never really considered writing as a passion until 2015, when my record label told me I should consider a writing career due to the storylines of my songs. Once I finally sat down and decided to give it a shot, I was off and going with two of the first seven books that I have slated as part of this series. “Five Steps Black” is out now, and “A Shot for Momma J” is slated to be released in the fall of 2022.
At an early age, I tried to pay attention to the importance of love and the love for trying to understand the mind and actions of others.
What inspired you to author this book?
Watching how the world came together during the Black Lives Matter movement was the start. Secondly, watching the January 6th insurrection and what that caused lit a fire. I had never really been into politics but during all of this, my anger and frustration were high, as I was trying to understand the meaning behind the unnecessary killings and all of the fighting. This led to someone close to me asking me to put it down on paper. I thought that was extremely weird considering I had never thought of writing anything outside of music, but this time I decided to see what would come out. Seven weeks later I had the rough draft done for Five Steps Black and now here we are.
In order to change the world, first, you have to be willing to see the changes that maybe you’ve never thought about before. I believe Five Steps Black gives the reader a different view that will take you on a journey that will open up the doors for those who are willing to see it from a different viewpoint. And even those who don’t believe there is a need for change, will have to ask themselves, or say to themselves, “maybe I could make that minor change”. That is all I want from the reader and that is what inspired me to write it. The hope is that those who just need a little jolt will get it. If I can get a few to understand clearly what this book is talking about, I will have done my job. I can’t change the world but I can continue to try.
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
Years of watching television and traveling worldwide with music, no matter what city or country you were in, seeing shoes hanging from telephone wire meant “drugs, danger, don’t go in.” I call it the “Triple D Warning”. But I also look at it like this. If when we see the tennis shoes hanging, we think, for a moment, these are places or things we don’t want to be a part of, we will change direction. Let’s change direction together is what I get from this cover. Let’s go to places of change; let's start to love and believe in what we could be and figure out how to get there together. The shoes are just a symbol of change for me.
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Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
I have three people that are the most influential for me today. Shawna James, my significant other, for pushing me to write, not only this book but the others to follow because she knows my heart and believes my words are meant to bring change. She has always reminded me of the fact that even when she first met me, I was always surrounded by very good people and great minds. She said that was no accident, and that if I would just open my eyes and ask myself why they would want to be around me, I’d see myself more clearly. It wasn’t just because of my music, it was because of my heart and the love that exploded from it every time I opened my mouth. That was the start.
And then there’s my older brother Ron Nash, who has always pushed me to be the best version of myself. As I watched him growing up, he was never threatened by doing things differently, as demonstrated by being the lead singer & lead guitar of one of the first all-Black rock groups in the Bay area, Guillotine. Not anything I ever thought I would see or enjoy, but when I did get a chance to watch him and watch the crowd of predominantly anything-other-than Black people and the love they gave him, it made me smile. Not that I ever really thought of being in an all-Black rock group, but the fact that they played heavy metal rock was even crazier to me. But I’ll always remember what Ron said to me, “I do what I like and I give it my all. Some people will like it and some will not. You have to do the things you love for you first and those who want to follow will and for those that don’t… Fuck ‘em.” And I have pretty much lived my life that way. I have always tried to do the right thing, not saying I haven’t made mistakes but for the most part, I can honestly say, love has always been at the top of my list, and showing that love to others, will always be based on the person and not color of their skin.
Lastly, Shaquille O’Neal has been a large influence to the recent changes in my life. After watching a few of his talk show interviews and how his father pushed him to strive to be the best he could be, while reminding him never to stop on the ones that helped him to get there. The way that he always is trying to help the little person. The way he is truly the gentle giant. The way he brings joy when you watch him. That is my joy, to know that is what I will continue to strive to do in my life through my books, my time, and my love.
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
Believing I could do it was actually the first obstacle until I started writing. That was really the only thing. I don’t let things stop me from doing what I want, other than myself. And I have blown enough chances in my life of doing something big, I wasn’t going to blow this chance to change the world through my words.
Tell your readers about your book.
The book to me is about someone actually having to live the things that you have previously either judged, placed blame on, or thought you understood, without actually ever having done so. In my book, Charlie Johnson, or C.J., actually has to live the life from a different point of view. That really makes him have to rethink all of the judgment, all of the false stories, and all of the privileges that he’d be given throughout his life, to now have to look in the mirror through the eyes of what he had previously judged and looked down on. For him to actually feel, see and live it, made him have to rethink his overall thoughts and feelings.
If I could put it in a nutshell I would say, you can borrow a pair of shoes from your best friend to run the marathon, but your race to the finish line will still be a different experience than it was for him. You simply can’t ever know how different, or painful his experience is from yours, unless you are him wearing the shoes during the race. The shoes are just a means to help you in your race, they can’t give you his experience. Congratulate him on finishing the race, it doesn’t matter what place he came in, the fact that he completed the race should be acknowledged. I’m sure that might be even more confusing, but just like the book, if you really want to receive the message in that analogy you can, you just have to want to.
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Who is your target audience, and why?
Those who have an opinion of what it takes to be anyone but themselves. I would love for the world to read my novel; I think we all need to look through the mirror sometimes from a different viewpoint.
If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?
I can only give you what I believe the reason to purchase this book would be for me, and that is for change. But the change has to come from you and the willingness to want change only comes if you see where YOU might be falling short. This book will allow you to ask yourself where you might be falling short in life. If you want that question answered you are the only one that can answer it for you. So why buy it? To understand the steps needed to make a change is all I can say. Reading Five Steps Black will give you the steps, but I can’t take them for you. You will have to take the steps for yourself.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
Being able to love at the deepest levels which I learned from my two children. They taught me how to love in a way I never thought possible.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
I won’t compare myself to other writers in my genre because I haven’t read their novels. What I can say I believe will set me apart or make me a little different is my desire to help create a different point of view for the reader. How do I create a reality for them so they think of what could be if we take five seconds to think before we take that first step that could change our lives? As a writer, I only want the world to see love first and I try and create that in my stories and in my music. What if it were you, would you still have the same reaction? I want to be that person that would be able to say “yes, that is the way I would want it to be handled.” I want to live the stories that I write as if they are a movie with me staring in them. I don’t want to put anything in my books that offend anyone but they do punch you in the gut to get you to think. If that is different to you, then that is what I would say is different, in my opinion, from other writers in my genre.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I haven’t had it yet. I watch the movie in my head and when it is complete I begin to type. I already have 4 stories pretty much complete in my head. Now I just have to sit down and write them. I have never had writer's block with my songs, and I have written over 200 songs. Writer's block for me means that I didn’t have a story to tell. I only write when I have a story to tell otherwise it’s a waste of time for me to sit down and start.
What one piece of advice do you have for new authors?
Just do it! But love when you do it. If you are loving what you are doing, there will be others that love it to. Doesn’t matter if it’s a few or thousands. Just love it for you and that will be enough. We can’t write for what others want to hear. We have to write what we want to say. Otherwise, it isn’t our story. Write your story for yourself first.
What is next for you in your writing career?
Seven total books were what I said when I started writing and that is what my goal is. I would love to see one, if not all, of my stories, turn into film because I believe that will be another platform for people to think about change and how we could all use a little maintenance on ourselves.
Tell your readers anything else you want to share.
The journey is worth the trip. The steps are for you to take. The conclusion is for you to make. Take the steps… take them today! We need them and you can’t hide from the fact that the world needs something in order to get back on track. I only want to help from what I KNOW can make a change. If you read Five Steps Black and you really allow yourself to read the story of life as it plays in front of you, just know with any book, or movie, nothing can change until you decide to turn the page. Let’s turn the page together.
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