I was born December 4th, 1989 in New York City. At a young age, I would stand back and watch the world for what it really was. My mind would flood with thoughts and questions about why we were so blind, yet no one had the answers I needed. No one could explain to me why we were "lost" together as a world, yet acted as if we knew the way. No one could explain to me why no one had an explanation for our existence, yet still choose to claim superiority over another. So I turned to writing. It became my drug. Writing became my way of escaping from this reality into a world that only I can see. It's a way that I can leak the words from my pen to give readers a glimpse of the world that brings me comfort. My mind knows no limits, and my eyes see no boundaries; so my writing is limitless, taking on whatever life my pen can handle. Through my words, I can show you what I see. But will you take the chance to enter my world.
Bio provided by author's site
It was our pleasure to get a chance to interview Taj. He is a brilliant young man with a mind that knows no boundaries. His writings are thought provoking and very introspective. Please sit back and give a very warm welcome to Taj!
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration for my stories are simply derived from my will to have my voice be heard. I feel that many conform to the life society tells them is right; yet I stand back and decide for myself. Through my writing I try to express these views of true freedom by allowing the reader to take a walk in my world.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
Before I write anything, I play the story in my mind like a movie. I may turn on my Ipod and have music go along with the story in my mind as I would like it to play out on screen. After the story is complete and I feel as if I was entertained enough and mesmerized, then I begin to transfer that story from my mind to paper. Each character has a face and a background before my pen reaches that paper.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I only write when I'm inspired. I feel as if having a schedule is the equivalent of forcing yourself to write and at least for me, it wouldn't be as fluid and natural. I like to carry on with my day and have something inspire me to play the story in my mind and then find any means I can to write it out.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
I grew up loving Stephen King. His writing is dark and mesmerizing, which I've always admired. To say I wanted to emulate his writing would be disrespectful because it is so unique and original. From him, I learned to embrace the uniqueness that we all have as writers, always staying true to your signature form.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
I love writing in all aspects, but the one thing that does bother me is the fact that through my writing, you cannot hear the music I let sooth my ears as the story unfolds. Many times, in movies, the background music plays to amp the emotion but for writing you don't have that music to supplement the power. So, I rely heavily on visuals instead, hoping the reader can form their own images and music to go along with my words.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I do make time to read in my busy life. Not as much as I used to, but enough to keep me motivated. Right now, I am reading City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare. Although I try to stray from focusing on dialogue in my writing, I love reading books that rely heavily on dialogue.
7. How did you get started in writing dark fantasy? Is there very much of your personal life experience in the writing?
Growing up, I was always that kid who didn't believe their parents words when they spoke about fairy tales. I wasn't suspicious of their words, because I knew it couldn't be true. As a child, life just didn't make sense because I would see adults say one thing, then do another. As time went on, I began to see more unhappiness until I reached the verdict that there may never truly be a happy ending. In this life, we are not guaranteed food, nor water, but we are guaranteed death. Life is the journey toward our end and yet, so many waste it judging others as they walk their own path, focusing on judgment and failing to live life the way they dreamed. So, I write about the darkness I see in the world in a manner that makes the darkness seem comforting at times.
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com and Kindle Direct Publishing, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
To be honest, I see the whole world shifting vastly when it comes to technology. Communication has drastically changed and all the things society has once deemed as "normal" are shifting as well. Individuals are more likely to be spend a lot of time on their computers carrying on with their daily task and it's here they might find it easier to read as well. Technology such as the Kindle proves this societal shift as consumers can now download whatever book they would like without even having to leave their home.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
I don't right now, although I do have some poetry lingering online from years prior. I honestly only thought about making an online site if I had enough request for my work. I do have many writings stored away for my eyes only. But that doesn't mean they can't also be for the eyes of the world.
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
I plan on finishing the trilogy of Revelations. The story is already written in my mind and waiting to see the white of paper. The second book will be called Revelations: The Forbidden Wish. In the first book, I focused more on the protagonists, Leos', inner conflict with finding his identity between two separate worlds. He had no memory and felt as if the Earth instantly gave him an identity he couldn't relate to, "the black man." Yet, in the other world of the extra terrestrials, they saw no race but they still viewed Leo as a threat because his existence defied their laws. In the second book, The Forbidden Wish, the theme I focus on is "how far will you go to prove you love someone". In part two, we will see the magnificent art of individuals breaking their character in the name of love. This I feel is something we see everyday. Many people "change" drastically in the name of love, sometimes realizing it and sometimes not. It could be the love of a friend, the love of family,the love of a lover and even a secret love. This will play out with seeing how far the characters will go in the name of love, as the beautiful tragedies that follow unfold.
11. Who would be your first choice to play the boy who lost his voice in your book "The Last Song"? Last song dealt with a young child being killed by the mother whom he loved dearly. He understood her actions because he knew she did it out of love, even though she was clinically insane. The first person that comes to mind due to age is probably Will Smith's younger son that played the recent Karate Kid. He seems young enough to fit the role, although any young boy with inspiration could take on the role.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
If I could meet anyone from anytime, I honestly wouldn't go very far back. I really want to meet Oprah and find out what truly motivates her to do all the good that she does. I always say to myself that if I was given an unlimited amount of money, I would without hesitation give back to the world. My dream is to one day build an academy for orphans where they can live their lives and receive an education at the same time. Many of us complain when our days go to sour, failing to grasp that realism that we understand what a good day is. A lot of orphans don't have that luxury, experiencing each day as "bad", virtually cause they have no choice. So my dream is to one day give those children that "good day" that they deserve. I feel as if Oprah clarifies many times as to why she does what she does, but I want to meet her so I can see it in her eyes for myself. I feel as if the eyes speak a language that the mouth could never translate. I want to look her in the eyes and understand the light she has found in the darkness of her life. I want to truly understand that "the good" actually exist in this world, and the good actions are not for show but for honor.