JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Chamsil, author of Unbeknownst
(Wontyme IV Your Mynd Publications)
Memphis, Tennessee. 20th Century. Take a journey into the worlds of Jamin Edson, Lindsay Beauregard and Hope Edson, a young family engulfed in turmoil that threatens the core of their family structure. When Jamin makes the drastic decision to leave his family without a trace, lives are forever changed in the wake of his exodus.
Witness the trials and tribulations, heartache and pain, successes and shortcomings as the result of one fateful decision. There are many lessons to be learned. Life goes on. Life brings about new experiences and challenges. But, ultimately, life catches up with you. The only question is…will you be ready when it does? This is Unbeknownst.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Unbeknownst?
Chamsil: I played around with writing a short story in 2002, but my writing style and delivery wasn’t as advanced then. But, I never stopped writing. As for this book, throughout the course of my life, relationship struggles and issues had always been prevalent either in unions that I witnessed in real-life, situations on television or things that I had heard about in conversations that either
I’ve been privy to or heard about these situations. I hold family in the highest regard and the dynamics of a family and everyone’s role is so critical, to not only the successes, but also the failures. It had been in the back of my mind, subconsciously, for a long time. Spontaneously, it came to me and I felt compelled to write about it.
However, with twists and turns and a storyline that make Unbeknownst unique in it’s own right. I wasn’t going to stop until I had a solid piece of literary work completed that I could be proud of and want to share with those who were willing to take a chance and bear witness to my story.
JP: Twentieth-century Memphis, TN. Why did you choose this time and place? And what kind of preparation did you have to do in order to make this book what it is?
Chamsil: Putting the setting of the book in Memphis just came to me in the spur of the moment. I’ve been a fan of Memphis music and culture for long time, which really came to fruition during my freshman year at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans in 1993.
This one dude I knew named Melvin was from Memphis, and he always kept telling me and my other friends from Michigan how much the rap group Eightball & MJG were so tight. We had never heard of them before. He was dowright determined to make sure that we knew who they were.
I guess I wasn’t convinced at first by him just telling me so. But, the moment at which he broke out the “Comin’ Out Hard” cassette tape and popped it in the deck. I have been a dedicated fan ever since. But, keep in mind that the story is set in two cities, but Memphis is the foundation. I got a cousin that lives in Memphis, too. Memphis just got soul, baby.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Unbeknownst getting out to the public?
Chamsil: My persistent determination and grind on the web and beyond were the driving forces in me wanting my dreams to become an author with a voice just desiring to be heard to ultimately become a reality. It’s been a long, and not always easy road, but I’ve been steadfast on my mission.
This is just the beginning for me. I want to realize this not only for myself, but for my mother, who is no longer with me in the physical sense, but has always been a driving force within my soul as to the accomplishment of not only my creative goals, but my goals in life, overall. Unbeknownst is definitely a story that I felt must be told. And it will be, in due time.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Unbeknownst?
Chamsil: My writing process is very inconsistent. I write when my heart is in it or when a certain cue may provoke me to do so. Being independent gives me a little more flexibility than maybe someone who is signed contractually to a publishing company.
That’s not to say that I can’t write under deadlines, but I just don’t have the extra pressure at this point in my career. My initial stages in writing Unbeknownst, I conceptualized it on a flight to Atlanta in 2005. At that time I made it a habit to have a small notepad on me at all times, just in case a creative thought came to me. So, I just started outlining it. By the time I landed in the A, I had a pretty extensive outline – a start that I felt great about. I kept writing in my notepad, every time I got inspiration to continue.
But, then I transitioned to doing all my writing on computers. Notepad jotting and writing took way too long, and my fingerplay is lighting fast these days. I’d put the book down. Pick it back up. Put it down. Pick it back up. Make changes. Exactly five years later, Unbeknownst was officially a novel.
JP: What’s next for Chamsil?
Chamsil: I will be releasing my next novel in the fall of 2010, an erotiq anthology, “the LOAD memoirs”, which I started writing in late 2008. I’ve been steadily adding more and more meat to it over the last year and a half, because I want this to be book that people will be talking about for a long time.
I just want it to be classic. I have put those expectations on myself. Other than that, I will continue to market myself, and network in order to spread the word about who CHAMSIL is and what gifts I have to offer to readers. There are so many sides of me, and I want everybody to know that. Lend me your eyes…and I will give you a pleasant surprise. That’s my word.