JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Saleem Little, author of G.O.D.
G.O.D. is the story of two men, from two different backgrounds bonded by one universal plight – poverty and the need to escape it. Wally’s father is murdered early in his life leaving his mother to care for him alone.
Unable to shake the addiction she has developed, Wally’s mother is consumed in the consumption of drugs leaving Wally to fend for himself on the streets of Buffalo, NY. Hamid’s father is executed by a firing squad because of a political scandal leaving Hamid as the sole bread-winner for his family in Helmand, Afghanistan.
Though, separated by an entire ocean, Wally and Hamid’s lives are strangely similar and eventually these lives clash in a bloody war sparked by the murder of Hamid’s closest friend Luqman. Bigger than Hamid and Wally’s story however, is the theme of God that permeates the novel and his presence, or lack thereof, in the lives of the characters. G.O.D. is a story of the atrocities that prevail when divine law is missing in the hearts and minds of men.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write G.O.D.?
Saleem Little: As you know, my intentions are always to show the correlation of the lives of humans, like with Crying For Tears: The Sasha Pierce Story. I took the horrid act of human slavery and made it relatable to the young woman who is lost to the allures of the urban life.
I wanted to reflect how when the creator is present in the lives of men, peace prevails. When this force is absent from the hearts of humanity, war is the norm. Me and my brother dialogue often, and we would research statistics regarding the social ailments plaguing mankind. My answer to him was always the same: showing people data on how messed up humanity is will not fix any problem. If anything, it will perpetuate it.
The solution is to reintroduce man to the laws of nature stipulated by the creator. Don’t backbite, don’t commit fornication, don’t murder unjustly, don’t slander, don’t gossip, always call the force that animates and sustains to remembrance, feed the needy, love thy neighbor… These are the solutions to the problems.
So, my inspiration to write G.O.D. came from the lack of divine principles in the lives of men. Also, so many acronyms can be ascribed to “G.O.D.” – one of the more popular being “Gold, Oil & Drugs”. It seems this is what has been praised more than righteous conduct. I am definitely not holier than thou, but like the prophet said: “All the sons of Adam are sinners but the best of sinners are those who repent often…” People die for Gold (money), Oil (Iraq) and drugs (Vietnam). Millions of lives have been lost because the major capitalist of the world praise G.O.D. in the form of Gold, Oil, and Drugs, while sucking the blood of the poor.
JP: What sets G.O.D. apart from other books in the same genre?
SL: G.O.D. has no one particular genre. This book was intended to bring the world into the lives of the slum-ridden souls suffering from post-traumatic slave disorder and the pangs of the after effects of the crack epidemic. On the flip side, this book’s purpose is to show the urban audience what goes on abroad.
As humans we all feel the same emotions. White, Black, Asian, etc. We all feel pain, and we all feel joy on top of a myriad of other emotions. Though racism and prejudice blind some of us and make us apathetic to the plights of others, deep down we can relate.
Africans relate to what Jews experienced in the Holocaust because they felt the same pain and vice versa yet one believes the other is inferior. Neither is superior nor inferior. Africans Built great dynasties and centers for learning, and Jews (Hebrews) have added invaluably to our understanding of the scriptures amongst other accomplishments.
G.O.D. doesn’t have a genre. He transcends all barriers, and that’s my intentions with this book. It’s for Historians, Theologians, Philosophers, Creationist and Evolutionist; it’s for the Afghan child who has been inundated with images of war and the street kid who has been involved in drug wars coerced by the lust for money. It’s for the woman who is striving to overcome the barriers placed upon her by circumstance and the man striving to do the same. My intention is for this book to transcend genres.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to G.O.D. getting out to the public?
SL: I remember I used to, like most men, rule the world. I wanted to be rich and famous. I think we all experience this as this is what the media endorses. “Status is everything”.
Then I realized I didn’t want to trade my soul to attain it, so I would give the world me, all of me, in all of my honesty, good and bad, and wherever that landed me, I would be happy. My ideas of success have changed. Being a better son, father, brother, and mentor are areas of more importance to me in regards to success.
I don’t want people to envy me because then they may not learn what I want to give them. I’ve found that he human’s ultimate conquest is happiness. I found it, and want people to enjoy it. We amass fortunes so we can buy all the things that makes us happy. Happiness is the goal and money is a means to that end.
Instead of chasing any one particular avenue, I just stayed in my lane. I could tweet a thousand things a day, but I always think about the 48 laws of Power where he says; “The more you say, the more likely you are to say something stupid”. I could blog every minute. I’m busy living life so often I don’t have the time to.
If I’m out with my Daughter, I’m with my daughter and could care less what’s happening on social networks. That becomes of very little importance. So the key for me was to be myself, live for my loved ones If it’s meant for me to be as big as a J.K Rowling, it will happen. If it was meant for me to reach a few thousand people, but REALLY REACH them, I’m at peace with that as well. The key for me in everything is to know myself and be myself.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish G.O.D.?
SL: Because I usually give credit to something higher than myself, call it super-conscious or God whatever term you like better, I let the inspiration come. I look at scriptures and manifestos of “great” men, there seems to be inspiration where the heart is writing and not the mind.
The mind could concoct a thousand pieces of art (music, books, sculptures, etc.) to sell. That’s easy, for the mind of man is very manipulative. But for a work that stays in the hearts of people for an eternity – this is the heart writing. I think of the Quran, where the Prophet Muhammad received inspiration for a period of 23 years. It took a lot of patience to reveal a book that is now one of, if not the, most influential books in existence.
I try to maintain the same patience when allowing the words of my novels to resonate in my heart. I’ll leave a book for a while – I’m sovereign so I have no deadlines – and when I feel inspiration I write until that inspiration dissipates. Then I wait for the next one. I try not to force myself to write, or I’ll just be filling space or trying to rush myself. You can’t rush greatness. And who’s to say I’m great? It’s what I strive for.
JP: What’s next for Saleem Little?
SL: Life, Love, and Lyrics… Just living Life, enjoying Love, and penning Lyrics. As far as manuscripts, I’m working on a novel titled American Made, then I want to pen a few novellas for the ladies. More important than all of this however is the fact that my daughter is 12 now, so I have to pay even closer attention to her.
Special thanks to Joey Pinkney. I value your integrity and admire your hard work. Peace.