JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Matthew Aaron Goodman, author of Trouble In My Way
(Simon & Schuster)
Born to a thirteen-year-old in the bathroom of his family’s small apartment, Abraham Singleton enters a world laden with the obstacles inherent in an impoverished community. In spite of the crack epidemic and the HIV crisis that ravages his neighborhood, his family, the Singletons-cousins, an uncle, and aunt, Abraham and his mother-are held together by Abraham’s heroic grandmother, whose deep faith and stoic nature have always given them a sense of wholeness and hope. But when the family goes through seveal harrowing losses, not even his grandmother may be strong enough to lead them through.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Hold Love Strong?
Matthew Aaron Goodman: I wrote about the people I love and the people who love me. I wrote about friends and family, coworkers and students, and the men and women I worked with who had just been freed from prison. I wrote about the people in my life, those I grew up with, those I spent brief but intimate time with, those I cried, laughed, and broke bread with.
I wrote out of respect for their lives and for my own. All of these people influenced and were the inspiration for Hold Love Strong. I wrote for them to express my love, and the impact they’ve had in my life.
JP: How can a Jewish man tell the story of an African-American boy and his experience with clarity and truth?
MAG: The same way James Baldwin wrote Giovanni’s Room and Chester Himes wrote Yesterday Will Make You Cry. The same way Abe Meropol wrote the poem that became the song Strange Fruit. Clarity and truth are not possessions, objects to claim and own. They are interpretations, products of meditation and dedicated, unwavering effort.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Hold Love Strong getting out to the public?
MAG: Dedication, patience, and, at least while I am writing, a total disregard for haters.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Hold Love Strong?
MAG: Monday through Friday, I wake up every morning before the sun and write. From start to finish, it took me seven years.
JP: What’s next for Matthew Aaron Goodman?
MAG: To continue being human, to get better at being so. To continue writing, to get better at the craft.
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