Sometimes a good book really is all you need. They have the power to transform, take your mind off of troubles, whisk you to fantasy lands, and even if for a mere hour, allow you peek into the intimate details of someone else’s life. So we’re saluting the authors who keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us wanting more–sharing with you our favorite scribes who put pen to paper and uplift voices for the unheard.
Clutch: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
FP: There were a lot of inspirations from the lyricists of hip-hop to my mother to my college English professor who told me to pursue writing as a career. But it’s funny because even with all of those inspirations, it took me a long time to embrace the title “writer.” Fear is a mofo.
Clutch: If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you would be doing?
FP: Well I went to school for business and worked in marketing for some time. I also worked in book publishing. I think I would probably still be working in book publishing, maybe as an editor. Although I do have these closet fantasies of being a professional dancer (think backup for Missy Elliot versus Alvin Ailey) or an interior designer.
Clutch: In your opinion, what’s the one thing one must possess if they want to become a professional writer?
FP: The ability to overcome the emotional agony of the act and business of writing. Okay that sounds a little cynical, but it’s pretty true. It’s real in the field and you have to be able to put rejection, critics, writer’s block and self-doubt to the side and still embrace your inner creativity.
Clutch: How has the internet and Social Media helped you as a writer?
FP: Both have been tremendous in my career in more ways than I can name. One, they have been instrumental in the promotion of my work. Second, they’ve been great for research and networking. They’ve also allowed a space to “practice” writing through blogs, updates, online rants, etc.. They’ve also been great distractions when I’m procrastinating.
Clutch: Tell us about your current book.
FP: My current book is THE MESSAGE: 100 Life Lessons From Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs is a collection of essays that explores what we can learn from the multitude of stories that drip from good hip-hop songs–from ideas on politics, love, relationships, careers, ambition, and more. Think of it as a literary mixtape.
Clutch: What advice would you give to up and coming writers?
FP: Yeah it is supposed to feel like “that” when you’re creating. If you feel “that” (which many times is a mixture of fear, uncertainty, agony, anxiety, happiness, freedom, euphoria) then you’re on the right track. Write like your life depends on it. Silence naysayers with your pen or keystroke.