Faye’s Author Spotlight

As you know, I love to read. So today I want to do something a little different. I want to share an interview with author Russel Blake. In addition to being an author, Mr. Blake is a world renowned Jazz Musician and producer.

His book is entitled “Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman” Volume I. “Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman” is inspired by, through and because of the Spirit of God that abides within Mr. Blake. It is a book of short stories, observations, psalms and praises whose foundation is the Holy Scriptures utilizing Proverbs 31 as its central theme based on The Virtuous Black Woman.

Faye: What was your inspiration for writing Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman?

Russel: The inspiration came from understanding that no Man is an Island unto himself. That should I ever count myself a success in life, then I am in certain indebtedness, humbled gratitude and affirmed obligation to Women for the significant contributions they have made to me, as a Man. Starting with the Women of my Family, my community and my ethnicity.

Faye: When did you first start writing and how long did it take you to finish your book?

Russel: I’ve nurtured a consistent knack and an inner desire for writing all my life. While in class throughout my school years, while the teacher was teaching I would also be engaged in another entirely different writing event in my book. My mind was always wandering to the fascination of words and their inherent able power to create emotions, approximate the feeling of traveling and wonder through using my imagination.

Faye: This is volume 1of the Proverbs 31, how many volumes will you have and when can we look for the volume due?

Russel: The Proverbs 31: Virtuous Woman Series is a three volume work. Volume 1 is dedicated to my Mom, the Women of my Family, Community and ethnicity. Volumes two and three are dedicated to all ethnic groups of Women, as virtue is not monogamous to one ethnicity. I would hope to have Volume II to be published soon.

Faye: Where does your inspiration come from?

Russel: My day job as a musician and a composer grants me the ample opportunity during my time off to focus and coalesce my ideas, feelings and thoughts, transcending them from musical melodies and harmony to the written word.

Faye: Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Russel: Yes. My paradigm to overcome that is abiding in a graceful patience to know if I order it, it will come. So I place the meditative order in through prayer for the creative thoughts, ideas and emotions necessary to be a vehicle for God through creative expression, and in time it eventually comes. The key for me is not to force creativity, but rather to remain in calm abiding knowing that when the spiritual Waters of God’s gifts come, you must be as the human sponge ready to soak it all up and swell up with creativity. Then you gently squeeze those ideas onto paper. It takes time and practice. Writers block is more often than not caused by the distractions of our daily lives, and the inability to find quality time for quiet and substantive absorption of what God is trying to tell us.

Faye: I like the thought of being a human sponge ready to soak up all the creativity that God allows through His Holy Spirit. Do you work using an outline process, or does the inspiration flow and allow you to just write?

Russel: Both. I have no set paradigm.

Faye: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult to become a writer?

Russel: The Bible, Marcus Aurelius, Khalil Gibran, Lorraine Hansberry, Shakespeare, Alexander Pushkin, The Liturgy of Nicheren Shoshu, The Tao by Lao Tzu, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, St. Augustine, John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Ben Jochanan, Sojourner Truth, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, They Came Before Columbus by Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas An American Slave, Stolen Legacy by Dr. George G.M. James, to name a few.

Faye: Wow…what a great list of inspiration especially beginning with the Bible and continuing on with a vast list influences. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author and what has been the best compliment?

Russel: The toughest criticisms are the ones I give to myself; the best compliment is the one I’ve not yet earned from me.

Faye: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Russel: Just as each fingerprint is singular and unique, so is every imagination. Pursue the depths of your own imagination in finding that which is expressively you and wholly original. What matters most is not the volume of words one can write, but the ingenuity behind it to move Souls from one place to another.

Faye: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Russel: Fan’s…wow. No, I don’t think I have fans but to those who support my work I am eternally grateful and wish God’s continued blessings upon each and every one. In JESUS Name.

Mr. Blake says, “If one Black Woman is thought to be expendable, then every Black Woman’s immeasurable value is now diminished in the eyes of the world.”

Thank you Mr. Blake for taking the time from your busy schedule to sincerely answer these questions regarding your book and may God continue to anoint you with the creativity of the written word.

I personally have many favorites in Mr. Blake’s book, however, two of those favorites are “Black Woman I Love You” on page 16 and “My Black Queen” on page 63. To purchase the book you can go to Mr. Blake’s website www.russelblake.net  or, if you have a Nook, Kindle, or other e-book format, it can be purchased at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/156907.

Happy reading!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MylahSai
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 21:33:57

    I absolutely LOVE this book review. Great job Ms. Betty!


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