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Eleven Questions with Jeff Carroll

1). How did your writing journey begin?

I started telling revised movies stories when I was in middle school, but the first story I wrote was in 1996 while in a script writing class in New York City. My first story I wrote that was released was in 2003 my movie Holla If I Kill You. My first novel was in 2009 when I wrote the novelization to my second movie Gold Digger Killer.

2). Who are your writing inspirations?

The late William Simms is the author of my favorite sci-fi book Zuro. L A Banks is another one of my writing inspirations. She wrote urban paranormal stories that didn’t feel like a different world. I also, take inspiration from Steven Barnes, Rodney Barnes, Milton Davis, Steven Smalls and Sista Souljah.

3). Are you an outliner or a panster?

I am a punster with my outlines. Haha. I am a total outliner. I sometimes even outline my chapters and the panels in my comic pages. Outlining is a way for me to organize my thoughts. Stories come to me in my dreams and when I wake up I write down what I remember and then organize it. By the time I sit down to write I have 90% of what I need. My outlines and notes sometimes even have dialogue lines in them.

4). What are your favorite books?

I love Star Wars books. My favorite novel is Zuro A Tale of Alien Avengers. I don’t really have a favorite comic book. My favorite movie script varies depending on the day you ask me but, I Robot and Black Panther will always be at the top.

5). Describe your writing process.

I start with an idea for the story or a title. From there I move onto shaping the story. The big arch the beginning, middle and end. Then I move on to the characters. Sometimes I think of the characters first. After I have the story outlined then I start writing. However, all through the process I am telling people and listening to their responses. I then tweak my story if something stands out. After I finish my first draft I pass it on to my wife or trusted friend. Then I make changes on their feedback and lastly I send it off to a professional editor. The rest is history.

6). Why did you choose to write speculative fiction?

After writing screenplays that I couldn’t afford to produce I found the limitless story frames of novel writing liberating.

7). Tell us a bit about your story.

The Harlem Shake is about the 125th fault line becoming active and the world going in to a post apocalypse. The story is told through the eyes of a group of people who work at the Apollo theater on 125th street in Harlem, NYC.

8). What inspired you to write this story?

I always wanted to write something different. Black Sci-fi had Sword and Soul and lots of paranormal stories and I wanted to expand the Black Sci-fi subgenre. After I found out about the 125th Fault line the story just exploded inside of me.

9). Will there be more stories about this character?

The Harlem Shake has seven main characters and is a series. I am up to book three. I have been writing a book a year in the series. I plan on writing two books in the series this summer.

10). How do we keep up with all things Jeff Carroll?

My books are all on my Amazon page. I am planning on getting a website where all of my books, comic books and films will be available in one place.

11). What advice would you give to new writers?

In my writing workshops I tell writers make people think and be entertained with your stories and you will be successful. Also, when thinking about titles of your stories and names of characters remember the words on paper become sounds in the readers heads so, say them out loud before you settle on them.

You can find The Harlem Shake by Jeff Carroll on Amazon.

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