Thanks so much for spending the time with us over the Labor Day weekend, Braxton. We always start with the same curiosity: What book spoke to you most during your teen years?
The Divergent series. Veronica Roth really put together an original story with characters that feel real in a fictional world. It’s gritty, and the sense of desperation if heavy. Of course, I’d love for all my friends to read The School of Ministry as well when it comes out in August of this year.
What made you want to write teen fiction? Is there any link to the stories you read growing up?
Your most recent novel is The School of Ministry: The Windgate. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
Tell us about the love triangles in this book.
I love this love triangle because it is built a little differently. Ziv’s heart is for Stephanie – a longtime friend of his – and they get separated after she brings him some ‘good news’. He decides that he must make a choice about their relationship. It’s at this point that he is introduced to another young lady named Evan, who he’s also attracted to. He knows he must find Stephanie again, and during his quest to do so, he is constantly being pulled towards Evan. But getting either of them is not easy because another character in the story reveals himself to be the love interest of one of the girls, which puts a barrier between Ziv and his decision.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
Hmm, there are so many great action sequences, but I love the Quad challenge when Ziv finds out he has to fight – YOU KNOW WHO! (can’t spoil it) The end is pretty sweet as well.
From inspiration to final draft, writing a novel is a ton of work. What was it about this story that made you want to see it through?
It really began to speak to me through the editing process. It gave me time to go back through it and delete, add, and connect the timelines and characters. The fluidity of the story really became my biggest focus. Once that was done, I think crafted a story that readers are going to become vested in and want to see through to the end of the series. The second book is going to be huge.
In the course my research, I’ve noticed that you’ve done joint signings with your uncle, Bill Cosby. As a fan, I have a tremendous respect for your uncle. I’d love to ask some questions about your relationship with him, if it’s okay with you? *Braxton agrees*
Funny…really. I remember finding out that I was related to Uncle Bill when I was lying on my family-room floor looking at an episode of the Cosby Show. My mom said, “Hey, you know that’s your Uncle?” I turned away from her and smiled, then turned back to the television to finish the episode. It’s so funny how kids aren’t really impressed by the big things in life. Later, I began to see the impact that he had on people with all his accolades and teachings and appreciated how cool it was that I was a Cosby.
If you could describe your uncle in one sentence what would it be?
Did you watch The Cosby Show growing up? Did you have a crush on any of the Huxtables?
When I’m under a deadline, I occasionally use your uncle’s famous “chocolate cake” rationale for feeding my kids dinner. Do you have a favorite Bill Cosby comedy routine?
I remember his line about “I’m your father, I brought you in this world, and I’ll take you out.” I’ve got to admit I’ve never said it out loud, but the thought has crossed my mind.
*LOL* I love that one, too! Is your uncle a reader?
Yes. He loves to read. He says he reads while eating a good apple.
He instilled the importance of messaging. Yeah, I could easily go out and write a novel that has foul language and sex in it, who can’t. But how would that impact people in a positive way. Or better yet, how would that make my kids feel as they grow up? It’s so much harder to be faithful to your own vision and stay grounded no matter how much people try to make you into someone else. His comedy has not changed one bit since he first began his career and I know he was asked to change here or there to get a ‘broader’ audience. But he stayed the path and now there is no one on the planet that makes comedy the way he does. I’d like my writing to speak like that.
Tell the readers something about your uncle that might surprise them.
He is truly funnier in person than he is on television. Trust me…
Why do you suppose your uncle is so iconic?
He fashioned a career on doing it his way: from the sweaters, to the cigars, to the clean humor. I appreciate that about him the most.
Has your uncle read your books?
*final question* What’s next for you?
The book launch just before Labor Day, followed by an anthology of sorts with artwork on The School of Ministry: The Windgate with book tours, speaking engagements, and book fairs. Then early next year, the re-launch of Protostar under Winter Goose Publishing. Although it got good reviews and even won an award in 2012, I just felt that it never really got the clean shot I wanted it to. Now, I get the chance to give it the life it deserves. I’ve already begun the re-editing process, with a full re-imagining of the series, complete with character and narrative overhauls.
And I, for one, can’t wait!
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THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY: THE WINDGATE
TO CHOOSE, IS FATE!
A young man named Ziv struggles to find his place in life after both of his parents are murdered. Orphaned and alone by the age of six, he bounces in and out of foster homes hopeless and afraid, wondering if he will ever find a path to happiness. Read more here...Buy S.O.M. on AMAZON