Friday, August 30, 2013

Author Braxton A. Cosby talks Books, Belief, and his Uncle Bill

Hi everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting the super talented and dynamic Braxton A. Cosby. Since childhood, I have been a huge fan of his uncle Bill. And now that I’ve read Braxton’s latest novel The School of Ministry: The Windgate, I’ve become his fan as well. He's a doctor, an actor (currently filming The Snare with Stephen Baldwin), a motivational speaker, a multi-published author, and an all-around AWESOME guy!

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?

I love a lot of great books, but when I think of the times in which I was growing up, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury always materializes. It was an iconic book for me because it really introduced the whole dystopian world phenomenon that’s so big now.
Braxton in his teens
What YA novel or novels have you read recently that you most want all your friends to read?

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?

I love well told stories that give a good amount of action to move the book along, while laying a foundation of characterization that makes people love or hate the people in the story. I’m a big movie-goer, and I hate the big budget films that depend on special effects only. I’ve come to appreciate the underlying tale, which to me, is the essence or soul of the story.


Your most recent novel is The School of Ministry: The Windgate. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

It came from church actually. We have spirit life classes that teach people about God, and they are entitled School of Ministry classes. I remember looking at Harry Potter and the whole idea of the Ministry of Magic – when I got the idea of The Windgate – thinking, this could really work; A School that teaches about spirituality and the fundamentals of Good versus Evil. All I needed was a group of central characters that in their own right were works in process. The central character Ziv, would be the vessel to make the others realize their own flaws and incidentally as the story progresses, grow along with him. Ziv speaks with wisdom for an eighteen year old. It was important for the book to read like a poetic tale, and I fashioned it to be an intelligent, yet simplified literary tale. Within all of Ziv’s book smarts, he is still a na├»ve child trying to understand the world around him. Within his growth, he finds himself.


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*
What was it like, growing up a Cosby?

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?

Brilliant.

Did you watch The Cosby Show growing up? Did you have a crush on any of the Huxtables?

Yes. And no crushes, although I thought that Denise was pretty hot.

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.

Share with us the impact your uncle had on you as a writer?

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?

Yes, He endorsed both and is really excited for me. He respects my craft and is proud that I’m doing it my way as well.

*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!


Follow Braxton: Twitter | Facebook
Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who plays around with ideas in his mind that he desires to bring to life in print and share with the entire world. An eternal student, Braxton ventures to learn more each day and embraces the idea of facing challenges head on and accomplishing what people determine as impossible. Braxton has written The School of Ministry: The Windgate from Keith Publications and his next book Protostar will be re-released by Winter Goose in early 2014. Both are the first books in their respective series. Braxton lives in Georgia with his wife and three lovely girls.


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






Until next time! 

Carey

Carey Corp is the author of DOON, inspired by Lerner & Loewe's Brigadoon, co-written w/Lorie Langdon. Now available in hardcover and ebook from BLINK (a new young adult imprint of Zondervan/HarperCollins).
Join the DOON journey: www.doonseries.com