Thursday, June 25, 2015

Interview with literary fiction author Clarence 'Poet 402' Barbee

Today’s feature is literary fiction author Clarence Barbee who’s here to talk about his new book, Chicken Soup and a Shot of Jack.

During his virtual book tour, Clarence will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn person. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Clarence Barbee has been writing and performing poetry for over a decade. He has produced 9 spoken word albums, under the pseudonyms Nabraska and Poet402. Clarence is now working on self-publishing books of essays and short stories.

In his professional life he has worked with, educated, and supported many children. Clarence believes in keeping an eye on political planes and social occurrences such as changes in world leadership, and social inequalities. These actions of men are a huge curiosity to the author; he believes in writing about them, and discussing them, so solutions can be made.

Clarence has taken these experiences and written about them extensively. He asks, “who doesn’t want to be happy,” then goes about the business of finding the answer. Please take some time to join him on this journey as they are set through words, sometimes with music, and always taken with a grain of salt.

Welcome, Clarence. Please tell us about your current release.
Chicken Soup and A Shot of Jack, is a work of literary fiction filled with thought-provoking essays, poetry, and short stories. The themes range from humanity to comedy, growing up to racial tensions in America, along with thoughts of being a youth and the most enjoyable ways to spend time. The poetry comes from my experiences of being an African-American male, a paraprofessional, and a supervisor with an all girls treatment center. The book dives in the human psyche and begs to show balance to the sometime insurmountable odds that we all face. It also allows the reader the levity of laughing after the storm hits, and being ok with laughing at yourself.

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for the book came from life. I have had some success as a spoken word poet, performing all over the country, and gaining insight from all these experiences; but never really sat down and put it on paper. The other inspiration came s few years ago after moving away from my family, and wanting to really find who I was, and I fit into this greater world. I knew I was a pretty decent human being, but I didn’t sculpt myself, by myself, I had a lot of help in that. So I took a hard look at what a lot of my influences were and how I tried to influence others. I learned that there is balance to everything, and if not then there may be some issues

Excerpt from Chicken Soup and A Shot of Jack:
From “They Never Told Us”

They never told us to listen to each other, never taught us to engage in the conversation, challenging the speaker to prove that which they so confidently stated. They never told us to dream; they told us to make goals, for those are the building blocks to the foundation of living. Rarely did they inspire us. They, merely, spat their philosophies of hard work paying off in the future, yet they did not teach us to smile. They told us to adhere to the rules, honor your mother and father, and your days would be long upon the land. They never told us that mommy was unhappy with daddy’s infidelity, and that daddy was unhappy with mommy’s insecurity.

They never taught us to believe in each other. No one ever said, that little boy or girl sitting next to you is your brother or sister, and you will need them, so help them, and vice versa. They taught us to never say, “Hi”, to a stranger, they never taught us how to make a friend, when everyone is a stranger. They never told us what to do with the scary girl in the back of the class who wore dark make-up, and never wore shorts in gym class. They never told us she likes to cut herself, they never told us why. They never gave us a game plan for that “loner” boy, who always read the advanced chemistry books, and walked around with his head down. They never said to engage him, or talk to him; they said he would be ok.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working on a book of short stories. I felt I would expand on the story-teller in me and explore what comes out. Some of the stories are about pain and heartache; others are about the pure craziness of being locked up. Right now these stories are all un-related, they stand alone on their own merit I believe. However they are not short in wit, and humor. There is one story in particular I am working on involving two youth in a treatment facility, and the adventures they encounter in there. It is shaping up to be an adventure of a tale.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began to consider myself a writer probably sometime in my twenties. At that point in my life I was writing a lot of poetry, and performing spoken word. Well, much of the feedback I was getting was that people could picture what I was talking about on stage. I began developing my stage presence, but the poetry kept getting longer and longer, like epic pieces. However the bright lights of the stage faded, I was performing less, but writing more. I began to keep a journal in my early thirties, and started getting more and more comfortable with complete, concise sentences. It was like I was in 8th grade English class all over again, but this time it felt good, and my confidence grew. So I kept writing, and somehow got to the point now, where I’m forming essays and working on short stories every week.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Unfortunately, I don’t write full-time. I haven’t been able to pay bills with what I write, but it’s getting there. So what I do as a day job is work at a youth treatment facility. It can be brutal work at times, but rewarding at times as well. It has provided me with a lot of inspiration, and some ideas for different stories too. I never really find the time to write, I make it. I believe that if you really are dedicated to writing you will make time for it. You will cut off the cell phone, unplug the Internet, or get in the car, go to the park and make it happen.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
One of my quirks is writing in pencil. I know, I know, it’s elementary, and very analog, but it feels good. As a kindergartener, I learned how to write with a big blue pencil with no eraser—gotta love public schools huh? But getting a new notebook and some fresh pencils sharpened to a ‘T’…yea, that definitely puts me in the writing mood.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I wanted to fly planes. I didn’t want to go to the Air Force, but I wanted to be a pilot. I remember taking a flight to South Carolina with my family and just loving the feel of lifting off, and the turns in the air, it was magic! However, by the time I was in jr. high, and was struggling in geometry, I knew I would have to fly a different course.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I believe that everyone should try something new at least once a month. Whether it be some new food, or mountain-climbing, or reading a different author who writes something out of your favorite genre, everyone should strive to try sometime new!


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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Patrick Siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Rita Wray said...

I liked the interview, thank you.

C. Barbee aka nabraska aka poet402 said...

Thank you for the interview!! And thank you to all these great folks commenting!!

Mai T. said...

If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

Cali W. said...

Thanks for the giveaway and I like the cover. :)

C. Barbee aka nabraska aka poet402 said...

If I were a super hero my name would be the Word Warrior, and the costume would be something in all black with all kinds of words I would pull off my cape and throw at villains that would stop them in their tracks!

C. Barbee aka nabraska aka poet402 said...

So glad you liked the cover Cali, a good poet friend of mine helped me out, because my artistic skills in that department are severely

Unknown said...

Great interview! Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed learning about you and your book! Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

This sounds like a fascinating book! Thank you for the great post and contest!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the exceptional post and contest!

Unknown said...

Great cover!

Unknown said...

How did you choose such an interesting title!

C. Barbee aka nabraska aka poet402 said...

Thanks Betty!! I work at a youth treatment it fell in my lap and just fit!! Thanks for all the posts!!

Mai T. said...

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

C. Barbee aka nabraska aka poet402 said...

I would still work with kids... and probably go back to school and really learn how to play is another huge outlet for me. Music, words stories, it's all about the art!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the chance!