Intimate Conversation with Andrea Clinton
Andrea Clinton is a graduate of Montclair State University, where she's recently achieving her master's degree in Theatre Studies. She's written four books with 3 additional to go into publication in 2015. Andrea is the Editor in Chief of AMISTAD newspaper. She's produced, written and directed a documentary on a young man's journey in the martial arts, several short films and has now written and produced Murphy's Law, Group Therapy Gone Wild, a stage play.
BPM: Andrea, introduce us to your current work.
What I did was bring a few of my characters to life in this play, Murphy's Law - Group Therapy Gone Wild, in an effort to give them and their issues or life event a voice. Since I write fiction as a remedy or anecdote, I thought these particular character's story would not only hi-light the high points in my previous novels, but lend to the play's touch on life's issues. The book's genre is Thriller/Urban Romance.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this play?
I believe I am obsessed with addressing or helping others deal with life's issues. I've had some really dark days in my life that honestly, just made me wanna take the long ride, go to sleep, the long one. But, the sun always shined the next day, things never seemed as bad as they initially were, an answer was always around the corner and things eventually calmed down, felt better or worked out. Moreover, discussing it and seeing I wasn't the only one with issues or problems helped. I just wanted to show group therapy as a remedy.
BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Very much so. I've been through a lot and the things I've experienced or watched others suffer, do and/or experience, has left such a huge affect on my life, I have no choice but to share those experiences with the world with hopes others can learn from my or other people's experience, like I have. Regarding my upbringing, I can't say it has influenced my writing, maybe I'll start looking into that, but i do add those old wives (wise) tales in my books, plays and screenplays, along with folk tales. And yes, I ALWAYS put previous relationship drama, wants, needs, goings on, etc. into my fiction. It's my reality and reality is always a great foundation for a good story and captures the attention of readers.
An example is in high school, an ex boyfriend wanted to take a break, (a birdie told me he wanted to seduce another girl for her gold chain). I flipped it and told him it was best we did part ways and I was moving on. Angry, he couldn't handle it and flipped out. You see this exact situation in A Blessing and a Curse, when Hooch tells his wife he wants to take a break to experience life without bills, her, etc., only for her to flip the script and go to the islands leaving him regretful, lonely and alone.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
ABSOLUTELY character driven, for most of the books. You get that almost immediately. Why? I just love Realism and Naturalism and one of the characteristics of those 2 genres is that the story is character driven and the drives that move these stories forward are Self preservation (greed, ambition, thievery) and Sex drive (attraction, desire, lust, etc.). I love, love love it because it is man's natural reaction to desire and to have the want to carry on, survive life.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
DR. PEW is special because she is quirky, weird and wacky and will say or do some of the most weird things, you'd think you were watching comedy of the absurd; NOREEN, Pew's assistant is trying to hold Pew together; Shay is another Sha Nae Nae, always doing something for attention or stirring up Stuff, LOL.; Moe is a reformed acid/LSD/Mushroom addict who is totally unpredictable; ChollyWest is a player/pimp who can't help but shake his head at everyone, as if he is perfect; Sharrin is a teen convict who feels she's the most normal of the bunch; Jerry, like ChollyWest looks among the group and shakes her head; Hubert's having a ball hanging out with people he'd normally have never considered; Malika is the seer of all things, literally who takes the group therapy on a journey; and Tina can't even bring herself to hold it together enough to attend. Together they all make a wacky bunch, and then there is the surprise meeting with two characters that goes left...
BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your play?
The topics discussed are: abuse, rape, addiction, divorce, abandonment, mommy issues and how mis-or non-communication can wreck a life, family, relationship. I absolutely learned a lot. I first worked as dramaturg doing research on dramatic group therapy and how it works, the outcome, and more. This was so interesting, it helped me to take the the play in various directions to bring forth the meat & potatoes of the comedy, even in its darkest hour, moments.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this play?
I read about a girl in dramatic group therapy who after allowing herself to open up, from the 1st session and continuously, was able to be around her sexually abusive father, stay in the house with him for a week while visiting him to check up on him and the house in his later years, after her mother passed away and he had no one else. When she returned from her visit home, she told the therapist after confronting another patient in therapy, using drama/monologue to convey her feelings, yell at him, cry and have outbursts, she was able to see her dad after years and not feel uncomfortable. She still locked her bedroom door at night, but the closer it got to her leaving, she'd forget to lock it. This showed me dramatic group therapy works on many levels, including forgiveness, even though they only spoke when necessary. It revealed that with dramatic group therapy you can go on living.
BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
What defines success for me is when you can fulfill your dreams and money, resources and connections, etc. is no issue. Regarding ambitions in my writing career, I want to write in most of the platforms and in various genres and be successful at it, which is why I furthered my education in: Journalism, Fiction, Film and most recently, Theatre Studies.