Intimate Conversation with Calvin W. Maxwell, Jr.

Intimate Conversation with Calvin W. Maxwell, Jr.

Calvin W. Maxwell, Jr. is a teacher and sports fan that lives in the Greater New York area. He writes to encourage and inspire young people.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

After being laid-off from my job in corporate and receiving my severance package a few years ago, I took my sister’s advice and became a substitute teacher. At first it was a serious mental adjustment to make - going from a quiet civilized corporate environment to dealing with children, but I liked it. I decided to go back to college and become a classroom teacher. While in college, a professor told me that she thought my writings were good and I should consider doing something real with that skill. Afterwards, as I was working towards becoming certified, I was also working on my first book.

BPM: Who or what motivated you?

John Grisham is my favorite author and in a TV interview he said a good writer needs to write a page a day. I told to myself  “I can do that.”

BPM: Please tell us something about your most recent work? 

I wrote “American Pool Player,” in part, as a way of trying to encourage young black teenagers, particularly boys, to write whether its fiction or non-fiction; western or science fiction. Just write. Tell your side of the story. Record your point-of-view. Write.

BPM: Take us inside the world of your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? 

There’s Grice, Knowledge Born, Brenda, and Dragon. Grice is the good-hearted hero that understands the pool table much better than he understands the game of life. Knowledge Born, Grice’s best friend, is the exact opposite. He knows how dangerous the streets are and is always up for the fight. Brenda, Grice’s next door neighbor, is a popular, smart girl that loves to tease and verbally torment Grice. 
Dragon is a pool shark and the meanest thug in the neighborhood. The match between Grice and Dragon isn’t only about winning money. There’s way more on the line than that…

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them. 

Yes. When I go into bookstores I see a lot of books aimed at white teenagers. However, I see nothing for black teens to read. I want to change that. If we want our young to people to read more, we need to write more.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?

The body of my literary work speaks to young black people. Not all black teens are lost and troubled. There are good young people out there. They need guidance. And for the ones that are lost and troubled, I feel we can still inspire, encourage and save them.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing American Pool Player? Why now? 

I realize in life, if you don’t stand up and speak up for yourself and your community – things will go backwards. For me, writing is my way of standing up and speaking up, especially for those who are no longer among the living.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Where do your book ideas come from?
I played pool as a youngster and my ideas came from that.  I enjoyed reminiscing on my childhood especially the funny parts. Some of the stuff I wrote in this book even made me laugh.

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?

My books are definitely character driven. Life is filled with the amazing characters we meet along the way, isn’t it? Sometimes, it’s the worst characters we encounter in life that teach us the most about ourselves.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?

In my book, all my characters are in one form or another fighting for respect. I suppose I’m fighting for that too.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book,
American Pool Player?
I learned that I have a serious funny bone as a writer. That’s a good discovery.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

My imagination and some free time on my hands was mostly all I needed to write this book. I only had to research a few dates and historical facts so that the timeline in the story was accurate.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions for this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I want to represent my community and my generation in a positive, impactful way that inspires the next generation. Only time will tell, if it worked. At least I’m no longer frustrated sitting down and watching the New York Knicks go through another losing season. I’ve learned to utilize my free time more wisely. Writing for me is a blessing. I hope it can be a blessing for others.

BPM: What are the readers saying about your book? I can only imagine their excitement about a book for young men. The fact that the book is labeled Christian Hip Hop is new and refreshing in itself! I love the fact that it doesn't have any profanity, drug use or sexual content and only mild violence.
I'll share just a few of the Amazon Customer Book Reviews for American Pool Player. Here we go:

Reviewed by Heidi  -
American Pool Player is amazing and the writing style is fun and easy to follow. When you start reading it, you just want to continue in order to find out what happen next. The story reflects our everyday life and it shows the reader that learning one lesson does not mean that we actually learn everything in life. I recommend reading it.

Reviewed by Vera Dow  -
American Pool Player really made me reflect on my childhood and what it was like growing up in the 80s. And this book take a serious hard look at the issues then that mode many of us into who we are today. Very funny parts in the book too :)  GREAT READ!!! 

Reviewed by SCP  -Mr. Maxwell it's a pleasure to endorse your book thank you for inspiring our youth, as you well know anything that will capture the attention of young minds is a true blessing and it appears you have an absolute WINNER here!

Reviewed by Book Lover -Calvin W. Maxwell is an inspiring author and paints a joyous picture of hope through his book "American Pool Player" I would reccommend this as a must read for any Christian today!  

Reviewed by Jessica Miller-Greene  -Awesome! Creatively written. Thank Mr.Maxwell for creating a character who is so realistic, and a story of faith and love.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m currently working on a black western book. Not nearly enough of those. No title as of yet.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I’m currently on Twitter: @calvinmaxwelljr

Purchase American Pool Player