The Reading Corner and Literary Tips

Monday, December 17, 2007



Meet Xavier Pierre, Jr.

1.
Tell us about your novel.
Lovers Anonymous is autobiographical but covers only about 9 months of my life. Those were the last nine months of my active addiction. There are, however, many flashbacks to past events that give important insight into the thinking of my main character. Unfortunately, I can’t say more without spoiling it for my readers.
2. Who should read your books?
Anyone struggling with addiction will appreciate my book because it’s written from the point of view of an addict. My book has also been a blessing to those involved with an addict. Other readers may simply be curious about what goes on in the mind of a womanizer.
3. What was the reason for writing this book? Did you see a need for this book?
Writing this book was intensely personal. I started to write short stories for my fiancée as a means of revealing myself to her. I decided to share some of these with a close friend and she was so impressed that she suggested I turn it into a full-length book and publish it. My initial reaction was, “absolutely not,” but I continued to write for myself as a form of therapy. Over the course of this project, my reasons for completing it have multiplied. I truly believe that telling my story can make a difference in many lives. My first concern is all the addicts living without hope. My message to them is, “If I can do it, anybody can.” But I also want to give a voice to victims and co-dependents. By giving them access to the deepest thoughts of an addict, I hope to convince them that they are not the problem. They are not to blame.
4. Looking at the book now, what surprises you?
The biggest surprise for me is how good the book is. I never thought I could be an author. But I still remember reading initial drafts of the first few chapters and thinking “Damn this is good!” I actually had a hard time believing that I had written it. After some editing, the first three chapters were expanded to four, and there was a period of a few months where I didn’t write at all. But during that time I would read those chapters every single day, just amazed that this was something I had actually written, and completely convinced that it was just a fluke. I was actually afraid to continue because I didn’t think I’d be able to maintain the same quality of writing. Eventually, and with the encouragement of my friend Tammy, I got over my fear and started work on the next four chapters. To my complete amazement, the words just flowed from my mind.
The other surprise is how people are drawn to me after reading my book. Not only do they feel intimately connected to me, but there is a certain warmth that I absolutely wasn’t prepared for, considering the content of my book.
5. Who is your audience?
Considering the mature themes covered in my book, it’s obviously intended for adults over 18. However, I strongly encourage parents to read the book and consider giving it to their teenage children IF APPROPRIATE. If a parent knows that their son or daughter is sexually active and using drugs, giving them a copy of my book certainly can’t make the situation worse and my cautionary tale might be just the thing to turn them around. Eventually I intend to publish a teen-friendly version of the book. That will probably happen after the sequel is published.
6. Where did you get your inspiration for your book?
My fiancée Alicia is my inspiration. Were it not for her, there would be no book. The genesis was the honesty on which our entire relationship is founded. From the beginning, we shared our deepest and darkest secrets. As I struggled to express myself, I found it was easier to share my life experiences in the form of short stories and we would talk about the stories I had written.
7. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
To be a good writer, you have to love reading. To be a good author, you have to fall in love with your own writing. You also have to love the process. The most you can ever hope from a first draft is to see the potential of the finished product. That’s just the way it is. So you have to edit, rewrite, rearrange, polish, and sometimes start all over again. If you can’t learn to love that process, don’t become a writer, because even the most experienced writers labor over their work.
8. Tell us something about you?
Today I’m so completely different from the person described in the book. I enjoy very healthy relationships and deep friendships with many women. I’m particularly interested in talking to young people, male and female. Almost all of my friendships are long-distance.
9. What’s next for you?
The next project is to finish the sequel to Lovers Anonymous. I hope to have it ready early next year. In addition, I have the outlines of five novels so I have enough work for the next few years. As a side project, I’m working on a compilation of my poetry and photography. Eventually I would like to have my own talk radio show where listeners can call in and discuss the challenges they are facing in their daily lives.

10. Do you feel your topic will help others? Why?
Absolutely. In addition to alcoholism, my book deals with so many controversial topics. One of the most rewarding aspects of having written this book is the lives that it has already changed. One reader was able to let go of many years of pain and confusion that was keeping her from enjoying fulfilling relationships. My book gave her insight into the mind of the “love of her life;” a man who treated her in a way that closely paralleled how I treated a young woman in my book. Though she left that emotionally abusive relationship over a decade ago, she had wanted an explanation (if not an apology,) and my book gave her exactly that. One male reader from the Caribbean could closely identify with a lot of my conduct and it inspired him to reevaluate how he treated women in the past. But the most inspiring story so far is that of a young woman who found the courage to escape from sexual bondage and alcohol abuse as a result of reading a copy of my book I gave her as a gift.
11. Where can readers purchase your books?
At the moment, my book can be purchased on Amazon.com, other on-line sites and directly form me. My publisher and I are working hard to get the book in as many outlets as possible.

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