D.D. Bridges Interview – The Most Liberating Decision by Sam Hunter, UrbanFiction.org
D.D. Bridges is an urban fiction author currently residing in Gainesville, Florida. She describes her fictional novels as raw and realistic, concerned with the nature of people and communities. After reviewing her book The Head That Wears The Crown, I sat down to interview D.D. Bridges.
Sam Hunter: Okay, first one is a deep one – what inspires you? D.D. Bridges: Hmm… I would say the things that inspire me the most are hardship and adversity. Stories of perseverance never get old. That’s why readers read; to see how a character is going to get out of the dilemma they are in. And the beautiful thing about it is that as they read they find inspiration, and most importantly, they find hope. Sam: I’ll take that – hardship and adversity being turned into hope. And when did your first hopes of being a writer emerge? D.D.: When I was about 14. At that time I wanted to write movie scripts, which is something that I still hope to do one day. By the time I was 16, I figured that I wanted to be an author, but it didn’t seem like a realistic option to me. As a matter of fact, I didn’t write at all for about 2-3 years because I chose to focus on pursuing a more practical career. Sam: How come you didn’t think it was a realistic option? D.D.: A part of the reason that I didn’t see writing as something that I could do and be successful at was because I had never known any writers in my lifetime. No one in my family was a writer, I didn’t know of any authors from my hometown, so my dream of being a writer seemed like nothing more than a figment of my imagination. But I just couldn’t escape the stories in my head which is why I made the decision to seriously pursue a writing career in spite of my doubts. Sam: Well, we’re in the business of connecting readers and writers of urban fiction. Anyone in a similar position can get in touch via our forums. We have a growing community. But you persevered and pursued your dream on your own. What did that feel like? D.D.: It was probably the most liberating decision I have ever made in my life. Sam: Okay, so I read your book The Head That Wears The Crown. You have some pretty intense characters going on in there. Are they based on real people, or did they come entirely from your imagination? D.D.: My characters are all original. Now, I often name my characters after people that I know personally, but they are in no way connected to my characters or their stories. Using familiar names simply helps me keep track of my characters. Sam: And when you get into the flow of writing a particular story, do your characters hijack the story? Or do you feel like you still have the reins? D.D.: I would say I allow my characters to tell the story that they want to tell. With some characters that’s easier than with others. Some characters’ stories are only there to enhance the story of the main character and that usually requires some manipulation on my part. And I’m not afraid to write flawed characters. I actually enjoy it because I think that it makes the characters more authentic. As I get to know my characters, it allows me to focus on the plot because I already know how my characters will respond to the chaos that I create. Sam: I totally agree on flawed characters. Do you think they or your writing journey in general has caused you to evolve creatively? D.D.: I really think that writing The Head That Wears The Crown series really caused me to break-through as a writer. When I first began writing part 1, it was a completely different story with a completely different title that was going in a completely different direction. Even the main character’s name was different. I was struggling to write the story at first because I was playing it safe. But as soon as I took a chance and threw a curve ball, it completely revolutionized that story and unlocked things in me as a writer that I didn’t even know was there. Sam: Taking it back a bit, do you remember the first story you ever wrote? D.D.: Yeah. It was a series of erotica short stories. I used to read a lot of Zane back then and I thought that I was going to follow in her footsteps. But I came to realize that I just didn’t have what it takes to write in that genre. But I still do a few erotic short stories every now and then. Sam: And your first book? How old were you? D.D.: I began writing my first book when I was about 16 or 17, but I didn’t complete it until I was 23. I’m 27 now and I’ve completed three more books since finishing my first one, so I guess you could say that I’m on a roll. Sam: And of course, there is a follow up to The Head That Wears The Crown, a part two called Pawns & Kings. But when you’re not writing your books, what do you do in your free time? D.D.: I love sports, especially college football, so in my free time I’m usually watching ESPN and getting caught up on the latest sports news. I also attend church regularly which allows me to serve others, something else that I love to do. Sam: What about the first book/story that you read that had an impact on you? D.D.: When I was 13 I read Monster by Walter Dean Meyers and it is still a book that I sit down and enjoy every now and then. It’s the story of a young kid who’s in juvenile detention and is on trial for a murder that he didn’t commit. Sam: What was the impact, why was it so compelling? D.D.: The book is actually written as a movie script along with journal entries as the main character chronicles the predicament he’s in. I had never read anything like it, and that book inspired me to not just want to write books, but movie scripts as well. Sam: Speaking of inspiration, which authors in your genre inspire you? D.D.: Wahida Clark and Carl Weber. I just think that Wahida Clark’s story is amazing. She wrote best-selling novels while incarcerated. That’s just mind-blowing to me. And Carl Weber is one of the best at what he does. And not only that, but he has taken the time to learn the business and doesn’t mind sharing his wisdom with others. Sam: It’s been great chatting with you and I hope you’ll keep us updated on future D.D. Bridges titles. We want to hear it first at UrbanFiction.org. D.D.: Happy to, and thanks for chatting with me.