NaNoWriMo month or National Novel Writing Month, is celebrated in November each calendar year. This month brings about fun, joy and accountability for most writers. Many authors undergo writing challenges, barriers to publishing and other life events that influence their careers as writers. 

This year we are highlighting men of color who share amazing journeys of love, life, thrill and fun between the pages of books. Their self-less expression of creativity has allowed them to be popular in their respective writing genres and among their target audiences. Get into their page turning talent here:

photos provided by Brian W. Smith

Brian W. Smith

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“My writing is designed to force readers who enter a situation/topic with cemented opinions, to at a minimum, think about their position and ponder whether their viewpoint is flawed.”

What authors inspire your literary journey?

I’m inspired by authors who write polished prose, exemplary character development, and are clever in their approach to universal topics: Bernice McFadden, Stephen King, and Jodi Picoult.

How does your writing resonate with black culture?

If I had to guess I’d say 90% of readers are black, so I assume that the topics I’ve chosen and the effort I’ve put into writing quality books, has made an impact on the  black community. I’ve received my share of emails and messages saying that during my 17 year career.

How do you get into your creative writing zone?

Getting into my zone isn’t hard because I’m a full-time writer and I appreciate and enjoy the blessing God has given me (allowing me to write for a living and not have to get a regular 9 to 5). Therefore, understanding that this could all be taken away from me in a blink of an eye is enough to keep me grinding. I grab a cup of coffee, look at my deadlines, go into my home office, and crank out a few chapters on my book (or ghostwriting projects) everyday.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Take the time to LEARN THE CRAFT! I’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years. I’m also an Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at 2 colleges (I teach the semesters when my travel schedule doesn’t conflict with classes), and it disturbs me how many black authors are diving into this literary pool without taking time to study the craft. Just because you’ve read a lot of books doesn’t make you a writer. I’ve driven a lot of cars, that doesn’t make me a mechanic. Every semester my Creative Writing classes are dominated (to the tune of 90%) by white and non-black students. They take courses and learn how to write before they dive into this pool. Conversely, I see too many black authors grabbing their laptops, putting out unpolished books, and then get frustrated when the books flop. Then they want to contact writers like myself (who’ve been able to last past 3 books) wanting to know what’s the “secret”. The secret is simple…regardless of your chosen profession, you must take the time to learn the profession first. The more you learn the craft, the better quality books you’ll write. The better your writing, the higher the probability that you’ll be able to build a fan base. There are no shortcuts to literary success; you’ve got to INVEST in learning the craft and put in the work.

photos provided by Anthony Waldren

Anthony Waldren 

Facebook and Instagram: @antwal @starvinartistgd

What authors inspired your author journey? 

To be honest, I wasn’t really inspired by any authors to start my journey. But once I started, I was inspired by many authors like Kiese Laymon, Damon Young, Cathy Park Hong, Booker T. Washington, Malcolm Gladwell, Robert Greene, MK Asante, Jesmyn Ward, and Carol Dweck to name a few.

How does your writing resonate with Black culture? 

My writing speaks specifically to Black people in underserved minority communities. It speaks to their experiences and gives them a voice and an experience that is similar to their own. It inspires them to strive for more. It inspires them to hunger for success.

How do you get into your creative writing zone? 

I’m a creative at heart. I draw and paint. I’m a graphic designer for a living as well. I’m used to being forced to create on a daily basis, but when it comes to writing, I just let it come to me organically.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Just start.

How can readers connect with you & buy your books? 

My first project, “Starvin’ Artist: Hunger for Success” is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and most book retailers.

photos by Ruth Collins

Brandon Massey


“My writing will evolve from one story to the next.”

What authors inspired your author journey?

Walter Mosley, Steven Barnes, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Octavia Butler have inspired me.

How does your writing resonate with Black culture?

My personal experiences inform my writing.  As a Black man living in America, it is inevitable that our culture will seep into my stories in countless ways.

How do you get into your creative writing zone?

I’m a morning writer; and rely on music and coffee to get me going each day.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Write everyday and read stories that inspire you to write better.

photos provided by Riley Inge

Riley Inge


“My writing will help the audience understand the importance of black boys having positive men pour into their lives in a positive way. Whether you are a Dad, Teacher, Coach, Uncle or Friend; black boys are in need of proper guidance.”

What authors inspired your author journey?

Malcolm Gladwell and Ralph Ellison have inspired my writing journey.

How does your writing resonate with Black culture?

My book targets the relationships between black boys and adult males.

How do you get into your creative writing zone?

My creative zone comes and goes. I keep writing materials throughout my house. I enjoy writing in a calm environment that could mean soft lights or background music playing softly.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

I would encourage an aspiring writer to start the process of writing. The hardest part of writing a book is writing the first page. The creative process will take over once you lean into what you’re writing.

As the holidays are also approaching, support the literary visions of these amazing authors. They each bring their own style, grit and passion to their literature that provokes thought and community. So give the gift of reading; and support their efforts for National Novel Writing Month and beyond. 


Writer, C. Scott is an authorpreneur, mom and social worker who can be followed on Instagram as @curls_coils.