5 or So Questions for Matthew Aaron Goodman, author of Hold Love Strong
Was there a particular trigger that got you started on this novel?
Stand in a small hot, overcrowded room with folks and eventually you either sing and live or stay silent and die. It isn’t solely about mortality. I’m talking about your human spirit, that fire that keeps one alive. You can get jaded or impervious or indifferent too, or you can fill with some other variation and/or derivative of hate. What I mean is I don’t want any part of my spirit suppressed or snuffed out, and I don’t want any part of the spirit of the people I loved snuffed out either. Hell no. If I knew how to play a trumpet or a trombone or a clarinet, then I wouldn’t have written a word. But I don’t, so I had to write.
What do you hope to accomplish by publishing Hold Love Strong? What would have to happen for you to know you have succeeded? Has it happened already?
How about equal educational opportunity from the kindergarten on? How about affirmative action beginning when affirmation must begin for one to have a full chance to fulfill their innate human potential? How about discarding Emerson’s obstinate preachings of “Self-Reliance” as a touchstone in the American Literary Canon and replacing it with David Walker’s Appeal? Am I asking for too much? Judging by history, I am. So I am not delusional. I know no novel ever birthed justice. But many novels have contributed to conversations. That’s what I most hope for.
What was the first thing you did when you found out it would be published?
I lay down on my back, put my hands behind my head, and cried.
What is the first thing you did when you finished the novel? How did you know it was finished?
I want to think of a novel as a chapter in a writer’s story, in their life, so finishing a novel for a writer is like finishing a chapter. That is, there is still much more to write, or that I hope to write. But when I finished, I celebrated. Lord knows, I danced my damn pants off that night.
What is your advice to all the people out there trying to publish their first books?
All things possible through patience and zeal.