The Write Life got a chance to sit down with author and filmmaker, C. Mikki, about her debut novel, Men and Sex: Power, Pleasure, Pain, and her new documentary film, Black and Write. The New Orleans born, former corporate recruiting manager opened up about her writing process, the challenges of filmmaking, and her plans to continue writing and making documentaries.
On Her Novel:
Writing is hard work! I went to the Black Writers Conference & Reunion to really learn the process for writing a book. While there, I took a class from Dr. Bertrice Berry. In her class, she discussed how after writing several pages, the plot associated with your sub character emerges and becomes your main character, changing the dynamics of the story. As I began writing and exploring my initial story, that’s exactly what happened. So I changed the story and created this love affair that was a very unnatural kind of love, a love that a lot of women can identify with. Most of [the storyline] came from personal experiences, stories from friend and the rest is research and creativity. I found myself really engulfed in the novel while writing. The characters become real, and it took its toll on me because I got very involved. I would go and read chapters and feel like crying and I thought, if I felt like crying, maybe others would as well.
On Writers Block:
I don’t believe in writers block. I took a class from Anita Bunkley during the conference as well, and she basically said that it is almost impossible to have [writer’s block]. If you’re stuck on a particular part of a story, you can always go and do some research. If your character is in San Francisco and you’ve never been there, you can always research it, find the local hangouts, the music associated with the city, and so on, so you’re never really ‘blocked’.
On Self-Publishing vs. Book Deals:
For me, I didn’t want to wait for a publisher to come to me, so I self published to my product out there quicker and to validate myself and my ability to complete the novel. For others, I say do whatever works you, but I do encourage people to try and do both. Sell copies out of your car while submitting to publishers until you get that book deal, just make sure whatever you decide is best for you.
On Transitioning from Author to Filmmaker:
I’ve always had a passion for film. When I was little I would watch movies over and over again. So, I think that if you don’t have the passion for film first, then it won’t work. When I was working on my novel I always wrote the scenes as if I was writing them for the big screen. To put things in perspective, it took me 5 years to write my novel. It took me seven months to make [Black and Write], so I think that film really is the avenue that I was supposed to go in.
Watch below as C. Mikki talks more about her film, Black and Write.