Interview with author and TRB's honest reviewer
Andrew Boyd, also known as The Review Board's 'Mr Controversy
Andrew's work can be found by clicking on his Amazon.com author page on the following link:
Andrew's Blog link:
1. How old were you when you started writing poetry?
I was 18 when I started writing poetry. A small matter of the heart was my trigger, and to be honest, it was the best thing to happen to me at that time.
2. What subject did you study at Arcadia University? Is what you learned relevant to your life now?
I studied Education while minoring in Spanish while attending Arcadia University. As far as studying Spanish Education, I personally feel that it has indeed benefitted me, for I was and am able to communicate with my Spanish speaking friends, associates, and acquaintances.
3. What caused your ‘writing hiatus’ in 1997?
The writing hiatus was necessary in 1997, for I needed to focus on getting my life together. Employment was prioritized at the time, and an upcoming relationship caused me to pour all of my energy into those two social items. I have since learned how to balance all three, and utilize the time between all three to the fullest.
4. What was it about your trip to New York that made you want to start writing again?
For starters, it was a well-deserved and much needed trip. I met my friends Joy Baker, Kali Monroe, Caprice Todmann, Chante Ramsey, N’Tirzah Al Rephaim, and Dennis Sloan that fateful weekend. I was in New York City to listen to my friend Joy performing her poetry (and she did a DAMN GREAT job). The second night that she performed, something triggered in my mind. I pulled out my cell phone, accessed the sticky notes application, and started writing. The end result: “Transforming Us” was written.
Ever since then my poetry returned, and I have Joy to thank for that occurrence.
5. Tell me a bit about your ‘Wordplay’ series of books.
The “WORDPLAY” series is comprised of four collections of poetry spanning from 1997 up to this current timeframe. All of the poetry written is either personal and sentimental, or off the wall and unorthodox. I will not tell you which is which; it is MUCH MORE fun for my readers and fans of my work to draw their own conclusions as to which are which.
I WILL say this, however: Those closest to me, KNOW.
6. How did the setting up of The Review Board come about? Whose brainchild was it?
To tell the truth, The Review Board (TRB) is Monica F. Brown-Martinez’s baby. Everything that is related to The Review Board is ALL Monica’s design. The way that I came into TRB is when I read a story that Monica had read, and I wrote a very strong review about said story. Needless to say, the review was blunt and VERY Honest. Monica read my words in the review that I gave, and requested that I review books, music, movies, etc. alongside of her. I humbly and graciously accepted, and we have been together ever since.
7. When you’re not working for The Review Board, what do you do for a living?
At this time, I have been going to Job Interviews and am actively seeking employment. I am always busy making sure that my family is cared for, and my writing is taken care of as well.
8. You are known for your honest reviews. Was it ingrained in you as a child never to tell a lie?
My parents raised my brother and me to NEVER tell a lie. GRANTED as kids and teenagers, we lied A LOT for our lives depended on it… lol!
As I have gotten older, I quickly realized that lying will only get someone but so far in life. I embraced Honesty and Truth, and I NEVER looked back. And IF I did look back, I do it to remember where I was compared to where I am now.
9. How do you feel if you have to give a less than favourable review?
I have given MULTIPLE less than favourable reviews in my short time with TRB. I feel that in my less than favourable reviews, I am equally as honest with my favourable reviews as I am with my less than favourable reviews. Also, my less than favourable responses on TRB are just as much as learning tools as my favourable reviews.
10. Because you are a brutally honest reviewer, how do you deal with insults from recipients of your one-star reviews?
I have yet to receive an insulting response from a one-star review.
I will go one better: I recently reviewed a book and gave it NOT JUST a Zero, but an (and I quote) “A MISERABLY NIGHTMARISH AND ABSURDLY RIDICULOUS ABSOLUTE ZERO”: I am still waiting on a response.
IF I did receive backlash from a one-star review, it will be handled in a professional manner while keeping my honesty intact. I will point out even more flaws than the ones that I have discussed in the review, and Strongly Advise the author/writer to look over their items. If they say that they gave me an “old version” of their work AND THEN send me an “updated version” with the EXACT SAME FLAWS…
Let’s just say that I will be less than nice.
11. If you suffered many insults from authors in one particular day, would it make you feel depressed?
No: If there are insults being hurled from unhappy authors, I would remember ONE THING that my Dad taught me:
“Adversity DOES NOT Build Character: it shows your TRUE Character.”
Said adversity on their end would highlight immaturity and childishness from those who sought me and TRB for HONESTY. It would not make me depressed; it would make me feel disappointed because the authors choose to be children while griping and bitching about an Honest Review as opposed to being Grown Up about what was said and putting the message(s) discussed on receive.
Allow me to repeat and be specific: I WILL NOT feel depressed because of someone’s insults. I would just shake my head, stand my ground on what I said, and keep moving forward.
12. Do you submit your books to literary agents, or are you happy to just self-publish without representation?
Self-Publishing is its own reward, in my opinion. A sense of satisfaction and accomplishment washes over me when I publish my art.
I have submitted finished products to Harper-Collins, Random House, and Simon & Schuster for pointers in the realm of improvement: I have not heard back from them (and this was a little over a year ago!). They got my work, and that is all for which I can ask.
It WOULD BE nice for a Literary Agent to seek me out; I am open to that. Sadly in this day and age (I feel), Literary Agents are looking for conformity as opposed to outside the box thinking and creativity. That is a path that I DO NOT and OUTRIGHT REFUSE to walk when it comes to my writing. Creativity should NEVER be stifled.
13. You appear very stern and angry-looking in your Review Board photo. Is this a made-up persona? Are you really a chilled-out type of guy?
It is really a mix of both. Those who know me intimately know that I am one of the most compassionate and passionate people that they will come across who has a zest and love for Life. At the same time, the CLOSEST ONES will know if something is bothering me or if I am in a bad mood.
I am a very serious person, yet I DO have my fun days and moments. It depends on the situation, to tell the truth.
14. How has being a two-time kidney transplant recipient changed your outlook on life?
My kidney transplants have shaped my life to where I learned that living life is something that a lot of people take advantage of and do not appreciate.
For example, there was a time where I could not urinate; something that we do every day. When I couldn’t, I felt very sad because one of the most basic of bodily functions was gone. Also, my diet was restricted to where I could not eat my favourite foods.
When my transplants came to pass, I lived: traveling, interacting with and meeting new people, urinating ONCE AGAIN, and just looking at life from a completely different angle. All in all, I learned to appreciate the SMALLEST THINGS.
15. Do you often wonder about the identity of the donors of your kidneys?
No: to an extent, I KNOW who they are.
16. Who is your favourite author?
If I were to choose one, E.B. White: the architect to “Charlotte’s Web.” This book was read several times during my elementary and high school years. This wonderful story taught me a lot about how people might view you and how you should view yourself.
17. What is your most prized possession?
It would be my knowing a little bit about a little bit.
18. What is the one luxury you cannot do without?
The one Luxury that I CANNOT do without would be Chocolate. May the Heavens help ANYONE who takes away my Chocolate! LOL!
19. Where in the world would you like to live if you had the choice?
I would honestly say somewhere that is quiet enough for tranquillity to wash over me so that I may focus on tasks that are at hand, yet busy enough to where it would compel me to explore the city.
Philadelphia, PA (my hometown and current residence), and Wilmington, DE are the two places that would fit the bill. Both are within a stone’s throw from one another and I can adjust quickly to both cities.
20. Are you writing anything new at the moment?
I am currently working on a new novel which will be due out in September or October of 2014: “Red Heels Recess.” I wrote this work back in late 2010 - early 2011, and it is going through rigorous editing and proofing. So far, it is really shaping up to be Epic!
Thanks Andrew, for agreeing to be interviewed!
Thank YOU, Ms. Turner, for having me!