Poet Eric Maze
Molly Today I am visiting with Eric Maze who has just published a book of poetry titled THE PEARL OF LIFE: A MAN'S JOURNEY. Eric, I've just read/reviewed your book The Pearl of Life: A Man's Journey. Can you tell me how you came to decide to write poetry?
ERIC: I was very shy when I was growing up. My father worked two jobs and my mother worked the night shift. I was left a lone to care for my brother, who is mildly retarded. I had two other brothers who were older than me. The oldest was in the army at that time, and the other brother worked at night and ate out. I hardly saw him. I would come home and do my homework while listening to the radio. I then would prepare dinner for me and my brother while watching The Merv Griffin Show. After we ate, I would then clean the dishes and start the laundry. I spent a lot of time by myself. I start writing poetry back when I was about 13 years old. I used it as a way to express how I felt inside. Being shy made it really hard for me to tell people how I felt. I had a lot of thoughts and worries when I was growing up and I didn't exactly know how to express these thoughts. I remember at night time I would sit by the lake that I grew up next to and staring out into the water noticing how magical the scene was. I would constantly wonder about the stars and how they lit up the sky. I would also wonder about life and the constant hustle and bustle that makes this world go by. I could not understand why people could not stop and smell the flowers or watch the glittering stars fluttering across the water on the crisp, night air.
Molly How long have your written poetry and Is this your first book?
ERIC: I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager. Yes, this is my first book. I wanted people to experience the true magic of poetry and to simply enjoy themselves. I also wanted my friends to know how much I really care about them. We all go through life experiencing the lost of many friends and family. I just think that we should always keep these special people in our hearts no matter what happens in life.
Molly Is there a reason why you did or didnot choose not to use a pen-name?
ERIC: I didn't think it would be necessary to have a pen- name mainly because I am who I am and you can either accept me or not that is your choice. I am not ashame of the person that I have become. I am very proud of the person that I have become. I think pen- names are for those authors who are not sure of themselves and don't want to be recognized by the public. Personally, I don't really care if somebody recognizes me. In fact, everyday I meet a new face. I think the more people you know, the more people are comfortable with you. You should not have to pretend to be somebody that you are not.
Molly beginning writers may not realize how difficult it is to get a book together. How long would you say it takes on average for you to write a book from start to finish?
ERIC: On average, I would say it would take at the least a year. First, you have to write the book and that takes time by itself. You have to edit it to the best of your ability. Second, you have to decide if you are going to have it illustrated and then you have to find an illustrator to do it for the right price. Third, you have to submit the work to the publisher and hope for the best. Most publishers now days want everything on disks, or CD. It is easier for them to transfer the information. Next, you have to wait for the publisher to set up a galley for you. You have to look over the galley and decide if any changes have to be made. Next, you have to wait for the publisher to make the corrections and then send you an author's copy which you have to go over. Then finally, your books will be able to be published. The whole process of the publisher takes several months. It is a lot faster if the publisher uses disks, or Cd's. If the publisher uses the old fashion way expect it to be even longer.
Molly: Is your book part of a series?
ERIC: Right now, I am not planning on making this a series. I might, however, make some more poetry books if this one does well. Basically, poetry books don't usually sell that well. I can only wait and see. I have been surprised by the enormous and overwhelming acceptance this book has received since it first came out. Those who have read it said that they had loved it. Before I make another poetry book I'm going to have to live a little bit more in order to express my emotions that sometimes get bottled up inside of me. I do have a feeling that I will in the future make another poetry book to follow up on this one. But, first I want to explore my writing a little bit more.
Molly What did you attend to first? Write your book or seek out an agent or a publisher? And, if you will please tell us of trials or successes you may have had in trying to find agent or publisher.
ERIC:I had written the book first and completed it first. While I was finishing the book, I did a search for publishers that I thought would be the best for me. I had decided to use a print- on- demand publisher. I had decided on this time of publisher because I had previous problems with traditional publishers giving me a chance on just reading my work. For some reason traditional publishers have this chip on their shoulder that if you have not been published before then you are wasting their time. You either have to be famous or have already written a book to even get read by them when you submit your manuscript. I was tired of all of the nonsense. I wanted this book to be published. I wanted to be heard. I just don't understand it. How can you be published with a traditional publisher when they won't even read what you submit? I thought you suppose to encourage new writers to write, not discourage them. I found so much red tape in the writing industry it is not even funny. It seems the traditional publishers are trying to drown out the new writers. How can the industry survive if you won't even allow new writers to enter into the field? That is why you see so many new writers turning to publishers such as Print- On- Demand, or self- publishers. These new avenues finally allows new writers into the field, but you must be aware of publishers who are dishonest and those that take advantage of new writers. Do your research and find out who are the honest publishers and who are not. Even small publishers are better than traditional publishers. Traditional publishers need to be aware that if they maintain this practice they are going to be the ones that destroy the writing industry by not allowing new writers into the field.
Molly How long did it take for you to get published?
ERIC: It took me one year, and that is because it was put on Disks.
Molly Did you suffer through the dreaded rejection blues?
ERIC: Yes. I had a manuscript called "The Gray Flame" that I tried to get published back in 1993. I kept get publishers who didn't read it. Publishers who liked it and used starry eye notions that it would be a smashing hit and a TV movie, but they doctored it up with editing from their own editors. They wanted me to pay them over a thousand dollars for the editing and to get the ball started. This was a gimmick, a trick. I didn't buy into it. I know when my leg is being pulled. After the thousand dollars for the editing, then another couple thousands to make the book, etc. Real professional publishers do not ask for money from you. If they like it, they will work with you to get it published. They make their money from the book after it is published, not while it is being made. They give you royalties for every book published and sent out.
Molly please tell us about recent good news regarding your book and tell us where readers may buy your book for themselves.
ERIC: My book, The Pearl of life: A Man's Journey, has only been out for three months and the reviews from people that have read it have loved it. I have just recently gotten it on Amazon.com where it can be purchased at. I have also done some local bookstore readings of the poems from the book. The response was incredible. One gentleman came up to me and told me that the poem "Ghostly Rose" touched him. He said that he lost his mother awhile ago and the poem brought back memories of those years with her.
Molly Now, please tell us something about yourself, about your life. Do you draw from personal experience as you write?
ERIC: When I write anything I take it from personal experience and sometimes I take it from research that I have looked up. I've come to realize that I write better if it comes from my heart. I have a hard time writing about something that I don't really care about. I can't write by being something that I am not. I have to truly believe in it before I can write it. I will take some time to myself in solitude to reflect on my life and stories that I want to tell others so that they can learn the lesson that I am trying to tell them. I truly feel that a story is not a story if there isn't a lesson to learn from reading it. I want the world to see what I see in life. The world is a beautiful place if we all take the time to look at it. When a life is in solitude and peace, it becomes filled with love and hope.
Molly do you belong to a critique or other writing group? Would you suggest beginning authors join such groups? And why or why not.
ERIC: Yes, I do belong to a poetry forum on the Internet. I think writers should join these groups so they can get their names out to the audience that they are trying to sell their books to. These groups also allow your writings to mature and to help you improve your writing skills by allowing you to write whatever you want to write.
Molly Please tell us what are you writing at the moment? And how soon do you think your latest project will be finished.
ERIC: Right now, I am working on a novel for African- American Teenage girls. It will be a story about a girl who falls in love at summer camp and the turmoil that she goes through to keep her love. An interracial love story that shows love can conquer everything even in the time of turmoil. I have only just started writing it. It will probably take about a year to finish. This book will be titted "Pantra: A Summer Love". I am also working on a book on the study of society's reactions to disasters that have haunted the world for centuries. In it I have eye witness accounts for each disaster. It is a study from The Black Plaque to the current 9/11 terrorist attacks. The reactions of societies in a whole are surprisingly alike. This book will show you. It is a book that will also show you the different organizations and people that have come together to better our world due to these disasters. You will meet everyday heroes. This is a book that will be an inspiration to all of those who have lost hope in this world. It will all be based on facts. This book will take time to write due to the context of it. It may take longer than one year. I want it to be the best that I can make it. This book will be called "The Flame: A Time For Healing".
Molly what rewards do you find from being a writer/poet?
ERIC: The rewards would have to be having being known as a writer and to be able to hear and see the reactions from people who have read my poems and stories.
Molly: Eric what advice do you have for new writers as they too pursue their dream of one day becoming published.
ERIC: The advice I would give is simply don't give up. You never know who may like your work. Also, always write and write. The more you write the better you will get. Don't always go after professional editors to edit your stories. It is cheaper, but timely, to edit yourself. Keep editing yourself until you think you have it perfect to the best of your ability.
Molly: Thank you Eric, I've enjoyed our interview. To learn more about Eric Maze and his writing, please visit