BY CYRENE RENEE
Sitting at a wooden table at the cozy Breukelen Coffee House in the heart of Brooklyn, NY, sipping herbal peppermint tea having a “Queen Conversation” with Keith Kareem Williams, author, father, dream chaser and entrepreneur. With over 18 titles comprised of eclectic genres, Keith has a little something for everyone. As a fulltime author, he has figured out his path to personal freedom. We are going to learn a little more about the writer, the man and the creator.
What made you become a writer?
I’ve always loved books. I learned to read at three years old. Reading was an escape. While most kids were going to the park, I was reading comic books. I didn’t think of writing professionally until taking a writing working shop in college. My professor encouraged me to be a writer after I gave a presentation. What I read in class, began as the first two chapters of my first novel “Water Flows Under Doors” which was released in 2004. In 2010, I released my second book “Open Spaces.” I quit my job and became a fulltime author without savings or a plan B. I just knew that I had to make it work.
How has your writing style evolved since “Water Flows Under Doors?”
With the first book I held back, unsure of how readers would perceive my style. I am now bolder. I want my audience to enjoy my work, but I also don’t feel that I write for them.
What is your biggest obstacle as a writer?
Getting my readers to spread the word about my books. They tend to keep it for themselves and make it personal. It makes it difficult to grow at the rate I think that I should be. It’s flattering, but I need for my readers to share.
Who and or what do you use for inspiration?
I create stories from the different things that I see and conversations with people. That is why I enjoy going out and selling my books. I need the stimulation to see certain things.
What word could be used to describe your authorship journey?
Adventurous. I was under the false assumption that being an author would be boring. It most definitely isn’t.
If you were not a writer, what would you be?
There are two things that I could be doing. I went to Brooklyn Technical High School and wanted to be an Aerospace Engineer. I created a jet engine in middle school. The other would have been a comic book artist.
What advice do you give to aspiring writers?
Write every day. A lot of careers are killed waiting for inspiration. Creativity is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Don’t allow other’s fears to project their fears on to you.
Why do you choose to self-publish your books?
Independence. I can write what I want on my own terms and release as many or as few books as I want in any genre that I choose.
How is it doing pop-up shops? Do you prefer the popups and face to face interaction with new readers over social media?
I have specific locations around New York for my pop-ups. Some people assume that I am a panhandler. They don’t realize that I do this for a living. My books are my life. I am not begging for change. I also prefer face to face. It is easier to get the sale when I can have a conversation with a new reader. However, there are benefits to using social media because I can utilize the reach that it offers. It allows me to expand in areas where I have not been.
What is your favorite book so far?
My favorite is “Open Spaces.” It was the catalyst for the change of my life where I decided I wouldn’t work for anyone else other than myself. It allowed me to be a better father by devoting my time to my children creating my own work schedule.
What is next on the horizon for you?
Films. For years I have written screen plays. I’m excited to branch out into creating movies.
What is your goal as an artist?
I want my work to be required readings in schools. Whether it be college or high school.
What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom is being in control of your life. Working in management and corporate positions, I felt my worth was decided by them. As an author, I decide my worth and the price of my books. Not trading dollars for hours is freedom. I’d rather trade my talent and skill. Being able to control your time is freedom.
For more information about Keith and his books, feel free to follow him social media.