Dr. Eddie Connor Jr. says new book, ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ aims to strengthen Black boys, men

Dr. Eddie
Photo courtesy: Dr. Eddie Connor Jr.

Best-selling author and international speaker Eddie Connor Jr has published his sixth book titled My Brother’s Keeper. The book was designed to rebuild and restore the lives of young boys and men in the Black community. Growing up without a father caused Conner to struggle with low self-esteem, depression and identity issues. It is his hope to teach young boys that being a man is about who you are and not what material things you possess. Rolling out spoke with Connor to hear what advice he has to share with young writers, his concept for the book and what authors have inspired his writing.

What advice would you give other writers?

I am always asked about the writing process, in regards to beginning and sustaining momentum. I would suggest that everyone has a book in them and somebody needs what you have. How many other stories of success do you have to hear, before you write your own? There’s a unique gift in each of us that we will never be fulfilled until we unwrap. Someone said, “The tragedy of life is to be gifted, but never open the package.” You will never be fulfilled, until you walk in the power of your purpose. Identify your purpose and spend time honing your craft. Create a vision board and surround yourself, with those in the careers that you’re interested in. Basketball players, hang around basketball players. Doctors surround themselves, with other doctors. If you desire to be a writer, get in the arena of those who are writers and learn from them. Discover your unique voice. If you create, then you will never have to imitated. Write your chapter and create your story of success.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The inspiration and catalyst to write my first book, was birthed through my pain of struggle. As a 15-year-old kid, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Growing up without a father, made my struggle even harder. For almost two years, I received chemotherapy and radiation, to eradicate an aggressive form of cancer. Many people didn’t think I was going to make it, but God healed me and I persevered.I found the can in cancer and wrote my first book, Purposefully Prepared to Persevere. I was just a senior in college, typing my story in my campus apartment. Initially, I never had a desire to be a writer. I have always been a good writer, but I never wanted to share this particular story. If not for my mother, encouraging me to write it, you would never read it. Ultimately, I found strength in struggle and authored six books as a result. It’s been a blessing, to find purpose through your pain. Sometimes the greatest strength realized, comes when you exercise faith and share your story through adversity.

Do you have a specific writing style?

For me, I perceive writing as an art form. I see the blank pages, as a canvas and my words are the paintbrush; eliciting emotion, conviction, and persuasion. My writing style, is starkly connected with truth and transparency. I want my reader to embark upon the journey, that is broached from the particular subject matter presented. I’m forever a lover of poetry, so it’s always infused in the tenor of my literary expression. There’s no doubt, this is a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter based culture. So, the methods to convey our thoughts have changed, but the message of truth and transparency remains the same.

What books have most impacted your life? Chiefly, from a life application perspective, the Bible has impacted my life completely. During my battle with cancer, it became my medicine. I’m a living witness, that fear will paralyze you, but only faith will mobilize you. Through good and bad times, God’s word will always be food for my soul. Secondly, James Allen’s book, As a Man Thinketh is a tremendous critique on the human mind and the importance of positive thinking. In his book, Allen compares the mind to a garden. He suggests that weeds of worry, or seeds of strength will grow based on our thought perception. When you eliminate “stinking thinking,” you will then transform your life and ultimately transform the world.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your latest work?

They always say, hindsight is 20/20. Oftentimes, we are our own worst critics. However, personal insight and foresight, was the ultimate light to illuminate my literary work. This is my sixth journey, through the process as an author and this time I would not change anything. The book, My Brother’s Keeper is the most extensive project that I have written and one that I am most passionate about, in the work to transform lives. I’m satisfied in knowing, that this book has a message to amplify the times we live in and provides substantive strategies, to strengthen our homes, schools, and communities.

 Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing or coming up with a concept for your book?

The most challenging task is remaining on schedule, with the plan of action. Life happens and you have to make adjustments to handle the tasks presented. Time management is one of the most essential keys to the process. Like any author

will tell you, “writers block” is treacherous. When your thoughts are stuck, revising a statement and you’re at a mental crossroads, it becomes quite arduous. The flip side to that, is when you are in a zone and your thoughts are coming so fast, that even your fingers can’t type quick enough. Through all of the roadblocks, if you’re passionate and proactive your project will always be purpose driven. If you possess a transformative WHY for writing, the WAY to process it will always be easier.

What was the hardest part of completing this project?

The most challenging part was infusing an exorbitant amount of research, into a novel that was palatable enough for people to mentally digest. There were so many topics to hone in on, that would have become overwhelming, if I didn’t find a singular niche to connect all of the dots. The impending challenge was in crafting a project, in literary form, that would become a blueprint for conversation, an inter-generational transfer of wisdom, and accountability to one another in our community. By infusing my own experiences and those from others, I believe I surpassed my own expectations.

What advice would you give other writers?

I am always asked about the writing process, in regards to beginning and sustaining momentum. I would suggest that everyone has a book in them and somebody needs what you have. How many other stories of success do you have to hear, before you write your own? There’s a unique gift in each of us that we will never be fulfilled until we unwrap. Someone said, “The tragedy of life is to be gifted, but never open the package.” You will never be fulfilled, until you walk in the power of your purpose. Identify your purpose and spend time honing your craft. Create a vision board and surround yourself, with those in the careers that you’re interested in. Basketball players, hang around basketball players. Doctors surround themselves, with other doctors. If you desire to be a writer, get in the arena of those who are writers and learn from them. Discover your unique voice. If you create, then you will never have to imitated. Write your chapter and create your story of success.

What is the mission you set out to accomplish with this book?

The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass conveyed, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” I remixed his quote to say, “If we build strong boys, we won’t have to repair broken men.” The mission of My Brother’s Keeper, is to restore, repair, and reconcile ourselves to each other, our families, and communities. The book is a manual for manhood, leadership, and atonement. Our cities, places of worship, homes, schools, and communities need a book of this magnitude to empower our boys and men in America. We are greater than the negative perceptions and stigma placed on us as targets. We must tell our story, because we are not pariahs and predators. We are providers and protectors. We must convey the message, that Black boys and men are not stereotypes. In fact, we are prototypes for success. We are not liabilities. We are assets to our communities and universities. There is no denying, we are caught between the chasm of vitriolic racism, mass incarceration, and the liberating cry of the Black Lives Matter movement. Still to this day, Dr. King’s words ring true, “We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”

Lala Martinez
Lala Martinez

I'm a forward thinking millennial with a passion for writing and reporting all things entertainment.

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