MotownWriters Author Feature: Darren Kelly


Where are you from? Well I was born and raised in the city of Detroit, on the eastside.

Tell us your latest news? I do have some ideas for a new book for young adults. Also, I’m doing some author expos this summer.

When and why did you begin writing? I started writing when I was 17. I write to release emotions, energy, or when I have something to say about an issue. I kept a journal for 10 years and it helped me a great deal. When I got depressed I would write in my journal as a way to cope with pain. Plus I didn’t have a lot of friends in school; I kept to myself a lot. So writing in my journal was like talking to a best friend.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? After college (2013). I wanted to write a book about my college experience and what I got out of college to help others.

What inspired you to write your first book? After I finally graduated college in 2013 with a pre-law degree, I said to myself I wanted to help young people get through school and life in general. I got started on the book in September 2014.

Do you have a specific writing style? My writing style is conversational. I like to write as if I’m sitting down talking with the reader.

How did you come up with the title? I wanted to let people know you can accomplish your dreams with just 6 basic principles that are given in the book. And the book is based entirely in Detroit. So “6 Successful Things I Found in Detroit” was born.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Yes. I want readers to know you can do anything you set your mind too, that with the help of just 6 successful things you can be great.

How much of the book is realistic? The entire book is realistic. I have three brothers. Both of my parents worked in the auto plants. We moved to the East English Village area and stayed there for over 20 years. I graduated from Cass Tech high school in 2004. I entered WSU that same year and first majored in business. I spent years at WSU and loved the campus environment, the diverse student body, and curriculum.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? The events in my own life shape my book.

What books have most influenced your life most? I would say Michael Jackson’s book “Moonwalk” and Richard Wright’s “Black Boy.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? It’s a tie between Toni Morrison and Steven King. They’re both are good at writing.

What book are you reading now? I have taken a little break from reading at the moment. My favorite books though are non- fiction books and books by black authors: Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, ete.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Colson Whitehead author of Underground Railroad.

What are your current projects? I do have another book about Detroit in mind.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. Co-workers.

Do you see writing as a career? Yes.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? No. I love the entire book.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I kept a journal for 10 years and it helped me a great deal. When I got depressed I would write in my journal as a way to cope with pain.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Sure. 6 Successful Things I Found in Detroit, is a non-fiction book, a quick easy read about 6 ways to be successful. The text is autobiographical and details my journey growing up in the city of Detroit.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The hardest part about writing this book is going back and revisiting some painful memories like the death of my brother. As a writer you may have to reflect on some painful memories to prove something to the reader.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Stephen King. He is good at taking things from his personal life and making them into great stories.”

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Yes.

Who designed the covers? I designed the cover. I wanted the book’s cover to convey the central theme, which is higher education so I decided to put my graduation picture on there. I wanted to show the reader that if I can do it, you can to.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Writers’ block. I had a 3 month writers’ block.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? Yes. I learned how hard it is to write a book. It looks easy but the book writing process is hard and time consuming. It can take years to see a book through from start to finish.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes. I would tell authors to write about what you know and are passionate about.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? I want to say go out and buy the book on and I believe once you’re done, it will change your life. And thanks for the support!

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