Interview with Gerald ‘CJ’ Wilson
Author of Biblical Black History
Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?
I am originally from Terrell, Texas. I now reside in Dallas, Texas.
If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?
Wow. What a journey. I grew up in Terrell, Texas, a little city about 20 minutes outside of Dallas, Texas. I always felt like Dallas was outside of us. My family grew up in a projects called Washington Heights. I have two older brothers. It was and still is a one way in, one way out place. We lived there for a few years until my dad and mom moved us out into a home. After being there for a while, my parents split up. My dad helped where he could as my mom moved on with her life and eventually married a man that moved us out of Texas to Ripley, Tennessee. What an experience! We went from living in hotels, to a van, to a flea infested home, back into hotels, back to the van, inside the clothing store my stepdad owned (I slept underneath the clothing racks and sometimes on top of unopened boxes), then finally into a 3 story house in the middle of the city. Although these are just a few sentences in length, it was 4 year journey that I will NEVER forget. I know, what a ride huh! Entering High School, my mom moved my us back to Terrell where I finished school. After having success on the football field, I was blessed to recieve a full scholarship to Baylor University. After having more success there, I was blessed to be drafted into the NFL by the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina. I lived there for 5 years then moved back to Dallas as I signed then retired as a Dallas Cowboy. God has certainly been traveling with me and making a way for me to relate to people in a way I NEVER thought I would or could. Travel broadens your scope of life and this lesson has been placed in my work.
What made you decide to write and publish your first book?
It was January and we were coming up on having a black history month program at my church. I had written down 5 verses to read for the 4 Sundays in February. I took those verses to my pastor, Pastor Beecham, to see if he was ok with me reading them in the program. I approached him in his office during a Sunday school lesson. As I was explaining my plan, he looked at the 5 verses and slid the paper back to me. At first I was thrown back by his response. He said, “You won’t be reading them for the program. You are going to have to explain them for the entire month on Wednesday nights and any other day you want.” It blew me away because I wasn’t expecting that. I did as instructed and the concept took off from there. That same June I sat down with those same 5 verses and wrote the book in 10 days. The book has 5 chapters, each centered around those individual 5 verses. Funny thing is, as a teacher, everything was free that I needed to write the book. All of the supplies were leftovers from my students after they left class during the year. Instead of throwing the paper, pens, and pencils in the trash, I used them to write the book. Using someone’s trash to make a TREASURE is a real story for me, not a cliche.
How would you describe your books to first time readers?
Biblical Black History is a MUST HAVE for ANY reader who wants to take a deeper look into biblical, black, and or world history. This book is NOT the typical history book that will bore or intimidate you with words and bulky academic language. This book is personal, relatable, agitating, enlightening, thought provoking, research based, easy to digest, lunch break conversation ready, book club friendly, and concise in length for the busy bodies. You are guaranteed to read more than once as you will gain new perspectives, which leads to new questions that will turn you into a researcher! This is the gift that keeps on giving!
Who do you feel is most likely to connect with the topics you write about?
My target audience is YOU. If you are reading this, my desire is to connect to YOU. No matter who YOU are, this book is about YOU. No matter what YOU believe, this book explains YOU. The TRUTH is that ALL human life originates from Africa. Melanin connects us all, whether YOU want to believe it or not. The world was unified by it once, only later to be used by oppressors as a means to separate and suppress others. My book allows human Truth, biblical Truth, in it’s original state with the King James Version of the Bible as the primary source. My book is not afraid to tell the Truth while allowing YOU, the reader, to come to your own conclusion about where you stand in the Eyes of God, whether YOU believe in him or not.
What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing?
I learned how Truth is a unifier, purifier, and connector of people. Watching and learning how humans accept life taught me the true power of this book. For example, I have cousins who live in Detroit, Michigan, Rodney and Arletha West-Robinson. They have endured a relationship as tough as the city they live in. They, like Detroit, have been connectors of all people, regardless of race. The same city that produced a black Motown, also produced a white Eminem. Although different genres, they share a common truth: music and it’s powerful influence. I learned by considering their story and others I know, that if you live your truth, you can survive and thrive in this world, just as they and the city of Detroit continue to show us to this day. It may not be ideal or perfect, but it is an example of how people can work together through anything if they are willing to be willing. I learned how the fire of Truth can burn away hatred, unifiy people, purify love, and connect armies of thought whose time has come. No army can stop an idea whose time has come. My book proves that. Writing and publishing has taught me that for sure.
If you could, what advice would you give to past self yourself before embarking on this journey?
Market more. I didn’t spend a dime marketing this book and it has been ranked as high as #26 in it’s genre on Amazon’s best selling books. I certainly give God the glory and the people who purchased the book my most sincere appreciation. You made this possible, including this magazine article. I’m not greedy, but I have no doubt the book could have did even better. Again, I didn’t spend a dime on marketing and I’m here, sharing this information with you which proves that the power to change the world is within you. Find the right time, right people, right support system, and right attitude. You can do it, I did. If you try this as an exercise, I hope you notice you have traveled in a full circle, becoming well-rounded. Isn’t that the purpose and ingredients of a good life?
How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?
Again, my target doesn’t have a cap. I don’t believe in that concept. I’m a kid from Terrell, Texas who grew up with nothing but a dream of playing in the NFL, not knowing less than 1% of all athletes get a chance to live that dream. I didn’t put a cap on it then and it worked out well for me so why try something new? I believe that my work and the energy it provides will reach who God wants it to so it can have the impact he so desires. Biblical Black History was written so if something happened to me, my daughter can know her father in a different and deeper way through my work. She is my legacy. So I decided to leave my legacy a legacy. Anyone who purchases my book is a bonus.
What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?
The biggest challenge during this process has been people who are afraid to see beyond their perception of history and social hierarchy. I remember walking by a lady at a Barnes and Nobles who was overlooking my book. I introduced myself and asked her if she was interested in getting the book. She said she didn’t know if she wanted to read it because the Bible itself is more of a patriarch dominated book so my work can’t be far off. I showed her that my book has 5 chapters and the 3rd chapter, right in the middle of the book, is dedicated to women. She paused, looked at the lady name and said, “Who is Achsah?” I explained her story to the lady and how women were the landowners and workers of the land while the men were it’s protectors. I reinforced how powerful this concept is and how it was a norm in the biblical world. I also detailed how the Proverbs 31 Woman showcased the frequency and normality of women in positions of social and economic power. She couldn’t sell the land without her husband as he was the leader in the home. However, he couldn’t sell the land because he wasn’t the owner of the property. It gave the home balance, especially since the basis of all freedom is land. Can you say, Mother Earth? She immediately perked up and purchased the book. Again, this in one example of how views on tradition has been a challenge for me as an author.
What’s your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
My biggest strength is writing. I love it! The freedom of expression is a humanistic right, endowed by our creator. He is the common designer. Writing is an artistic way of that expression, which compliments him. He is word, he is the WORD. In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God (John 1:1). Using words and understanding its’ power is exercising HIS power through humanity, which is pretty cool if you ask me!
What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
As mentioned before, I didn’t market my first book. This is a weakness of mine that I am certainly interested in learning how to turn into a strength for my next book and projects to come.
When do you think you will you write your next book?
I have already written my second book. It is called Biblical Black History: The Exodus. I haven’t decided yet when to publish it, but it’s completely written. It’s going through the review phase right now. This book tells the real story of the Exodus as I explain the story within the biblical account that is made for tv. I really want to turn this into a movie or tv series. It will be the 1st of it’s kind in history.
Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher, or a traditional publisher?
Self published through www.Bookbaby.com.
Thank you AuthorVoices.com for the opportunity to share my truth and information with others. I now have a new best website to come to for insight and inspiration for future projects. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!