Norwood Holland is a freelance writer, lawyer, and author of the Drew Smith legal thriller series based on the capers of an urban trial attorney. He is a graduate of Howard University School of Law with a bachelor’s degree in English from Fisk University where he studied under the renowned Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps. Holland favors D.C.’s local color in his fiction and currently writes the blog editorialindependence.com devoted to promoting independent authors among other things.
He has served in several government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and a number of Washington’s top national law firms. In the mid 90s Holland began freelancing for the local media. Some of his credits include The Writer Magazine, the Examiner, and Black Literature Magazine. Minus One follows up on the success of Sleepless Nights, the first in the Drew Smith Series.
Describe yourself in three words.
Unassuming, introspective, Curious.
What is a typical day like for you?
I’ve reached a transition period in my life and don’t have a typical day. I was recently forced into retirement to become a caregiver for a family member with early onset dementia. I’m no longer working nine to five, but twenty four seven. Hence no routine other than trying to set up a health care regiment. I moved into a new residence and expect things to settle down in the next few weeks once I have my support system and assistants in place. Then I will begin to write full time, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. That’s been my ambition and now I can make it happen. At present though I’m confronting daily new challenges and taking on new tasks.
What do you want to do different in 2013 that you didn’t do in 2012?
This year I want to do more book promotion with high visibility. I plan to attend a greater number of conferences and book festivals. In 2012 I was lax in the areas of marketing and promotion.
What television show best describes your life and why?
The Big Bang Theory is my favorite TV show. I like its intellectual bent and quirky characters. Much of shows minutia is highly intellectual and esoteric. Consequently it’s over the head of the casual viewer, and like the show’s characters I possess a wealth of esoteric information regarded as useless by others.
What’s your favorite quote & why?
“If I do write, I shall write for a purpose, a high, holy purpose, and this will inspire me to greater effort. The object of my writings would be not so much the elevation of the colored people as the elevation of the whites, …” from the boyhood journals of Charles W. Chesnutt.
I like this quote because at age 12 Charles Chesnutt expressed a dream and a life long ambition to write with a purpose. He planned to take some folks to school His was a purpose drive life, and though he died believing he had failed, a century later his works have been revived and studied. He died bitter believing he was a failure. Success came posthumously, and he did indeed achieve his dream and purpose contributing to American letters. I believe we are all working toward the goals and dreams inspired in our youth, and for many the success of our life’s work remains to be seen.
What character in your new book could you most relate to?
The protagonist, Drew Smith captures my idealism as opposed to the driving character Medhat Saeed, the high born Egyptian playboy who lives life with reckless abandon. Like Drew Smith, I’m overly cautious in life but admire the impetuous reckless abandon by which some people live. I live with an eye on the future while others seem to live in the moment, and while the future is not a given I try to hedge my bets.
Tell readers about your latest release.
Minus One is the prequel to The Drew Smith Series. The titled character is a criminal attorney operating a solo practice in Washington, DC. This is a 30 year retrospective narrative of his first case a murder mystery. A recent law school graduate in the summer of 1982 awaiting his bar exam results Drew Smith takes a job as a Concierge in a 5 star hotel, and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat, and Julio. Medhat is spoiled brat estranged from his wealthy father with a penchant for partying, cocaine, prostitutes and barroom brawls. Julio is a smart high school dropout and a former street gang member. The son of peasant Nicaraguan immigrants he is forced to become the head of household when his father is killed in a construction accident leaving his mother and five siblings without a provider. This eclectic trio form a solid friendship put to the test when Medhat in his overindulgence runs up a drug tab he can’t pay. Kidnapped and rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat becomes a prime suspect when the drug lord and associates are being killed off.
All three face romantic challenges. Drew is captivated with the pretty Latina, Nina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio knocks up and falls heavy for Chevy, a lovely Filipina. Medhat has a passion for blondes and night club owner Carol fits the mold perfectly.
Life takes a sudden turn after 4 months of play Drew becomes a member of the Bar just in time to defend Medhat, his first client. Medhat is caught red handed and charged with the murder of night club owner and Carol’s business partner Fast Eddie. While Medhat is locked up and bewildered by his circumstances Drew and Julio set out to uncover evidence of his innocence. They discover Medhat is the fall guy in Carol’s conspiracy to take full ownership of the nightclub. Drew and Julio arrange a face to face meeting the real killer leaving Julio seriously wounded. Medhat is freed from jail and enraged confronts Carol in a physical altercation where she tragically shoots Medhat to death.
Minus One captures Drew Smith’s evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with the seriousness of purpose. It’s a tragic murder mystery chocked with sex and romance ending in violence. Minus One takes us back to the beginning of Drew Smith’s legal career.
What’s next for you?
I will spend the next year finalizing Snakehead the third book in the series which focuses on human trafficking. The first draft is done but new ideas have since developed. I plan to spend the next twelve month perfecting the plot. They say the 3rd time’s a charm and I’m hope to make this a best seller and a block buster surpassing the others.
What song would you use as the soundtrack of your life and why?
A Whole New World
I can open your eyes,
I can show you the world,
Shining Shimmering, splendid
I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride . . .
The lyrics are inspirational and express the creative challenges and goals of my writing. I really want to take the reader on a magic carpet ride where the experience the characters emotional highs and lows.
Minus One the Drew Smith Series prequel takes us back when the attorney launches his legal career. Before the ink is dry on his license to practice law Drew Smith finds himself at the center of a murder mystery. The recent law school graduate works as a hotel concierge and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat and Julio. Like the three musketeers they bond in a fraternal friendship put to the test when Medhat is kidnapped after running up a drug tab he can’t pay. Rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat then becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders. Driven by their romantic entanglements the attorney is captivated with a pretty Latina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio and his Filipina love find themselves expecting, and Medhat’s passion for blondes gets him snared in a femme fatale’s net. Minus One captures Drew Smith’s evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with seriousness of purpose.