Gamal Williams

Marissa Dick | January 19th, 2021
Gamal Williams (Photos by Gwendolyn Wilson)

Gamal Williams (Photos by Gwendolyn Wilson)

Becoming an author can be a massive undertaking but it is certainly worth the effort if you want to achieve creative fulfillment while touching the emotions, hearts, and minds of others through writing. Some people feel the unction more readily than others to express their emotions and thoughts openly while others may be more introverted with their emotions and thoughts and could quite possibly replaying scenes over in their mind. How creative is that? If you believe there’s a story inside of you then you should let it out.

Meet Gamal C. Williams, a native of Brooklyn, New York, a father of four, and a retired 20-year Naval Senior Chief Officer hailing from Hampton Rhodes, Virginia. On November 29, 2020 Gamal released his first novel entitled, Fin: A Story of Love and Hope.

Remember we spoke earlier about scenes being replayed over in their mind? Well Gamal’s novel was created through dreaming.

According to Gamal, “First, let me explain how I came up with the name, Fin. Fin is actually short for Finely. One thing we do in the military is shorten last names. For example, my last name is Williams, but everybody calls me, Will. So, this whole thing started because of a dream I kept having. I had this same dream four or five times a week for about three or four weeks. In this dream I am working in a convenience store and as I’m taking the trash out in the back somebody comes in and tries to rob the store. The cops intervene and somehow, I accidently get shot. Each time I had this dream I would wake up in a panic. After a while I realized I was dreaming. Then finally one night I woke up at two o’clock in the morning and I grabbed my laptop and just started writing. I wrote the first ten or twelve pages of the book and sent it to my publisher, Sasha Ridley. After she read it, she encouraged me to finish this story. So, I started thinking if I’m going to finish this story then I am going to have to figure out how did this person get here, and how do I write this scene, so it was the dream that actually got me into writing. I never grew up saying I wanted to be an author it was never anything like that. I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I started writing Fin. I loved it immediately. I enjoyed seeing the characters come to life. Every waking moment I had I would be thinking about this story.”

Talking about making your dreams come true. Gamal literally wrote his dream into existence. How many of you have dreams and you don’t know why it continues to reoccur? Who knows perhaps your dreams are speaking to warn you or they could be speaking to you to create a novel. Either way, your dreams can be looked at as gifts and we already understand that your ‘gifts will make room for you’ – – Gamal’s did.

When writing your book an author should have a particular audience in mind because having a base to connect with is important. For Gamal’s target audience are adolescent black males, specifically.

He shares, “The main group would be young adolescent black males because they need help with learning how to communicate with one another and they need to learn how to show love and affection toward one another without negativity being associated with their actions. Today there’s not as much condemnation associated with telling another black male who is your close friend that you love him, but when I was growing up that’s not something we did outside of the family. I grew up in Brooklyn and saying those words to another man is something that was frowned upon. You were looked at as being soft or weak. You couldn’t show any other type of emotions other than being tough or being street wise. So, this is a good seaway to the three main characters in Fin: A Story of Love and Hope. There’s Fin, the protagonist, and he’s the son of Command Master Chief. Then there’s a guy, Justin, who is the son of a former police officer, and the other guy is Chris, who goes by the name, Stacks, well, Stacks father is really a gangster. So, these guys from three completely different worlds end up becoming friends and they find out that they have way more in common than they thought they did. And even though they don’t overtly say ‘I love you’ it’s apparent through their actions the love they have for one another.”

As a black male, Gamal understands the social anxieties and depressions that both pre-adolescent and post-teens experience. Some of his experiences can be found in Fin.

He shares, “You know as a young male nobody teaches you how to deal with anxiety and depression or even how to deal with your anger. Those things just aren’t discussed in the black community. Instead of talking about it openly we are more likely to go to church and pray it away. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with church. What I am saying is that sometimes you need to go to somebody and talk about your feelings and say hey I need help. Communication is important and that is also apparent in the book. All three characters have their fathers in their lives, but their level of communication just isn’t where it needs to be.” Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place, person or group to another. It is Gamal’s earnest desire for his readers to pick up golden nuggets while reading his novel and implement those nuggets in their lives.

Though the book is fiction there are some elements of truth imbedded in the fabric of the story line. “There are elements in the book that do pull from my life. I think you can say this of any author who is writing a book that there are certain elements to the characters that they get from within themselves or people around you. There has to be some point of reference to understand what anger looks like or what a loving person looks like. There are definitely influences from my family and friends and people I have served with, but I wouldn’t say that there is any one character that’s a specific person. No, there isn’t.”

It took Gamal the better part of five weeks to type out his first rough draft. Along the way he would send chapters to his publisher who would provide him motivation to continue forward. He says, “I just got the raw version of the story out. I didn’t think about spelling, punctuations, sentence structure or grammar. All I did was write and send pieces of it to Sasha to read and she motivated me to keep going. Once I got the full story out then I went back and started doing rewrites and expanding on the story, the characters, and the scenes. So, from beginning to end I would say it took me six months to finish the book.”

Gamal is aware that the pandemic has caused a huge disruption in the world, but he has been able to make good use of this time by bonding with his children and working on his next book Jump which has been coauthored by his 12-year-old son, Gabriel. According to Gamal, “I created Jump just for him. He would say, ‘daddy what if he did this or that’ and I would give it some thought so I told him when I do the rewrite, I’m going to put that in there and add his name to the book as my coauthor and he just smiled.” See what our children can help us do when we communicate.

Support is always important in our endeavors and Gamal is grateful for Rae Legacy Publishing. He admits, “I like Sasha’s company because it’s small enough to where I can have that personal touch. She and my cousin Brian helped me a lot with editing. Sasha has really been a champion for this book, and she has also gotten me interviews and set up all my social media platforms. I believe in her and I like the fact that I can pick up my telephone and just call my publisher and talk to her about what my thoughts are or simply about what’s going on in my life. Rae Legacy Publishing is really the driving force behind getting the book out there so, no, I don’t have any regrets with going with her company at all.”

Many of you could be asking yourselves why you should go out and purchase this book. Gamal explains it this way, “The book is a great story. It’s a gripping tale of three young boys who form an unlikely friendship and soon discover that despite their differences, they have more in common than they realized. When 14-year-old Fin meets Stacks and Justin, he never thought their union would be bonded in love, friendship, joy, and pain. When an unexpected tragedy occurs, the young men’s bond is put to the test. A test of friendship, loyalty, family, and love. For one of them, their choices would shape his life, mold him into the man he had to become, and pushes him to the edge of death itself. The book has been heralded as “evocative,” “thought-provoking,” “heart-warming,” and “gut-wrenching.” Fin never allows you a moment to catch your breath. You’ll think you know everything, then Fin spins you in a direction you never saw coming.”

The book also shows the complexities of love on multiple levels. For instance, there is a romantic love between Fin and his girlfriend Cory; there is the love between his grandparents; and there is the love that father and son show one another.

Fin: A Story of Love and Hope is a book that transcends nationalities and genders; it is relatable enough to spark the interest of everyone who reads it.

Gamal shares, “I hope the book sparks conversations that families need to have when it comes to sharing information. There is a generational divide where the older generations don’t share with the younger generation what they’ve experienced in their lives or even thigs about their health. If they would share those struggles the youth could gain so much from their grandparents, parents, aunts or uncles experiences. I’ve been guilty of it too – – not sharing information with my daughter or sons that could have prevented them from messing up. Again, it’s been my experience that we just don’t share information until it’s too late. We should have these difficult conversations early. I hope this book can spark that level of conversation so adolescents can begin to make better decisions. I hope this book sparks life changing conversations and deliberate actions of correction. You know I was at my local library doing the photo shoot for this book and the director came out and asked where she could purchase the book so it could be displayed in the local author section. I happily gave them the copy I had. When I was growing up on my way home from school me and my friends would stop at the library every day to do our homework then we would read for hours. To know that some young man will be able to go into the library and see a book that looks like him on the shelf and be able to resonate with the emotions going on in the book is so rewarding for me. If a young kid can see themselves in one of those characters, then I am happy. That’s a blessing right there. I just hope people would give it a chance and pick it up and enjoy it.”

You can purchase this newly released book on amazon.com in both paperback, and in Kindle and Nook. You can also visit Gamal William’s website at www.authorgamalilliams.com which will usher you to all the links to purchase this new and inspiring novel.

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