I’m Cortez Law III. I was born in the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C. I won’t tell how lo-o-o-ong ago that was thank ya’! (LOL) But, I spent most of my formative years in Northeastern Ohio in the Portage County seat of Ravenna. I graduated from Ravenna with the college prep courses under my belt and enrolled at Kent State University six miles down the road. I earned a B.A. in Telecommunications, or TV/Radio production.
While I concentrated on that, the writing bug really hit me with the screenwriting course I took in my next to last semester. Well, I never stopped writing after that through all the employment stops. For about a decade, I tried to crack Hollywood. My craft improved and via query letter and cold calling LA agents, I submitted my scripts. I schmoozed those agents to give me shots at submitting scripts for a Halle Berry here, a Michael Biehn there, they were just taking off or getting started back then so a writer had an opportunity, but the scripts weren’t good enough. I got better near the time I decided that perhaps I needed to change mediums.
Enter, ‘The Great American Novel’ quest. We’re talking the early nineties, which was a great time for an African-American author. Now, the New Jack Swing was in full effect with the black film renaissance, but at the same time, the publishing industry found out thanks to Terry McMillan, that black folks read! Say what?! That whole black literary boom did just that, BOOM! Right off the hinges went that door, baby. Again, it takes time to develop your craft. Now we’re talking a 200, 300 or 400+ page book compared to a 100-120 page screenplay. I wrote, studied books on writing and read numerous novels. It remains a continuous learning process.
How do you find time to connect with God?
I’m learning about this time management thing more and more every day. I keep His Word constantly flowing out of my mouth with confessions and prayer all day. I spend time reading and studying the Bible and sermon notes. I might confess the Word every hour for a several minutes and later in the day read and study. I allot an hour or two to just pray in the Spirit and ask God to lead my spirit, which in turn will lead my soul and body to what I believe those mysteries that Apostle Paul talked about when a Christian speaks in other tongues. I may not know what I said, but I get this and these leadings or promptings to do this or to do that in lining up my activities for the day even in that moment. That’s building yourself up in your most holy faith. Prayer is a Christian’s not so secret weapon against the forces of Satan. I get upset at myself when I miss something that was scheduled I wanted to get to for that day on the writing front, but I better be doubly upset when I miss that crucial time spent with God. Writing and marketing take such a heavy time toll every day, but without Him, I can do nothing. So, time management is vital to everything we all want to accomplish each day. I strive to make Jesus Christ the center of my daily activities.
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
I’m a crime stories kind of person and I want to read more of that from an African-American perspective. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find much of it. Fortunately, I’m naturally in sync with the ‘Hero Myth’ of storytelling so mysteries, suspense and thrillers come easier to me. I’ll tell you the person I miss who filled this niche before he passed in 2001 and was a Chicago Police Captain was author Hugh Holton. I’m sure he had many more books in him and I still haven’t read all of his work. I was extremely excited about Tyora Moody’s foray into the police procedure genre and she adds romance to her tales. I’ve a backlog of reading with your projects still on tap. Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Walter Mosley and Ted Dekker to mention a few I’ve read more than once. I want to read more about African-American, Latino and Asian detectives though. Shake things up out there, authors and publishers!
Tell us about your journey to publication.
Despite that sudden boom in black literature in the early nineties as I stated before, you still have to learn your craft. I received plenty of rejections along the way. My niche genre wasn’t such a good pick and that hasn’t changed much today. So, I self-published my first book, My Brother’s Keeper. I had success selling it in the Southeast, Southwest and Atlantic Coast regions of the country, but some quality elements failed to live up to proper publishing standards. The result was a stillborn book. I pulled any further marketing/selling of it for those reasons.
Now, enter September 11, 2001. Oh, did a light bulb go off in me. That tragedy galvanized a nation and many people expressed their patriotism for this nation via songs, music, movies, etc. I was no different and looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised either. My screenplay offerings consisted of small budgeted urban dramas but also police/crime stories as well. I like the whole crime and punishment, good v. evil battles. That event spawned my first X-Men Homicide Case File book, which after some years the title I finally settled upon was, The Serialist.
Now, that took years to get to the point of independently publishing that one too. Same challenge in the African-American marketplace whether the General Trade or Christian: Mystery, suspense or thriller books? Say what? Uh-huh, pal. Take that somewhere else. I took that book to market in 2010. For the small print run I could afford, it sold out and received nice reader reviews too. That baby wasn’t stillborn, but its life expectancy was far shorter than it should have been. I”m not through with that one though. Hey, that was the first X-Men book. I’m bringing that one back to market in the near future. It took another four years as I was already creating Book Two in the series all the while with Kremlin Tide for release in 2014. While I’m doing whatever needed to be done with that one, I was already writing Book Three, Cold Lick. I thought Kremlin Tide and Cold Lick would publish sooner than they did, but God works out all situations as it pleases Him. Cold Lick will debut this year.
Tell us about your current book, Cold Lick?
Cold Lick is the third book in the X-Men Case File Series. A police procedural/suspense story that pits Sergeant Malcolm X. Hobbs and his elite X-Men Homicide Unit against some motivated criminal elements named Fabrice Mousassi and Julianna Delacroix who have one goal in mind and that’s to get some long overdue compensation. However, some other things are afoot on the periphery of the main story line that readers can probably identify with even if they themselves have never experienced it. From home/family life to the work place to crises of faith, these people, good and bad, find complications in their varied predicaments. Repercussions abound. Hold on my readers, it’s going be a bumpy ride!
We’re excited that Cortez is premiering his book trailer for Cold Lick on Written Voices today! Check it out below!
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
I had several threads that came together and varied in their major/minor emphasis in the story. I think writers experience that all the time. You think the story will swing one way, and then it focus more on a another thread. For Cold Lick, those threads included missing persons, literacy, family crises, corruption, work place stresses, prison rehabilitation, and parenting. I didn’t write any theses on these subjects, but the reader can imagine what happened that created these characters into the people they present themselves to be in the story. Reflect on their thoughts, how they speak, what they believe, etc. That’s all there in creating characters, but I didn’t hold a forum on these topics. Nevertheless, these topics or subjects will make you go, ‘Hmmm’, like Arsenio Hall back in the day.
What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
Learn to forgive. Control your emotions. Appreciate the governing bodies that we do have in place in America. From our school systems, to our justice system, which is far from perfection. The cases in the news for the last several months can surely attest to that. Our workplaces, places of worship. Do what you can do in those trying circumstances with family, work, church, friendships, etc. If those conflicts remain despite attempts to resolve them in a calm and rational way, then let that imperfect justice system handle it. Not so easy to convince criminals to do it, but it’s easy to predict the end of that road if they don’t heed the laws that are in place.
What’s next for you?
Aside from the ongoing marketing of Cold Lick and its predecessor, Kremlin Tide, this fall I’ll step into an even more risky venture that I’m just as excited about as I am with my X-Men Case File books. Readers like to read different style/genres of books, why shouldn’t writers can step out and do the same. In the months ahead, I’ll release more information. However, right now on my website, www.cortezlaw.net, click on Coming Soon! and participate in a contest related to that fall release. It’s coming and I’ll cease and desist right there before I say too much.
Please tell us where we can connect with you online.
My website is www.cortezlaw.net. I’m on Facebook, Goodreads, Smashwords, YouTube, and GodTube in some embodiment.