Where are you from, how old are you, and what's something unique/interesting about your hometown?
I’m originally from Bloomington-Normal, IL, but my family relocated to New Jersey prior to me starting elementary school, so New Jersey (Randolph through elementary school and Ocean for middle and high school) is really where I grew up. Age-wise, I’m old enough to have some wisdom signs/shades of grey (LOL).
Each place where I grew up has something special about it. When it comes to Bloomington-Normal, it’s not only the home of Illinois State University, but the home for State Farm Insurance. As for Randolph, one interesting memory stems from regular trips to Dairy Queen; it was open seasonally as the owner would close the location for the winter (as he’d spend time in Florida to avoid the challenging winters and heavy snow in North Jersey). Ocean is special for being that close to the Atlantic Ocean and the sneaky good peaceful sunrise views along with one of my “old school” spots, the Bagel Factory (where many a day we’d “sneak out” between choir practice and youth group to enjoy the authentic bagel experience).
You are the owner of Creative Community Solutions. Tell us more about what it is that you do at CCS!
Under my umbrella of Creative Community Solutions (CCS), I provide education-based services, press/media service, and writing services.
Education-wise, this ranges from in-person and virtual student tutoring and coaching, along with ACT/SAT prep and related workshops (for schools and community organizations). The press/media services not only range from advisory and consulting for businesses and events to help them better engage with different media outlets including (but not limited to) radio, television, newspapers, magazines, podcasts, and other outlets (including this great one); likewise, not only through my partnership with the Status Network and my show The Conversation Corner along with my independent coverage, I’m blessed to cover entertainment, business, community, and more (regarding people, places, and things). In being credentialed to cover sports (including college football, college baseball, minor league baseball, minor league hockey, and professional bull riding), I’m also on the media lists for multiple members of US Congress. On the writing end, I’m fortunate to be a published author, but I’ve worked with fellow authors for editing and proofing their work to make it publish-ready.
You have two books under your belt, Deeper Than Your Deepest Sleep: Thoughts on Love and 9 Stories of Faith. Tell us about them!
Since my debut in 2017, I’ve published 4 books and have recorded an audiobook series.
My first book is Deeper than your deepest sleep: thoughts on love with Joseph Snorton. The book is a poetic retelling of a conversation with a long-lost family member which looks at the action and energy of love through multiple lenses (including, but not limited to family, friends, community, people who are no longer in your life, and self-reflection). Unlike most poetry, each chapter provides a preview so the reader can better connect with the topics covered in each poem, so they’re walking “in-step” with the author instead of getting “lost in the sauce” so to speak. 9 stories of faith: volume 1 goes in a different direction as it’s interview-based; all of us are dealing with something, but some people deal with something each day. The people who are in the book open up about living with and through challenges ranging from physical health, mental health, life after incarceration, and others; through their respective faith (i.e. Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam), application of best practices in health and wellness, their support network, and making changes in their way of thinking, they show it is possible to live a positive and impactful life in light of life’s challenges.
My 3rd book, nothing Minor, focuses on my coverage of minor league baseball during the 2019 season. It takes you through 7 states complete with player interviews and insights, game recaps, and more, including interviews with a considerable number of African-American players (as they make up less than 10% of all players at the Major League Level). A number of the players I interviewed are on Major League Baseball rosters, and with special sections focusing on the Negro Southern League Museum (in Birmingham, AL) and a talk with one of the umpire supervisors, it provides another look at the game and more for fans of all levels. My newest book is quotes and notes: something’s on the horizon; it’s part “think-piece” and reflection as it’s all original quotes (including one from my late grandmother) designed to motivate, encourage, challenge, or provide a little humor. What’s more important than the thoughts shared is making sure you can share your thoughts, as there’s journal space for you to write down your reflections; what you feed your mind eventually shows up, so be mindful of how you shape and frame your thoughts and simply be open to unlocking gifts and talents within you that you’ve yet to discover.
The Author’s Mixtape audiobook series (there’s 5 editions/volumes) is a freestyle spoken-word and music masterpiece. Our team (3rd Level Entertainment and Canis Major Digital) does all the work in studio; this means we do all the writing and recording in a single studio session, so it’s a true organic experience covering a wide array of topics. The 4th and 5th editions are extra-special, as guest author Kris10 adds a few freestyle gems of her own. We even do a few duets, so it’s a truly creative listening and reflecting experience.
You collaborated with master coffee roaster Leo Fante, to create your own blend of coffee, 'Author Andrew Snorton Blend'. How does this blend of coffee roast align with your book/platform?
I’m sincerely excited and grateful to collaborate with Leo Fante and the amazing team of Fante’s Coffee (based in Louisville, KY). The Author Andrew Snorton Blend is truly for everyone, from fellow authors, coffee lovers, and more! It really aligns with any of my books; ranging from doing something out of a love for people (Deeper than your deepest sleep: thoughts on love with Joseph Snorton), having faith in what you are doing (9 stories of faith: volume 1), dedication to the craft (nothing Minor), organizing your thoughts to doing something great and connecting with hidden gifs and talents (quotes and notes: something’s on the horizon), and simply embracing a creative spirit (The Author’s Mixtape), it’s truly an extension of the writing and recording I’ve done thus far.
Even better is how it will reflect the work I’ll do down the road, so I’m truly grateful.
We are a community of coffee lovers! How would you describe your author blend of coffee in taste and texture?
The coffee is truly a “meeting in the middle.”
With it being a medium blend/roast, it’s enough of a “bump” for those who are light roast drinkers. For the dark/full roast drinkers, it’s not too light for them, so it’s a bridge of the best of both ends of the coffee spectrum. The taste is politely robust, but not overpowering.
When we did our soft launch at Fante’s Coffee, the feedback we received from those in-store is extremely helpful and gracious. It hits differently when long-time patrons and coffee connoisseurs walk up, tap you on the shoulder, and let you know “you got it right (correct/ideal)”. That’s very humbling and you simply want to have something others can enjoy. After all, there’s not too many things better than a really good cup of coffee.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer, and how did the journey begin for you?
Since elementary school, thanks to teachers in K-12 including (but not limited to) Ms. Mastroianni (who recently passed), Ms. McAllister, Ms. Sellman, Ms. Bradley, and Mr. Lord, and Mr. Costa, I’ve always enjoyed writing. My first “bridge” for writing comes from 2010-2016 when I wrote for the Examiner (online magazine). When the magazine shut down, I knew I wanted to do something with writing, but I did not know what direction to go in.
My interest in writing grows as I start doing my own coverage, and it expands after speaking with fellow authors Tyressa Ty and Darius Gourdine. The information they provided gives me a launch point for “stretching” my writing, and in February 2017, my first book is published.
In a sense, I’ve always been on my writing journey. I just needed some help in reading the map and seeing where it would take me, and I’m sincerely appreciative of the experiences and people who helped me get here, let alone to simply keep going.
Do you read often? What are some of your favorite books/authors?
I get more reading done after I’ve finished writing (LOL), but I do a good amount of reading. At times, I’ll re-read a book or two just to see if there’s anything I’ve missed or to see how much I’ve grown as a reader, writer, and person.
As for my favorite books, my reading interests are somewhat all over the place (LOL). Writers and books that come to mind include (but are not limited to) Stride Toward Freedom (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Dr. Maya Angelou), As a Man Thinketh (James Allen), Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston), Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience (William Blake), Not Dead Yet (Phil Southerland), A Well Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports (Brad Snyder), and Makes Me Wanna Holler (Nathan McCall). However, there’s other authors whose books are on my to-do/to-read list including (but not limited to) Keelen Robinson, Ladonna Marie, Fenyx Blue, Maurice McFadden, and Michael Woodward, Jr.
Besides writing, what else do you do for fun? What are your other hobbies?
I am a sports fan (baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, and football), especially college sports. Even in the era of NIL and the transfer portal, it’s a different energy compared to other sports. I enjoy traveling, especially in the Southeast, as there’s a lot of hidden gems to visit, uncover, and discover, from history to wineries and just enjoying nature. While I’m not going to open a restaurant anytime soon, I do like to cook. In fact, in the early days of Covid, I think I went about 2 months in a row where I am cooking something before I placed a to-go food order; it’s not only a break for me from the day to day, but just experimenting with different food and seasoning combinations is a lot of fun for me.
And of course, time spent with family, friends, and loved ones is something I truly enjoy. Even with all of life’s moving parts, to “lay eyes” on each other or hearing someone’s voice is something I’m appreciating more each day, as I hope to do better.
What does the future have in store for Creative Community Solutions and for your career as a writer?
For the future, I just hope CCS continues to grow. I want to work with more students and help them reach their academic and professional goals, let alone instill confidence in them that they can do it. I want to help amplify some truly amazing people, events, and more whose narratives need to be read, heard, and shared with the general public. I want to continue to challenge myself as a writer; why limit myself with the styles, genres, or topics I write and record about?
The main thing that should help me grow in knowing I have a platform; therefore, I should use it and if I can leave positive footprints and do what I can to make things a little better than when I started, then I’m doing better with the time, gifts, and talents God has bestowed upon me.
Is there anything else you would like to promote to our readers?
Of course, I’m promoting my books and audiobooks so you and/or your favorite reader can add to your personal library and just be motivated, encouraged, challenged, and inspired to being the great person you are capable of being. The same for the coffee; it’s really a good way to start your day, bond with friends, or just unwind, so I sincerely appreciate your support.
However, there’s some things beyond the books and coffee I want to promote; it’s just a few closing remarks I’d like to leave with all who get a moment to read and share this interview:
Know you have a God-given gift and talent. Understand that and use it for something greater than you so others can be great too.
Speak life into people as you never know what challenges they are dealing with or what hurdles they have to clear just to be where they are.
Allow yourself some grace when you fall short; it’s a lesson I’m re-learning and I hope other do, as at times, we can be too self-critical or unforgiving.
Be thankful for the gifts and talents you know about and are using; be thankful for the gifts you know about and haven’t used yet. However, be excited about the gifts and talents you’ve yet to discover; that should be reason enough to get up in the morning.
I sincerely thank you for allowing me to share my story; I hope in addition to your support, I’m encouraging and inspiring others.
Continued blessings and well-wishes to all.
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