“Plans that we have for ourselves are not always aligned with the universe. There are times when roles choose us. We merely have to be obedient and blossom as our purpose change those placed in our paths.” —Treka L. House
I’m super excited that I was granted the opportunity to support and collaborate with another Mississippi Author. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Thaddeus DeJuan Wright Sr., who I’ve always referred to as Juan. He was born on a hot summer day in Greenwood, MS. Thaddeus and I were on the track team together. Oh yes readers, I was an athlete. I had to give those long, skinny legs constructive purpose. As teammates then, who would have thought that we would later team up as authors from a small little town in Mississippi to support each other. For those of you not familiar with Greenwood, MS, it is a town barely spotted on the map. A place with much adversity and obstacles that molded us and pushed us to be right where we are today writing for a purpose greater than ourselves.
After Juan graduated from Greenwood High School in 1998, he enlisted into the United States Army; where he served in an active duty role for eight years. After honorably and graciously bowing from his military duties in the Army, he enrolled at Jackson State University in Jackson, MS, where he received his degree in Psychology. What makes Juan so interesting, besides being a fellow Mississippian like me, is the fact that he is able to acknowledge what many people are not transparent and honest enough to admit; he’s not perfect. In a world where everywhere you turn, you’re running into individuals covering their flaws with masks of faded perfection, it’s refreshing to know someone who readily acknowledges that they aren’t perfect. In the actual words of Thaddeus DeJuan Wright Sr., “I am a man who has made a lot of bad decisions and mistakes. I am a man that used to care more about the world than I did God. I am merely a man and I am just as imperfect as the next person. I am just a man who wants the world to know how good God is and what He is truly capable of.” Let’s get into exactly how Thaddeus walked into being a published author.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Juan: I was inspired by God to write my first book. Initially, I was going through so many turbulent times in my life and I had no one to talk to, so I chose to write my feelings down on paper. As I began to write, God began to speak to me and show me the positives in the midst of my trials and tribulations.
How did you come up with the title?
Juan:My original title was “Out of the Mouth of God,” but when I researched titles, it was taken, so I began to pray and ask God to give me a new title. That’s how the title “Shhh…God is Speaking” came to be. Honestly, I don’t remember the day He gave it to me, but I heard it plain as day. The title is relevant on so many levels, but mainly relating to me. It was like God was saying Thaddeus stop complaining and listen to what I have to say. That’s the best way I can explain it.
Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Juan: The message I want readers to grasp is that no matter what one may be facing, God is able to deliver them and set them free from whatever has them bound and that includes me. My message is really not my message, its God’s message and I believe He wanted to inspire people to trust in Him rather than man. So many times we blame our life and situations on people and our environment. I believe God wants to show people that He is still God and with Him the impossible can be made possible. The overall message is for people to surrender their lives to Christ and be saved.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Juan:All events in my book are based on actual events that took place in my life. I can’t tell someone else’s story, I can only tell mine.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Juan:The book that influenced me the most is called “The Shack,” by WM Paul Young. This book talks about a man who took his children on a vacation to the lake and on the last day of the trip his daughter was kidnapped and killed. After returning home, he receives a letter in the mail from “Poppa” which is what his wife referred to God as and the letter instructed him to return back to the place where his daughter disappeared. Upon returning, he was visited by three different people, one being God, second Jesus, and thirdly the Holy Spirit. Each person exposed a different part of him and they instructed him that he must forgive the man who took his daughter. At the end of the book, the Holy Spirit lead him to the place where his daughter body was hid, because it had never been recovered and it also lead to the arrest of the man who committed the crime. This book is a true testament of how loving and gracious our God is.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Why?
Juan:I would have to say that Gabriel Wallace, Eddie Love, Shani Collins, and Treka House are the newest authors who have captured my attention. I say this because I know each one personally and I know where they all come from. None of them were rich. None of them grew up in the suburbs, but they all grew up in Greenwood, MS, a place where there was so much violence and poverty. What inspires me most about these authors is that they chose not to be a product of their environment, yet they chose to make their environment a product of them. Each of them have different stories; nevertheless each one is uniquely positive and powerful in their own way.
What are your current projects?
Juan:I am currently working on getting into the public speaking event. I’m also working on a second version of “Shhh…God is Speaking.” I chose to do a second part to this book, because with this title I’m not limited to just one topic. I want God to be able to say whatever He wants to say through me. I’m also working with Gabriel Wallace and Eddie Love on trying to put together a “Take the City Back Conference” where each of us will speak. We would like to host the event at the Greenwood Civic Center. I’m also involved in mentoring and tutoring middle school children in my area.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Juan: The one person who supported me outside of family was Bishop Kenneth Diggs; however, my pastor in Mississippi, Elder Anthony Friday, is the one who spoke life into the book before it was ever a book. Both of these men poured so much wisdom into me and instructed me to always listen to God and remain humble.
Do you see writing as a career?
Juan: I definitely see writing as a career, because when I write, it’s like I’m at perfect peace. As I respond to your question, I feel the same peace because writing is my passion and it’s something that I love to do. Writing is an art and as long as there is a message to be conveyed, I’ll always write regardless of pay. If one person’s life is changed and/or one person gives their life to God, then I have succeeded in my duties.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Juan:If I had to change one thing, I would mention that the relationships I referenced were unsuccessful, since I was still legally married, although we were separated. I would let them know that it is impossible for God to bless a relationship that goes against His commandments. God is a God of order and I was out of order. I always want to remain transparent and I left that part out not due to trying to hide my sin, but owing to the fact that I had disconnected myself from the marriage. I never thought about it until I got a call that my wife was on life support and I had to go and decide whether to keep her on life support or to pull the plug. Thank God for taking the decision out of my hands and intervening on my behalf.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Juan:My interest in writing originated with me using it as a source of venting and it blossomed from there. I truly believe that this is my gift from God; therefore, I can take no credit for my writing. I give God all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Juan:The most challenging part in my writing is eliminating self. I say this, because I want God to do the speaking and I do the writing. The other challenging part is wondering if readers will want to read my material. I got discouraged a lot and almost gave up on writing because of self-doubt, but God wouldn’t let me give up and I thank Him every day for keeping me, even when I didn’t want to be kept.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Juan:Max Lucado, on account of his willingness and obedience to be led by God.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Juan:No, I don’t have to travel much because of my book, but I hope that in the near future, my book takes me to places where I can spread the Word of God and tell my story.
How does it feel to be a published author from a small town in Mississippi? Did you ever picture yourself here?
Juan:It feels great. I'm in awe of the fact that I'm an author. Sometimes, I forget that I'm a published author and when I think about it, I just feel great all over again. I never thought that I would become a published author. It was never in my plans, but God has his own plans for our lives. I'm just grateful that he chose me.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Juan: I learned so many different things from writing my book. The biggest thing I learned, was that the person I was fighting for, was myself. The greatest battle anyone will ever fight is the battle of the mind. I was always looking for someone to blame; however, I learned that I was the one to blame and no one else. I learned that if I wanted readers to believe in my message, I first had to believe in it and that I have to live the life I write about. This project opened up so many different hurts and pains that I had suppressed for so many years.
If you could say anything to your audience, what would it be and why?
Juan:If I could say one thing to my audience, it would be to never stop believing and trusting in God, because without God we are nothing. For me, this is a fact, since in the latter half of 2013 I was homeless, but because of my faith and belief in God, He turned my dry place into my place of victory. I never told anyone I was homeless. I had to go through it on my own. I leaned on people for far too long and it was time for me to stand on my own two feet and trust that God would see me through. He did see me through. He made me better than I ever was and He gave me a new insight on life. All Glory belongs to God.
This interview resonated so well with certain portions of my life. Your take on your life, demonstrates how much power there is in having sheer will and a desire to thrive. Each person on this earth will experience certain hardships and sometimes they mirror others with a spin of uniqueness; but every lesson is different. There is confirmation all around us if we make the decision to use all the negativity surrounding us to teach us who we are. You learn your true capabilities when you deal with the ugly occurrences of life. Your resilience is evident when you are determined to emerge from the conquering grips of situations and decide that by all means, you will win. It took me years to realize that trials were temporary as is everything else in life, but how temporary those tribulations are, is solely up to each individual. Thank you Juan for allowing us into your world, I surely took some positive confirmations from these interview. I wish you nothing but the absolute best in all of your future endeavors. I am positive that greatness is forever apart of your being as long as you continue to embrace it.Shhh...God is Speakingcan be purchased on Amazon and check out his website www.goviral4god.com. Best wishes brother!