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Interview with Maurice W. Dorsey, Author of the biography, Businessman First: Remembering Henry G. Parks, Jr. 1916 to 1989 Capturing the Life of a Businessman Who Was African American

Author’s Bio: Maurice W. Dorsey graduated the only African American in his class at the Bel Air Senior High School, Bel Air Maryland in 1965.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1970; then earned a Master's degree of Liberal Arts from the Johns Hopkins University in 1975; and earned a second Master's degree of Education from the Loyola College of Maryland in 1976. He returned to the University of Maryland to earn a Ph.D. in Education in 1985. He has worked in both the public and private sector finding his career in secondary education, higher education, and government.  Maurice is a life member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Phi Delta Kappa. He retired from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture in 2012. Businessman First: Remembering Henry G. Parks, Jr. 1916 to 1989 Capturing the Life of a Businessman who was African American, an authorized biography is his first book.  He resides in Washington, DC.

What inspired you to write your book?
The inspiration for my book came from a very successful businessman who was African American.  His name is Henry G. Parks, Jr., creator and builder of the Baltimore based Parks Sausage Company.  The company’s radio and television ads bellowed:  "More Parks Sausages Mom!"  "Please!"  This ad integrated Mr. Park's market making him a multi-millionaire in 15 years and one of the wealthiest African Americans of his time and the first African American to issue stock on the New York Stock Exchange.  There was a 30 year difference in our ages but we became friends until his death in 1989.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I was first influenced to read by my late father James Roswell Dorsey, Sr., who introduced me to The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham; my sister, author, Margaret D. Pagan later introduced me to Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger; Another Country by James Baldwin and Black Boy by Richard Wright who became favorites in my early years; however, as an adult I added Running With Scissors and Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs as another of my favorite writers.  I like the freedom of speech and honesty these authors used in telling their stories.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
Businessman First Remembering Henry G. Parks, Jr. 1916-1989 Capturing the Life of A Businessman Who Was African American, a biography is my first book.  This book was organized for over two decades before life gave me an opportunity to sit down and simply writing it.  When I finally got started writing it took 90 days day and night with minimal rest to complete since the decision to write it occurred twenty-five years earlier.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I wrote with a moving outline.  Thank goodness for cut and paste!  I literally moved chapters from back to front and vice versa throughout the process to maintain the flow that I wanted.  So much of this was in my head for so long that I could almost sing the book in a song but the lyrics did change and I can say the name of my book Businessman First didn't evolve until chapter three.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
At first I could not listen to music as I wrote but as I got more comfortable and fatigued from writing, classical music helped a lot in soothing my fatigue and anxiety about writing my first book.  However, if there was a popular song I associated in my mind during the years Mr. Parks was living, it would be “Love Hangover” by Diana Ross. Due to the 30 years difference in our ages the likelihood of us ever being friends was universe orchestrated.  It was also at a time in my life that I needed a friend really bad.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
To date, I have not discovered any keys to success to getting my book out to the public.  I learned from Deliah Lawrence, author of Gotta Let It Go, that the best person to market your book is YOU!  She is correct, but it is a tremendous amount of work, much more difficult than writing the book.  Maybe with more time I will find additional keys other than myself!

What advice would you give to new authors?
I highly recommend to new authors to know your audience.  Who are you writing the book for and why?  There are over 3,000 books published daily worldwide so the competition is out there.  So know your target audience otherwise you will be running all over the place spinning your wheels.  You also need to know what you want the reader to take away from your book.  What is the benefit to the reader?  These two things will help you define your audience.

How about sharing an excerpt from Businessman First
"After Henry graduated from Ohio State University with honors from the College of Commerce and a major in marketing, and as the only black in his class, there were jobs for all the white students, but no jobs for Henry in the field of business.  Henry's advisor could not understand why Henry chose marketing as a field of study, knowing no one would hire him.  Henry's placement advisor recommended that Henry go to South America, learn Spanish, change his name, and come back to the United States pretending to be of Spanish descent, and he could get a job anywhere he wanted.  Henry didn't feel the guy meant any harm, but he was not running from his race."

What’s next for you?
I am in the process of writing a second book.  The working title is Mother's Boy...Catholic, Gay, Black, and Unwanted.  This book will be autobiographical in nature that tells the story of transcending institutional and personal obstacles.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book?
My book can be found at:
Blog on website:  www.mauricewdorsey.com
 
Buy book links:

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.



Comments

  1. To My New Friend and Author, Dee Lawrence, Thank You for This Opportunity. I continue to grow and see myself different since writing this book. It has been a great retirement engagement and new career that I wish I had learned more about writing while pursuing early career options. Thank YOU for helping me along in this process of growth.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maurice, you're very welcome my friend. It has indeed been a pleasure connecting and networking with you! You're the best! Enjoy your new career :-)

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