Gregory K. Morris

Gregory K. Morris

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
May 22, 2003

Q - Who is Gregory K. Morris?

A - I am a black man, married, two children, older boy, younger girl. I am deeply religious, in love with life, a registered and voting democrat, although I am currently mad at both major political parties. I earn a living as an engineer. I am a "Q". I get off on doing things. I find my thrill in the hunt, in the journey. A philosopher? Maybe, but I've got an opinion on just about everything.

Q - What inspired you to write HNIC?

A - I enjoy many types of books, murder mystery being one of them. That's why I decided to write one. For HNIC, I was inspired by several things, but mainly by the many different people I've met since I've gotten into novel writing. I put a few of those "fringe" personalities together with true-life situations happening today, then sprinkled in some fictional pazzazz.

First, In order to make a good read, I chose true-to-life situations based on events that actually happened. This makes the storyline real to the reader. Of course I fictionalized the events. Second, I needed conflict and drama. To get that, I included a few of the different "groups" of people I've met since I’ve started writing. There is the predominant group of black people, the group that is inspired by anyone out there trying to do something positive. This group is an inspiration to everyone. Then there is another major group, the one that checks FIRST to see who you know, who sent you, or if you are somebody. And if you don't register, then you are NOBODY, no matter what you have done or are capable of. The last element is a real murder-mystery who-done-it format that offers a great way to pull all of this together. It’s appeal is fast paced, overlapping events that give no time to breath (or put the book down).

Q - How did you come about the title HNIC?

A - The term HNIC is as old as the hills. It's a term that I've heard all my life. And the title certainly fit the main character, Chuck Harris. Plus, the term is controversial. I need the controversy to help turn the casual book browser into a buyer and reader. I would have rather done this by advertising like the "big boys" but I don't have the mega-bucks.

As you can probably tell, I totally disagree with giving a word, any word, such power to change people’s actions or lives. With that kind of power, any pursuits can be stopped with just a single word, without a shot being fired. That's wrong. Now, I have and will swing on anyone that would dare stand in my face and try to hurt me or my family, whether that assault is with sticks, stones, names or whatever. But I want to choose. And I will attack the attacker, not the word, “nigger” or otherwise.

Q - Why did you choose to use the abbreviation HNIC instead of Head Nigger In Charge?

A - Again, my aim with the title is NOT to offend, but to stir the curiosity. To me, the acronym is just as glaring as the full words but without the offense. Besides, I've found that many people discuss the acronym as much as the phrase, which also leads to curiosity about the book. You will note also the cover of the book which too is aimed to stir as much curiosity and emotion as the title.

Q - How did you come about Chuck Harris character?

A - I met him! Or rather, I met, encountered or heard of several people with one or more of his traits. Since I've begun this writing journey, I have met a number of people who will completely dismiss you or "diss" you if you don't know the right people or have been sent by the right people, regardless of your talent, achievement or potential. I simply took those traits and turned up the volume on them to create Chuck Harris.

Q - How did you come about Michael Johnson character?

A - Michael truly represents what I want to bring across in everything I write. In this world, it seems the only way for a black man to get noticed is through dysfunction. Yes, dysfunction is interesting, controversial (like my title, I guess), and appeals to a tremendous audience. However, it also destroys! And there is plenty to go around, particularly in black fictional literature. Like it or not, “you are what you eat”. I just want to enhance the meal. To do that, I will always have admirable characters in my writing. But doing so without appearing nieve or "goody-two-shoes" is a challenge.

As far as Michael himself is concerned, I needed someone able to move in and out of the legal circle, thus a policeman, lawyer or reporter. Michael is firmly rooted in the black community, He's strong, devoted, tough, and married, and moralistic. He fights for right, but slams a few brothers through his living room coffee table. I’d say that makes him well rounded.

Q - Why was everybody protecting Nathan Allen?

I believe that this is true to life. Smart people not only think of the present, but are "looking down the road". After all is said and done, whoever is on the winner's side is going to win, whether they be right or wrong, guilty or innocent. Look at the Iraqi war for example. The few countries that allied with the US are considered saints here, while those that opposed us (France, in particular) have become butts of jokes. Nathan has the power. If you want to win, support the power. Of course, it could cost your self-respect or your soul, but...

Q - Is mystery/murder the only genre you write?

A - No. My first book, ZON, is a science-fiction /action adventure. I've also written a short-story for an anthology due out in June which is more Relational fiction. I consider myself a “fable-fiction” writer. That’s because I want to deliver an underlying, but uplifting message in all my works. If that sounds like a mission, that’s exactly what it is. I want to satisfy readers with a great read with a good helping of “food for thought”.

Q - Are you currently working on another book?

A - Yes. I have two in the works now, an historical fiction, the other another science-action adventure. And I am working on several children/short stories, some humorous, others, passionate.

Q - What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

A - SILENCE. But to create the story or characters, I've found walking or driving to be inspirational. But once I'm on track, I need a word processor and solitude.

Q - What message would you like readers to receive from reading HNIC?

A - The world can no longer be summed up in terms of Black and White. Greed has blurred the color line. We all need to choose who we follow or admire by what they have done, not by who they are, how much money they have, or their title. If we stay that easy, then those in power will continue picking our leaders, setting our direction and determining our future for us. I don't want that to happen.