T. Weldon Garrett

T. Weldon Garrett
"Against A Brick Wall"

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
January 10, 2004

Q. Who is T. Weldon Garrett?

A. T. Weldon Garrett is an African-American who grew up in the Williamsburg projects and, by the grace of God, surmounted the obstacles that tend to trap African-Americans in the projects, the penal system, or a life of drugs. Today, T. Weldon Garrett is an entrepreneur, educator, novelist and family man.

Q. What inspired you to write AGAINST A BRICK WALL?

A. I wanted to write a novel that would inspire, enlighten, empower and enrich African-Americans. And, let me add, that young adults have said that they are now better prepared for corporate America because of this book. A young gentleman even said that Against A Brick Wall Inspired him to return to college. I wanted to write a book that would serve as a blueprint for success. When people see the trials and tribulations that the main character surmounted to live a peaceful and successful existence, I want them to say, like the person who returned to college, I can do this too. I want this book to teach both black and white people what no business school in the country teaches: to expose them to the corporate games so that they recognize them, know them, and can make a conscious decision as to how they want to play the game. I am hopeful that as people read and talk about this novel, ultimately, positive changes will take place in corporate. In addition, many stories, whether they are in books or on the big screen, show negative images of African Americans, images into which we unfortunately buy. So the story introduces its readers to another reality, very positive and progressive African-Americans. Finally, since relationship novels are the hottest craze, I wanted to write a relationship novel with some substance.

Q. How did you come about the title?

A. I thought about the glass ceiling, a corporate term that suggests that there is a transparent ceiling that blocks the upward mobility of African Americans and other minorities from the higher echelons of the corporate world, the executive suite, or those positions that pay well. Having been a hiring manager for a Fortune 200 company and having seen that which is done to keep people of color out, I submit that discrimination in corporate America is not that subtle or transparent. And, after reading Against The Brick Wall, one will understand that the glass ceiling is an inappropriate term to describe discrimination in corporate America and that a brick wall is more suitable.

Q. How did you come about Greg's character?

A. I needed a character with whom people could identify, a character from "the hood" in whom people would feel a sense of pride. I wanted this character to be the poster child for our struggles so that people could see and feel the experiences that African-Americans in general experience. I wanted people to understand that there is a way out. Therefore, Greg embodies the experiences of every African-American male and his significant other embodies the experiences of our sisters. Their experiences represent ours.

Q. Is there any of your personality in Greg's character?

A. There is. Greg is a character with extremely strong principles. He sacrifices a lot rather than "sell out." I too have very strong principles to which I have held steadfast, much as Greg does in the novel. He has a lot of great qualities. I would like to think that he epitomizes every positive person. Yeah, I'll claim his personality as my own before someone else does.

Q. How long have you been writing?

A. Against A Brick Wall is my debut novel. It took me one year to write and another year to revise and edit, two years if you don't count term and research papers.

Q. Are you currently working on another book?

A. I am working on two books: a work of nonfiction and fiction.

Q. Will you be writing more about African-Americans in corporate America?

A. The second book will be about African-Americans in corporate with an interesting twist. It's going to be a sequel.

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

A. It doesn't matter. I can write while watching television, with the radio playing in the background, or while engaged in conversation. There are times when I may sit in a quiet room but it is not a requirement.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading AGAINST A BRICK WALL?

A. One of the central themes in Against A Brick Wall is that African-Americans have to begin to embrace one another, trust one another, and support one another. Our economic power base is enormous. However, we will not survive if we don't get on the same page and look out for one another. On that note, I want to thank you and The Literary World for your support and love. Thanks for embracing a very important subject that I hope will continue to make a difference.