Today we are honored to have as our guest, Violette Early, author of Blacklisted in America and editor of Reflections. Welcome, Violette.
Thank you, Joan. I am excited to meet your readers!
Great, Violette. Let’s begin.
- Where were you born? Chicago, Illinois
- Where is your favorite place to visit? Nantucket
- Did you ever want to hide when you were a child? Only when my father came from work. He always stopped to visit with mom. After settling in a bit, he would make his rounds. My room was his first stop. If mom still had all her senses and hadn’t pulled all her hair from her head that meant I’d been a good girl. However, if I’d been bad, I’d have to pay when dad made his rounds. Then the next day, I’d go easy on mom.
- What are your favorite places to read a book now? Lying down.
- Why did you decide to write Blacklisted in America? Jon passed in 2005 and it wasn’t until about 2014 Jon’s oldest living cousin contacted me on Facebook Chat. After introducing himself as Rev. Dr. Alfred Early, he wanted to know what happened to Jon? Magazines like the Billboard stated that “A New Star Has Risen.”
“Because of quarrels with his father over his major at Notre Dame University, he left the university in the summer. He was eighteen and had no where to go. Jon noticed on a huge window, a picture of Uncle Sam pointing down at him saying “We want you.”
Alfred asked, “Do you have Jon’s discharge papers? Have you noticed anything unusual on his papers?
I said, “Yes, as-a-matter-of-fact all along the bottom of the paper are numbers mixed with letters.”
Alfred said, “Please read them to me. Meet me back here on chat in twenty minutes.”
When we went back, Alfred asked, “Are you sitting down? Jon was Blacklisted by the US Army.” This is why I began my research and began to write his story.
6. Why did you write this book? This is my main purpose for writing our story, Blacklisted in America. I want people to know the truth about my husband, Jon Early’s life. No one knows the details better than me. I was an eyewitness. People may ask, “Is Jon Early’s biography the truth, the whole truth?”
My answer to them is, “Yes, Jon Early’s biography is the whole truth.”
7. Writing, reading, researching, and revising this story has helped me deal with the facts with which Jon and I lived. I wrote it to help others who may find themselves in similar situations. No one deserves to live a lifetime of uncertainty.
Going back to the Army: They were very confident of their ability to fool the world. There was never a doubt with the Top Brass that they had the right man for their job. However, they didn’t know how to manage Jon.
I decided people deserve to know the facts and in turn, may improve life for themselves, as well as others.
One of my favorite quotes is: “Never heard another singer sound more like Belafonte than Jon Early.”
8. Did you cry while writing Blacklisted in America? Yes, I did in Chapter 33 where I talk about Jon’s kidney failure. Most of the time I was too furious to cry because Jon abused his body a lot. Although Jon abused his body a lot. Amazingly he always seemed to pull out. Each time it seemed like it would never happen again, however, it did. Only after Jon died on the third of March 2005 was he out of pain.
9. What do you want people to learn from reading Blacklisted in America? That the farthest possible reason why all of a sudden, the art world rejected Jon. It went so far as to deny him the theme song to a big movie that he actually recorded by United Artists, but they denied it. To us that meant he was blacklisted in America.
10. Who designed the cover for your book? April Agbayani, our daughter, Sula Early, and I designed the cover.
11. Who edited it for you? Chris Morris and I edited it.
12. Who has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer? Besides my late husband, Jon Early, Joan Y. Edwards, John P. Weiss, and Tony Black have inspired me.
13. Do you plan on writing another book? I plan to write a children’s book and a novel.
14. What has been the most exhilarating moment for you as a writer? When Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing accepted “Blacklisted in America.”
15. What was your husband’s stage name? Jon, was his stage name. His regular name was John. In my first edition of Blacklisted in America, I used Jake for his name and Isabella for mine to protect our son and grandson named John Early.
15. What happened to Jon in the military? It’s quite a long story but true that the military planned and expected Jon to perform. Jon was just short of a genius. He was able to learn another language like a speeding bullet. It’s all in the book details. Jon’s oldest living cousin Rev. Dr. Alfred Early D, Min., Ma, BS, discerned from a code on Jon’s discharge papers that the military had blacklisted him. We always thought his dark complexion was the problem, but everyone seemed to love Jon and his talent.