Damon Wayans is known for many things. His hilarious work on the 1990s sketch comedy show In Living Color. The endearing dad he embodied on My Wife and Kids. His best-selling nonfiction book Bootleg. He is not known as author of serious fiction. His new book—his debut novel—just might change that. In Red Hats, Wayans writes about a middle-aged woman who struggles with her life as a recent widow and estranged mother until she meets a group of friends who, quite unexpectedly, change her life forever. He spoke with Oprah.com about writing fiction, getting inside the head of a woman and his science-fiction plans.
Rachel Bertsche: You've been on camera for years and had a best-selling nonfiction book, Bootleg. Why did you decide to write fiction?
Damon Wayans: With Bootleg, yeah that was a best-seller and it was fun, but I kind of felt like I cheated because it was just stand-up and, you know, that's easy.
RB: For you, maybe.
DW: Well, yeah, for me. I wanted to tell a story, and it took me a long time to figure out what that story was, but a series of events—mainly just being bored creatively—led me to say: "I've got to do something. I want to do something different and fun."
RB: I think a lot of our users struggle with that—the desire trying to do something new and get out of a rut. How are you able to tap into that? What would be your advice for someone who feels similarly bored?
DW:You have to have a discipline, you know? Most people are bored and they don't do anything to try to unlock that creativity. Figure out what inspires you. Go to the museum, go online. There's more than porno online. You can look up some really wonderful photographers or artists and figure out who inspires you. Pick a person. That's what I try and tell my daughters. I really think that you have to have someone or something that is your muse that takes you out of your cycle of noncreativity.
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