The Reel Black List: Denise O’Neal, Writer

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Denise O'Neal

Denise O’Neal

Longtime Windy City writer Denise O’Neal is a freelance screenwriter, blogger, and novelist. In 2012, she served on the board of the Chicago Screenwriters Network. Her interviews have also been published in Windy City Times and Screen Magazine. Denise resides in the “windy city” and lives with the love of her life, Poopy, the human feline.
 
 
 
 
 

What was your first break?

When I had my first article published in “For The Record” magazine. They paid me $150 dollars. That’s when I felt like a “real” writer. Someone actually wanted to pay me for my work.

 
Worst thing that ever happened to you to remind you that you are Black?

I’m reminded everyday by society and stereotypes.

 
Best thing to ever happen to you to remind you that you are Black?

My drive and determination. Despite the lack of opportunity and representation that black writers face, that motivates me even more to keep striving to attain my dream of writing for a living.

 
Work you are most proud of?

The “work” that is in progress right now. Hesper Rowe, my first novel.

 
How has the business changed since you broke in?

With all of the social media apps, it’s easier to get your work seen much quicker whereas before you had to wait for the “gatekeepers” to let you in.

 
Trapped on an island what are the creative essentials you must have?

Notebook and a pen.

 
If you had a time machine, what would you say to your past self?

Don’t be afraid and don’t listen to the negative voices in your head.

 
If you could have a one-on-one with anyone who would it be? And why?

Diane Keaton. We have a lot in common as far as our personal lives concerning men except she has more money and fame than me but I’ll get there eventually. Still have to try her wine the“Keaton.”

 
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