How It All Started
I started writing My Friend, My Hero on October 17, 1983. My intention for writing it was to help improve other people’s lives. Back then, I had friends and family that were into drugs and alcohol, and it was hard to watch. I wanted to make a difference, so I wrote a speech that was geared to kids my age (17-18 years old) at that time. The technology was different before, and there was no internet, so I had the speech written out by hand. After writing it, I had the idea of turning it into a book. I didn't have computers before, and I had no typewriter either. I had literally written my first drafts with my hands and then after that, by 1984, I started using the typewriter.
It took 9 years for me to publish the book. I received 42 rejections from publishers and editors; everybody was just rejecting the story. No one said it was bad, but they just couldn't publish it. By 1992, I got them to hear me. My publisher at that time gave me a challenge. He said that if I could guarantee 500 sales, they could get me published with 1,000 books. With help from my church, friends, family, and even strangers, I knew I could do it. Within a 3-month period, I sold 975 books on my own. He knew that was it, and it was done right away. I became the best new male writer of the year and got recognized in the President Bill Clinton Writers Corp in 1993. I was blessed to go to China for a bit. I do a lot of my selling of books in schools. My speaking engagements are mostly in schools, too. I want to catch them where they are. I also have scheduled talks on radio stations. I plan to have talks with parents as well.
In 2003, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion awarded Jerald with the Citation of Merit award for his work with the youth of Bronx elementary and middle schools. In 2007, Basketball Hall of Fame and New York Post writer Peter Vecsey featured Jerald in a Sunday story, recognizing him for his first documentary, Four Square Miles to Glory. In 2011, Jerald was nominated honorable mention for the Best Sportswriter of Year Award, by Black Press Radio. In the same year, Jerald’s My Friend, My Hero screenplay was a semi-finalist in the Gotham Screenplay Contest. Jerald is a sportswriter who has covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for the Black Athlete Sports Network, The Network Journal, Sportstyle New York, Pure Sports New York, and BustaSports.com. Hoover teaches at Long Island University as an adjunct Sports Communication professor. He directed documentaries on Kool Moe Dee and Felipe Lopez for the Life in the Day series. Jerald has directed plays for his church’s annual convocation for the past eight years. He is also an in-demand motivational speaker who overcame a speech impediment he suffered during childhood. My Friend, My Hero is the first of a four-part series.