Exclusive Interview With "Willie Deane"
Meet Willie Deane; Published Author and Much More Than a Professional Basketball Player:
Willie Deane was born and raised in Schenectady New York. He is a graduate of Schenectady High School’s Technical Program and holder of a High School Regions Diploma. He was the captain and leader of the first New York State Section II Championship basketball team 98’ since the merger of rivals Mont Pleasant and Linton and still holds the schools all-time scoring title surpassing the legendary Pat Riley who previously held the record. Willie was selected the times union player of the year and was coached by hall of famer Gary DiNola. Upon graduating Deane would go on to attend Boston College briefly before transferring and graduating from Purdue University. While at Purdue Willie was able to graduate with a Bachelors of the Arts in English with a minor in Mathematics. Willie was the Big Ten Conference leading scorer as a junior, All Big Ten First Team selection as a senior, co scoring title holder as a senior and John Wooden team MVP award winner back to back years as a junior and senior which wasn’t achieved since the legendary Glen Big Dog Robinson with both Purdue Legends doing this under hall of fame Coach Gene Keady. Willie would also go down into Purdue’s basketball Hall of Fame 19’ being selected as one of the top 50 Legends to ever play basketball at Purdue. After graduating from Purdue, Willie would continue his basketball career over seas with a short stint in the NBA with the Washington Wizards in 07. During his 15 year professional basketball career Willie would live, experience and play in 12 different countries (Greece, Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, NBA USA, Lithuania, Poland, France, Italy, Ukraine, Spain, Latvia) living 4 of those under Putin’s regime while achieving language fluency in Russian and Spanish. Willie would lead his teams to winning 3 Bulgarian Championships, 2 Time Bulgarian Finals MVP, 1 Bulgarian Cup, 1 French Championship, 2 Russian Scoring Titles, 1 Russian Bronze Medal, 1 Italian Championship, 1 Golmeski Cup, 1 Latvian Scoring Title, and a Latvian All Star MVP. Willie is currently touring and making appearances as a published author of his first children’s book LOVE which he wrote inspired by his two young daughters Sue Han and Seline. Willie was inducted into the Capital District basketball Hall of Fame in 06’ and along with Purdue’s Hall of Fame, was inducted into Schenectady City School District Hall of Fame also in 19’. Willie is currently finishing up his Masters in Business Management Leadership and Innovation at Purdue University. Willie has made a global impact giving back to the less fortunate not only in his home town but as well as all 12 countries and the respective communities that he has lived in internationally. Willie is a proud husband and father of two daughters.
What made you decide to write a children’s book?
Every night before bed, my daughters would always request that I tell them a bedtime story. Bedtime was the perfect opportunity for me to not only spend some quality time with my daughters, but while I had their undivided attention, I felt that it was the best time to teach my daughters important life lessons. Usually, it’s the messages that we receive in story form, that stay with us the longest. Every story I tell my daughters is tailored specifically for them and will teach them something that will be useful for them in their journey through life.
Did your children give you any input (or inspiration) when it came to writing your book?
My children were the main inspiration for me writing and eventually publishing a book. Initially I planned on my books being keepsakes for my daughters so that they would have these important life lessons in their possession that they could refer to anytime, even long after I am gone. I never intended on making any of my books available to the public, but after having a number of non-bias educators read my books, they convinced me that it would be really unfortunate to limit my audience. Limiting my audience would eliminate kids from having the opportunity to learn and benefit from some of the important life lessons and messages contained in my books. Publishing my books to only become keepsakes for my daughters, and eliminating others the opportunity to benefit from my teachings, didn’t sit well with me, so I changed my approach and decided to make my books available for all to benefit.
What has been the most fun or surprising part of writing a children’s book?
The most fulfilling part about writing a children’s book, is receiving invitations from schools to be their featured author. Being blessed with the opportunity to go to schools and share my story with school children is a blessing. Children are brutally honest, and their reactions to my story are the true test of knowing if my literature is any good or not. After having read my first published book LOVE, to over 20 different schools 3,000+ students across the capital district, I am happy to know that I haven’t come across an unsatisfied listener or reader, yet. I even had some kids almost bring me to tears when after reading my book, some children from the audience, came up to me, gave me a hug, and would share with me that my book is the best story that they have ever heard. With all the great writers out there, and all the stores that these kids are introduced to at home and in school, those were humbling words to hear.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Honestly, I have to admit that there were no challenges writing any of my books. All of the books that I have written are true stories, drawn from my life experiences and derived from both sides of the spectrum from my perspective as a child and my current perspective as a parent.
Is there a message you want your readers to take away from your book?
Each one of my books have important life lessons contained in them that are not limited to any age, race, or gender. I can guarantee that every reader who reads one of my stories will either learn something new, or from reading my story, will spark a healthy dialogue.
Can we look forward to more children’s books from you?
Yes, everyone can look forward to seeing a lot more books from me in the near future. Before my last year of playing professional basketball, I started writing down the stories that I told my daughters and ended up with 25 books. My second book titled Monarch was scheduled to come out in 2020 but with the whole pandemic I delayed its release. I am hoping this pandemic comes to an end soon so I can release Monarch and get back to the most fulfilling part of being an author; visiting schools.
Where can readers buy your books?
My book and future book releases are and will be available on amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Open Door, good reads, Ebay, Google Books, itunes, and will be in Target stores soon.
Are there any tips you can provide other authors who wish to publish a children’s book?
The only advice I would give to aspiring authors and even current authors is to write from the heart. Writing from the heart is the best way to pen your most “heartfelt” words, pun intended of course.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, etc.)?
The best way for readers to get in touch with me is via email and social media. I listed my handles below in order of best ways to contact me.
Facebook: Willie Deane
LinkedIn: Willie Deane III