5 Questions With Author Moise Michel

An interview with author Moise Michel
Moise J. Michel published his children’s illustrated book Kwame and His Great Adventures: Kwame Meets Jackie Robinson earlier this summer. He’s by no means strictly a children’s author. Years ago, he penned and published Diamond in the Rough: Trials and Tribulations of a Southern Belle. Get to know him and his books and get some insight into his journey as a writer and author.

Kreyolicious: How did your love for writing begin?
My love for writing came while I was in a very dark place in my life. My inspiration for writing my book came from my kids. I was unfortunately incarcerated when I wrote it. I wrote a chapter every night. The next morning, I would have a older gentleman on my cell block read what I wrote the night before. Nights I didn’t write, he would chastise me for not doing so.

Kreyolicious: What led to the writing of your book?
I wrote this book back in 2008, upon my release in 2010 I had a very select few of family & friends read it. They all urged me to go ahead and publish it. I went the self publishing route with Createspace, which is a company under Amazon.

Kreyolicious: It’s one thing to want to write a book. It’s another to finish it and to take it to publication. What was the process like for you?

Kreyolicious: Any advice for aspiring authors based on your experience?
I advise all up-and-coming authors that they take their pain and use it to create magic through the power of words. They [should] also know if they intend to make this a livelihood that they [must] look at it in long-term instead of short-term. Another piece of advise is to never stop writing!

An interview with author Moise Michel

Kreyolicious: Do you visit Haiti often? How do you stay connected with the culture?
I haven’t visited Haiti as much as I would like since I left there as an adolescent child, but I was last there in 2015. The culture is forever embedded in me, so I will never be disconnected from the culture. I stay connected by cooking our delicious cuisines, speaking our native tongue and by proudly explaining our history and culture to other folks who aren’t Haitian.

Moise Michel author Kwame Meets Jackie Robinson

Kreyolicious: What will you do differently with your next book?
My second book has just been published a few weeks back. This book is a children’s series book titled Kwame and His Great Adventures: Kwame meets Jackie Robinson, which I hope to turn into a cartoon series within the next few years. My intentions is to teach black kids of all cultures about black historical figures that they may not know or been taught about in school or home

CLICK HERE to visit the author’s website!

CLICK HERE to purchase Kwame and His Great Adventures from Amazon!

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How Gou Lakay Restaurant Is Bringing Haitian Cuisine To Texas

Haitian restaurant in Texas Gou Lakay
The next time you’re in Texas, and feel like having some Haitian food, your intestines won’t have to suffer much. Gou Lakay, located in the heart of Killeen, Texas and its wonderful staff—which includes co-owner Mario Sense—will be more than happy to cater to your Haitian cuisine cravings. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sense moved to the Lone Star State a few years ago. Be attentive, dear readers, as he tells the story of how he brought Haitian food to Haitian-Americans and other Texans.

Kreyolicious: How did you come to be involved in the food business?
I moved to Killeen, Texas in 2013. The cost of living here had opened my eyes on starting a few businesses. A year later, May 2014, I met Yann and Laura, my two business partners and co-owners of the restaurant. We became close friends, and one night out in early 2016, we were talking about different businesses in the community and the ideal of Haitian restaurant came up. We were so excited about it that we jumped on the idea and worked tirelessly, and opened our doors on January 6, 2017.
Haitian restaurant in Texas
Kreyolicious: How did you settle on the name Gou Lakay?
It wasn’t that difficult. We had several names with Gou and several names with Lakay and one day we just combined Gou and Lakay. Voila…Gou Lakay.

Kreyolicious: What is the Haitian-American community like in Texas?
Base on the nonprofit Facebook page Laura already had, we figured with a little over a hundred people on the page and being that it’s a military town, we would create an atmosphere where everyone would feel welcomed. Little did we know, the Haitian-American community here is a lot larger than we could have imagined. Some people have been in this area for over 30 years and never knew there were five [other] Haitians here, let alone the [number] they saw on grand opening night.
Haitian restaurants in Texas Gou Lakay
Military patrons enjoy a meal at Gou Lakay in Texas.

Kreyolicious: When did it occur to you that starting a restaurant in the area would be a good idea?
I’m all about business, so the idea was always there. But, it was set a few months after I met Yann and Laura. They are very business-minded people. So the feeling of having the right partners made starting any business with them the right time.

Kreyolicious: From what you have observed, what’s the most popular dish with your clients?
I’m not sure if it’s because people miss their home cooked meal so much that surprisingly this is a deadlock between griot, diri djo ndjon [fried pork with black mushroom rice] and tasso kabrit [fried goat], diri djon djon [rice with mushrooms].

Gou Lakay Haitian Restaurant in Texas
A Gou Lakay dish!

Kreyolicious: Do you find that you have to make certain adjustments to the cuisine to make it appeal to some of your patrons?
Definitely. Every month we make adjustments to appeal to our patrons…whether it’s on the menu or our hours of operations.

Kreyolicious: What’s it like running Gou Lakay day-to day?
It’s definitely a challenge. We are all still fully-employed. So, we definitely thank God for the smoothness of the day-to-day operation, and it has a lot to do with our amazing cook/chef Eugenie Chery. Without her, we don’t know how successful Gou Lakay would have been.
How Gou Lakay is Bringing Haitian Cuisine To Texas
Kreyolicious: Hindsight…hindsight! What do you wish you had known before starting out?
Had we known there were that many Haitians around, we would have pulled the trigger sooner. [smiles widely]

Kreyolicious: Is Haiti a place you travel to often?
Since 2003, I’ve only been back twice and unfortunately. It’s been for my grandfather’s then my father’s funeral. However, we all have upcoming travel plan to the motherland within the next year.
Haitian restaurants in Killeen Texas Haitian food
Kreyolicious: Where do you see Gou Lakay going? A franchise perhaps?
Not to brag, we have already received several inquiries to open Gou Lakay in different States…Some from people who’ve never even been to the restaurant, just based on what they’ve seen on social media.

CLICK HERE to visit the Gou Lakay restaurant website! CLICK HERE to visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.

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