The Next Great Champ hopes to become a best-selling author
Otis Griffin’s ability as an athlete cannot be questioned. He played professional football and also captured the NABO light heavyweight title as a boxer after winning FOX’s reality boxing series. The next great champion.
Now Griffin hopes to have similar success as a writer. He recently published his first novel, A change of hearts.
He started his journey as a writer on the reality show. In his free time, he wrote several screenplays that he kept hidden for years until his sister convinced him to write a book. After teaming up with Ross Williams, Griffin’s book was published by Williams Commerce publishers in May. After writing several screenplays, he hopes to turn A change of hearts and some of his other writings in films. The transition from boxer to writer was smooth, he says, and he hopes to use it as a new career path.
The champion details his ambitions as a writer for Zenger News, describes his near-death experience, and more.
Zenger: How is everything going?
Griffin: Everything is fine. I don’t know if you know that earlier this month [May], I almost died. I had blood clots in my lungs and heart and didn’t know it. I passed out right here and kicked it with my fiancé and future brother-in-law. They took me to the emergency room and found I had blood clots. Then, three weeks later, my son graduates from Fresno State. He becomes a chiropractor. Between that time, the book, and all that stuff, I just think, look how good God is. The enemy came to take all of that from me, and then you look around and it’s a testimony, you know.
Zenger: Are you in good health?
Griffin: Oh yes! All is well. I don’t make blood clots hereditary. I only made a conscious decision to stay on blood thinners forever because I first got a blood clot from a car accident in 2017. You should be gone. They were supposed to keep me on blood thinners for a year, but they said, ‘You’re young and healthy. You don’t have to take her, let’s put her down.” It was only after six months and I didn’t feel safe about it, but they did it anyway. In the end they came back, I think it’s because of the vaccination. They say only Johnson & Johnson causes clots, but I think if one of them causes clots, they all do (laughs).
Courtesy of Otis Griffin via Zenger
Zenger: No rest for the weary, because now you have a book to promote, A change of hearts. Tell us about the book.
Griffin: I’m on the reality show The next great champion Set, and there are so many people living the Hollywood life, so I had future directors and producers…the cinematographers and everything around me. They are hungry. They are personal assistants. In between you go to the catering and they stop to talk.
I’m a people watcher, so I listen. They talk about how to write a screenplay. So I asked one of them how I would go about writing a screenplay. My minor is journalism. I’m just trying to kill time because my free time was watching paint dry when I’m not reading the Bible. I took this mock script, duplicated it and added my own story. After a while I think this is developing pretty well.
So, about 3 months later, I show it to one of the producers, and [he said]: “That’s good. You wrote that?” I told him: “Yes!” He said, “I can get you $3,000 to $5,000 for it now.” I forgot what movie it was, but that was when Will Smith was doing the BET Awards and stuff like that, and he was making $22 million a movie. I said, “Wait a minute, if this movie gets the right actors, it’s going to make millions of dollars. Do I get royalties?” He says, “That can be debated, but most likely not. They’re going to want you to sign it and not be bound.” I kept it.
Lo and behold, God is always good. … I’ve written eight of those things – screenplays that have been sitting there, actually under my bed, for years. My cousin Patrice wrote her book; She encouraged me, “You can also easily write a book.” …. “However” [was my response, but] I sent some stuff to Ross [Williams] and he said, “I love it.” I thought he was going to gas me. She said, “No, if you can’t write, he would turn you away and not even think about it.” We walked from there and it was beautiful. A great experience all the way.
Zenger: How was the transition from boxing to writing romance for you?
Griffin: I’m a jack of all trades. My major was Psychology and my minor was Journalism, so I’ve always had an aspiration to be the athlete you see sport Center that went into the announcement. Writing and journalism have always been there. If you know me like my family and close friends [do]I always make up stories in my head for comedic reasons.
My mind works differently than other people. I’m always dreaming and making alternative situations out of things. Even when things got difficult, looking back, several doors were slammed in my face. From the NFL, difficulties like losing my two brothers and things like that. The abstract perspective allows me to survive.
Zenger: Could you give a preview of the book?
Griffin: The title is a metaphor for the story. We all find ourselves in situations in our lives where we either need a change of heart or the highest will force us to change our hearts. That’s one thing I want people to get out of the story. It’s like poker – if you don’t fold your hand in life, you never know where it will take you. Look at me. Nearly dead earlier this month, I’m now the proud father of a college graduate and author. You never know what kind of change of heart you might have. You don’t know what kind of decisions are being made in your life that can be affected by either a wave or a tidal wave.
Courtesy of Otis Griffin via Zenger
If people sit down and read this story, they’ll see a couple of facets: It’s a story about women’s empowerment. Any woman who is American, not even by color or creed, just American, will understand this girl’s plight. And then the other thing is, it’s a story that makes us realize that we’re all Americans. I tell people all the time that we’re supposed to be the free country, but we’re the only country that has pockets of civilization from other countries in our country. If you’re Italian American, only hang out in the area where Italians hang out. If you are Nigerian, hang where Nigerians hang, even though you call yourself American. Even if you have probably never touched Nigeria or haven’t been there for a long time.
Besides that, when we go to other countries…this happened to me in Canada. I went to Montreal. It was me and three other people; We’re the only black dots up there. I’m like, “Hey, what’s up!” They looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. The guy driving me around is West African. I thought, ‘What’s the matter with your people? You have to do this to me a few more times and I won’t talk to you anymore.” He [said]: “OG listen, when I want to introduce myself to people, I walk over to them and tell them my name and say nice to meet you. If I yell from across the street, they think I’m crazy. “
“We are all Africans,” I said. He says: “No, you are not African. When I look at you, I see Indians, I see white. You are American. Your passport says you’re an American. I thought, “Whoa!” I’ve been to about five different continents, so people look at me differently every time I travel. Either they keep you on a high pedestal, you’re American, you’re better than us even though we’re all black, or they’re distant because they think you’re a snooty American. Not to stray too far, but this story will show you that we are all Americans.
Zenger: Where can you buy the book?
Griffin: Amazon. Hopefully it’s moving towards the bestseller list now.
Zenger: You want to film this novel, right?
Griffin: Yes! I have my boy, Bruce Nahin, the inventor of the Chippendale dancers. He will buy it for me. It was already a script, so I just have to change it again. We’re going to make enough of a splash to get this film deal done and move on to bigger and better things.
I have so much more in the shoot that is coming out. I have another book, called Loose cannon, who will be a modern private detective. “Loose” will be a series that many people will fall in love with.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.