What motivated you to write and finish a full-length novel?
I was surrounded by friends who’d thought about writing biographies about their life or fictional accounts of their criminal backgrounds, and there were some who actually attempted to write a book but never finished. I wanted to be one who actually finished.
What is the most challenging part of your writing process?
When I first started writing, the most challenging part was trying to describe character appearances and giving details on locations. I overdid it. But as I got further into my novel (and began comparing my work to others), I went back and toned it down.
What’s the craziest question a reader asked you after reading your book?
“Can you put me in part 2?” After reading Tre Pound, a couple readers asked me that question. They wanted to be put in the storyline somehow, alongside Tre Pound, or be a part of his life in some way.
How do you feel about readers judging books by their covers?
The front cover is your first impression to a reader, and the back cover is your second impression. The story inside should match or exceed the interest the reader gained from the covers. Besides reviews and word-of-mouth, an eye-catching cover is a great way to attract readers to an unknown author.
What’s the title of another author’s book that you wished you wrote?
Gerald’s Game by Stephen King. It took place in one room, and still was filled with suspense and held my attention to the end. To be able to write that good using one location is greatness to me.
Do you plan to continue writing street fiction throughout your writing career?
Yes. If writing about urban characters in criminal situations continues to be considered street fiction, then yes, I’m gonna write about it. I might throw in a little romance, or even a little sci-fi, but I’ll always have urban characters at my writing core. Names of genres can change, but my commitment to urban storylines won’t.
Has any of your characters shocked you?
Camille in Tre Pound and Tremaine in my upcoming novel Blacktop Hustlaz both had my jaw hanging slack when their characters started to gain personalities in my mind. They were supposed to be normal when I first thought them up.
What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be an author?
I’d pursue film directing. I love stories—written and visual. Hopefully I can juggle two careers.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I grew up around a lot of different people with a lot of different personalities. I’ve seen how criminal thinking comes in all shapes and sizes. I wanted my writing to reflect that.
How did you come up with the title of your book(s)?
In my crime days, the only gun I ever used was a .357 Magnum. And the nickname for that gun is called Tre Pound. I got the title Blacktop Hustlaz from Kansas City natives referring to the streets as the “blacktop.”
Are there any scenes in your books that actually happened in your life?
There’s a bunch. But one particular scene that’s safe to reveal is the scene in Blacktop Hustlaz where Skee dropped his friend off in an upscale neighborhood to steal a car.
If you could pick one celebrity to play a character in a movie adaptation of one of your books, who would it be?
Souljah Boy would be perfect to play Tre Pound!