Tag Archives: James Patterson

Author Interview: S.W. Frank

I came across this Indie author and found her books to be realistic, well written and researched. She intrigued me so, that I reached out to her and asked if she would be willing to do an interview for my blog. She graciously accepted and generously responded to my questions. I am happy to introduce to you, S.W. Frank.

1) Who is S.W. Frank?

I’m someone with a long standing love affair with the arts. I enjoy drawing, music, and write poetry. I’m family oriented and cherish every moment in the company of good friends, as well. There are causes that I support, Anti- bullying, adult literacy and the arts.  My passion for what I love, transcends into my stories in a sensual way amid the drama.

2) Did you grow up in New York?


3) When did you first learn you were a writer?

I suppose as a child when my imagination and views were transcribed regularly into my notebooks. The expositions, were often catchy and I think back then I had an idea that I enjoyed writing immensely.

4) What has your writing journey been like?

There are the bumps and skids that occur in the journey. However, it’s an exhilarating feeling to know,  I’m doing what I love and that’s the most fulfilling part of the ride.

5) Did you read as a child? If so, what was your favorite book?

I read often. I have too many favorite books. In the formative years some books that stretched my imagination were, Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte’s Web, The Three Musketeers and others. In grade school, my reading interest expanded to a diversity of books: autobiographies, poetry, philosophy and academic readings. My favorites when I was very young were, Anansi the Spider and The Cat in the Hat.

6) Was there anyone in your life that encouraged you to write?

My mom always encouraged my creativity, whether art, singing or writing. Growing up, my parents steered me to the library or encyclopedias whenever I had a question about a subject. In college, my Creative Writing and English Literature Professors were encouraging as well.

7) What did you do specifically to hone your craft? Did you take classes? Did you read any particular books? If so, which ones?

I’ve written as long as I can remember. I’ve taken Creative Writing in college, attended a few writing workshops.  I am currently enrolled in a writer’s class that is taught by a well-known author. I have read books about writing, but there isn’t a particular book that I have studied. I take risks, and might break grammar rules. I might end a sentence with a proposition or use informal syntax. That is the voice, I believe allows readers to identify my works.

8) What are some of your favorite books and authors?

My favorite authors, wow, I’m an eclectic reader. I might desire to read Alex Haley today, revisit Homer or James Patterson and then sit and read a poem by Julia de Burgos or a comic book to a contemporary novel. The Odyssey and Roots are books that I have reread. I guess, Homer and Haley are in the top tier.

9) What do you think makes you become a better writer?

Learning about many things, interacting with people of different cultures and having a passion for writing, work for me.

10) Do you believe a writer is born or made?

I can only answer that by saying, writing has been an intrinsic part of my life and is an extension of my speech.

11) How did you first get the concept or idea for Alfonzo?

The novel Alfonzo is a compilation of my enjoyment of mafia stories. I wanted to make a contemporary mafia kingpin and include diversity which is reflective of the world.

12) What stands out for me about you is that your books are well researched. How much time do you spend researching?

When there is a subject I’m unfamiliar with, I do quite a bit of research, which might include interviewing people or travel.

13) When you first wrote Alfonzo did you know it would become a book series?

I knew I loved Alfonzo and Selange. Initially, I considered a sequel. As I delved further into the characters, there were many stories more potential stories to explore. Therefore, Alfonzo turned into volumes.

14) Could you tell us a little bit about the books you have written?

The Sisters of Cain and Abel, is what I consider a modern version of Cain and Abel, with a colorful twist. Missing Person, is a suspense novel. A woman whose husband goes missing crosses path with an illegal organ transplantation surgeon named Dr. Nebojsa. Thus, that lead to a spin-off, entitled, Dr. Nebojsa.  Then there’s Evelyn’s Cross, which is a supernatural romance with warrior angels and demons. Mana-Made is a novella and my satiric slant on the ‘nothing is as it seems,’ especially in modern times in relationships and the genders. The Criminal Elite, is an action romance that incorporates current events and social concerns into entertainment. I created a protagonist that has to come to terms that he has a stake in the political direction of his country when he falls in love with an immigrant, yet the forerunner for the presidency is anti-immigration. Queenpins, is a novel that highlights nothing is black and white. To eat, or just to have a roof over their heads, two young girls have to make tough choices and become women of industry.

15) How do your ideas and inspiration come?

My ideas come from everything and anything. There’s nothing magical in the formulation, simply ideas that excite me and I find might make an interesting story.

16) How did you transition into becoming a full-time writer?

The transition to writing full time was made easier by having a supportive family. There isn’t a certainty of a set salary. However, the true reward is living as fully as possible by following my dreams. 

17) Is there something else you still aspire to do?

I see myself tending bar, doing fancy tricks as I mix drinks and chat with the customers. Sociable, engaging things like that.

18) What are your thoughts regarding the book industry today?

These are the best of times and the worst of times in the book industry. Book stores are vital, yet many are closing. There is a saturation of books and someone that has chosen to self-publish must employ creative marketing tools to compete with the novels cranked out by the mainstream publishing powerhouses. There are many wonderful Independent books in circulation, and my belief is the industry is dependent upon the savvy reader to peruse the contents of books to discover something that might resonate. Hopefully, the reader will not rely solely on the publications that often exclude Independent or self-published novels. I think, E.L. James is a great example of some of the interesting books available to readers. Hopefully, readers that are looking for different perspectives might consider checking out Independents.

19) Are you currently working on any new projects?

I’m long overdue for a family vacation, and that’s my immediate agenda.

20) Lastly, what advice would you give an aspiring novelist?

A person entering the writing profession must have a thick skin, dedication and a passion for the craft. Read, write, keep learning and maintain a healthy perspective. Most of all, have fun.

S.W. Frank resides in New York. As a child, the author has always enjoyed, music, poetry and the arts. The influences of the arts is notable in the S.W. Frank’s burgeoning library of novels. The novelist’s adventurous life, has included a career in the FDNY Emergency Medical Services, during which time the author received numerous commendations, including an award for Bravery. However, a stint in law school and writing for the Law School’s Journal, the author decided the manuscripts collecting dust required fresh air. Ultimately, the joyful pursuit of writing became a full-time career.

Since that time, S.W. Frank’s novels have been listed in several publications, including an article in the Guardian, as one of the, ‘Gems in Indie Publishing.’ Considered, ‘bold and unapologetic in delivery,’ an S.W. Frank novel is certain to defy convention, often thought provoking and entertaining drama that includes diversity. Ultimately, love of family, friends and humanity is reflected, which is indicative of the literary artist’s soul.

You can follow S.W. Frank on Twitter.

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Author Interview: Antoine ‘Inch’ Thomas

Me with 848 Web Series Team

I have been following Antoine ‘Inch’ Thomas for quite some time now and I think he is an exceptional man. I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time last month. It was a real treat, because I got to spend time with him and the rest of the 848 Web Series team. Inch is one of the most down to earth and humblest men I know. Besides being incredibly talented as a writer, actor and filmmaker. If you haven’t read any his books, or watched the 848 Web Series, I highly recommend it.

1) Where did you grow up? How was your childhood?

I grew up in the Northeast Bronx, New York City, a housing development called Edenwald Houses. My childhood was fair…my mother was a single mom raising six children on her own. My older siblings were dipping and dabbing in drugs. Mom was on welfare, no real male role model around…just my mother, mostly.

2) What was your dream or aspiration?

My dream was always to own my own business. Nothing in particular..a store perhaps, but something that I could call my own and run it how I wanted to run it.

3) Who did you look up to or admire? Who was your greatest influence?

I had no one that I wanted to be like except the neighborhood drug dealer. There were a few, but one or two stood out to me for various reasons. For those reasons, primarily materialistic reasons, and me growing up poor, I wanted what they had. I wanted to be them.

4) What has gotten you through hard times in life?

My faith in the almighty Creator has gotten me through the times when most people were expected to crack or break. I am a practicing Muslim and I have been so for 23 years. Islam the religion, is perfect. People ruin it!

5) What kind of music do you like or listen to?

I listen to hip hop and R&B music.

6) What is your favorite movie and why?

One of my favorite movies of all time has to be “Scarface”. The story of a Cuban immigrant who made something out of nothing. According to him, all he had was his balls (courage) and his word (honor). Sometimes that’s all that we need.

7) Who are your favorite authors and books?

My favorite authors are different from my favorite books because an author can write an awesome story, but once you get big headed and appear as if your shit doesn’t stink, Fuck You! But a few of my favorite stories are: The Coldest Winter Ever, True To The Game, Dutch, B More Careful, Block Party, Do or Die, Standing At The Scratch Line (My all time favorite), Gangsta, Kiss The Girls, and Flower’s Bed.

Some of my favorite authors are: Treasure Blue, Al-Saadiq Banks, James Patterson, John Grisham, Thomas Long, T. Benson Glover, and Michael Whitby.

8) Tell us a little bit about the books you’ve written? How did you come up with the ideas for them?

No Regrets, the first book that I’ve ever written was inspired by my own childhood. Flower’s Bed, the novel that set off my company is a story about a young lady and domestic molestation. I wrote that book to grab the attention of the readers. Unwilling To Suffer is a hood love story inspired by a personal experience and That Gangsta Shit, an anthology was created to introduce my authors on a level smaller than debuting a full length novel.

9) How long does it take you to write a book?

I wrote my first book in eight days, it’s first draft. Flower’s Bed took me three weeks. Black Rose’s took sixteen days and Unwilling To Suffer took me six months to complete.

10) What are some of the things you learned from writing books?

From writing stories, I’ve learned how to read and write better, I’ve enhanced my vocabulary and I’ve also learned how to improve on story line.

11) What inspires or motivates you?

My will to succeed and win motivates me to reach for the stars. I feel like I have so much potential that I almost wasted running around in those streets that now I try to be an example for the ones headed down that same route.

12) What would you do differently if you had a second chance?

If I had a second chance, I wouldn’t do anything different because everything today for me is the way it is because life was the way that it was.

13) How did you come up with the concept for the 848 web series?

I am a huge fan of “The Wire”. I enjoy the tv show “Power”. I was intrigued by how so many people were so excited about, the following week’s episode of “Empire”. I absolutely admired the show, “Money & Violence”. So I grouped all of those elements together along with incorporating my preparation for writing a novel and boom, 848 was born. I always say, nothing too ratchet, something easy on the tongue, something familiar, easy to remember and something unordinary.

14) What do you want people to take from your books and 848?

I want people to know that the man behind my books and 848 had one time given up on society and life. There was a time when I thought that I would never be shit, so why even try. And here I am today, with maybe not much financially but I am so happy that I made it this far and how other people can see me as a source of encouragement. Hope, for lack of a better term.

15) Do you enjoy acting or writing more?

I enjoy acting and writing equally. I really enjoy coming up with the ideas of how a scene should be played out, camera angles etc.

16) What are you most grateful for?

I am most grateful for a loving family. I love my children with all of my dear heart.

17) Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now?

In five or ten years, with enough hard work, determination, sacrifice and consistency, I see myself on the big screen.

18) What advice would you give the youth today?

To the youth of 2015, although it may sound cliché, never give up. Never give up hope because God is real. We cannot enjoy the rainbow without first enduring the storm. We must experience hardship in order to truly appreciate success.

19) Are you currently working on a new book or project?

Right now, I am still in the production stages of rounding out the end of Season 1 of 848.

20) Lastly, what advice would you give a novice writer?

When it comes to being an author, the READERS, MAKE you, or they break you, figuratively, of course. NEVER, release material that you aren’t 100 with, from its title, the cover, down to every page, every chapter, every paragraph & every sentence. Begin EVERY story with some action, or over the top drama. Be descriptive in your sex scenes, & graphic when there’s action or violence. Exaggerate, but make everything believable & imaginable. Be unpredictable with your story & lead folks to believe one thing, then give them something they wouldn’t expect. Make your readers sympathize with your characters, show compassion… many will empathize automatically with them (when one actually went through it as well). Make them connect with your character, the best way that you can, then bring your character to a low point. Once you’re there, your readers will begin to have hope of a rise. Once YOU feel that way, drop your character into some deeper shit, where the only way out, IS, up…then you give him or her a triumphant rise.

Give your character issues (health, education, family, financial & morals), within the story itself. Make folks LOVE your character and write your narration, and most of your dialogue in correct English. Proper English. Everyone speaks different, but we understand what we read, and interpret it, the way that we talk. So a country nigga and a bitch from Boston can read the same story, & identify exactly the same understanding as the writer, from their experiences, but will actually be hearing it, in their own lingo.

Most importantly, appear to be tangible. Many authors are arrogant and seem surreal so readers look at them as fake & don’t want anything personally to do with them. That creates a barrier, a gap, or a form of distance, between reader & writer, yet the idea is to be on one accord, so the overall understanding of a story and the author behind it, is fundamental and very simple to connect. Be as friendly & sociable, literary wise, as possible. You never know what a simple smile, a wave, handshake or response to an email or inbox, can accomplish.

Be available & WILLING, to do signings. Every signing may not be advantageous, financially, but it can be filed as a learning experience, it can be deemed a rehearsal for future events, and it’s also a form of promotion. Folks may not have the money at that time but they’ll remember your presence and when they return and you aren’t there, they’ll purchase your material because you were kind. Be open minded and patient. Stay hopeful. Believe in yourself and your work. Forget anything negative that anyone has to say, be thankful for the compliments you receive, and be appreciative for any constructive criticism. Without it, we’ll never know where to improve!

Wow! What an incredible and generous interview. Thank you so much, Antoine ‘Inch’ Thomas.

Antoine ‘Inch’ Thomas was born and raised in the Bronx. He’s talented, impulsive, and a passionate writer who thrives on being creative. You can fallow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.









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Author Interview: Treasure E. Blue

It’s an honor to have had the opportunity to interview this prolific author. He is such a gifted writer. I’m enamored by him. I love his heart, authenticity, transparency and humility. I am grateful he was willing to do this interview with me. Besides being an talented writer, he is an amazing person too. Without further ado, I present to you, Treasure Blue.

1) What was your childhood like?

It was adventurous, me being the youngest of four. Didn’t really know bad, until the foundation of my family fell apart after my mother became afflicted with mental illness, alcoholism and a few tragic events. After that, sadly, it became one big horror show. I was eleven.

2) What was your childhood dream?

To have peace, have a family and lasting happiness. Didn’t necessary turn out that way, but still try.

3) Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

No. I started very late. I always been above average with words, verbally, but I was an excellent liar. All one the same if you ask me. It started when I joined the military at 17, many of my fellow soldiers didn’t know how to express their sentiments/loneliness/feelings to their loved ones back home and would ask for my help. I ended up writing and embellishing their entire letters, and me being an opportunist, I began to charge them per letter – ten dollars a pop. I must have proposed to at least two dozen of their girlfriends for them. Lol.

4) When did it become a reality for you?

After years of people telling me I had a gift, and should explore it as a career.

5) What helped you develop as a writer?

Reading. Period!

6) Were you always a reader?

My mother was a public school teacher and a great disciplinary. I was a rather rambunctious young lad that stayed into trouble, and would always get beatings because of my youthful transgressions. So, by 13, she realized it was to no avail, so she switched tactics by putting me on a punishment. No going outside to play with my friends, no company, and I had to read an entire novel, and write a detailed essay on the story. When I tell you that was ten times worse than a beating, it was. It was no way around no how much I tried to get around, so I read. Thing was, and unexpectedly, I began to fall head over heels for stories, reading. I became intoxicated.

7) What books influenced you and your writing?

The Count of Monte Crisco by Alexandre Dumas. My first full read from punishment from my mother. The heavens opened up for me.

8) What are some of your favorite authors or books?

James Baldwin, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, James Patterson, Walter Mosley, Donald Goines, Stephen King, just to name a few.

9) Do you find writing to be therapeutic?

In the beginning, yes, today, not really, because it became business, and business is work.

10) How did you develop confidence as a writer?

I started my writing career as a screenwriter, so I guess I removed all doubt and became confident in my writing by beating out and pitted against dozens of other wannabe writers in a contest I entered and won in New York City’s West Village. I was way advance than them after reading their work. After I won the Blue Ribbon, I believed.

11) How did Harlem Girl Lost come about?

I went back to college at John Jay University in Manhattan, and our professor said that an author was having a speaking engagement in the school and were serving food and drinks. I was hungry and struggling with child support and finances back then, well, I think I was homeless too, so I heard food, so I went down there after I finished the test. That author wound up being Shannon Holmes. I was impressed and honestly didn’t know urban fiction made a comeback. Long story short, I bought and read his novel B-MORE CAREFUL and loved it and felt I could write far better. I read the book in one day, the next day after that, I began writing Harlem Girl Lost.

12) How did Random House pick it up?

I became avidly into publishing and committed to it fully. It was all or nothing and I gave up EVERYTHING, my job, women, partying, drugs, alcohol, and to a certain extent, my own children. I ended up selling 65,000 paperback copies of Harlem Girl Lost and it was everywhere, breaking all kinds of records, ringing many bells. I hooked up with the best agent in the business Tracy Sherrod, the same person who presented the world to The Coldest Winter Ever, Sister Soulja. It was a bidding war with about six major and mid publishing houses and Random House won.

13) How do your ideas come?

Unfortunately, my mind doesn’t shut down, even when I’m sleeping I’m thinking, processing, and plotting. Hence why I’m so eccentric at times.

14) What is your writing process, routine or ritual?

When I’m under contract, all the above, when it’s for me, and just me, I do it when and how I feel like it.

15) Do you use an outline?


16) How long does it take you to write a novel?

Under contract or under deadline, very fast. I want to get to the money.

17) What is your goal as a writer?

I’ve reached many goals that I could ever imagine. I’m satisfied. I’m actually ready to begin the next chapter in my life. Real estate. I think I lost the allure of writing and publishing these days.

18) What do you want to communicate to your readers?

I do not merely want you to read my stories, my goal is to make you feel my stories.

19) What do you think makes you a better writer?

I do not, and I’ll repeat do not write from my head, I write from my heart.

20) Who was you biggest influence in life?

My mother and father.

21) What is your worldview?

Be confident in your own skin at all times. But that comes with growth.

22) What do you want your readers to get from your books?

Reality. Life on life’s terms. You will always be as sick as your secrets. Expose them with someone you trust, or it will poison your future.

23) Talk to us about your other books, i.e., A Street Girl Named Desire, Fly Betty… how did they come about?

Painful memories of my past and others I knew.

24) Do you ever speak to the youth?

Always. This is the reason that I write in the first place.

25) Lastly, what advice would you give a novice writer?

If you’re writing for money, instead of the passion……. YOU FAIL. Thank you for having me.

Thank you, Treasure Blue. It was an honor having you.

Many have called Treasure E. Blue the reincarnated Donald Goines. This prolific author without doubt is one of the most shocking and controversial writers that we have seen in decades. Blue’s background is as almost as compelling as his mouth-dropping debut novel entitled “Harlem Girl Lost”. Using the streets as a means of survival, he soon found himself involved with some of Harlem’s most notorious elements. Retiring from the game at the tender age of sixteen, Blue, who dropped out of High School after being banned from the entire Board of Education system, in New York City, managed to become one of the youngest people to receive his G.E.D. in New York State. Joining the military at seventeen, he developed a voracious appetite for books going on to read well over 2000 novels. After serving his country honorably, he joined the New York City Fire Department and worked as a Supervising Fire Inspector in the Bronx. Blue is a father of 4 and won praise for his screenwriting skills. He is also an active member of the American Studies Association. Blue has an uncanny way of not only telling a story, he makes you feel it emotionally as well.

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