Tag Archives: K’wan Foye

Author Interview: Raynesha Pittman

 

I first met Raynesha Pittman on Facebook. I watched her from afar and was impressed by what I saw. Fate had it that we would connect, and when we did, it was if we knew each other all our lives. I am extremely proud of this talented young lady and believe this is just the tip of the iceberg of her successful literary career. It is my pleasure to introduce to you, Raynesha.

1) Where did you grow up? Did you have a good childhood?

I grew up on the east side of Los Angeles in a area known as the Low Bottoms. Now at thirty-three years old, looking back, my childhood was okay. If you would have asked me this sixteen years ago, I’m sure the answer would have definitely been different. Growth of the mind does change the memories.

2) Did you always want to be a writer?

I have always written to express myself or to entertain my friends. Writing wasn’t the shocker, but being published….now that was the shock.

3) Who was your greatest influence in your life?

My father and maternal grandmother. My father was not the ideal role model or law abiding citizen, but he was my dad. The life lessons he thought me are held near and dear. And my maternal grandmother is the reason why I am not a female version of my father.

4) What motivates you?

I was raised by two street hustlers, so being a go-getter was ingrained in me at an early age. But when that self-motivation begins to run low, my family immediately gives me a refill. I look at my babies faces, and watch my husband work two full-time jobs, so I can stay home to write. I also watch my mother fight her battle with Lupus with so much strength and determination that it recharges me. My family is my largest motivation.

5) Who are some of your favorite authors and what are some of your all-time favorite books?

My list of favorites is long, but John Grisham is number one. I love all of his work that I have read, but there’s something about The Rainmaker that makes me read it at least once a year.

6) Was there a book that changed your life after you read it?

No, not really. I’ve read a lot of eye openers that brought light to issues I’ve faced or a few to bring me to tears, but nothing powerful enough to excite change.

7) What was your experience like self-publishing your first book, Kismet?

Self-publishing was a headache and wasn’t the route I originally wanted to take. When the publisher I initially submitted it to fell through on promises, my alternative was to publish the work on my own. The rainbow that followed that storm was that the publisher walked me through self-publishing. And with a phone call to K’wan for more information, I was able to put it out myself.

8) What are some of the valuable lessons you learned by writing and publishing your first book?

Editing is key!

9) If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?

I’d definitely hire a professional editor and a couple of proofreaders. I entered the industry trusting everything I heard and it was a very expensive mistake.

10) How have you honed your craft?

I research more and I don’t attempt to publish everything I write. A lot of what I write are skill builders. I take my non-fictional day and turn it into fiction or a medication commercial turns into a story using the side effects. It keeps my creativity going. I’m also in a lot of writer’s groups and I take lots of notes.

11) How did you go from being a self-published author to signing with Write 2 East Concepts? How did that come about?

When I reached out to K’wan in 2010, he wasn’t taking submissions. In 2011, he opened them up briefly, but my writing wasn’t where it needed to be to get signed by him. In 2013, he reached out to me and asked me if I was still writing because he hadn’t seen me mention it. I said yes. He told me to submit a story and the rest is history. He released Dog Food in July of 2014 and Dog Food 2 May of 2015. It still feels like a dream to me!

12) Do you have a writing routine and do you write every day?

No, I do not, but I do write daily when and wherever I am. With eight other people in the house having a real routine would be perfect, but with six of those eight being busy children who need me constantly, I write when I can steal time from them.

13) How do your ideas come for your books?

Life’s seasons and reasons. Everything that catches the attention of my six senses is a story waiting for me to tell.

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

It depends on what is going on around me. I’ve written one in three weeks and the longest was three months. It really depends on how much time I can sneak away from my responsibilities to my family. Even with pulling all nighters, there’s never enough hours in a day.

15) What are some of your goals you would like to accomplish in the years ahead?

My biggest goals are to be signed by a major publishing house and get my books on the shelf EVERYWHERE! I’m working hard to be able to cross those goals off my list so I can make new ones that are even larger.

16) What is the hardest thing about writing and publishing?

Writing isn’t hard when you love to do it. My issue with self-publishing is that I don’t have a marketing team or a promotion staff doing my leg work. I’m a one woman team and if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.

17) What would you like to see different in the industry?

The crab in the barrel mentally needs to be done away with. It’s easier to uplift than to breakdown. Hopefully, we will all realize this one day.

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

I write in different genres but as a whole, a new understanding or view on the issues I touch on. If I wrote to entertain then I hope the book accomplished that goal.

19) Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Study your craft, read contracts before signing them and if you don’t understand the lingo, get a lawyer. Finally, never let anyone stop you from living your dreams. Giving up should NEVER be an option!

Thank you, Raynesha. It was a pleasure to interview you!

Raynesha Pittman grew up as one of Los Angele’s many troubled youth which led her into serving four years around Los Angeles juvenile corrections centers, placements, and camps. She first recognized her love for writing while incarcerated. Her first manuscript was written to her mother in hopes of giving her insight to what Raynesha was going through as a teen, but never published. One positive thing Raynesha had during her troubled years was book smarts, her ticket out of the hands of correctional facilities. She was an honors student since kindergarten, certified gifted in the third grade, and was sent to Woodland Hills, California for a more challenging education, yet she had to be placed in advance placement classes there too. Her temper and fighting had her removed from the enriched schools, but that didn’t stop her. She graduated high school at sixteen years old and received acceptance letters to five out-of-state universities which she later declined offers to due to still being on probation until eighteen years of age and not being able to leave the state. California State University at Los Angeles and Northridge accepted her last minute application with open arms. After attending school for a little over a semester she discovered she was pregnant and decided to put her role as a mother first. She moved to Tennessee for a new start with her boys and received her PTCB national certification in July 2010 after three and a half years of being a licensed Pharmacy technician. It was while working in a pharmacy, she met Michael Antonio of Payne Publishing, Inc., who encouraged her to write a book. She took his opinion to heart and wrote her debut novel, KismetRaynesha currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and their six children.

Raynesha Pittman is the CEO, Founder and a author at Conglomerate Ink, an Urban Literature publishing company established November 2010 to help authors expose and share their talents of storytelling while developing discipline in their craft. In May 2011, Raynesha was offered the opportunity to help promote literacy nationwide by childhood friend, author and now publisher Terry L. Wroten by joining the West Coast Authors Movement also known as W-CAM where Raynesha not only fills the position of an author on the team, but is also over website design and management and acts as W-CAM’s Southern liaison due to her living in the South. Her greatest literary achievement came in January 2014 when she was signed to Write2Eat Publishing under the legendary K’wan Foye.

You can follow Raynesha Pittman on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Author Interview: Brooklyn June Miller

A few months ago, I was hearing a buzz about June Miller’s book, Color. Cut. Clarity. I honestly didn’t know who he was and it was my first time hearing his name. So I went on a little mission and researched. Well, I was able to see his work, but I only came across one interview with the lovely Kisha Green. Since he lived in New York City, I decided to hit him up and ask him if he would be willing to meet with me in person for a live interview. To my surprise, he graciously accepted. I was fortunate enough to get to know the man behind the pen. He is a talented, perceptive, intelligent, and wise man who I am grateful to now call my friend. Without further ado, here is my interview with Brooklyn June.

1) What part of Brooklyn did you grow up?

I was raised in Bed-Stuy and Fort Greene.

2) What did you aspire to be as a child?

As a child I always wanted to be a doctor. I remember my mother giving me a medical book for Christmas too.

3) I read you loved writing since public school? Was there a particular teacher that motivated you?

When I was in public school, I was lucky enough to be in gifted classes and in the 5th and 6th Grade my teacher, Mrs. Ronni Freed took a big interest in my intelligence and ability to write creatively. She was the reason I became valedictorian of my graduating class.

4) Did anyone else in your family write?

No, no one else in my family writes. I believe my ability comes naturally.

5) What are some of your favorite books and authors and why?

My favorite book is Black Boy by Richard Wright. This was my first grown up read and I escaped into a world of reading that further sparked my love for the written word. Before then I read a Judy Blume book, Are you there God, it’s me Margaret. It was my sister’s book but I loved reading so I devoured all her girly books like Nancy Drew mysteries. Then I read a book by Claude Brown that changed the way I looked at writing, Manchild in the Promised Land. That book took me somewhere dark I’ve never been but would soon find about in my later years.

6) Was there a particular book that changed your life?

Black Boy, it awakened me. I needed to know what my ancestors went through as a people and my journey to learn my history begun.

7) Do you write full-time or part-time?

I currently write full-time.

8) How did you perfect your craft as a writer?

I have to say that I’m not sure. I’ve never read a book on writing and have no formidable background. I listen to those readers who support me and try to give great, original stories.

9) Do you have anyone you look up to or influenced you?

The person who influenced me to write was my sons’ mother. She read a journal I was keeping and told me I should turn it into a story. She read urban books at the time.

10) Do you have a writing routine or ritual?

I don’t have a routine per se, but my best time to write is in the wee hours of the night when there is nothing but me and the characters talking.

11) Do you write every day?

Every single day.

12) What do you want your readers to get from the books you write?

My first book, This Game Has No Loyalty, I wanted to tell an authentic story of the pitfalls young people face when making choices due to the circumstances of your environment. After that series, I wanted to give readers great stories that would entertain but also leave them scratching their heads at the end.

13) How many books do you have published?

I have over fifteen books published.

14) Usually how long does it take you to write a book?

For a full length novel, it will take me a month and a half to two months. For 35,000 words, that’s within a month.

15) Do you use an outline or freestyle?

Long hand or typing? I honestly don’t write outlines. I have a concept and the characters in my mind and I just start typing and let the characters tell the story.

16) What was your most favorite and least favorite book to write and why?

My favorite to write was Victimized-Buchanan’s Secret. It showed my true ability to write outside of what everyone else does. I don’t have a least favorite because I love all my stories, if they sell or not.

17) How do the stories or characters come to you?

Some of the stories pop into my head from something I’ve been through or seen, other times I sit down and try to think of something original but not too far fetched and develop it into my own.

18) What was the best experience you ever had as an author?

My best experience was being summoned by a woman who had heard about me and was suddenly intrigued by my work.

19) What lured you to the dangerous life of the streets?

I wasn’t lured, I chose my life. I wanted fast money and was fearless when I was younger.

20) What was the greatest lesson you learned in that life?

The Game Has NO Loyalty.

21) Did something happen that propelled you out of the game?

The birth of my daughter made me realize that I no longer had to live a selfish life, I had someone to live for.

22) I read that you were enrolled in college, what was your major?

Ha. I graduated from New York City Technical College and my major was Microcomputer Business Systems (whatever the hell that was).

23) Was your first novel This Game Has No Loyalty based on your life?

Loosely.

24) When did you branch out and start Four Shadough Publishing?

I was laid off and decided to start my company.

25) How were you discovered by Ashley and JaQuavis?

K’wan put in a word for me and at the Harlem Book Fair, Treasure Blue introduced me to JaQuavis. I received a call from him some months later and the rest is history.

26) Do you consider yourself an urban writer or something else?

I would say urban because my stories are set in urban environments, but I offer more than an urban experience.

27) What would you tell the youth of today?

If they would listen, get an education to secure a career and change the stigma and deadly cycle we all get caught up in. I would also tell them to learn THEIR history so they can understand society a little better, when armed with knowledge, you have the upper hand.

28) What projects are you currently working on?

Three projects, Improper Love 2, Sheba and Reno 2, Muffin’s Story and hopefully a part two to Color Cut Clarity.

29) Is there a dream you want to fulfill?

I’m living my dream.

30) Last, but not least, what is the best advice you would give to someone who is just starting out as a writer?

Learn the business end of the industry so you will not fall victim to the system.

Thank you for a wonderful interview, Brooklyn June.

June Miller is the published author of, This Game Has No Loyalty, an urban street fiction novel depicting real life on the streets and the love relationships within those parameters.

His love of writing was first discovered in public school where he dazzled teachers with his creative short stories and intriguing poems. His writing was officially acknowledged locally when one of his stories was featured in his class yearbook.

As June reached his teenage years, he abandoned his love of writing for the dangerous life on the streets of Brooklyn. Although he was educated, the excitement of the street life interested him and he quickly took part in petty crimes, which soon elevated into the introduction to the infamous drug trade where he became a major distributor of illegal drugs out of state. During his illicit activities he was apprehended and convicted then later incarcerated. Once released on parole, he reclaimed his spot in the drug trade and continued trafficking illegal drugs, the threat of violating parole a fleeting thought. His youth and inexperience in life fueled his desire for illegal tender without the thought or regret of contributing to the destruction of his community.

As time passed all of his relationships, social, personal and romantic, became strained due to the nature of his business. His life lacked stability despite the illusion of financial comfort. He was responsible for himself so there was never any balance in his life until the birth of his first daughter, who changed the way he viewed life…her life. June decided to make changes in his life and immediately enrolled into college where he rediscovered his love of writing, showcasing his literary abilities that were recognized by his English professors.

While pursuing his degree, tragedy struck and one of his closest friends was brutally murdered. Overcome by anger and revenge he channeled his emotions into something that came to him naturally, he wrote the story. It didn’t heal the wound to his heart but was therapeutic in helping him express feelings no one knew about. The story was buried along with his feelings for 10 years until one day he came across it after coming from a funeral for yet another fallen youth to the same game he had given up. At that moment he decided to write a story, a true to life account of what happens in the streets with hopes of reaching the youth by delivering vivid accounts of the pitfalls of the street life that is not taught to them and at the same time, promote literacy in these communities because it’s the gateway to learning and sparking mental creativity.

June began penning his novel This Game Has No Loyalty and incorporated his own experiences into his writing to produce the “realness” his story needed to capture his audience.

June is also the author of This Game Has No Loyalty II – Hustle for Life and This Game Has No Loyalty III – Love is Pain published by FourShadough Publishing, a book publishing company that is rooted in the promotion of literacy in urban neighborhoods here and abroad.

You can follow Brooklyn June Miller on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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