Tag Archives: joeypinkney.com

5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Rahiem Brooks, author of Laugh Now

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Rahiem Brooks, author of Laugh Now
(Prodigy Publishing Group)

Set in Philadelphia and its suburbs, Laugh Now proposes that, although you’re taken out the ghetto, if you were born to be a hustler that is what you’ll be. The story does shift to New York, New York, but before the brothers get there, Dre is under suspicion for a murder. Plus, a rogue city councilman is killed along with Dre’s first business partner: a white kid, who worked for Agent McKenzey.

Laugh Now has all of the elements: erotic sex, bangin’ club scenes, lavish shopping spree, murderous robberies, a crafty escape from a hospital under the nose of federal agents and leads to a dangerous high-speed police chase and something new to urban fiction: white collar crime highlighting a whole new form of trickery.

By the stories end, the brothers have a decorated federal agent exposed for the fraud that he is and a story to tell: “The agent made us do it, or he would have us locked up like he did our dad.” The brothers escape without arrest, and will Laugh Now; however, someone will Die Later, the title of book 2, which I am diligently working on.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Laugh Now?

Rahiem Brooks: I was inspired to write during my first federal prison term in 2004. I was suffering from insomnia, so I often read late into the night. I did not just read urban street lit. I was an avid reader of legal fiction and crime thrillers by James Patterson and John Grisham. It seemed that all of the street lit authors centered their stories around drug dealers, robbers, and baby-mama drama.

I was in prison for credit card fraud and theft of mail. I knew that I had a compelling story to tell regarding my sort of white collar crimes. I sat and penned Laugh Now knowing that I would have to expose some of my crimes and maybe even speak about things that may assist law enforcement curb my sort of crimes. The ability to add to the street lit genre with a touch of crime thriller inspired me.

JP: There will be those who look at your criminal background and the subject matter of Laugh Now and think that you are doing nothing more than glorifying horrible behaviors, attitudes and behaviors. What does Laugh Now give to the reader that will make him a better person? How does this book go beyond shining a spotlight on our vices as an American culture?

RB: Laugh Now covers a broad range of topics: teenage pregnancy, pursuing career goals, learning to effectively blend with all of American social-economic classes and respecting women. I sought to avoid painting young black men that live on the dole as ignorant derelicts that cannot make it to the top earning percentile in American society. Additionally, Laugh Now is riddled with subliminal identity theft prevention tips and lends a hand to American denizen that have an interest in protecting themselves from becoming an unsuspecting victim.

I am not concerned with people that seek to advance the idea that I have glorified white-collar crime. I have written an article titled, “Stop Identity Theft” for the Oak Lane Magazine, a small independent Philadelphia neighborhood rag. And I plan to lecture to law students on the topic of identifying fraud related crimes.

Bottom line, no one questioned the writers of Italian Job or The Thomas Crown Affair for their literary contributions. Law & Order SVU is not bashed for promoting sex crimes. I have a refreshing story to tell, and I intend too.

JP: You have taken it upon yourself to broaden the scope of Urban Lit. What do you see as stumbling blocks in Urban Lit as it has been represented up until now? And how are you, Laugh Now and your publishing company going to take it to another level as of yet unseen?

RB: Right now, I am pursuing being on the tip of every tongue and the sole topic of book clubs, book store owners and book readers. I regularly attend other author’s book signings, and I review the work of my peers as well. I have forwarded media kits and novels to book stores spanning the United States and Canada, scheduled interviews with blog talk radio hosts and planned a tentative book tour.

I work hard to be unique and to re-define the art of self-publishing. I am from Philadelphia, and I refused to be boxed into the East Coast. Laugh Now releases September 6th, 2010, and I plan to be in Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, DC, and Baltimore that week. I plan to begin the following week in Philadelphia, Delaware, Newark and New York.

I am an advocate of hard work and loath work ethic that appears sloppy and ill-planned. Street lit authors often complain of not being taken seriously in the publishing world. To me, their cries are like the actor that complains of not getting an Oscar. Blockbuster actors want Oscars, but use their money and star power to produce Barbershop that was not a shot at a barbershop.

I am just establishing that no one is going to give you anything. You want their award, then you cater to them. I want literary awards and accolades, and I am going to work to take them. I plan to be the star quarterback, not on the bench with a championship ring by default.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Laugh Now?

RB: My writing process is very strict, like a diet. I do write a story map because I write urban thrillers, and the plot has to be tightly woven with a neat and tidy conclusion. I write small chapters because I play each of them in my mind like a movie scene. I edit and revise extensively to be sure that each chapter has the five senses so that my readers are watching the same movie as me.

I properly format each thing that I write. I never scribble things all over the place. But, I must confess that when I was locked in solitary confinement once, I wrote on brown paper bags that my lunch came in because the COs refused to give me paper. It took me four months to complete the first draft of Laugh Now. I have five drafts to date.

JP: What’s next for Rahiem Brooks?

RB: I am planning an extensive book tour and getting ready for my book release party in Philadelphia. I am also planning with Richburg Promotions another book release party in a city that is less frequented by hot urban authors. In the back of Laugh Now is an excerpt of my second novel to be released, Con Test, an urban psychological thriller. I am also editing Truth, Lies and Confessions by Kevin Woodard, who is slated to be Prodigy Publishing Group’s second author.


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5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Gibran Tariq, author of Matchmaker

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Gibran Tariq, author of Matchmaker
(Soulfire Books)

Samantha Givens is the ultimate diva. At 45, she is gorgeous, smart and clever. She also has a secret agenda. Like her mother before her, she has the amazing ability to pair up young lovers. Unlike her mother, Samantha is too ambitious to simply “hook up” the golden girls of urban America with undeserving thugs. As an option, she establishes Matchmaker, Inc., a secret organization of beautiful black women. Samantha is intent on taking control of the country.

The BBBs (Beautiful Black Bitches) of Matchmaker are the creme de la creme of black America, and Samantha will only match them with rich, powerful men. This puts the BBBs will be in a position to “call shots” as the power behind the throne. Overwhelmingly successful, Samantha has wed her “designer line of living, breathing, female predators” to countless lawyers, doctors and politicians across the country.

There is not a facet of government where they are not found. But one prize has eluded her: The White House! So she sets out on the ultimate quest: to marry one of her BBBs to the man most likely to win the presidency of the United States. Before she can marry him to one of her BBBs, she first must find him. There is an even bigger problem: the woman most suited for the job is the one least interested. Paris Hall, the only woman more beautiful than Samantha Givens, threatens everything.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Matchmaker?

Gibran Tariq: Oddly enough, Matchmaker did not evolve from either an idea or inspiration. More precisely, the novel was conjured up from a dare and desperation. My publisher dared me to write a novel that was a cross between the movie Set It Off and Terry McMillan’s novel Waiting to Exhale. I was confined at the time and desperate for a book deal. Matchmaker was conceived from the marriage between my publisher’s dare and my total desperation.

JP: What sets Matchmaker apart from other novels in its genre?

GT: To be quite honest,  as a writer, I have never wholly subscribed to the notion of genre. I attempt to write without regard to boundary or limitation. Therefore, the premise with Matchmaker, as with any book I’ve written, was to invent a work that would have an appeal across the entire literary spectrum.

The fact that my characters are people of color should not present any particular difficulty to a reader who appreciates great literature. What I will confess to as a distinguishing trait of Matchmaker is the sheer lyricism of the work. It virtually pulsates with poetic attitude.

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Matchmaker getting out to the public?

GT: More than anything else, it was the ultimate belief in myself, knowing full well that I had a story worthy of public recognition. Still, getting published did not come without great emotional cost. Though I never wavered in my personal beliefs, I did grow weary of the business end of writing.

As a former drug-dealer, I found that the world of literature, despite its glamorous exterior, was as cut-throat and viscous as any back-alley or street-corner that I have ever been on. Yet, I persisted. While confined, I was taken advantage of by my publisher and never paid royalties for my work. This is what lead to the formation of my own publishing company Soulfire Books.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Matchmaker?

GT: What I demand of myself in the process of writing is to hold each word accountable. I don’t view the alphabet as a string of 26 letters. They are my friends. I am very intimate with them, and I have learned how to induce them to perform magic for me. This grants me the luxury of writing without a skeleton or diagrams or other schematic props. I merely borrow the alphabets to invent lessons that instruct and stories that set your soul on fire!

I started and finished Matchmaker in five weeks. In prison, I had plenty of time on my hands!

JP: What is next for Gibran Tariq?

GT: Like everyone else, I yearn to get to the next level. With the 25 manuscripts I completed during my 10 years in prison, I feel confident that I will possess longevity both as a writer and as a publisher. I’m too much of a realist to commit to chasing dreams, but I’ve paid my dues. If I continue to stay focused, Soulfire Books will become a well-respected brand in the dog-eat-dog literary world.



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5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Dwayne Joseph, author of If It Isn’t Love

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Dwayne Joseph, author of If It Isn’t Love
(Urban Books)

After receiving a shocking medical diagnosis, Jean Stapleton-Blige is forced to contemplate her life. She’s married to a prominent minister and has three successful children. To people on the outside looking in, Jean has had the perfect life. But the truth is, Jean’s husband has spent years seducing other women, while her children want nothing to do with her. With six months to live, can she fulfill her dying wish of making her family whole again?

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write If It Isn’t Love?

Dwayne S. Joseph: As a writer, I’m constantly trying to think of different scenarios I can throw characters into. When I wrote this novel, which was back in 2002, I was doing a lot of relationship drama at the time. In my trying to come up with something different from some of the other books I’d done, I realized I hadn’t really delved into doing a struggle dealing with family. As a result, I came up with my main character, having just received news about a terminal illness, and posed the question, if her family were estranged, what would she want to do before she took her final breath?

JP: What sets If It Isn’t Love apart from other novels in its genre?

DJ: If It Isn’t Love, while it has its relationship drama elements with the supporting characters and the issues they’re dealing with, is really about a mother’s desperation to bring her family together. She wants to mend wounds that she and her husband have caused over time. It’s a deeper novel than people may anticipate it being.

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to If It Isn’t Love getting out to the public?

DJ: Keys to success: use of the Internet! Communicating with readers using numerous sites, such as Facebook, Myspace, Iseecolor.com, Goodreads.com, etc. Communicating with people such as yourself are also important, along with utilizing web-based fliers promoting your work to send out via email. And of course book signings.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish If It Isn’t Love?

DJ: My writing process: once the idea hits me, I escape to the Barnes and Nobles cafe, grab a vanilla latte, open my notepad and just scribble away. Very seldom will I utilize an outline. I’m one of those authors that really likes to let the characters come to life and dictate to me what’s going to happen. When I wrote If It Isn’t Love, I was actually laid off at the time, so I got to do that one fairly quickly. Also my rug rats hadn’t been born yet! It took me about three months to complete.

JP: What’s next for Dwayne S. Joseph?

DJ: Next up is my novel, Betrayal, which hit the shelves this October ’09. It’s a very dark, suspenseful, intense thriller about a husband who wants to have his wife killed after receiving photographs showing his wife having sex with another man. The kicker is that he wants his son-in-law to do the deed because he discovers his son-in-law cheating on his daughter. It is one hell of a ride! After Betrayal, will be the sequel to Home Wrecker. I’m actually getting away from writing relationship drama. I’ll be giving the readers a lot more sex, suspense and mystery.



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