Tag Archives: joeypinkney.com

5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Wyatt Bryson, author of Onyx and Eggshell

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Wyatt Bryson, author of Onyx and Eggshell

Five young ladies, from very different backgrounds, choose to pledge historically black sorority Gamma Beta Alpha at Freedom College. As the five strive to get closer to the sorority, they are forced to become closer to each other or not make it through.

The pledge process isn’t all that they have to endure. The young ladies have lots of secrets that slowly reveal themselves. Some are subtle, and some are a bit extreme. All must come together in the bond or risk not being a part of the sorority at all. Their journey through the process is a life changing experience for them all, as they become closer than anyone could have ever expected.

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

Wyatt Bryson: I neither write sequels or prequels, but the idea and inspiration came from a very small part of the first book Sankofa. In that novel, some of the characters were members of a fictitious African-American sorority. I felt that the sorority needed to be given its own book.

JP: What is the significance of the title Onyx and Eggshell in relation to what goes on in this novel?

WB: Onyx and Eggshell are the sorority’s colors. Onyx is usually thought of as black but is really many different shades. Eggshell isn’t really white but off white. The colors basically break down to black and white. Like with most people, there are many different shades in between.

JP: Many people would wonder about the authenticity of a novel written by a white man about female pledges entering into a history black sorority. How would you explain your motives and your abilities to inject realism into Onyx and Eggshell?

WB: I expect to get this question a lot. I spent a great deal of my adult life in college and around Black and White Greeks. For the bulk of that time, almost every Greek that I knew was in a black sorority. I am an alumni member of a social fraternity, a service fraternity and a business fraternity. The business fraternity is 90% black and 95% female. There are many social Greeks in the organization.

In addition to friends and acquaintances, a few of my old roommates and girlfriends were Black Greeks. The sorority in the book isn’t real, nor do I try to give away many of their secrets. It mostly deals with the relationships between the women on line.

My motives are simple. African-American literature is what I read and enjoy, so it is natural that it is what I would write. I have been around the Black Greek scene for a couple of decades and have a huge amount of respect for it.

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

WB: The process I use when writing is to try to work the characters out in my head before I make a lot of progress in front of the computer. I tend to jump around quite a bit and not write in order. Luckily when someone sits down to read the novel, it can be read in order.

The plan was to take a break after my first novel Sankofa, but the sorority that was only touched upon in the first novel screamed to be written about. The break never happened, and I jumped straight into this project. Onyx and Eggshell took just a little over a year to write. Sankofa took two years.

JP: What’s next for Wyatt Bryson?

WB: Currently, I’m trying to think of creative ways to inexpensively market myself. I am slowly trying to work out how I want to approach the third novel. I have the basic premise worked out but need to make sure I’m moving in the right direction before I spend a lot of time at the computer.

I don’t want to waste a lot of time on pages I will toss out. I have given myself a tentative completion time of sometime this fall. So look for something new from me then.


[include file=current-advertisers.html]

5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Vogue, author of Diamonds in the Rough

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Vogue, author of Diamonds in the Rough
(Passionate Writer Publishing)

Carmen Davenport is living the American dream. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she has anything that a twenty-one year old college student would want. This includes one of the most lucrative clothing companies in New York. The only thing missing is love until she lays eyes on Jay Santiago, a Puerto Rican drug lord.

Almost instantly, Carmen begins to fall for him. After securing the rights to her inheritance, Carmen soon learns that Flame, Inc. is headed towards a downward spiral. Too ambitious to allow her dream to go down the drain, Carmen begins pulling at all lifelines to save her company. Putting aside everything she’s ever believed in, Carmen soon finds herself entangled in a web of lies, betrayal, and crime.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Diamonds in the Rough?

Vogue: As an avid reader and lover of street fiction, the idea for Diamonds in the Rough came from wanting to see a different female character than what I had been reading. Most of the female characters in street lit are born in the projects or in harsh environments.

Although I loved these characters, I could not fully relate to them because I grew up in a middle class household. Although I knew that drug cartels, gangs, crime, etc. existed, it was not something that I personally experienced in my everyday life. However, I was born with a very vivid imagination, which inspired me to write Diamonds in the Rough.

It was then that I decided that I wanted to write a new kind of street fiction novel. A novel that featured a female character that came from an upper-class, entrepreneurial household. Not only that, she would be pure, exhibit a strong relationship with God, and possess an overly ambitious spirit.

My next goal was to slowly transform this innocent young lady into a femme fatale. I wanted people to slowly see her transition. A lot of books are focused on the whole “good girl gone bad” angle, and this book shows the reader almost step by step how it happens.

JP: Drug trafficking and high fashion seems to be two different realms that you have managed to weave together seamlessly in Diamonds in the Rough. Do these two worlds intermingle more than the average person knows?

Vogue: I believe that at some point in time the two would somehow collide. More than likely, if you are a major drug kingpin or associated with a cartel then you are also a flashy dresser. Some of the most well-known drug kingpins are known for their style of dress, had some of the tightest whips and wore millions of dollars in jewelry. However, it was those things that garnered them too much attention.

JP: Diamonds in the Rough is the first book in a ten book series entitled The Diamond Collection. How do you plan to keep the storyline fresh and exciting for ten books?

Vogue: As I wrote the collection, I told myself to stretch my imagination as far as it could go. However, as a writer, I had to pace myself. I give the reader just enough so that they are left wondering what is going to happen next. Each book has to be better than the last.

Also, the best books are the ones who have twists in the plot. Each book stays fresh and exciting because the reader will view it as a soap opera, but only in words. The reader will begin to feel as if they are following the lives of the characters just as if they are watching them on TV.

Each book also has a theme or message in it. For Diamonds in the Rough, the underlying message mentioned in the book is, “Whatever happens in the dark, will eventually come to light.” For the second book, Diamonds Are Forever, the underlying message is, “Never say never.”

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

Vogue: I begin writing each book by first jotting down short descriptions of each scene that must be in the book to aid in the plot. Once that is complete, I then outline each chapter scene by scene. Before I even fully write the book, I know exactly how many chapters the book will have.

With a ten book series, I have to outline everything because I have to remember what happened in Diamonds in the Rough even when I am writing Diamond Princess. (This is the working title of the ninth book in the series). I also have to keep the time frame in mind. Here’s a freebie, the whole collection spans a total of fifty-seven years.

I begin working on Diamonds in the Rough in 2003 as a freshman in college. It went through eight different versions until 2006 when I settled with the current draft. I finished it in the summer of 2007. So, it took about four years.

JP: What’s next for Vogue?

Vogue: Currently, I am rewriting and editing the fourth book in the series, Black Diamonds. I also am outlining a new novel, which is not a part of the series.



Vogue is a 2007 graduate of Winthrop University, possessing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Diamonds in the Rough is her first published novel, which was released on June 1, 2010. She was named by Angelique The Novelist as June Author of the Month.

[include file=current-advertisers.html]

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.


[include file=current-advertisers.html]