JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
J.L. Whitehead, author of Bruthas
(Four Brothers Publications)
What would you do if you were indirectly responsible for the deaths of several women in your neighborhood? What if a psychopath decided to use your hood as his personal stalking ground?
This is the story of three brothers: Jai, the successful attorney in one of Philadelphia’s top law firms, Ryan, the IT Professional that is struggling with his sexual identity and Nate, the dealer that has risen to one of the highest ranks in drug distribution ring based in a North Philadelphia neighborhood known as “The Block”.
A series of murders takes place in “The Block”, and nothing is being done about it because the women that are being killed are addicted to the product that Nate sells. Bruthas deals with family, loyalty, trust, honesty as well as police corruption and murder. Much like the winding streets of Philadelphia, Bruthas takes you on a roller coaster ride exploring the depths of addiction to the heights of family love and will keep you guessing until its climatic finale.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Bruthas?
J.L. Whitehead: The inspiration came as a result of not being able to obtain the promotion that I had been seeking with the company that I was employed with at the time. I decided to become an author who happened to support himself through providing technical support to our clients at the time. I had always wanted to tell a story about family since I come from a strong, tightly knit family.
As I developed the characters, I knew that I had to make them engaging to my target audience. Since I had not ever written a novel before, this book was written from a creative standpoint. As a result, the original manuscript wound up being over 1300 pages long.
During the editing of the story, I decided that I wanted to incorporate a strong message of family as well as address some key social issues that affect our community. I guess this leads into your second question.
JP: What sets Bruthas apart from other books in the same genre?
JLW: Everyone knows that urban fiction deals with some of the grittier sides of our community. It’s focus has included, but not limited to, drugs, sex and baby-mama-drama.
I am very much aware that those are aspects of our community, but it doesn’t comprise our community as a whole. Instead of focusing on those parts of our community, I chose to focus on family. These men were close when they were kids. When they grew up, their lives went in three different directions. Each one is a genre unto themselves. What I’ve done was marry their distinctive personalities and knit them into a murder mystery.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Bruthas getting out to the public?
JLW: Perseverance. I never let anyone tell me what I couldn’t be, and I didn’t let anything stop me from becoming what I felt I was destined to be. I had a good support system around me, and I did a lot of praying.
I also look at this as a stepping stone to where I ultimately want to be. I realize that being an author is a journey…not a destination. It’s your job to stay on top of your game. Someone will always come out with something new. It’s your duty to come out with something new as well. Research your market, know who you’re writing for and give it your best each and every time.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Bruthas?
JLW: Wow. It took me years to write this book. But that’s because I wrote this from a creative standpoint. I couldn’t write the end of the book and then go back and fill in the blanks. Instead, I wrote chronologically. That sometimes meant remaining stuck on one chapter for months until I created a circumstance that would make sense to the reader and not compromise the story.
JP: What’s next for J.L. Whitehead?
JLW: I have the second part of this story slated for release in late January 2012.
There is a second book that contains most of these characters entitled Second Chances that ties up all of the loose ends. In it, the strong prevailing message is forgiveness.
I then have a crossover book called Purgatory that tells a post apocalyptic story of five characters that also has a strong message of being your best.
Thank you for your time!!!