JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Rasheed Clark, author of Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God
(March Third Imprints)
Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God is an emotionally-charged story about four friends: Sista, Brian, Day and Nikki and the roller coaster ride that they call their lives.
Sista, who will lose the only man that she has ever truly loved, allows her weight to determine her self-worth.
Brian, who learns the hard way that a good woman isn’t hard to find, he just has to be man enough to keep her.
Day, who must learn to accept himself for who he is.
Nikki, whose perfect world is shattered when she chooses to love a man more than she has ever loved herself, despite his lying and cheating ways.
When people first read it, people kept saying that it was so good that they immediately compared it to Terry McMillan’s Waiting To Exhale. One person actually said, “Finally, somebody told the truth about the lies that we tell ourselves.” I felt blessed.
For me, I just wanted to write a book that was truly honest about love, family, relationships, acceptance and trust and put a voice to the frustration felt by millions of people, like me, who are looking for love in all of the wrong places.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God?
Rasheed Clark: When I first decided to write this book, I had a story to tell. All that I have ever known are stories. From the stories that my mother read to me when I was a little boy to right up until the point where she’d be reading a book and I’d ask her about it. My mother would often tell me half of the story and say that if I wanted to know the rest, I’d have to finish the book myself. I became an avid reader.
In the midst of that, people have told me things over the years. Writing became my way of getting these things off my chest without betraying their confidence. That’s where my books have come from. I am not a good liar, not even on paper.
JP: What sets Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God apart from other books in the same genre?
RC: It’s the story itself. Love. Loss. Family. Betrayal. Trust. These are things people can relate to. The stories in Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God and its sequel Cold Summer Afternoon are at the heart of everything. Contrary to popular beliefs, neither book is filled with a bunch of short stories, but instead, each book is one big story filled with great characters. I wanted to write a book that could read almost as if the person was sitting there talking to you and telling you their problems. In the end, I developed stories not even I could believe.
When I sat down to write my books, I didn’t set out to write the great American novel. I just wanted to tell a good story that about real people in real situations… I think that’s why Nikki’s story is what blows readers away from beginning to end in Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God.” I wanted to make you laugh, make you cry and make you mad at times by telling the truth about what one reader said the lies that we tell ourselves. But, above all, I wanted to make you think about the things in your own life and how you addressed those things.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God getting out to the public?
RC: That is simple, my readers. When writing these books, I kept coming back to the same question of “How many stories about strippers and drug dealers can people write about?” I asked myself how many of these things will readers be willing to read about. Eventually, you will get tired of the same things.
It’s like this, everybody has a story to tell. Everyone. But, the ones that people will remember are those stories that people can relate to. I have had people of all races, both men and women, write me because they felt a connection to my book. It’s not enough even to tell a great story, writers tend to forget that aspect of things.
As an author, you have to engage the reader and give them something that they’ll want to talk about. While a good story makes for a good book, it’s actually the people that read it and the ones that talk about it to their friends and family that makes that book well known.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God?
RC: Sometimes, I sit down and want to write and nothing will come out. Then, I will hear about a story in real life and the writing will take on a life of its own. I usually start with a story in mind and develop a character that fits that story. Eventually the characters take on a life of their own.
The problem is that my writing style isn’t always fluid. I have been holding on to one story since I was 17 years old. “Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God” took me six years to finish. You know what happens when life gets in the way of something that you want to do. Things happen that takes you off course.
When I sat down and put pen to page to write “Cold Summer Afternoon,” it took me ten days one summer. I already knew the characters and where I wanted to go with them. In the end, it’s about the story that motivates me.
JP: What’s next for Rasheed Clark?
RC: I have just re-released my first two books, Stories I Wouldn’t Tell Nobody But God and Cold Summer Afternoon. I actually stopped publishing these two in April of 2010. My heart was not in it, at the time, because I had experienced the loss of my brother tragically, during the release of my second book. That itself took a lot out of me personally.
What brought me back was the response that I received from people who found these books and wanted to read them. I was shocked, but at the same time, I felt blessed. So I went back and worked to have these books edited again and provided a fresh set of covers, with the clean white background for each that reflected this new version. This gave me a chance to introduce myself to a new generation of readers who might have been too young to read my books when they saw them the first time.
Also, I am working on my third book, Sleeping With The Enemy. People when they hear about it ask me if it’s like the movie. My response is no. It is a bit more disturbing. (Laughing) If the first two books shocked you or had you talking back to the book like some people have told me, this book will be another book that will keep you up at night trying to finish it. That title is tentative, I am seeing that once you tell people something, they tend to take it and run with it on their own. So, I’m still looking for something that will draw readers in. I can’t disappoint them.
The Official Website Of Author Rasheed Clark is http://www.RasheedClark.com.
I’d just like to say thank you to the thousands of readers who have embraced me and my books over the years. I feel blessed and honored that you gave me your time and responded the way you have to what I have had to say. For those who will read my work, you have my sincerest gratitude as well. It’s because of my readers that I get to do what I love to do and that’s telling a great story.
Also, you should know that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of both books are going to support a cause near and dear to my heart, women who were once the victims of domestic violence and are looking to make a fresh start. So thank you for your support and be sure to ask your local book store and library to put it on their shelves.