JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Stephen Witt, author of The Street Singer: A Tale of Sex, Money and Power in a Changing Brooklyn
(Changing Lives Press)
When flat-broke subway singer Jason Spirit receives a large tip in his case from a sexy Russian woman, little does he know it leads to a relationship with Thaddeus Hoover – the high-powered New York City developer with plans to build a $5 billion basketball arena in Brooklyn.
Spirit winds up playing the developer against opponents of the project as he plots to get a song he’s written into the hands of BScott, the mogul Brooklyn rapper who’s invested in the basketball team and the project.
“The Street Singer” is a take-no-prisoner satire of present day New York City and Brooklyn, replete with big city politicians, developers, gentrification, poverty, hipsters, celebrity adulation and interracial co-mingling.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “The Street Singer: A Tale of Sex, Money and Power in a Changing Brooklyn”?
Stephen Witt: As a journalist, I covered the $5 billion Atlantic Yards project that brought the NBA’s New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn. I thought this would make a good subject for contemporary urban fiction. I wanted to look at both contemporary New York City and its role in global capitalism.
JP: What sets The Street Singer: A Tale of Sex, Money and Power in a Changing Brooklyn apart from other books in the same genre?
SW: “The Street Singer” is different than most urban fiction, in that the protagonist is a middle-aged white subway musician, who lives largely in the black Brooklyn world. His drinking and marijuana buddy is a Lolly, a sexy black woman from the projects, who is also his occasional lover.
What also makes it different is that subway-musician protagonist straddles the world of poverty and gets to mingle with the mayor of the city and some of the city’s most powerful people.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “The Street Singer: A Tale of Sex, Money and Power in a Changing Brooklyn” getting out to the public?
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “The Street Singer: A Tale of Sex, Money and Power in a Changing Brooklyn”?
SW: When I’m on a writing project, my goal is to write 500 words a day. Once I bang out the general story, the rest gets fleshed out in rewrites. “The Street Singer” took me about two years to write.
JP: What’s next for Stephen Witt?
SW: I’m working on a screenplay based on the only lynching of a black man in New York State. The log line is a small town journalist uncovers the reason behind the unsolved lynching of a black man in New York State.
“Also check out my first novel, “American Moses”. It’s the story of a secular Jew and his black wife leading a group of Jews from New York to the new Promised Land of Las Vegas. Signed copies available if purchased through PayPal at www.NeverSinkBooks.com.” ~ Stephen Witt