JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Rich McLaughlin, author of Southside Hustler
(5ive Star Publications Publications)
Southbridge, located in Wilmington , Delaware, has had it share of hustlers come and go. The daily grind of having to fight every day just to survive can break the strongest of men. Now there is a new breed of hustlers, who are on top of the game. From the projects of South Side come Raymir, Scrap, Pie, Swagger and Boogie Down. The streets adopted them, became their father and showed them nothing but love. These five in turn show love back to the streets.
They have women, cars, money and more importantly the respect. They have many hustles, but the main one, nobody has a clue about. They rob banks, and their heists go according to plan until info leaks that could put the whole operation on front street. Then there is Knowledge. He is Raymir’s life-long friend who went to jail protecting him under the influence of the street code. When he is released from prison after 7 years, he is a humble man who steps back into the game.
The rules of the game and the death of a close friend causes Knowledge to start a war in the streets of Wilmington that set the city on fire. Will the bond that these six share be enough to keep the clique pressure tight? Or will the rules of the game shatter that bond. Take a ride through Southside.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Southside Hustler?
Richard McLaughlin: Like so many young brothers from my era, the streets were our fathers. For me, it was best to write about things that I could identify with. This was especially important for my first novel.
I didnâ€™t want to try to talk about things I had no knowledge of. Not to say this is a true story, but where I grew up at these events were a part of life. For some itâ€™s like running alongside of their past.
JP: What sets Southside Hustler apart from other novels that detail street life?
RM: For one, readers who lived, traveled through or heard about Wilmington, Delaware, can identify with the story. The places that I mention in the book are real.
Also, the main character Raymir has a special bond with three kids from his Projects. Although they too are in the streets, he keeps them on track. He sponsors basketball tournaments in which these kids can get exposure, and he stresses that they maintain a certain grade point average. He makes sure they stay out of trouble. Heâ€™s like a modern day Bumpy Johnson.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Southside Hustler getting out to the public?
RM: First and foremost I have an excellent publishing company, and my publicist is on point. Even when Iâ€™m lax sheâ€™s on top of things. The area in which I live isnâ€™t the issue, Iâ€™ve done good here. Sharmina T. Ellis, who is my publicist, has booked numerous book signings in various areas outside of where I live.
Iâ€™m also accessible on the internet. I just have to keep pushing with advertisements. I do signings at plays, so there is access to the public who come from other places to attend the event.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Southside Hustler?
RM: Sometimes, I can just sit down and type. The key is as Iâ€™m out and about, things come to me. Ideas that I can use in the book. The important thing is to micromanage. Remembering these good ideas and forming them into a story line that doesnâ€™t stray from story.
It took me about a year to write the book. I did it while working full time and going to college full time. I just graduated in December 08 with my B.S. in Human Services.
JP: What’s next for Rich McLaughlin?
RM: Iâ€™m currently working on Part II. Southside Hustler Pt. II Raymirs Revenge I have a few ideas with some other areas I want to try as far as genre. I put my education on hold to get my â€œGrussel” on, â€œGrinding and Hussling”. I wanted to hitâ€™em hard with my book, and itâ€™s been a good experience. I will eventually go back and pursue my Masters in Social Work.
Richard McLaughlin first moved to Southbridge in 1980. All of his child hood experiences are associated with the South Side of Wilmington, Delaware. He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. He is a Springfield graduate with a BS in Human Services, a motivational speaker, author, and aspiring poet. He began writing his debut novel Southside Hustler in the winter of 2006, while working and going to college fulltime.
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