JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Marlon McCaulsky and Jarold Imes, authors of Love & Life
Popular Street Lit Author Marlon McCaulsky teams up with OurTeenVoices.com Editor Jarold Imes to bring two novellas that focus on two of the most things most teens are concerned with… love and life.
“Real Love” by Marlon McCaulsky
When Raina’s family is uprooted from Cleveland to St. Petersburg, FL, she immediately becomes the new “it girl” at Lakewood High School aka “Hollywood High” that every guy wants. She becomes the envy of the snobbish and popular Lissa while catching the eye of her boyfriend Dan.
With friends like Sheena (the self confessed shopaholic), Marcus (the smart-ass jock) and Cory (the wannabe playa), Raina firmly establishes her place at Hollywood High. Can Raina compete with Lissa who is willing to use sex, lies and manipulation to get what she wants. Is real love enough to keep the boy she loves?
“Love No Limit” by Jarold Imes
Dre Lawson has to be everything to everyone: the apple in his father’s eye, whom happens to be the leader of one of the notorious gangs in North Carolina; father to his trifling sister’s son; and leader of his own gang set. Never mind the fact that he still has to do chores and make good grades while running the streets.
When the woman of his dreams finally stakes her claim, what lengths will Dre go to find that love has no limit?
Joey Pinkney: Both of you are well known for your previous releases. How did you go about teaming up with each other for Love & Life?
Marlon McCaulsky: Well, it was Jarold that reached out to me about doing a project together. I was between books, and he came to me with the idea of doing an anthology type book together based on romance. I immediately jumped on it.
Jarold Imes: We met via the Triple Crown Publication forums. I approached Marlon to help me grow and expand the company Abednego’s Free. I had originally approached Marlon about doing a different anthology. When he sent “Real Love”, I told him it wouldn’t fit the concept. However, I felt the story was strong enough to complement another story I had written some years ago. I felt we could do this as a two author anthology instead.
JP: What are the things that differentiate Love & Life from others in its genre?
JI: As far as I know, Love & Life is the first, modern two author anthology for teens. I don’t think there has ever been a two author anthology like ours, especially a street lit anthology that is age appropriate for teens. My teen books have always been strong enough for adults and made for teens and I think we have a project that all can enjoy.
MM: This is my first venture into the teen book market. I didn’t originally write this story with the mind set this is a “teen book”. I just had a story in my head to get out, and it happens to be teenagers in high school that made it work. What differentiate “Real Love” from others in its genre is that I set this story in 1994 to 1995, so it’s kind of a throw back-story. This was the time period I was in high school. I see this story as being a “Teenage Love Affair” written for adults LOL…
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish “Real Love” and “Love No Limit” for Love & Life?
MM: I wrote “Real Love” back in 2003 as a screenplay for a movie I wanted to do. The movie thing never happened, but I loved the story. I kept writing on it over the years, and it became a novella. When Jarold came to me about this project, it was really already done. I just needed to clean it up a bit.
“Real Love” was based on some real life events. Some names have been changed to protect the people involved, and some names weren’t! It was funny to write because of the truth in some of the scenes, although the story itself is fiction.
JI: I write whatever I feel, be it a short story, an article/commentary, participating in different message boards where I try to spread knowledge or just working on my own novels. I always try to write something so I can keep my voice new and fresh.
“Love No Limit” is based on a short story I wrote twelve years ago about a gang member. I wrote it while I was writing what would become Never Too Much – The Remix and U Can’t Break Me. It only took me six weeks to add to the story for what would become Love & Life.
JP: Are you both Mary J. Blige fans? Is it a coincidence that both of the titles are also the title of Mary J. Blige songs?
JI: I’ve liked Mary since she first came out in 1990 when she sang the hook “I’ll Do 4 U” for Father MC. Also, What’s the 411? is the soundtrack to my life in Denver, Colorado.
Marlon’s story was already called “Real Love” when he sent it to me. Mary’s first album was what I thought of when I read his story. I named my story “Love No Limit”, so it could tie into the Love & Life theme we felt both of our stories had.
MM: I am definitely a Mary J fan. I wanted the reader to know that real love was what was really happening between Raina and Dan’s character. Plus, my story is set in that 90s era. It made sense to call my story that. Jarold decided to run with the idea of using Mary’s song titles as a theme of the book.
JP: What’s next for Abednego’s Free?
MM: All I can say is big things are on the way. Jarold is the mastermind behind Abednego’s Free, so he knows more than I do. As for myself, I just hope to continue to give my fans more good books to read. Thank you, Joey!
JI: I will finally get to live my dream and publish a few anthologies. Lord knows I’ve been trying to create one since 1999 when I first came on the scene. Now it’s coming true. Broken But I’m Healed, my inspirational anthology that I’m still collecting submissions for, will come out in October. Love & Life drops on Black Friday.
The Boy is Mine is an anthology featuring my first author, Victoria Vanee Anderson, and a few other friends of mine. That comes out the end of January. Victoria’s first book, Just Me & You, comes out in March. My next teen book, Case of the Fake People, will come out in April. I’m still working on my book now and another anthology project that I can’t talk about just yet.
I hope to begin work on my next Street Christian Lit title next month so I can drop it in 2010 too. Plus, I’m still taking submission for young adult books as well.
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