JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Zoe and Yusuf T. Woods, author of the Blood of My Brother series
(Man Up Publications)
(One of the first ten people to comment on Zoe and Yusuf Woods’ author interview will win a FREE copy of Blood of My Brother, Pts. I, II and III from JoeyPinkney.com)
The Blood of My Brother series tells of a drug Kingpin, Odell “Roc” Miller, his rise to street fame, his demons and his love for his younger brother. Roc has reached the pinnacle of success within the drug game, witnessed destruction and dealt with internal battles. Even after being caught up in the game from a young age, Roc decides that as a man, father and husband he is ready to walk away from it all.
In doing so, he also wants to protect his younger brother Lil Mac from choosing the life that he did. Roc realizes that the calling of the streets, the money, the fame, the addiction…itâ€™s all very powerful and his efforts to save his younger brother from a life in prison or certain death seem to be slipping away.
Through out the series youâ€™ll see how deep the love for the drug game can be, walk through the streets with these two brothers, hear their souls and read about their war. The hold that this game can have on a person is so deep that sometimes they donâ€™t see anything or anyone and will stop at nothing to become the next Kingpin and takeover…even if it means spilling the blood of your brother.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write the Blood of My Brother series?
Yusuf Woods: It was my understanding of my community once I was brought out of it and better able to see it with clear eyes. I started to recognize the effect that I had on the people around me, mentally, physically, and financially, without having direct contact with them. I was in the game hard at one point in my life before being discovered by the D.E.A., put on trial and charged with being the leader with a couple of drug counts.
I was sent to a Federal Penitentiary, and it was there that I started to receive mail from many people. Some of those people were friends of a friend that I may have seen once or twice. I didnâ€™t know they would send letters and money, writing stories that showed the force of an impression that I made on their lives.
Itâ€™s sad because at the time of my actions, I thought I was doing me and when the time came to face my punishment all I knew was me and no names, but sorry, God, I was so wrong.
Thatâ€™s why I pray that the Blood of My Brother series helps the bosses of today see that the people they try so hard to keep from the street really canâ€™t see anything but the streets. Itâ€™s in their eyes and their moves. It starts to ease into the heart of their brothers, sisters and kids. Itâ€™s for everyone’s sake that the cycle must stop.
JP: What sets The Blood of My Brother series apart from other urban fiction novels?
YW: The Blood of My Brother series stands by itself, starting with the title and its representation. The reason I chose Blood of My Brother is because every person in this book represents someone that died in the game, a game that nobody is playing in.
When you write from the soul, it is at that moment that your writing sets you apart from others. No two people walk the same exact path through out life, therefore your story, experiences and outcome will be unlike that of another. There are many authors who choose to write stories about their personal experiences or that of someone they know, however the creative process, the significance and level of realism are some of the things that separate your story from everything that is within that genre.
That is what sets Blood of My Brother apart from other urban fiction novels. I believe we all have a story to tellâ€¦this is my story.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to the Blood of My Brother series getting out to the public?
ZoÃ« Woods: Consistency with your effort is very important. There is a great deal of work that needs to be put into trying to reach readers in so many areas. You have to be optimistic and believe in what youâ€™re doing because that will give you the motivation to keep moving forward. We keep in mind what our goals are and where we would like to go with our work.
With anything that youâ€™re devoted to, you have to invest a great deal of time and whatever is necessary for it to be successful. You may find that you have to give a little more of one thing and make adjustments to something else in order to have an effective way of reaching the public. We have learned through trial and error like many authors have.
Promoting at events is one of things that we realize is a major part of success, people need to know who you are and that your book(s) exist. Meeting your readers allows you to see what kind of effect this type of promotion will have. It is a great experience to speak with, and actually meet in person, the people who truly support your work.
We also recognize that word of mouth is a great way to reach the public. Having family, friends, readers and book clubs that are willing and able to spread the word and give whatever support that they can has been very helpful. There is quite a bit of knowledge to acquire about the book/publishing industry, and not everyone will reveal the best resources available to assist you.
You have to kind of delve in on your own and develop a plan that will suit your needs and take you to the top.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? What did you learn in doing the first book and lead you to do something different for the second book?
Yusuf & ZoÃ«: One of the really important things we feel is necessary when writing is to take our time, let our story develop and not rush the creative process. Ideas will come and go. Creativity will allow you to do amazing things. When you let things flow, it just works out better than trying to put together a great novel in a hurry.
We have more than one novel in creation at a time, and that lends a little diversity to the writing process. This works well for us. One of the biggest differences youâ€™ll notice in our second novel is that you will become more intimate with the characters. Weâ€™ve given the readers a better look into their world and situations, some of which shaped who they are and why they chose to live their lives the way that they did.
There are a few other surprises in the sequel, but youâ€™ll have to read it to find out about them!
JP: What’s next for ZoÃ« and Yusuf Woods?
Yusuf & ZoÃ«: The â€˜Authorâ€™ title is still fairly new and weâ€™re very pleased with the love shown from all of our readers. Outside of the Blood of My Brother series, we are working on several other novels and look to release them in the near future.
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