What are the titles of the urban fiction books you have had published?
EYES ON THE PRYZE, 69 DEGREES AND SHORT STORY A STAR’S LIGHT
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Author of Eyes on the Pryze, 69 Degrees, Sistah Circle, Hand Me Downs, and A Star’s Light, Felisha Bradshaw Author of Eyes on the Pryze, her first debut, novel is currently a resident of Bridgeport, Ct. She is a graduate of Housatonic Community College with an Assoc. Degree in Science and a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Ashford University. She is currently a content writer for An African American Point of View a small press newspaper out of Hartford, Connecticut. Felisha is the founder of Let’s Talk Urban, a literary group and Editor and Chief of Urban Grapevine Magazine. Her writing Partner and good friend, Missy Poindexter-Brown; author of Full Circle and Whats A Woman To Do? also Senior Editor and Content Writer of Urban Grapevine Magazine have paired up to create a brand behind LETS TALK URBAN that defines what URBAN means.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A TIME IN MY LIFE WHEN READING WAS DONE OUT OF BOREDOM OR WRITING WAS A PROJECT. FOR ME WRITING CAME FIRST; SO I CLAIM IT AS MY FIRST PASSION. I HID IN THE WORDS; CLAIMED VICTORY OVER MY ADVERSARIES THROUGH WRITING. IT WAS A PLACE WHERE I WAS THE HERO, THE SUPER HERO VILLAIN TOO. I COULD CREATE A WORLD WHERE EVERYTHING GOES AS I SAY. WOW. THAT WAS POWER. THEN I FOUND THAT READING DID JUST THE SAME. I READ BOOKS THAT TOOK ME TO THE HIDING PLACES OF OTHERS. ALTHOUGH THERE WERE SOME RESTRICTIONS I STILL COULD BE WHO I CHOSE TO BE IN THE STORY. NOW I WRITE AND OTHERS HIDE IN MY WORDS. IT S MY WAY OF GIVING BACK.
I AM A LATE BLOOMER IN LIFE AND YOU KNOW WHAT?….I AM OK WITH IT BECAUSE I THINK IT WAS AS GOD PLANNED IT. I SAW A LOT AND I LIVED VARIOUS LIFESTYLES, MET AWESOME PEOPLE THE GOOD AND THE BAD, I HAVE INFLUENCED AND HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED, LIED AND HAVE BEEN LIED TO, STOLE AND STOLEN FROM, HURT AND HAVE BEEN HURT, LOVED AND HAVE BEEN LOVED. I AM SO GLAD I MADE IT OUT OF THE DARKEST PLACES AND ALSO KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE IN THE BRIGHTEST LIGHT. ALL THESE EMOTIONS, PLACES AND PEOPLE ARE WHAT GAVE ME THE POWER OF THE PEN. THE ABILITY TO BRING STORIES TO LIFE THROUGH WRITING.
I USE TO BE HIP-HOP; NOW I AM HIP-HOP FICTION. I AM BORN AGAIN AND NOW I CAN WRITE CHRISTIAN FICTION, I USE TO THINK LOVE WAS JUST A FAIRY TALE BUT I AM LOVED AND HAVE LOVED IN THE SEXIEST WAYS SO, I CAN WRITE EROTICA, I HAVE A GREAT MANY FRIENDS FROM BFF’S TO BF’S SO NOW I CAN WRITE CHIC-LIT.
Do you have a special routine when you write?
Not really, I just write. It could be anywhere and at anytime. I even downloaded an app for my phone; voice recorder just in case I am out and about and I get hit with a scene or one of my characters point out that what’s around me is what they are feeling…this may sound schizo but when they are speaking to me I have to stop, listen and write or record.
Tell us more about your last book, and what are you working on now?
My last book was a learning experience as a friend and mentor of mine taught me. It showed me the business side of this literary environment. It has opened my eyes to my craft and my abilities. Eyes on the Pryzeis a hardcore, riveting novel about twins separated from drug addicted parents and growing up in the drug game. This book gives you an inside look at the drug game, ride-or-die chicks, hostile environments and brotherly love.
Chase and Caine Pryze are twin brothers who are taken from their parents due to drug addiction. Chase is reunited with his family but Caine is left on his own. Chase is growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Caine is running wild in the streets of New York City. Each brother thinks the other is living a good life, until they come face-to-face and find out they are rivals in the drug game.
When Chase loses his girlfriend, Phoenix, to his estranged brother, Caine, he thinks his world has come to an end. But little does he know that it is just the beginning of his problems when his right-hand man runs off with the drop off money, and his drug connection is missing; Chases well runs dry.
Can Chase come out of this battle alive? Will he reconcile with his long lost brother? Which brother will Phoenix choose? This is a fast-paced drama that will have you craving for more, I recommend this book to readers of all genres who enjoy a good story.
Now I am working on many things…I have a magazine; URBAN GRAPEVINE MAGAZINE: http://issuu.com/felishabradshaw/docs/ugmagmay.june2012 and I am working towards being nominated as best up and coming magazine for 2013. I am working on a four part seminar called WRITING RIGHT! PUBLISHING WRONG! available locally (CT.) for 2013, a CT book fair, author discussion panels. May 2012 my sequel drops; 69 Degrees and late winter 2012 I am putting out another book SISTER CIRCLE and early 2013 a short story series: HAND ME DOWNS. I have a literary group called LET’S TALK URBAN (WWW.LETSTALKURBAN.COM) offering services from editing to digital media kits. I also teach a journal writing course to a fine group of focused young ladies called Y.A.N.A SISTERHOOD: (You Are Not Alone). I also have am finishing three other books in the works: Luxury Kids(Street Fiction), On a Wing and a Prayer(Christian Fiction), Jaylyn Rhodes (An Aids Epidemic) and Pew Prayers and Pulpit Possibilities(Deviance Fiction). So you see I was busy while in hiatus(since 2010) and am busy now and will continue to be busy because I am blessed.
Who’s your favorite character from your books? Why?
I love my Vina Livingston:
Vina found her true love; Phillie Bradshaw. Vina and Phillie venture into new love and a business deal, becoming 50/50 partners in opening a lesbian nightclub; 69 Degrees…A Ladies Lounge. Problems occur when Phillie’s attention is split between running the nightclub and a new diva in town; Chicas. Unable to handle the thought of losing Phillie and the nightmares she’s been having about the rape, Vina drowns her fears in the consumption of alcohol and other recreational drugs. Addiction, jealousy, rape and a woman scorn combined causes Vina to be a woman not to be reckoned with. Vina learns for herself that she is in way over her head when all three of these emotions emerge at one time. Through all the drama an old friend surfaces to straighten things out, but is the world ready for her vengeance.
I love her because she is that character that keeps evolving. She has layers and layers and her character could go on for series. I could literally put her in every book I write and she would stand out over even the main characters.
Tell Us Your Top Ten Favorite Books that You’ve Read
Chasing Bliss (Sabrina Eubanks)
One Lyfe to Live (Erick Gray)
Two Tears in a Bucket (Traci Bee)
Get It Girls (TREASURE E. BLUE)
What do you say to critics of street fiction?
I have heard way too many times that Urban Fiction is not for teens…it glamorizes the street life, drugs and violence or even better it exposes teens to too much. Are you kidding me? Our teens are exposed to far worse everyday; regardless of race or financial status. Imagine what they hear from their friends…who too are misinformed. Urban Fiction does not glorify the street life it tells tales of experience most with a lesson to learn not hey read this and get high, strip, do drugs….its all about MONEY!!!!! Do it! Do it! It shows where that pathway taken leads you to. How one bad decision can turn your world topsy-turvey and being in the in crowd isn’t necessarily a good thing. It also opens the eyes on sheltered teens unaware that the street game is not to be played with.
Moms and Dads or anyone who has an opinion about youths reading urban fiction…Urban fiction is not a threat to our children. It is not written to promote Promiscuity, drug use nor is it promoting the street life. Urban fiction is written sometimes for pure entertainment but we know as adults that a lesson can be learned and taught in the strangest settings. These are not urban myths but truth s told through the pens of writer’s experiences or experiences told to them. If parents or guardians picked up an Urban Fiction book and read its content they may not approve of the style of writing due to the profanity or vulgarity but is it the words or the message? If you as a parent feel that the content is too advanced for your child…think again…these are the very things talked about amongst their peers and sometimes what they see and experience on a day to day basis. Try and get them to talk about what they have read or read it before them or with them. Have a discussion about the events that happened within the book. Try to get them to put themselves in the shoes of the characters or character of choice. Ask why they chose that person and see what they would do differently. Or ask them what they felt about the person’s situation. You might want to ask who they relate to the most. This can serve as a learning tool for the both of you. You can get to know your child through these books, how they think, and their survival tactics for the streets, what they are going through themselves, emotionally; maybe with their friends, a friend’s friend or even a boyfriend or girlfriend. It may also teach you how to talk about things that may have been taboo in your household. The plus is it will keep them reading! (That is what is most important!) You never know you might pass it on to a girlfriend of yours to help her with her teen. If it works out, like I think it should, it might just get your sons into reading…breaking the myth that men don’t read…..Just something to think about…
Why should librarians purchase street fiction for their collections?
Support Urban Fiction authors is great but Libraries should always promote literacy period. Our stories can be, are and will be their stories. Their meaning everyone. There should be urban books on shelves so that urban people can pick from books that they can relate to.
What advice do you have for new authors who hope to publish their urban fiction books?
Never give up! And if you don’t do anything you MUST learn the industry so that you choose what is right for you. Know the ins and outs even if you are not self publishing. Its like any other business. You can not just open a store because you want to have a business. You MUST know the business inside and out in order to have longevity and prosperity. No one can rob you or blow job you. Be on top of your game and definitely know the rules so that you always come out a winner.
Secondly respect your own work. Know your value. Never rush the product for the sake of saying, “I have a book out”. Join a writer’s group and learn the marketing and promoting side of this industry. Be approachable and grow some thick skin…don’t ever take it personal and be true to you. Follow your gut not facebook smut.
Any final words for fans of your books?
Keep your Eyes on the Pryze, take no Hand Me Downs and always keep it warm, say about 69 Degrees!
Let’s Talking Urban is making moves so stay tunes.
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