Q & A with Mikal El-Amin

Street Fiction had the opportunity to interview author and publisher Mikal El-Amin from Double-Up Publishing.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?

I was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina and have lived in several other states, with the bulk of my time outside of N.C. being in Brooklyn. I’m not one to act like I’ve been writing before I started talking. I’ve had an ambition of being a writer for a while though.

I was actually encouraged to start writing by my friends closest to me. I would share basic stories with them and they would tell me how much they enjoyed my stories, and that I should be a writer. Knowing that what I’ve experienced and have seen was actually much more dynamic than the basic campfire stories that I would share, I thought I would make it a goal to become a successful writer.

Do you have a special routine when you write?

Not necessarily because writing comes naturally for me. Sometimes I may watch the extras and making of a great movie like

Tell us more about your last book, and what are you working on now?

“187 Iz An Art” is a novel I used to get me in the game. I’ve read tons of urban fiction and much of it is hot, but I felt like sometimes writers would hold back. I wanted to put out a hustle-hard story that held no punches so it is truly raw. I have good versatility as well and will show this in future releases. I plan on releasing another urban fiction title as well as a romance title in 2010, and they both will have a unique twist.

Who are a few street fiction authors or titles that you have enjoyed reading?

Of course Donald Goines because he opened the doors for brothers and sisters. His stories were real unique too which was especially impressive back then since the market wasn’t saturated with street fiction, and there wasn’t as big a need to show a great distinction from others of the genre. I also like lesser known authors who put out novels that are fire.

Outside of street fiction, who are a few authors that you enjoy?

I like Frederick Douglass. His oratory and literary skills were tremendous. I also like Dubois, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, and Robert Greene cause “The 48 Laws of Power” was real ill.

Who’s your favorite character from your books?

From “187 Iz An Art” I would have to say Killa, because he is a thinker. He’s the type that is hard to beat because he can go hard with his weapon, or crush a foe just by out maneuvering him. Like the way he handled Officer Warren without the use of a weapon.

What do you say to critics of street fiction? And why should librarians purchase street fiction for their collections?

With critics maybe they aren’t as open minded as they think; or don’t understand the dynamics of the hood. They also may not understand the desperation of needing food NOW or the hopelessness of being homeless with no job and no skills, but having an alternative of a connect to instant money a call and conversation away.

As far as a negative opinion one may have towards this genre claiming that it is violent or dark; there is no difference between the violence in street fiction and that in a novel full of demons, vampires or werewolves that CREATIVELY kill some Joe will sucking away at their spirit. Whoa!

Librarians should definitely add street fiction to their catalogs because there is an established audience that consistently grows, and the genre continues to break further into mainstream as well.

Take another example for instance… Hip-hop artists create music and are constantly criticized for their lyrics, but if they were rapping with a similar content that is contained in mainstream poetry they would be heralded. Once hip-hop broke into the mainstream though, look at how it became one of the biggest forms of the entire world’s pop culture.

Hip-hop and street fiction were both born from the same culture, so the potential of our genre is unlimited also. When mainstream fully embraces street fiction it will also be tops in the literary industry.

Shouts to Street Fiction for providing a platform for authors and readers to voice their opinions.

To keep up with what’s new with Mikal and Double-Up Publishing, check out:


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