What are the titles of the urban fiction books you have had published?
ALFONZO, ASCENSION:Alfonzo Vol.II, ANARCHY:Alfonzo Vol.III, The Sisters of Cain & Abel, A House of Brick & Mortar
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?
Writing has always been an intrinsic part of my life. Reading helped foster my love of literature and self-expression. Stories were always flowing in my head. 99% of the time whether in school, work or engaged in activities of life, I always saw a story in everything. The other 1% of the time I was pretending not to.
My career as many understand can shadow the writer’s heart, yet it is always there. I was in law school, writing for my school paper and everyone always asked, why are you here? You should be a writer. I’ve heard this most of my life and actually I have always been a writer, just in secret. Only friends and family were exposed to my vivid imagination. I come from a diverse family. We’re a multi-cultural, ethnically diverse group. So my writing has always remained inclusive of all. Many of my characters reflect this. I felt it was important for me to begin to share my stories with readers and the literary community, so I ditched law school, dusted off my manuscripts and embarked on completing then publishing them.
Years later, my career no longer overshadows my vocation. Writing is my calling and I make time for it, every day and pursue my passion. In my efforts, several of my titles have made the Top 100 Bestseller’s list on amazon.com in fiction in 2012. This is a wonderful personal achievement, one that encourages me to continue my path.
Do you have a special routine when you write?
I have no special routine, quiet is preferable. I try to write at every opportunity.
Tell us more about your last book, and what are you working on now?
My mob series ALFONZO, spurned a sequel thanks to a few devoted readers who loved this book about a Hispanic hustler from uptown, NY who is the son of an Italian mobster. He learns of his true heritage after the murder of his uncle and his wife Darlene, who happens to be the mother of the young woman Alfonzo falls in love with, named Selange.
The story traverses the young man’s journey through the city of New York, Italy and Puerto Rico as he tries to avoid a crazed hit-man sent by the wife of his dying father. Alfonzo, discovers a lot more about his mother, his heritage and his destiny. -And here we are first introduced to the enforcer, NIco. A man who’s shadowed Alfonzo and served as his protector since the age of thirteen.
This is more than an urban tale, it’s an international story with multi-cultural characters and diversity. ATONEMENT, coming summer 2102, is the apex of a journey. Read Volumes 1-3 and follow along.
Who’s your favorite character from your books? Why?
My favorite characters are Alfonzo, Selange and Nico. Alfonzo is like the guy everyone knows in the ‘hood. Cool, down to earth and charming. He faces the struggles of a man of color, trying to make good with what’s he’s given. Despite the bad choices he’s made, he’s made many good one’s. He’s got a college degree and has a legitimate business on the side. Alfonzo is multi-faceted, yet he has heart and he’s loyal.
Selange is Brooklyn born, project raised and beautiful. She’s the antithesis to every stereotype about young women from the projects. She’s finished college, got her first job as a teacher and isn’t promiscuous. She has her priorities straight, or at least she thinks she does until her mother and stepfather are murdered and she meets Alfonzo.
Nico Serano has a twin brother Vincent. He’s Sicilian, an enforcer like his father nicknamed The Butcher. Nico is the best at his job, it’s a vocation. His dark brooding character is pivotal to the story. He’s a man raised to kill and he does it well.
Tell Us Your Top Ten Favorite Books that You’ve Read
Of course I must begin with mine. The Sisters of Cain& Abel, A House of Brick&Mortar, Alfonzo, Ascension, Anarchy, all by S.W. Frank. Then of course, author Envy Red’s ‘Jaded’, Loretta Walls’ ‘Rendezvous’, Traci Bee, ‘Two Tears In a Bucket’, Wahida Clark, ‘Payback’, James Patterson, ”Alex Cross Series.’
What do you say to critics of street fiction?
It’s disheartening that literature, any literature should receive a negative connotation. Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim were writers and hailed as such. Their works appealed to readers interested in the grittiness of the story. I suppose, their works would fall under the category of street fiction.
I have read many of the critics opposition to the genre and for the most part, it appears to center around poor grammatical or sentence structure, the proliferation of negative stereotypes they deem somehow demeans the craft.
A writer, writes. They tell stories. They share tales and in those tales are often messages, some poignant, some subtle. Writing is not exclusive to scholars, librarians and English professors. It is a form of free expression ungoverned by anyone except the writer. It is the writer’s soul who speaks and at times , the voice heard may be gritty, grammatically incorrect, harsh, vulgar -but is a voice nonetheless. A voice that should not be silenced, only heard. It is called free speech protected by the constitution. We do not always agree with what others say, but it is their constitutional right, without this protection for free expression and the ability to create many past present and future writers may be silenced.
I would also suggest to the critics, to read, peruse many authors. Not all voices are the same, not all share the same viewpoint or tell the same story. My works as many others are not simply street fiction, it is fiction, literature, drama, romance, action, thrillers and worthy of a read.
Why should librarians purchase street fiction for their collections?
It’s literature as any other, that’s why.
What advice do you have for new authors who hope to publish their urban fiction books?
Develop a good story, review fundamentals of grammar, sentence structure and have an editor review before publishing. Most importantly take pride in your work, it represents you.
Any final words for fans of your books?
I always thank the readers in my acknowledgments. Those who have yet to discover some of my bestselling novels on amazon.com can do so to read excerpts and purchase. Readers can also LIKE SWFrank on facebook.com, this is a new site where I share with an intimate circle of Facebook readers my upcoming works. I also have a website www.swfrank.com and can be found on twitter.
Most importantly, I suggest readers support authors they like, blog, spread the word, write reviews, help build a broader readership. Then, perhaps many critics will re-evaluate their condemnation of the genre as a whole.