Yusuf and Zoe Woods

Street Fiction recently interviewed Yusuf and Zoe Woods, authors of The Blood of My Brother series published by Man Up Publications.

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

Yusuf and Zoe WoodYusuf: I believe the best way to define myself is by the words of Thomas Edison when he stated: “Your worth consists in what you are and not what you have. What you are will show in what you do.” So my core of life is integrity, being a father, husband, and a man.

I began writing through my love for literature in a whole. It was the realism of the urban life that my people live in every day that I wanted to bring to the eyes of whoever would read it, in a form of class and respect.

ZoeWoodsZoe: I have an amazing foundation from which I draw strength and wisdom from and that is both God and my family. This foundation has made me the woman, wife, and mother that I am today and given me the encouragement and motivation to work hard, love life, and have faith.

I began writing early in life as a hobby with short stories and poetry. I have an interest and passion for creating stories from multiple genres. It wasn’t until much later in life that I seriously thought about writing on a different level and became more familiar with urban literature. I was honored to have the opportunity to share such an experience creating a debut novel with my husband. Yusuf’s visions are amazing and his talent is incomparable which made this an incredible learning and developing process.

Do you have a special routine when you write?

Yusuf: Before I write anything, I must envision the scene like I have become that character. I guess my routine is to become one with the pen and paper following its motion until it stops at the last period or question mark.

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

Yusuf: Our most recent book was Blood of My Brother III: The Begotten Son. It’s the heat the streets have been waiting for because it’s unpredictable with an intense level of drama you can feel grow with each page. It was also written from the aspect of a fan first and an author second. As a fan, my heart knows where it’s been let down before in trilogies that started out as one of the best books I’ve read and by the end, I hated how they lost the soul of the character. So as authors, my wife and I set out to make one of the best part three’s there is and I believe we’ve done that but the only people that can decide that are the readers.

The follow up book will be ‘The Definition of a Man’ which we gave you a small taste of in the back of Blood of My Brother III. We also have a screen play that we will be shopping around this summer, right after we close this distribution and promotion deal for our Man Up Publications company. Now that we are free agents, several names have contacted us and we are just trying to make the best decision that won’t change the connection we have with our fans.

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

Yusuf: I’m really waiting on part II of Lipstick Diaries which is a compilation of stories from some of the top female authors in the game and Zoë’s part of that. She really went in her bag with this one; putting Man Up Publications on her back with her first solo titled ‘Rush: The Sweetest Sin’. Aside from that, ‘Standing at the Scratch Line (great book), and ‘Money Hungry’ are others that I have enjoyed.

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

Yusuf: Your Blues ain’t like Mine, by Bebe Moore Campbell, The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, and The Holy Qur’an.

Zoe: In the Meantime and Yesterday I cried by Iyanla Vanzant, Stephen King (various novels), and Anne Rice (various novels).

Who’s your favorite character from your books?

Yusuf: I enjoy every one of them. For as in a game of chess, a pawn is the weakest piece but if they are not there, the game could never have been played.

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

Zoe & Yusuf: In every genre of writing there may be critics; those who cannot relate or choose not to have an interest in a particular type of literature or subjects. Whatever the cause and reason, as writers we write for our love of literature; we write for those who are touched by our stories whether for entertainment or because they find our stories come so close to their own realities. The love and support from our readers over powers the negativity of those who choose to be critics of street fiction. We find joy in hearing from so many people that appreciate our work and those are great rewards and motivators. Our heart and soul go into the creation of our stories and we want to reach readers from all different backgrounds, those open to the ever changing world of literature.

For the librarians, we can understand their precautions because some books are distasteful just like anything else in the world, but this world is based off of information and research. If they give opportunity and research into street fiction, they may realize how great of an impact street fiction can have on the communities. There are potential readers out there waiting for something that they can relate to, something that will change the way they feel about reading, enlighten or entertain them. Street fiction has the ability to bring forth what some readers in their community are seeking. The key is giving the public the opportunity and researching the possibilities.

For more information on Yusuf and Zoe Woods, visit manuppublications.com

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