Darrell King

Darrell King is author of Dirty South and How Do You Want It.

Do you have a special routine when you write?

Well, let’s see. What I usually like to do is listen to what I call “mood music”. When I write. Tupac, Biggie, or Lil’ Wayne are a few of the artists whom I listen to when writing my stories.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the sequel to 2005′s Dirty South. If you enjoyed Dirty South then I’m sure that you’ll love the follow-up story!

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

I really like reading anything by the pioneers of the genre, such as Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim and Chester Himes.You can never go wrong with titles by those giants of early urban literature. K’wan also has quite a few hot titles which I’ve enjoyed over the years, and believe it or not Great Britain has their very own version of street lit that’s really good.

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

I’m pretty eclectic in my literary tastes. I love reading works by the classic masters such as Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan), H.G. Wells (Time Machine), and the horror classics of Clive Barker (Hell Raiser), and Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire).

Who’s your favorite character from your books?

I’d have to say Dawn from Dirty South, because though she’s a hothead and clearly a stone cold psychopath, she really loves her family and wanted to protect them from any harm. A few anger management sessions would probably have done her a world of good though.

How do you think women are portrayed in street fiction? Is it positive or negative?

Well first of all, most of the top grossing street lit novelists are mostly females. The K’wans, Eric Grays, and Darrell Kings of the genre are the exceptions, not the rule so I personally feel that many of the female characters portrayed in our novels, whether they be written by male, or female authors are portrayed as we would envision them in reality. After all, one of the appeals of the street lit genre is the ‘keep it real’ nature of the storylines within the pages. There are hard working single mothers, college educated debutantes, tough-as-nails family matriarchs as well as slutty chickenheads, streetwalkers, and calculating hustler’s wives portrayed, so I fell that these novels simply puts every category of women in perspective just one would experience in one’s actual every day existence in this journey called life. We all experience both the very best as well as the very worst in people regardless of gender…that’s just the way it is…life.

Recently, there has been some criticism of street fiction in the news, so in your opinion, why is street fiction important and why should people read it? Why should librarians purchase street fiction?

Street literature, much like it’s musical counterpart Gangsta rap has indeed endured it’s share of pot shots from a variety of literary types, particularly other African-American novelists who pen less controversial material. Like rappers who give a spoken account of the mean streets in their often times hard-core lyrics, street novelists serve the same purpose only we do it with the written word instead. Life is filled with sorrow as well as happiness, and unfortunately our lower income neighborhoods have for decades been blighted by chronic poverty, which in turn breeds crime, prostitution and substance abuse. Similar to the author of bygone eras who penned novels detailing the exploits of western outlaws, pirates on the high seas or the gangsters and femme fatales of 1930′s dimestore pulps, we who write these gritty tales known as street/urban lit are now making history just writers of above genres did and our stories are no less important to literary history.

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