February 28, 2009

Street / Urban Fic: Donald Peebles, Jr., author of Hidden Fires

The Author

Donald Peebles Jr. is a lifelong resident of Jamaica, New York. He is an alumni of the Center of Writing Program at John Bowne High School in Flushing, New York. He is a writer who had poems and short stories published in WRITES OF PASSAGE USA, SBC, SHOUTOUT!, and URBAN DIALOGUE. His short story "Social Studies" is one of the inclusions in the gay anthology FLESH TO FLESH, edited by Lee Hayes and published by Strebor Books. He is an author with a three-book deal with Deja Vu Publications. His first novel, HIDDEN FIRES, will be published in March 2009. He is currently working on his second novel, THE SLAVE GIRL.

He can be reached both at MySpace and Facebook.

The Book

Delivery package handler Ellis Bethea does not foresee what the ramifications of his one-night stand with a female co-worker will hold for three women.

Author, library clerk, and former prostitute Sondra Rockmond thinks that her May-December romance with Ellis is solid as a rock but is totally oblivious to his sexual fluency with other women.

Janine Morrow is Sondra's best friend and a radio gossip personality who loves to dish the dirt about Black and Latino celebrities in the ghetto entertainment world but would freak out if her fans and listeners knew about her loveless marriage to impotent football hero and entrepreneur Malik, her sexually satisfying nights with handsome father-in-law Grant, her one-time tryst with Ellis, and her questionable past.

Charlotte Rockmond is Sondra's estranged daughter who shakes her booty at a ghetto strip club as Charlie Girl. Seeking a rare opportunity to be loved and accepted by her mother, Charlotte plans to entrap Ellis but finds herself getting trapped in his sexual web.

Hidden Fires is coming in MARCH, so click the cover to order today!

On Street//Urban Fic

What does urban/street fiction mean to you? Is there a distinction between urban and street?
I see urban/street fiction as a literary genre which focuses on the grim and stark realities of the streets in predominantly inner-city African-American and Latino neighborhoods with hip-hop flavor, raw street energy, scandalous sketches, and violent occurrences. The characters are those who are alienated from mainstream society and marginalized by the former political climate of the Bush-Cheney administration. I do think there is a distinction between urban and street. I feel the media makes it clear when the term urban is associated with the metropolitan city life and the high-brow cultural tastes which accompanies it. The term street is associated with the side of the city where people are taught to frown upon due to the poverty, racial disparities, high unemployment, and other social issues affecting people of color, the working class, and the poor.

Of all the genres present, what drew you to write street/urban fiction?
I worked as a Field Supervisor for the New York City Department of Employment in 2002 when I was first introduced to urban/street fiction. Many of my female co-workers were reading books like TRUE TO THE GAME by Teri Woods, B-MORE CAREFUL by Shannon Holmes, THE SEX CHRONICLES: SHATTERING THE MYTH by Zane, and BLACKFUNK and BLACKFUNK 2 by Michael Presley. They were hooked to those page-turners. I was working on a novel at the same but it ended up one big mess. I thought it was urban fiction and it did get some good reviews from several co-workers with the exception of a certain Charmaine Jones, who felt I needed writing courses and I was really a White guy slumming in the hood. Anyway! I noticed how urban/street lit took off since then. When I began writing HOOKER HERITAGE, the original title of HIDDEN FIRES, at the end of 2005, I knew it was going to be a scandalous urban fiction novel. I am a product of Southside Queens so I am going to represent my community. I definitely know I have the love and support of HIDDEN FIRES from many people who attended the annual Old-Timers benefit barbecue organized by Todd and Lance Feurtado at the Van Wyck Boulevard Park last August.

In the branch of Black literature, what do you think urban/street fiction brings to the table?
I think urban/street fiction brings to the table into the branch of Black literature a more realistic lens into the Black experience. Blacks are people who have different experiences, cultural expressions, and histories. Urban/street fiction is just another sum of the whole of Black literature. It brings forth the perspectives of the working-class, pimps, madams, prostitutes, addicts, pushers, dealers. hustlers, kingpins, czars, gangstas, homothugs, lesbian AGs (Aggressors), swingers, sexual freaks, nymphomanics, stick-up kids, and other klnds of people whose testimonies are not told by the upper-and-middle-class Black Bourgeoisie, the BAPS, the Buppies, and the Black Bohemians who feel that Blacks still need to write books which will be accepted by the mainstream in order to be on the New York Times bestseller list.

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