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Quick 5 with author Percy Levy

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Percy Levy, author of Slave to the Trade and Urban Love, agreed to an interview.  Check it out below…

TNR:  I want to first say thanks for allowing me to interview you.  Tell me about you – what was the driving force that made you become an author?

PL:  The sad fact of the matter is that I have spent most of my life locked away in correctional facilities—most of the time in segregation [aka the “hole”]. While locked away in these places that so often dull the mind and cause stagnation of the human soul and spirit, I somehow always managed to keep my mind sharp and analytical in terms of breaking down and understanding the reasons why the ‘hood” is what it is. With that understanding of the street culture, I developed a love for putting it down on paper…

TNR:  As you know, I read Slave to the Trade and gave your book a great review. The book was very detailed and had me hooked from page one. How did you come up with the title and the storyline?

PL:  Much of my life—that which has not been spent incarcerated—has been spent hanging out on tracks…strips…strolls…or whatever a person might call them. I have spent time as a pimp, a jacker, a dope dealer, and, most sadly, a drug-addict. With all that said, I wanted my first book to represent the most realistic picture ever given of what life on the streets is really about. My one singled minded goal from beginning to end was authenticity.

TNR:  Your work has been compared to Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim…as a matter of fact I said the same in my review. Does it offend you to be compared to them or do you view that as something positive?

PL:  It is the greatest honor that has ever been bestowed upon me to be compared to the greatest urban writers of all times.

TNR:  I converse quite a bit with your wife Diane, who is simply amazing and so sweet. When she asked me about publishers, I remember suggesting Sullivan Publications and was happy when I saw Leo post on Facebook that you were his newest author when he was introducing your latest book, Urban Love.  How is it to work for him?

PL:  I think that Leo Sullivan is a good dude. In terms of being a publisher he is fairly new in the game. I think in the future he could be a force to be reckoned with. However, at this early phase in my writing career, I have chosen to move to Page Hustle Publications with Tammy Jernigan and {an imprint of SBR—David Weaver}. It just seems that the structure, work ethic and experience of this organization are a better fit for my particular style of writing.  Additionally, I want to send a shout out to Indie Love Promotions. Although, I haven’t worked with her for long, the professionalism, of aggressiveness, and hours she has spent and is spending working with me and my wife have been greatly appreciated. I definitely could not ask for more.

TNR:  As an avid reader since I was about 6, I remember that not too long ago there wasn’t that many urban fiction/street lit authors, but now the literary world is blessed with them. What are your thoughts on that change?

PL:  I must be honest and admit that I have never read a modern urban/street lit book [post 1980]. The few times that I have picked up a modern urban/street lit book and read the back, I have been a bit confused. Some of the characters and scenarios I see do not reflect the “hood” I know so well.  {Seattle/Sacramento]. Some of the plots seem a bit unrealistic. I don’t say this to be a hater. I have just always believed that urban/street lit books were supposed to be about the “hood”—poverty, crime, racism…black romance in all of its rachetness.. It just seems now- a- days that the term “urban” simply designates any book with Black characters in it. I am a bit confused by that. It is my hopes that at least a few other modern “urban” writers begin writing more stories that make readers feel a kinship or closeness with the characters that they are reading about. In terms of my own writing, my hope and dreams are that the readers get a substantive message from the storylines I create. There is a hard ugly truth about urban Black America…this is the story that urban/street lit writers are supposed to be telling.

And there you have it.  Thanks for reading my interview with author Percy Levy and be on the look out for the next “Quick 5 with The Notorious Reader” interview.

Always a pleasure…

TNR…

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