Wahida Clark: An Exclusive
by Kaven L. Brown
9 years behind the wall, 8 months in solitary confinement, 15 rejection letters and 4 best-selling novels later, Wahida Clark—the Queen of Thug Love Fiction—still hasn’t fully experienced the love, admiration, and respect she commands in the Street Lit genre. Since her release from federal prison this past June, Wahida has kept a low profile, granting The Urban Book Source with her first video interview.
It wasn’t until 2 years into her prison term that Wahida, a New Jersey Native, began to envision her writings on bookshelves across America. “I was reading a XXL magazine and saw a blurb on Shannon Holmes, the author of B-More Careful, in an article. It said he was an imprisoned author. That was all the inspiration I needed.” With that flicker of possibility, Wahida began spending most of her waking hours in the prison library reading and researching the craft of fiction writing. Even though Wahida was in prison for almost as long as her books have been in print, her presence and selling power has always stayed relevant and indubitable; outselling authors who have had the advantage of being in the free world. Shame on you authors!
The innumerable hours Ms. Clark spent in a prison library has paid off. Her Thug series, which includes: Thugs and the Women Who Love Them, Every Thug Needs a Lady, and Thug Matrimony have become household favorites for readers of street fiction. With over 100,000 copies sold Wahida’s novels have been featured on best sellers list galore and the Wahida Clark Brand has become a force that can not be ignored.
But Wahida’s journey has not always been smooth; at times it was a greasy one. She was once placed in solitary confinement in prison for 8 months, in response to accusations she was conducting a business while in prison, after the publication of her first novel. Not letting this hinder her efforts, she took this time to write another book, which would become Payback Is a Mutha. “In a crazy way, being put away like that made me focus. You got to take the good with the bad,” she says. While with Black Print Publishing, Wahida experienced several unpleasant business related issues, some included bad checks and the illegal reproduction and marketing of her books, while she was signed to another publishing house and retained the rights to her previous novels. “I have no bad blood, that’s where I got my start. Whether their objective was to take advantage of authors or not.”
When asked how she felt about all the negative feedback and opinions of critics, concerning street fiction, particularly Nick Chiles; who had a few horrid opinions of the new genre, Wahida had this to say: “I’ve read the brotha’s books that he and his wife wrote together, and enjoyed them. I have no problem with Nick Chiles. That’s the way he feels, he can express himself how he wants.”
Now a “civilian” Wahida can certainly turn up her hustle. With several projects in the works: Payback With Ya Life will be available May 2008, the sequel to the long awaited Payback Is a Mutha; a hot new novella, Enemy In my Bed, with Dafina Books; as well as a possible collaboration with G-Unit Books who have already approached Wahida to pen a story to add to their label. When Wahida isn’t writing, she enjoys fellow authors: Leo Sullivan, Zach Tate, Treasure Blue, and K’wan among others. “I thought Treasure was a female at first. He definitely has skills,” the author explains, “Leo Sullivan is also a very talented writer.”
For more information on Wahida Clark, visit: www.myspace.com/wahidaclark
Kaven Brown is a contributing editor for The Urban Book Source, writer and the producer of the Behind Those Books Documentary.
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