Darrell King
Urban Book Source
April 2006
Darrell KingDarrell King has been making waves in the literary scene from the age of eight (well at least in his elementary class), when he penned his first short story. From that moment, motivated by Marvel and DC comics, and later on Goines, Himes, and IceBerg Slim, Darrell knew he destined to be a storyteller. Although he penned his first novel in the early nineties, it wasn’t until 2001 that he seriously shopped his material around, later being picked up by Publish America, Inc., and Triple Crown Productions, which is currently his literary home. A connoisseur of hip hop music, with some of his favorites being Tupac and Biggie, Darrell’s works bring an edginess that can not be found elsewhere. Currently Mr. King resides in Prince George’s County, Maryland with his wife Sonya and their five children. Please read on to find out more about this budding novelist.

UBS: Do you still write poetry? Do you think you will ever publish a collection of your poetry?
Occasionally, but I have not written poetry in a while. I used to host a poetry forum along with my wife, Sonya, back in ‘98. We'd meet at my crib every Sunday. We called it ‘Alchemy’. Maybe in the future I could consider penning a collection of my poetry again.

UBS: What inspired you to write Dirty South?
Though I was born in Washington, DC, I lived for 15 years of my life down in South Carolina on a small coastal sea island called Daufuskie. There in the low country regions of South Carolina and Georgia (Savannah), there is a geechee/Gullah culture that mirrors Jamaican or Haitian culture. Drugs and violence are rampant in Savannah and Low Country, S.C., but largely goes unnoticed due to exposure. Many of my relatives and friends were drug lords of those areas during the 1980's and as a result, I was exposed to that underworld culture up close and personal.

UBS: We know you are a fan of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., do you think music plays a role in our literature?
Absolutely. I never write any story of mine without ‘mood music’. The music of Tupac, Biggie, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and other gangsta rap legends inspire me to bring the plots, characters, and background of my stories to life. Most Hip Hop artists are great storytellers with the late Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. being among the very best that ever did it.

UBS: Your first published work was a short illustrated story featured in your school’s newspaper, do you still draw?
Very rarely now. At times I’ll draw a picture or two for one of my daughters to show off at school. But for real, I know friends of mine who would be much better illustrators than I could ever be. However, my son, D.J., is a very good artist for a 14-year-old. His illustrations are the bomb! As for me, I'll stick with writing. Thank you.

UBS: For those who haven't had the opportunity to read Dirty South, can you tell us about it?
Dirty South is a tale of redemption, a cautionary coming-of-age story involving a young cat who is blinded by the lure of fast money, sexy dimes, and unrivaled power. Rae-kwon Lake’s story epitomizes the typical plight that a lot of Black youths go through, who feel that the quickest route out of the poverty and the hood is via drug trafficking, not caring about or fully understanding the grim consequences of the unforgiving dope game.

UBS: Where do you see Urban Fiction in ten years?
With the tremendous popularity and cult following this genre is generating now in its early stage, we’re going to have a 500-pound gorilla on our hands. Much like its musical counterpart, Hip Hop—street literature is going to change the literary landscape. The young readers who are now in their teens and twenties (Generation Y) are reading and enjoying street lit novels and as they mature, their love for this genre will mature with them. Street literature is the ‘Hardboiled’ or pulp fiction novels of the modern age. During the 1930’s through the 1950’s, the novels of Ray Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Mickey Spillane dominated the bookshelves. They were dUBSed ‘hardboiled’ because it detailed the lives of mobsters, tough guy cops, etc. Now we have K’wan Foye, Nikki Turner and Vicki Stringer, to name a few. Street lit is classic Hardboiled fiction reborn, only now it’s Black and beautiful.

UBS: Are you currently working on any new projects or sequels? If so, can you share with us what they are?
Yes! I’m always writing or contemplating new works of fiction. Currently I’m working on my second Triple Crown title. Though I won’t reveal the title to you guys yet (I want you to be surprised!). This time around I’m going to spotlight my birthplace, Washington, DC. The mean street of the Nation’s Capitol ran red with blood during the infamous ‘Crack Epidemic’ of the 80’s. Murders and drug related violence was such that the Chocolate City earned the titles Murder Capitol and Doe City I’m going to take the reader back in time with me to a period dominated by drug kingpin Rayful Edmonds III, Mayor Marion Barry, Go-Go Godfather Chuck Brown and Reaganomics. So, put on your seatbelts because it’s going to be a helluva bumpy ride!

UBS: You started writing at the age of eight, what were you writing at that age and what inspired you to write at such an early age?
I was a comic book and fantasy fanatic. I would collect the old Marvel and DC comics of my older cousins back then. Those storylines were hot, action-packed, drama filled, and kept the reader turning pages. These were the foundation of what would become my future writing style. Later on in middle school the adventure novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.G. Wells interested me, as did the works of horror masters Steven King, Clive Barker, and Dean Koontz. I wrote a lot of stories which combined elements of action, adventure, and horror themes back then.

UBS: When did you know this would be your profession?
When I graduated from high school, I began reading the works of Chester Himes that led to my reading the entire Donald Goines body of work, followed by the novels of Robert ‘Iceberg Slim’ Beck. I was absolutely hooked on these books! So I began writing my very first street inspired manuscript in 1990. I shopped it around a few times, but because I didn't know the proper manner in which to professionally prepare a manuscript, I was rejected every time. Then in 2001, I read Sistah Souljah's Coldest Winter Ever that novel basically resuscitated the street lit genre in which Goines, Slim, and Himes had pioneered years earlier. It prompted me to once again push for publication. I landed a deal with a small publisher (Publish America, Inc.) and published my first novel entitled Mackdaddy: Legacy of a Gangsta (2004). After that it was on.

UBS: What other authors and books are you into when you get some downtime?
I read a lot of nonfiction stuff actually. I enjoy autobiographies as well as biographies. Historical figures I find especially interesting are the Kennedy’s, Malcolm X, and the Black Panther movement. I've read a number of Mafia stories about everybody from Bugsy Siegel to the Japanese Yakuzas. On the fictional side, I enjoy all of K’wan’s stories especially Road Dawgz and Zane’s erotica never fails to entertain me. There are many skilled authors out there and so many hot novels that I find myself reading a wide variety of genres.

UBS: What brought you to Triple Crown Publications and what was the deciding factor that helped you make your decision?
I’d hoped long and hard to have a shot at landing a deal with Triple Crown for such a long time that when TCP came calling, it was a no-brainer. At first I had a deal with another major street lit publisher, but one evening I received a phone call from Vickie Stringer herself congratulating me on a two-book deal with TCP. I was ecstatic. I wasted no time in rejecting my first publishing offer. Triple Crown Publications is the number one publisher of street literature in the United States today. They have a solid and strong track record of major success, innovative authors, and unbelievably hot urban lit novels. I could not have asked for a better opportunity or a more quality group of fellow authors, staff, and fans that I've been blessed to have than at Triple Crown Publications, to coin Vicki's motto ... I’m down for my crown!

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