Jarold Imes
Urban Book Source
February 2006

From the age of 13, Jarold Imes has been blessing his readers with one of a kind, mind opening reads, centered around the social issues our men and women face.

Jarold, a fixture of hope and courage, has been belittled by many critics who call his work childish, but this has not stopped this born again Christian from realizing his dreams. In 2001 Jarold launched his own publishing company, releasing Never Too Much and The Rhyme, The Story and Me continuing on to launch his first webdrama “GETBACK-The Drama” later in the year. Since then Jarold has gone on to produce three additional webdramas including “Hold on Be Strong” a spin off of his popular novel, and two additional novels including Worth Fighting 4.

Currently Imes is working on his second Christian themed work, Saved for the Summer, an anthology of short stories, and is an active contributor for Urban Book Battles, and Middle Child Promotions.

UBS: You are currently the President and Editor in Chief of Vic Mar Publications that has 4 imprints the author of six novels. With so much on your plate, how do you find the time to write?
I find the time to write. For the past few years, I’ve written what we call “webdramas” which is like a writing blog except it’s fiction and written in the format of a play or a soap opera. It’s like reading the play version of “Days of Our Lives” or “The Young and the Restless” and I typically post a new episode on Mondays at www.HoldOnBeStrong.com. I got thirty or so characters that I got to work around the episodes every week. To my knowledge, I’m one of two black men doing it. My mentor, Darius Gourdine writes “As the Sands Burn” (AstheSandsBurn.com) which is about Black Greek Letter Organizations on HBCU campuses. His has been running for seven years now. I also respond to commentary and articles published by people or I may write my own. Being able to debate an issue or bring awareness to a social ill is my thing because I’ve never been the type of person to just accept things the way they are. I question people about the choices they make and sometimes I expose sources of problems or decisions that we make as a people. Often times, it is my commentaries or my responses that give me ideas for my novels.

UBS: Both of your published books have very positive messages in them. What do you hope to achieve with your literature?
I want people to take a look around them. Look at our children and where they are headed. Look at what my generation had to grow up with and look at the lengths we are going through to overcome those situations. When people read my books, I want them to pick up the phone and call their friends and discuss solutions to problems that I bring up. I want people to call their councilmen or congresswoman and say “Hey, we got a problem here and we need to meet with you not now but RIGHT NOW to fix it.” We had this thing at North Carolina A&T where we said that “if you are not going to be part of the solution, then you have no discourse to discuss the problem.” We need to stop being talkers and start being doers. That is how our ancestors in Africa got things done and if we put in a lot of time, some manpower and have a little patience, we can do that too. If my books can begin to accomplish that then I’ve done what I’m supposed to do.

UBS: You recently posted an article written by a person in opposition of Urban Fiction. What would you say to those who are bashing urban literature?
I could say many things and I do say a lot of things. Be careful with the words you use to critique our works and how you address us while sitting behind the computer. Would you say to my face or another author’s face what you are so quick to type on a paper and discuss with your “friends?” Of course not, that’s why you typed it instead of calling me. Do you think because you go to the thesaurus to use the most difficult and “educated” word to describe how you want to “bash me or knock me upside my head” or that “you wish I would die” that I won’t go to the dictionary and find out what you are “trying” to say? I’m not stupid! And I don’t take kindly to threats whether veiled or upfront. I got feelings and I don’t want them trampled on just like you got feelings and you don’t want me to knock you on your ass. Don’t say or write evil and cold hearted things about us and then get pissed when I call you on it because I’m liable to let you know what I think and how I feel and even though I may be wrong at times, I just might hurt your feelings. It’s not right and it’s not okay and before you open your mouth or type on your computer, you need to know that.

Sometimes I feel like I’m one of the few people who defend us and our rights to say what we want and do what we want, but I got to. I’m used to representing the voiceless, the often seen but not always heard. By not responding or commenting on things I KNOW folks have said about us as writers and as people (because we are people first) and this genre, I validate and give them permission to let them shape and mold their reader’s minds and opinions. I’m not giving them that right… at least not without presenting our view and giving the reader the opportunity to get to know us.

To the supposed to be “real” or “serious” authors (like we aren’t) who are whining and complaining about how some of the street/urban/hip-hop writers are outselling them now, I’d ask a few of them when was the last time you submitted something of Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y to the publishers of this genre to help them come up? When was the last time you’ve EVER answered a call for one of my anthologies I’ve tried to publish or even tell me what I’m doing wrong that makes my offer unattractive? I always invite anyone and everyone and I’ve only had ONE national bestselling author reach back and try to help me out. If it’s because you think you are too good for me or for other publishers of this genre, then maybe that’s the reason why you aren’t selling. You’re not giving us a chance. You’re turning your nose up before even giving us a chance to show up at the table to see what we’ve got. I’ve never known Carl Weber or Mark Anthony to turn down quality literature. I’m pretty sure if you took Vickie or Antoine and Tania seriously as publishers they’d take you seriously as a writer. I can say that because I buy, READ and sell their work. And that’s the key, I READ the works they publish; I don’t just make quick judgments about them because of what I’ve heard and I don’t just sell them to make a quick buck.

UBS: What do you think of the Urban fiction trend of right now?
We are evolving. Like the romance genre, we are starting to branch and use this Urban fiction voice in other genres.

There are writers who are using their voice to profess their love for our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ…some are doing it for Muhammad, but we are addressing those complex religious issues that perplexes ordinary people everyday. We are exposing them to our thoughts and beliefs and I’m cool with that. Some are trying their hand at Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Mystery/Suspense…bringing their fans along for the journey while attempting to attract new fans. You even got a few that are thinking about the children and being more conscious of what they write or writing versions of their novels that are age appropriate. So we are going everywhere.

UBS: We know you are looking for submissions for your anthology Saved for the Summer. What is you motivation behind producing a book of this kind? What kind of reaction do you anticipate?
I’m a Christian, even with all my faults and all my sins, that’s what I am. I want to dispel the myth that those of us who write street/urban/hip-hop fiction are all heathens and all we talk about is drugs and sex because that is not the truth at all. I want to give other writers a chance to profess their love for our Lord & Savior. We shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are and whose we are. And we shouldn’t let the world or the “industry insiders” dictate what we can and can’t do. My motivation is honoring the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

I think I will get a good turn out. A lot of people have written me and said they would write and I hope I get enough submissions that I can use them for next year or another series. I want this to be an annual event where I can give the Lord a portion of what He’s given me.

UBS: Can you give us a quick summary of Worth Fighting 4?
Worth Fighting 4 is about a group of sixth graders who fight a local gang for control of their middle school. They didn’t like being told what to wear, where they can go, or if and when they will become members of the gang. They got sick and tired of being sick and tired and they took a stand. This novel is PG-13/TV-14 and is teen friendly… great for high school students.

UBS: With all the writing you do, do you ever stumble upon writer's block? And what do you do to get out of it?
Sometimes. There are times when I can’t even write my soap operas so I have to take a break. I try to work on other projects or5 do other things that are productive to help get me out of it. I don’t force it though. Sometimes the block is there because I have been called to do something else. My writer’s block tends to last for long periods of time so I just let it go and let it flow. But when the material comes to me I can write for days and days.

Jarold Imes is a regular contributing writer for The Urban Book Source and author of Hold on Be Strong. Feel free to send him an email at:jaroldimes@yahoo.com or on a message board near you.

Comments page 1 of 1:
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Kera :
Posted 3097 days ago
I really enjoyed this interview with Mr. Imes. It was very insightful and I'll be looking for his books now.



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