Intelligent Urban Fiction

by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti
June 2008


Moses Miller is not your typical street lit author. His voice comes from a higher calling. Think of him as A Tribe Called Quest as compared to 50 Cent. His idols in the book game are James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Walter Mosley and Richard Wright—literary giants. So you can say Moses Miller aspires to more than hood star status or ghetto fabulousness. This journalist/writer/activist/author, who hails from NYC, obtained his bachelors degree from Empire State College and his Masters of Science degree from Polytechnic University. He came into this game with an understanding of the historical and ethical principles of writing and journalism. Call it intelligent urban fiction because Moses Miller is the type of brother that has perfected his craft and it shows in his books. Check them out. Here's the UBS interview:

Seth: Who are you and where are you from?
Moses Miller:
I’m Moses Miller—journalist, scientist, mentor, leader, literacy champion, and author. I’m from New York and I write books for those in the ghetto, suburbs, and everywhere in between.

Seth: How did you start writing and why?
Moses Miller:
I started writing when I was about five or six years old. Back then, I used to draw stick figures with dialogue bubbles over their heads. When I was seven I stepped my game up and started writing in chapter book format. I’ve always had a love for the art of storytelling.

Moses MillerSeth: What books do you have out and when did they come out?
Moses Miller:
Nan: The Trifling Times of Nathan Jones was released late 2006. We released a special edition of that novel in the summer of 2007, when my book with F.E.D.S. magazine, Once Upon a Time in Harlem came out.

Seth: Describe your books and your writing style?
Moses Miller:
My style would best be described as very detailed, fast moving, and character driven. I’m well educated, inside, and outside of the classroom and I’ve been exposed to a lot of different things in my life. So, I draw on all those things, as well as my vivid imagination when I put my pen to the pad. With Nan: The Trifling Times of Nathan Jones, I painted a picture that detailed the impact of one tragic event on two teenagers. Their parents were both killed on the same night, by the same man. I walk you through each and every thing that transpires in their lives through adulthood. In Once Upon a Time in Harlem, desperation turns to irrational decision making for two brothers with their backs up against the wall. Both books deal with key events and the decisions that the characters make from that point forward. I draw my readers in because my plots and storylines are true to life and realistic. I believe that life is merely a series of events. Our choices, actions, decisions, and resolve is truly what defines us.

Seth: How have readers reacted to your books?
Moses Miller:
Readers have shown me a lot of love. My focus has been on building a readership through quality books. So, I’m definitely more about substance than hype and I believe that people appreciate that about me.

Seth: What publishers have you worked with?
Moses Miller:
I’m co-owner of Mind Candy, LLC. (MindCandyMedia.com), which released the first book in the Nan series and will also be publishing the sequel titled, Nan: The Game of Trife. Besides that, F.E.D.S. magazine is the only other publisher that I have published with.

Seth: What authors do you admire and what books have you read lately?
Moses Miller:
I admire Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and a few others that preceded me because of the things they were writing about during their respective eras. Michael Crichton, John Grisham, James Patterson and Walter Mosley as well. There are also authors that I respect just for being positive individuals, which would include Therone Shellman, JM Benjamin, Renee Flagler, Renee Jones-Brown, Dwayne Murray, Kwan, Crystal Stell-Perkins, and a handful of others. As far as my reading list, right now I’m reading 40 Million Dollar Slaves, Black Boy and a story on Walmart. I want to keep little to no inventory in my warehouse like they do.

Seth: What do you think of the street lit genre?
Moses Miller:
I don’t think people understand it, so their own ignorance is conveyed in many of the comments that they make. For instance, I’ve heard comments about the strong use of slang and the bad grammar that some of the books have. However, historically there are several era’s where the authors used words or phraseology that wasn’t traditional English. moses miller titlesThe “born again” Christians frown their noses upon it, but they watch Harry Potter with their kids, which is essentially witchcraft and satanic in nature. The well educated “elite” blame street fiction for the incarceration rate amongst minorities, but statistics show that the majority of those incarcerated are illiterate or reading at a fourth grade level or below. People fear what they don’t understand, and they bash it until they figure out how to control and make money off of it…then it’s all good. I take all of the comments in stride though because I refuse to be defined by a label. I can write in any genre.

Seth: What is your relationship with F.E.D.S magazine?
Moses Miller:
The owner, Antoine Clark, read my first novel and asked me to write a story based on a concept he had about a crime family based in Harlem that remained relevant over several generations. From numbers to crack you’ll see how drugs impacted the family and the impact it had on the Harlem landscape. In essence, their story is one and the same. I ran with that concept and came up with Once Upon a Time in Harlem. Working on the project was a unique experience. Being that it had the F.E.D.S. brand on it, the research had to be done to make sure it was true to the era it was set in.

Seth: How have the book signings and author appearances been going?
Moses Miller:
That’s always love. There’s nothing like connecting with readers. Besides speaking to the youth, that’s probably my favorite thing about this book game. I love talking about my books and hearing feedback after someone has read them.

Seth: Who have you hooked up with and done appearances with?
Moses Miller:
I’ve been fortunate to do appearances with a lot of different authors. I met Bern Nadette Stanis at the Book Expo and that was cool. I had a crush on Thelma when I used to watch Good Times as a kid.

Seth: What's next for you?
Moses Miller:
More compelling novels, screenplays, and eventually films. I’m going to change the world…they just haven’t figured it out yet.

Seth: Any advice to aspiring authors?
Moses Miller:
As far as the business is concerned, research and read as many books as you can. There’s plenty of free information on the web or at the library, so there’s really no excuse to remain ignorant. With the writing, always challenge yourself and your readers. The beauty of being a fiction writer is that it allows you the flexibility to write about things you may have never experienced firsthand. Step outside of your comfort zone. Readers get sick of being fed the same stories rehashed with slightly different spins. Build upon the legacy and the foundation laid by those that came before you.


Seth Ferranti is a contributing writer for The Urban Book Source and accomplished journalist having written articles for Don Diva, Slam, King, Feds and many more. View more of his articles at: www.gorillaconvict.com


Comments page 1 of 1:
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Udday :
Posted 1939 days ago
I think that the finer point that you may be missing is that some asptecs of a product just shouldn't be made remarkable. He gave some examples, I'll try to give another. Ben & Jerry's ice cream is remarkable in the names of the flavors and for it's ingredients. But, those ingredients are constrained within certain norms. For example, Cherry Garcia has cherries, cream, sugar, all ingredients you'd expect to see in ice cream. However, Ben & Jerry's doesn't use cream from human milk like Peta has suggested they use. Even though that would certainly be remarkable if they did so, nobody would buy the product anymore.
Cherri Millard :
Posted 3391 days ago
Moses Miller sets the bar!
worthyof :
Posted 3396 days ago
This is an author worth reading and writing about. Kudos to UBS, finally. To add to what he was saying on bad grammar and slang, history is just that..in the past. We are an evolving people and we should be writing books with proper grammar so that the convicts that are reading on 4th grade levels can learn the correct spelling and pronounciation of words. This to expand their minds and not keep them in a blind state of illiteracy. Christianity is a whole other story, there are many "Christians" using that title and the Bible to frown upon others when in Spiritual truth we are called upon to help our brothers and sisters in the name of Christianity. If respected for his talent and difference in creativity, Moses Miller has an opportunity to reach many of our people trapped inside close minded thinking through admiration. Best of luck to him!
SiStar Tea ARC Book Club Inc. :
Posted 3396 days ago
Moses is one of the best this genre has to offer. His book can hold there own. I love his writing style and am so looking forward to getting Game of Trife at the HBF this yr. This is a great interview keep up the great work Moses
OOSA Online Book Club :
Posted 3397 days ago
Moses Miller is in a league of his own! If you have not had the privilege to read his work, then you are truly missing out on some of the best that this genre has to offer!
This is a great look, Moses!
The Ladies of O.O.S.A
Joey Pinkney :
Posted 3398 days ago
Man, this was a great interview! I mean, how many urban fiction authors include the title of "scientist" on their biographical short list?
His answer was the best that I've come across so far when posed with the "what's your position on urban fiction" question. Being educated adds a dimension to your answers that "keeping it real" just can compare to. (I'm not talking about bookworm education; I'm talking about self-education.)
Big things are on the horizon for urban lit, Mind Candy and Moses Miller.
- Joey
Ian Miller: Director Behind the Books :
Posted 3398 days ago
Moses Miller is a conscious author and I wish him much continued success. Keep doing you brother.
Pooh :
Posted 3398 days ago
I got the honor to meet Moses Miller @ our annual event in Norfolk, VA called Afr'am Fest. He is the most coolest of the coolest authors I have me thus far. He was kind enough to sign my book and an article he did (that I printed out) on mind candy. He didn't have an attitude or come off like he didn't want to be bothered; He is one of my favorite authors thus far. I can't wait to cop the Game of Trife @ HBF this year as well.
Michele :
Posted 3398 days ago
I've been following Moses Miller for a while, and I couldn't be more thankful that the industry has a few authors like him. I only hope others will step up to the challenge and challenge their minds and their selves. Your work is commendable Moses!
 




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