Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti
Urban Book Source
Once a member of the United States Marshal's Most Wanted list, Seth Ferranti now finds himself among Urban Fictions top writers. Thirteen years into his 25 to life sentence, Seth has proved himself to be one of the much needed voices in an overgrown genre. Lending a light to what life in prison is really about; Seth has captured the minds of his readers with is freshman novel Prison Stories and promises to bring much of the same in the near future.
UBS: What are some of the biggest obstacles you face being an author in prison?
Seth: There are a lot of obstacles. Fucked up typewriters and copiers and restricted times to use them. Staff is always investigating what you are doing, like it’s a criminal act to write a book. Hole time. Staff holding my mail and manuscripts for weeks on end. I’ve filed lawsuits for my right to write. It’s not pretty. But the biggest obstacle is that in here I’m forced to crawl. I can’t spread my wings. I have limited phone time, limited contact with people in the outside world. Without my wife who runs my website and publishing house, gorillaconvict.com, I’d be hit. Her sacrifices enable me to crawl faster. Still it’s a steep incline. I’m may be crawling up but I will reach my peak no matter the obstacles placed in my way.
UBS: What motivated you to write a real life account of prison life?
Seth: It was all I knew. It was what I was living. I came to prison at the age of 22. I grew to be a man behind these fences. I wanted to show what it was like, plus I admired writers like George Jackson (Soledad Brother), Jack Henry (In the Belly of the Beast), and Edward Bunker (Education of a Felon). They were the writers that showed me I could do it too.
UBS: What makes you novel different from all the other books out about life in prison?
Seth: My book isn’t some academic or analytical account of prison life. My book is a street novel that takes place in prison. It’s not the regular bang, bang, shoot ‘em up, sex ‘em down street novel. It shows what goes down on the inside through the eyes of the main story’s drug dealer and through the interludes. Its reality fiction and I’ve been told it’s very entertaining. It’s biographical to a point but I take a literary license because the book is a story.
UBS: Were you a writer before you got sentenced?
Seth: I never really wrote before I was incarcerated and I didn’t start writing until 1999, six years into my sentence.
UBS: Are your characters based on real people? How do inmates react to your book?
Seth: All my characters are based on real people. Prisoners love my book. They are my biggest audience. To them my stories, which someone on the outside might find shocking, are humorous in a way. Everybody [prisoners] is always asking me for a copy to read.
UBS: How do you feel about the way prison and jail terms are portrayed in Street-lit?
Seth: Prison time and death are a part of life in the streets so it’s obvious this is reflected in Street-lit. But I think Street-lit portrays prison and jail terms as just a temporary stop over in the story, but in reality this isn’t the case. Dudes are serving life and doing football numbers. Once they are caught they aren’t getting out. There is no gangta’s paradise or thug heaven.
UBS: What would your advice be to a teen reading your book or any other Gangster-lit book who may be thinking about getting into the lifestyle portrayed on the pages of these novels?
Seth: I’d say don’t do it. Go to school. Do something legit, but if you are going to get involved in the drug game remember—if you are willing to do the crime, be willing to do the time.
UBS: In what state do you expect to find the Urban Fiction genre when you get out?
Seth: Right now the Urban Fiction genre is grossing $50 million a year. I expect it to grow and go mainstream just like Gangsta Rap and Hip-Hop has, but the stories have to evolve from the bang, bang, sex, money and drugs formula. Just like Grand Master Flash influenced Rakim who influenced Nas and Jay Z. The Genre has to grow and expand creatively.
UBS: Can your fans look forward to any other books in the near future?
Seth: Look out for my next book, Murder Capital, which puts a white boy set out of the affluent suburbs of Northern Virginia against brutal crews from Southeast D.C. in a body-dropping epic that challenges social structures and class divisions.
For more information on Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti, visit: www.gorillaconvict.com
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