by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti
When Queen of Hip-Hop Lit, Nikki Turner, needed an author to launch her Nikki Turner Presents line of hard-hitting street lit, she didn't have very far to look. In fact the Richmond, Virginia native, who penned the classic A Hustler's Wife, found her line-launching author in her own backyard. And that author was Seven a.k.a. The Urban Therapist. Born and raised in the Whitcomb Court Housing Project in Richmond, Virginia, Seven is very familiar with the street lit she's writing. Her father was once one of the most notorious hustlers in Richmond and other members of her family have been involved in the street life. Unfortunately the game claimed her father, who died while she was young and her older brother who has been behind bars for the last 20 years. All this puts Seven in a unique position to keep it real and her novel Gorilla Black is the result. But let her tell it in this Urban Book Source exclusive.
Why did you start writing?
I've been writing all of my life. I started writing poetry when I was in elementary school. Writing is therapeutic for me. It helps me to deal and heal from all the pain and suffering I've not only seen but have endured. Writing is my gift from God. It comes to me naturally and without planning.
How did you hook up with Nikki?
A friend and author buddy of mine (Lakesa Cox) who is also from Richmond, heard that I was in D.C writing. She was connected with Nikki and was writing a story for the Street Chronicles Series. She mentioned my name to Nikki and later exchanged mine and Nikki's email addresses. One night, Nikki and I finally connected through email. At the time, stories had already been submitted and authors were chosen for the Street Chronicles/Tales from da Hood series. Nikki had received well over 600 submissions and wasn't that thrilled about reading another story unless it was pure fire. Nikki asked me bluntly, "Can you bring it? I laughed and thought to myself, "She must not know who I am."
Nikki was the reigning Princess at the time, on her way to becoming the Queen of Hip Hop Fiction and while I respected royalty, I had no intention of wasting her time. We chatted back and forth for a minute , then Nikki plainly told me that if I wanted in, then I needed to have the story in to her before the week was out. I didn't have anything prepared. I was a poet and had no desire to be a Urban Fiction Writer. So, it wasn't like I had short stories laying around the crib collecting dust. However, I'm not one to challenge. I took the challenge personal as if she were doubting my skills and street creed. So, with Nikki sitting at her computer in Richmond and me at mine in Maryland, I began to spit whatever came to the top of my head. I gave her about 1/3 of the first chapter of my short story, Big Daddy, and she loved it. She was screaming through the computer, "Bring it Seven!" Then, she called me on the phone. I finished the story before the week was out and the rest is history. If I might add, my story Big Daddy became the lead story in the Street Chronicles series.
How are fans reacting to your new book Gorilla Black?
Fans are loving Gorilla Black. I have fans from everywhere showing me love. However, the amount of love and support I'm getting from brothers in prison is beyond measure. I wrote Gorilla Black for the brothers and to know that they are embracing my story and its message is a wonderful feeling, especially since my brother G has been in prison now for 20 years.
Where did the story and characters come from?
I created an urban love story after the lost of my sister and her man back in 2004. They died six weeks apart. While the story is not about the their lives per se, I developed the concept of beautiful girl and drug lord because they lived very similar lives. Gorilla Black is my dedication to them and to my brother who passed in 1989.
How does it feel to be the first author on Nikki's new imprint?
Absolutely Outstanding! I'm honored to have lead the Street Chronicles series of anthologies and to be chosen as the lead author of the NT Presents book line. That's a good look on my resume!
What else are you working on?
It's a surprise. I'll just say that in my next novel, I'm going to bring fire and drop knowledge! It will have all the ingredients of Big Daddy and Gorilla Black all rolled into 65,000 words or more.
What did you do before you became an author?
I graduated from Virginia Union University, then worked several different jobs. My experiences include working with at-risk populations. I've worked in capacities where I've provided outreach and counseling. I've also worked for some of the top Fortune 500 companies in America. After completing my masters in public administration, I hope to start my own non-profit agency-while still writing.
Where are you from and do you draw your story locations from real life?
I am from Richmond, Va. Most of the locations in my work are real and have some significance to my readers and the people of Richmond.
I would like to thank you for showing me love and taking the time to read and review my work. It really means a lot to me!
For more information on Seven, visit:
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
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