T. Styles
Urban Book Source
April 2006
Toy StylesT. Styles is not your average Urban Lit author. This model, turned writer is a multi-talented renaissance woman in her own right. Having worked as a massage therapist and public speaker for organizations such as the U.S. Supreme Court, T. Styles has definitely not had your run-of-the-mill jobs. But it wasn’t until recently she decided to cave in to her “true love”—writing. With A Hustler’s Son on street vendor carts and in stores near you, T. is hard at work on her next novel she has in store for her readers.

UBS: At what point did you realize that writing was your true passion?
T. Styles:
I always enjoyed literature and appreciated how a good fiction story always seemed to take me out of my reality, and into the lives of the characters within the book. When I was younger, I often felt inadequate as a child, and reading rescued me from boredom I was faced with when being alone. For some reason, I could never find my way into the “cool crew” at school. It wasn’t until I became comfortable with being alone, that my confidence increased. Once this happened, people wanted to know who I was, and soon I gained a few friends. It was then that I started a reading circle with my newfound friends and we’d talk about the books that we purchased from the Reading Group circular that went around school. So I always had a love for literature, but it wasn’t until last year that I decided to take my love for the arts a little further, by writing my first book.

UBS: What was you motivation for writing A Hustler’s Son?
T. Styles:
I’m a publisher shopper. If there’s a publishing company I want to work with, I look at their current selection of books and attempt to offer them something they don’t already have. This was my frame of thinking when I approached Triple Crown Publications. Triple Crown to me was the “Bad Boy” of urban literature and I quickly learned from bookstores that their titles moved. I remember doing book signings for my self published novel and noticed that in most African American bookstores, TCP books had a section of their own. So I decided to read synopsizes of all of the books on their label. After that, I dove into my personal life experiences to see what I could draw from it. Before the book was even a thought, I remember thinking about my past relationship and how the mother of my Ex always seemed to get involved in our business, almost as if she loved him more than just a son. So out of that scenario, this 15 year-old boy name Kelsi, and his mother Janet was born. Janet was as overprotective of Kelsi, as my Ex’s mother was of him. The rest was A Hustler’s Son history.

UBS: How long did it take you to complete A Hustler’s Son?
T. Styles:
It took me 2 weeks to write A Hustler’s Son. It was originally called “Mama’s Soldier”, but the label decided it would be spicier if we switched the title.

UBS: What type of books do you read when you not writing your own work? And who are some of your favorite authors?
T. Styles:
I read books in the street lit genre a lot, since this is the market I currently want to appeal to. I study the writings of the best sellers, to constantly push myself to do better on my future novels. When I’m not reading Street Lit fiction, I’m reading self-improvement, and empowerment books. One of my favorite books is Screenplay by Syd Field. This book goes into detail about developing characters and scenes in screenplays, but I quickly learned that this book can also be used to develop characters in novels. I got this idea from Mark Anthony of Qboro books. As a result, this book is now the blueprint I will use to write all my future novels. Some of my favorite authors are, T.N. Baker, Mister Mann Frisby, Quentin Carter, Sistah Souljah, Cydney Rax and Leo Sullivan.

UBS: Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
T. Styles:
I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s flood. Everyday, and I do mean every day, I’m flooded with ideas for books. Sometimes it’s frustrating because the ideas begin to run together when I’m already working on one. To this day I have written over 17 books in less than a year’s time frame. The books are in bare form so right before I consider them for other publishers, I do what I call, “Fluff” them up. By this I mean that I reread the entire book and build out the characters, scenes and adversities to make for a better story.

UBS: When you are not writing, what are some of your favorite pastimes?
T. Styles:
I love, and I do mean love watching my DVD’s. When I’m not doing that, I’m a hog so I enjoy eating, dancing and entertaining company. When I feel like being alone, I’ll curl up in my bed, and let the Lifetime channel roll! Last but not least, I’m on forums like Urban Book Battles and Coast 2 Coast. I also host a monthly book club in the Baltimore area. And no…we haven’t read any of my books although they want to. It would be too weird for me. My favorite part of our group is when we meet local self-published authors to show them support.

UBS: Do you plan on writing in other genres? If so, which ones?
T. Styles:
Yes! Writing in other genres will give me the opportunity to challenge myself. I have written a children’s book that I’m crazy about. Once I get a good illustrator, it will be on and poppin’!

UBS: We hear you have hundreds of DVD’s in your collection. Which ones are your favorites?
T. Styles:
My favorite movies of all time are Braveheart, Troy, Gladiator, Paid N Full, Boys N The Hood, Menace to Society and Color Purple. And my favorite TV show DVD’s are Reno 911, Sopranos, Without A Trace, CSI and In Living Color.

UBS: Do you use movies as inspiration for any of your books?
T. Styles:
Yes. I don’t sit down and say I’ll throw in Braveheart or Gladiator, etc, to see what I can draw from it. But after watching so many movies, soon they began to run together and before you know it, another book is born.

UBS: Where do you see Urban Fiction in a few years?
T. Styles:
Urban Fiction will take off! I see it as a respected genre of literature and those who have a problem with it will have to get over it, or get run over. With 50 Cent and other powerhouses taking a stab at the publishing game, our future is destined. The period we’re in now reminds me of when rap was first born. There were a lot of critics who gave rap a short life span, but those who believed in the music, and put their money where their mouths were, are now sitting on Islands with their families, living it up. The only problem I can foresee will happen between the authors. Most authors don t reach out to others, when they should. What’s wrong with telling another author you appreciate their work, and ask them if they can give you any advice? Nothing! But you have some authors who are so snobby, they think replying to another author is beneath them. This attitude will be the death of us. We have to work together. Sure there’s competition involved, but the more competition, the more possible it will be for our genre to succeed.

UBS: Can you tell us what is in the future for T. Styles?
T. Styles:
I see myself being established, respected and satisfied. My fans will know me as the author who will respond to every email they send me and welcome their opinions. I will also have put out about six books over the next two years so my fans will never have to wait. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about finding what to write about, all I have to do is fluff up the current manuscripts I’ve created. In addition, I want to work with some serious professionals to see an Urban Magazine come into play. I’m not talking about sections within a magazine, but a dedicated magazine exclusively for our work. I have some great ideas that I think will make the publication successful. The magazine will give readers a chance to know what’s going on in the minds of their favorite authors because believe it or not, they do want to know. I’m also working on some ideas for an annual Urban Lit Award ceremony. I want this to be the place to attend each year. This ceremony will present awards to the best writers in our genre. But I’m not going to lie; the emphasis will be placed primarily on Street Lit fiction. It will include reenacting scenes from the nominated authors’ books. Imagine seeing a scene in your book reenacted! With the right people involved, it’s going to be one fly and classy event!


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