Dubbed by Publisher's Weekly as the reigning queen of urban fiction, ex-con Vickie M. Stringer has returned with the third sequel to her red hot 'Dirty' series, 'Dirtier Than Ever.'
True to form, the novel is filled with wild twists and turns that will leave readers on tenterhooks as they turn the page. This time, we find the dynamic trio engaged in a full-on game of life and death: the lovely and seductive Red Gomez, who will stop at nothing to get her way; Bacon, her kingpin boyfriend; and Quentin Carter, the true love of Red's life, who is angling to get out of Detroit's treacherous street game.
BlackVoices.com catches up with the founder of Triple Crown, one of the most successful African American book publishers, to talk about the sequel, her life and the publishing industry.
BV on Books: So, you've written the third installment to 'Still Dirty.' Is this the end or is there more to come?
Vickie Stringer: By popular demand, I've added two more installments, 'Down Low & Dirty' and, the finale, 'Dirty Love.'
BV: Your characters are so unique. How do you develop them? Are they based on people you've met?
VS: I always, always write about people I know. I don't think the biggest mind could imagine these crazy characters, so they have to be real.
BV: You are the reigning queen of urban lit. What did you have in mind when you started writing? There weren't many books like yours on the shelves. What was your inspiration?
VS: I was inspired by Donald Goines.
BV: Did you think urban lit would become a genre in and of itself?
VS: Yes, actually, I did. I thought this because of the absence. Just like hip hop was added to music, hip hop was added to clothing, I knew this would be added to publishing. You cannot pioneer without vision. My vision was Triple Crown, and my vision is in fruition today.
BV: Urban lit has garnered a bad rap for outpacing sale of more serious literature. Do you think it's unfair?
VS: I think it is unfair and, unfortunately, instead of the genre standing on the merits of commerce, the moniker is negative. And I feel like the Little Richard of the book industry. Triple Crown not only pioneered the genre, we birthed the urban fiction roster that you read today.
BV: Part of the bad rap is that critics say urban lit has contributed to the black corner in bookstores. Do you agree/disagree?
VS: There has always been a black corner and always will be a black this or black that until we are taken seriously for the talents that this genre includes. I mean, really, the sales of my work and of Triple Crown authors can compete (numbers-wise) with mainstream authors. I'm furious when I see so many New York Times bestsellers, then research those numbers and those books have not sold close to what my titles or company titles have sold.
BV: Triple Crown Publications is one of the most successful African-American publishers in the nation and abroad. What accounts for that?
VS: We are successful first and foremost through the grace of God. I say God because of the timing and the favor my company has with the industry decision makers. Next, there is the fan support that really is the biggest success. Coming in after that is the hard work and dedication of my staff and authors. I'm also very fortunate to have the wisdom that my editor at Atria Books, Malaika Adero, shares. See, I'm not just one of her authors, but someone who can come to her as a veteran with ideas. There is no one set of answers to this question, but I do know that, ultimately, success boils down to one thing: How bad to you want it?
BV: Finally, what is your advice for aspiring authors?
VS: Today, your material must be above the best. It must be excellent in all areas: creativity, content and clarity. The bar is high for this genre, and you have to measure up.