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Thursday, November 15, 2007
A Conversations EXCLUSIVE: Bestselling author Che Parker, author of The Tragic Flaw
Che Parker is one of those authors who you just know will last a long time in the literary industry: he’s calm, cool and collected—and not satisfied with anything but success. His book, The Tragic Flaw, is something that all people can relate to, but not all will admit to seeing themselves within the characters.
In this frank discussion we touch on everything from his beginnings, race in the literary industry and why the adage of ‘reaping what you sow’ is all too true.
TODAY WE HAVE THE PLEASURE TO TALK WITH CHE PARKER, AUTHOR OF THE THRILLER THE Tragic FLAW. CHE, FIRST OF ALL THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. LET'S START WITH SOME BACKGROUND: TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF?
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and although I've lived in Virginia for seven years I still consider KC home. I have a very loving and supportive family and I wouldn't be here today without them. I never know how much detail to provide so I'll just say that I really like cold beer, I love barbeque and I'm a really big fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.
YOUR BOOK, THE TRAGIC FLAW, WAS PUBLISHED BY STREBOR BOOKS. CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOUR LIFE AS CHANGED SINCE BECOMING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?
I'm not sure my life has changed all that much at this point. I'm holding book signings and interacting with people a lot so that's all new. Having a new book out can definitely be a full time job with promotions, and signings and events. It's been fun, though. It's been a blessing.
HOW HAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND HELPED TO PREPARE YOU FOR THE SUCCESS THAT THE BOOK HAS BROUGHT TO YOU?
My day job is in public relations for a very large company, so communicating with people is what I do on a daily basis. In addition to that my jobs have always had a writing aspect, be it as a journalist, or a staff writer, or a public relations professional. So I've been able to bring a professional writing aspect to my fiction. My undergraduate degree was in Communication Studies and I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Writing at Johns Hopkins University, so I'm constantly trying to gain more knowledge and perfect my craft.
TODAY THE "STREET LIT" OR "URBAN LIT" SEEMS TO BE BURNING UP THE BESTSELLERS LIST---AND THE LINES AT THE BOOKSTORE. YOUR BOOK, HOWEVER IS DIFFERENT. DO YOU THINK YOUR ABILITY TO FIND A NEW NICHE IS PROOF THAT READERS WANT SOMETHING MORE?
What's interesting to me is that I just wrote. I just wrote what was in my heart and what was in my head. In fact there were instances where I had no idea where something came from. I didn't think about the audience or the genre or how the book would be categorized. In that way the first book is easier because there's no pressure, no deadlines and no specific expectations. I do think The Tragic Flaw is different than a lot of fiction out there because of what I bring to the table and how I approach the subject matter.
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW YOUR BOOKS---AT LEAST I CAN SAY HERE IN THE SOUTH---ARE CROSSING OVER RACIAL LINES SIMPLY BASED ON THE STORY LINE? I can't really say I'm surprised. I think what surprises me more is that reading and literature is still segregated. Do we really need an African American section at the bookstore? We don't have a Caucasian section. Some people may say that it's helpful that we have a separate section, but I'm not so sure about that. I think when you have a section like that some people may avoid it because they may feel it's not for them. I think we're writers first, and we just happen to be black.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK, TELL THEM BRIEFLY ABOUT THE Tragic FLAW.
The Tragic Flaw is about one man's thirst for the power and the flaw that leads to his downfall. For me it's a modern tragedy with a twist. Basically you reap what you sow. The bad guys are cool and dangerous and the women are too.
CHE, MANY DON'T KNOW THAT BESTSELLING AUTHOR ZANE IS BEHIND THE IMPRINT STREBOR BOOKS. HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
When I was searching for a book deal I would often look at the Book section of the Washington Post and find out which authors would be in town for book signings or talks. I saw that Zane would be a Howard University's bookstore making a rare public appearance (at the time), and I decided to go check it out. Turns out her editor was also there, and we struck up a conversation about writing, submitting work, and so forth. I sent her my material and a few weeks later she e-mailed me saying that she loved it and that they were interested in publishing me. The rest is history...
HOW DO YOU FEEL HER NAME RECOGNITION HAS HELPED YOU SINCE YOUR BOOK HAS BEEN IN STORES?
Zane has an amazing fan base. It's primarily women but it's really diverse and they love her. With that being said, at signing events when Zane is present there will be crowd, and she has been great in promoting her authors and allowing us to shine and write material that's creative and true to us.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU ON THE LITERARY FRONT?
I'm working on my next novel now. Completely different characters and storyline. It's about how an ideal marriage can end tragically (I guess I have a thing for the dark side of life). But it's new characters, new setting. It will probably be based in DC or Maryland, but I'm still working on that part. And for the record it's not about my marriage (laughs). Just wanted to put that out there. I also enjoy writing short stories so hopefully I'll be able to pursue that one day.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME, CHE. IF READERS WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU, YOUR UPCOMING WORK OR JUST WANT TO SAY HELLO, HOW CAN THEY REACH YOU? Thanks for having me. Your readers can visit my web site at www.cheparker.com, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also check out my myspace page at www.myspace.com/ciceroday. Shoot me a note or send me a friend request.