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Monday, January 28, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: The author of "Street Life" speaks to Conversations

Recently Kevin M. Weeks, the author who has been on the minds and lips of readers and critics for some time now, took time out to speak with Conversations Book Club. When you read his debut novel called "The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder?," it is evident that he wants the novel to be a conversation with the reader---and it is. The main character, Teco Jackson, is the total package: the man whom women want and love---and the man whom men hate but can't help but respect.


Talking with the author, however, you get a different picture. In his first live interview since the book's release in 2006, Kevin M. Weeks comes across as quiet yet confident, but also as someone who believes strongly in himself. Though he is currently serving time in the Georgia Department of Corrections, it is obvious that his mind and talent are free to roam throughout the world.


Right out of the gate, I asked him about the success he has enjoyed with the book. "It has been great." He responded excitedly. "With the book, I am re-branding myself and showing what I am capable of accomplishing."  Kevin is not just respected by book lovers, but those who are critics in the industry as well. "That has been extremely surprising in some ways."  He admitted. "Being accepted in the publishing industry is not easy."


Where did the idea for his writing career come from? "I started off mentoring some of the younger men in the prison system."  He told Conversations. "They told me that they enjoyed hearing the life experiences I shared with them and that I should write them down." That started what is becoming to be known as the Street Life Series®.


"At first, I sent out some query letters to publishers and was turned down because I didn't have the tools to meet the submission guidelines. Then, I decided to put the book out myself; so, I had to do my research and learn about the business.  Friends were too busy to help.  Fortunately, I found sponsorship from those who believe in the vision for the series."


Kevin goes on to tell us about the main character, Teco Jackson. "Teco seeks a certain lifestyle. However, his world is full of manipulations and he is on a mission to survive." Kevin wants readers to know that no good can come from living the street life. "I want readers to ask themselves the question that is posed in the book.  If a person lives the street life and is killed, was that person a victim of murder or did the person commit suicide for choosing to live the street life?"


The obvious question is how much of the writer is in Teco? Kevin answers this way: "I put a lot into my characters. I know the world that Teco is from. When I am writing these stories, I draw upon situations, people, and settings from my past."


Through his book, "The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder?", you see so many ingredients that equal a great read: mystery, suspense, romance and moral lessons that can be taken away at the end. That is explained when Kevin talks about the books in his collection. "I read a lot of authors, but I especially like James Patterson. The writing technique he uses to describe crime scenes makes his writings understandable.  This is something I aspire to do as well."


Many in Kevin's situation would have just felt sorry for themselves. Why did he decide to better use his time? "When I study and learn, you can't take away the fact that I know what I know. Being incarcerated allows me the time to sit down and focus on what I need to do in order to be a successful and productive citizen in society. Self publishing means that I have to do most of the work. I have to read each book seven or eight times and find ways to make it better. Going through obstacles in my life and knowing that I can deal with whatever comes my way have strengthened me."


Conversations Book Club chose "The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder?" as one of its "Best Kept Literary Secrets of 2007" as well as its book of the month for February 2008. Others have also recognized the value of the novel. To all of this, the author says this: "I want to thank you, Cyrus, and the Conversations Book Club for your support.  The awards are a form of validation for what I am doing with the series. At first, I didn't realize the impact I was having, but now I know."


To get your copy of the book in "The Street Life Series", visit http://www.kevinmweeks.com.


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