There are veterans and there are newbies. Veterans paid their dues, work hard, and spit out bestsellers like there nothing. And then you have the newbies, green to the game, hungry and ready to take the book world by storm. The pen game is deadly in the urban fiction world and competition is far from nada so if you want a chance at surviving and obtaining longevity in this business you must first be a student. Sit back and watch how it's done, observe the vets at work. And since I am not a stranger to taking my own advice, I decided to sit down with one of the veterans in the urban fiction literary world, Sabrina Eubanks. She just released her fifth novel Booster's and believe it or not, she is just warming up. So newbies, prepared to get educated and read about someone who is where you're trying to be.
Brandie: Sabrina Eubanks, tell us who is Sabrina outside of the pen and paper?
Sabrina Eubanks: I am just a regular person, who happens to write books. I'm the mother of a precious 7 year old little boy, I love to cook, I love to read, and I love music. I'm an avid people watcher, and I am enamored of every corner around the city I live in which is NYC. I see stories yet to be told everywhere I look. I'm a great empathizer. I care very deeply about a lot of things, and I care about people. I've been through my fair share of heartache, turmoil, and pain, just like everybody else, but I've found that laughter is the best medicine- and faith. Faith will pull you through anything.
Brandie: At what moment did you discover writing was what you should be doing?
Sabrina Eubanks: I've been writing stories since I was 8 years old, but I never took it seriously. It was always something I just did. I was coming out of a very difficult relationship that left me feeling very drained, when I started using writing as a catharsis. I was in the middle of the first chapter when I had the epiphany that this was what I should be doing.
Brandie: The first novel you written was Karma, take us through the writing process. How did it come about and when did you know it was meant to be a trilogy?
Sabrina Eubanks: Well, I was coming out of something unhappy, and I decided I wanted to write a love story. Not a fairy tale love story that was all hearts and flowers, where the beautiful couple rides off into the sunset together to live out a perfect life. Life doesn't always have a happy ending. I wanted to tell a story about perfect love gone horribly wrong to the tenth power, and I think I managed it. I didn't know starting out that Karma would turn out to be a trilogy, but the characters were so complex and their stories were so crazy, they have to be told. I'm gonna try to wrap it up in Rock Stars.
Brandie: Booster's is your fifth novel, what makes it different from Karma 1-3, and Chasing Bliss? How does it even differ from you short story Fame and Low Lo. Why is Booster's a must read?
Sabrina Eubanks: The Karma series id the on going tale of two first grade narcotics detectives that take down major criminals and have tumultuous love lives. In Boosters, Quinn, Lonzo, and Fitzi are on the other side of the law. Larceny is their motivation. Booster's is different from Chasing Bliss because Chasing Bliss is a love story, even though the main character is a serial killer of sorts, but Chase Brown is a complicated character who-if he were real-probably wouldn't see himself that way. The characters in Booster's are different from Fame and Low Lo because, even though Fame and Low Lo start out as thieves themselves, they switch to dealing drugs and that situation brings about their downfall.
Booster's is a must read. It's a coming of age tale where three young black males grows into manhood, propelled by their own greed, lust and secrets. Quinn Whitaker is a diabolical mastermind who makes the impossible possible, Lonzo will will whoever stands in the way of their cash flow, and Fitzi... is the weak link. It's a roller coaster ride fueled by larceny, with a crazy twist at the end that you didn't see coming... or maybe you did.
Brandie: What is there that you always wanted to tell your readers but never got the chance too?
Sabrina Eubanks: I always try to let my readers know how much they are appreciated, it I would tell them how happy it really makes me to have someone truly love something that I've written. I love it when they're emotional and verbal about what I wrote. Writer are absolutely nothing without the people who love and cherish their stories, I would tell them how much I love and cherish them for allowing me to do it.
Brandie: Urban Fiction has taken libraries by storm. What are your thought on the genre being a hit in libraries?
Sabrina Eubanks: I'm glad that urban fiction is a hit in libraries. A lot of people believe that black people don't like to read. The thing is a lot of black people like to read stories that they can relate to, and sometimes people don't have the money to drop on a book. I can relate to that. Libraries make the genre easily accessible.
Brandie: Do you predict paperback and hard cover books will soon be a thing of the past with ebooks ow in the picture?
Sabrina Eubanks: I don't think that paperbacks and hard covers will be a thing of the past any time i the near future, but maybe, in the not so near future. I can see the difference in my own sales. Ebooks sales are doing really well, but the paperback sales are dragging badly.
Brandie: What is the greatest lesson you learned while being in the writing game?
Sabrina Eubanks: I'm actually laughing at that one! Boy, if I could have had a crystal ball.. anyway, I learned the hard way that all that glitters is not gold. I'm not into using public forums to sling arrows, so that's all I'm gonna say on that one.
Brandie: What is the one review a readers gave you that you can never forget and why does it stay with you?
Sabrina Eubanks: There are two of them, actually. The first one was one of the first ones that I received for Karma. The reviewer ripped my book apart and gave it two stars. I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that review stung because it seemed to have been done with malicious intent. You can't figure out why people do the things they go, thought, and I wasn't the only author she did that too. I just let it go. The other one is the first one I got from Booster's! They called me the New Queen of Urban Lit. I almost fainted, Who me?
Brandie: What are three things you would like for each of your readers to possess?
Sabrina Eubanks: A vivid imagination, the ability to get totally lost in a story, and empathy.
Brandie: Do you have a motto that you live by?
Sabrina Eubanks: Pay it forward. If someone helps you, help someone else.
Brandie: What advise would you give aspiring authors?
Sabrina Eubanks: Don't try to fit in, or conform to a cookie-cutter mold of genre you write. Keep your stuff new and fresh. Most of all, do you homework when it comes publishing and getting signed.