24 April 2012

Wahida Clark's New Release: Payback Ain't Enough

Wahida Clark, 2012
Wahida Clark is one of the most prolific and renowned street lit authors today. Her 2011 release, Justify My Thug, landed her on the New York Times Bestselling list for a second time (Every Thug Needs A Lady appeared on the list in 2006), solidifying Clark's place amongst the pantheon of other street lit authors with that distinction, such as Teri Woods, Nikki Turner, and Ashley & JaQuavis Coleman.

StreetLiterature.com recently chatted with Wahida, to discuss her new book, Payback Ain't Enough, which releases today, April 24, 2012. We talked about how this new novel  is a contribution to Street Lit's continued evolution to offer nuanced storylines that shed light on important social issues occurring in low income inner city communities. Payback Ain't Enough is available in paperback, kindle and audiobook formats.

Payback Ain't Enough Book Cover
Here's the interview below: 

StreetLiterature.com: What is the message you are seeking to convey with your latest release, Payback Ain't Enough? How does this novel build on the first and second installments, Payback with Ya Life and Payback Is A Mutha?

WC: This latest book is the hood version of a double love triangle with revenge, deceit and scandal. Shan (the protagonist) decides to live life on her own terms. 

The book hints at how the stress of hustling impacts on one's mental health and how mental issues are revealed in the behavior of the characters. I want readers to consider, "Is Shan losing her mind or what?" "Is Mia's ride-or-die behavior really healthy?"

StreetLiterature.com: Your novels, overall, feature female protagonists, main characters who are strong-willed and are also deep, loyal lovers. How do you answer critics who say that Street Lit is a negative representation of black women's identity and roles in society?

WC: They need to come into reality. Come on now. This is common knowledge of this real issue - we have real health and social issues in our low income city communities that manifest in the way people treat themselves and one another. There's nothing made up. I'm highlighting the negative aspects of our community because readers say, "I want a man like Trae; I want a relationship like Trae and Tasha." Brothers write me and say, "I need a wife like Tasha; I need a girl like Angel." I've seen posts on Twitter, where I have 2 groups: #TeamSantos and #TeamMacklin - and the readers go back and forth debating about the characters and relationships. So I write stories to hint at these issues that we need to be concerned with as a community. We need these discussions.

StreetLiterature.com: Out of all of the characters you've created, who would you say is the character you most relate to, and why?

WC: That's hard because there's a little bit of me in all my female characters. I took a piece of me and put it in each one of them. I've been married to my husband for forever, so with the male characters,  there's pieces of him in them. 

StreetLiterature.com: We know you are an amazing writer, and as such, what do you read? What does Wahida Clark enjoy reading and why?

WC: I read everything! I'm a book junkie. My bookshelf has old classics to contemporary ficiton, to business books to religious books. My favorite topic right now is business and marketing.

StreetLiterature.com: Do you think libraries have been helpful to your career? If so, how? If not, why do you think not?

WC: Absolutely! When I go to libraries to do signings librarians all say the same thing; "Wahida, we can't keep your books on the shelf." They keep ordering my books over and over again. The libraries - they support. 

StreetLiterature.com: We are aware that you are publishing a Young Adult imprint for street lit. Can you tell us more about how this imprint came into development? 

WC: Wahida Clark Presents Young Adult is the imprint. The line was conceived because I was at Book Expo for America a few years back and I ran into a young lady who said that I need to meet a Chicago-based high school librarian named KC Boyd. It was KC who  encouraged me to start the YA line. 

StreetLiterature.com: So your YA line was created at the request of a librarian?

WC: Yep!

StreetLiterature.com: Wow; that is fantastic! How is the imprint doing thus far?

WC: Wahida Clark Presents Young Adult is going pretty good but not as big as my adult line. We have a new title coming out May 2012, Sade's Secret by Sparkle. The other 3 titles thus far are: Under Pressure (2011) by Rashawn Hughes, The Boy Is Mine (2011) by Charmaine White, and Ninety-Nine Problems (2011) by Gloria Dotson-Lewis, which just got picked up by the Black Expression Bookclub. This will expose the brand to a wider reading audience which is a wonderful development for Gloria and for the YA line.

StreetLiterature.com: Congratulations on the YA line. I am sure there are many librarians who will seek your titles to add to their young adult collections. While your YA line is published by your company, you, as an author is now signed with the hip hop book publishing imprint, Cash Money Content (CMC). In your experience and estimation, what does Cash Money Content bring to the street lit game that's different, fresh, and new?

Wahida Clark with CMC CEO,
Bryan "Birdman" Williams
WC: It's an honor to be with Cash Money Content. They are very innovative, they grind non-stop; they know hip hop, nobody doubts they know hip hop, nobody doubts that I can write street lit. For me and many street lit authors, hip hop and street lit are one and the same. Hip hop writes about life experiences and street lit does the same. Cash Money Content sees street lit as an extension of hip hop. As we all know, street lit is not new - recall authors like Donald Goines, Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, but now it has exploded. I don't know of any major publishing companies that do not have an imprint for street lit/urban fiction. 

StreetLiterature.com: Wahida thank you for your time, insights and energy today. We wish you the best on your new release, Payback Ain't Enough, and continued success with your YA imprint, Wahida Clark Presents Young Adult. We look forward to your continued great work!

WC: Thanks so much!
The entire Payback series thus far:


Additionally, Wahida has a prolific publishing vitae that includes a long list of novels, series, and her young adult imprint. For more information, visit Wahida Clark via the following web platforms:

Twitter:     @WahidaClark
Amazon:   Wahida Clark Author Page

P.S. 05/03/2012 - Congratulations to Wahida Clark for Payback Ain't Enough earning the #27 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List!

1 comment:

  1. Nice Interview, I like Mrs. Clark's books a lot.


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