|Posted by Matt Posner on June 2, 2014 at 12:05 AM|
The entrepreneurial author is the author we can all find inspirational. People who are aggressive and positive-minded tend to achieve a great deal. Here is my interview with one such individual, a reformed former criminal who has his life flowing in an overwhelmingly positive direction: the inestimable Authortainer Rahiem Brooks.
(See an update at the end of this interview.)
Where are you from, where do you live, and how do you like it there?
The City of Brotherly Love is where I am from and I currently reside there. I enjoy the city’s rich American history.
I've enjoyed some visits there; it's a fun town to be a tourist in. When did you decide to become a writer? Is it something you were born to or more of a business decision?
I’ve always been a great writer in school. I decided that I wanted to write a movie and began a Film/TV degree at UCLA. It was then that I realized writing a book was less expensive to produce.
What process did you undergo to perfect your craft?
I am a current English major at Harvard University. In addition to that, I attend writing and publishing workshops often. I am also a member of the Mystery Writers of America, which has great assistance for authors.
So you're currently attending Harvard. It's not easy to get into Harvard or to prosper there. Any hints or tips?
That’s a good question. To prosper there isn’t the problem, because the admitted students can handle the course work. It’s a matter of doing it to perfection. As fas as getting in my suggestion is standing out from other candidates on paper and the interview. If everyone has a 4.0 GPA then the school must look at other factors. Community and religious charitable activities, sports, and other extracurricular affiliates are a must.
My wife and I enjoy visiting Cambridge, and we hang out in that shopping area near the Coop. We didn't find a good restaurant by there though. Any suggestions?
By the Coop, no, there aren’t any grand dining places in the immediate area because it caters to college students. However, there is two restaurants inside of the Charles Hotel (which I can’t recall the names) but I ate there when I stayed there, and they were great.
Do you get into Boston often? If yes, what are some cool things to do there?
Boston is very rich in American history and I suggest doing a tour of the war sites. A stroll around the Boston Common Garden is also great, and beautiful by the way. You remember the TV sitcom, Cheers? You have to eat there. Catch a play in the theater district. And sadly, the Boston Bombing sites can be an experience.
Talk about Murder in Germantown, the character of Ravonne Lemmelle, and the continuation of the series.
Ravonne is a complex man. He happens to be the most effective criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia, and criminals hate and love him for being an openly gay man. The series is like Law and Order in the sense that it’s a great legal thriller. The advantage of this series is that readers are privy to Ravonne’s personal life, which is quite interesting.
This book is available in Spanish; how did that happen?
I was looking to reach a new audience, and a Spanish edition made the most sense being the second language used in America.
Talk about some of your other books.
My other series is four books in, and the Bezel Brothers are great. Laugh Now, Die Later, First Laugh, and Last Laugh are all available in every E-reader device and paperback. The series is a crime fiction set that pits two brothers against a corrupt DEA agent. The conniving cat and mouse between these two is always dangerous and readers never know who will win.
What did you most enjoy reading growing up? What authors have influenced you?
What’s funny is I didn’t read fiction novels growing up. I was an avid reader of the encyclopedia set at my grandmother’s house. I was fascinated, and that helped me develop a knack for researching and writing.
You call yourself "Authortainer." Please explain that term's origin and meaning.
Well, I was thinking of something to put on FB as a name. I wanted to be clever. I am an author that entertains, thus I created, authortainer.
What is Prodigy Publishing Group and what is your role? How did it come together? How do you plan to grow this business?
Prodigy Publishing Group is the publishing company that I founded to publish my novels and other authors.
What is your general advice for aspiring self-published authors?
The best advice that I can give is to work for yourself with the same vigor you would for a company that you wanted to get a promotion.
What is your philosophy of entrepreneurialism?
Just do the best that you can, while doing all that you can. Research is key, as those that know the most, make the most.
You've recently shared some problems you have had getting your books into bookstores. Tell us what happened and what you are thinking about the subject now.
I don’t think that I have problems, and I respect the process. In a nutshell, a book store passed on selling my book because I am an indie artist. As a reader, I am often shocked at the material that is being published, and so is book sellers. Sadly, many of the authors that follow all of the mainstream publishing guidelines are grouped with the bad apples. I just want to be reviewed on my material and not anyone else’s. No matter what I achieve, book stores have a way attempting to knock me back and reducing my accomplishments to merely doing nothing. Gone are the days that people looked forward to indie artists.
Finally, how about narrating a fascinating personal experience?
Okay, how’s this for fascinating: my career truly began after serving a four year sentence in federal prison for identity theft crimes. I’ve made a great transition into a law-abiding citizen, and it’s far more exciting than my formal criminal life.
What would you like to say to readers to close the interview?
I want you all to be the best at what you do. Work for yourself like you work for a Fortune 500 company. And please download my free Google Play Store app by searching Rahiem Brooks. There you can find everything about me, including links to my books on the home page.
UPDATE: ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2014, Rahiem posted this on his Facebook page. Since he made the public statement, I am sharing it here to help communicate his message. I like this young man but I have no knowledge of his movements or doings. I hope it turns out that he is innocent of the crimes for which he was arrested.
After five years of sharing my world with you through books, photos, and my dedication to indie/major publishing I am compelled to share a down moment with you. On Friday, September 5, 2014, the Secret Service arrested me at the Philadelphia Airport headed on a nine day trip to New Orleans, Dallas, and Houston to begin promotion for PrettyboyThugs set to release on the 9th. I was handcuffed at the gate and escorted through the airport to the Philadelphia PD office and later to the Secret Service office downtown and then housed at a federal detention center. On the advice of my attonery, I'm not at liberty to discuss any facts of my case, but I can share what's in the indictment, which is an accusation of violating seven counts of access device fraud and two counts aiding and abetting for crimes in 2011.
I sincerely apologize to the many people that looked up to me, rooted for me, admired me, respected me, befriended me, or otherwise loved and supported me. I am asking for prayer and understanding for me and my family as we try to deal with this bump in the road. I have let them and you down and that is very stressful to me at this time. This event comes at what I viewed the height of my career. With ads in two national magazines, ads on Philadelphia public transportation, and books sold at Barnes and Nobel, I was certain that my literary career looked pretty good, but the devil seems to have other plans for me. I worked diligently in the industry and I need your prayers to assure that my work was not for naught.
I am stressed and extremely depressed as I have no idea what I've been exactly accused of yet, and no idea how this will effect my company, family and relationship. I try to maintain, but each day it gets more and more difficult.
If you'd like to E-mail me you can inbox me your E-mail address and I can send a request to you to correspond with me. I am in need of some words to help me make it through this. You can leave prayers and E-mails under this thread, as well, and I will get them.
Thanks for all that you have done for me and continue to do for me. While here I do plan to continue to review books and be as apart of the industry as I possibly can from here.
Much love and respect,
Rahiem "The Authortainer" Brooks