My genre is historical crime fiction. I came up with the concept back in 2010 after a trip to London. It was my very first time visiting and I went to see a band called The Specials play at Brixon Academy. They are a Ska/Punk band that I had been a fan of for years. They have a song called Gangsters and something about a multicultural band singing about gangsters made something click in my head. We were used to reading about mob families consisting entirely of one nationality whether it was Italian or Irish so I thought, hey why not create a family where half were black and half were white which was more reflective of the makeup of the US as far as its identity.
I’ve always enjoyed Ska and Rocksteady music from way back, mostly from the earlier years in the 60’s and 70’s when a lot of Jamaican artists were releasing the music. Many of the themes that the artists sang about were Rude Boy themed. Rude Boys were unruly and fashioned themselves after many of the gangsters of the earlier years in the US. Rude Boys originated in Jamaica and crossed over to the UK and were very popular but were not that widely known in the US. The name, style and themes were perfect for the story and I made sure to tailor it to the real events in the US.
I am a big fan of Mad Men, and I enjoy the pace and the style of the show so I wanted to start my story in the same timeframe which coincides with the height of popularity of the Ska/Rocksteady music scene which was the 1960’s and 1970’s. I wanted the entire story to grow in real time. The style, design and soundtrack to reflect it.
I chose my characters mostly from what I see around me. Some are based from long time crush of mine and others are based from what I think would be great visually with the story. Each character has specific traits that I like and found from real people. When I find that person, I model my character after them, names too.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
The most challenging thing about the writing process is the time. I have a full time job and other family obligations. Some days I am tired and can’t write anything at all so I don’t force myself to write. Other times I am in a zone and can do about five thousand words a day. Once I have an outline for the story, which actually takes longer for me to put together than to write the story itself, the challenge then becomes setting up the scenes and I am very particular when it comes to the scenes. I want them to be informative, enjoyable, shocking and yet still be relevant to the story.
When and where do you do your writing?
Some people are always asking me where do I find the time to write. I usually do my writing in the evenings and weekends sitting in my room on my bed. While most people were out doing other things, I have spent the past year at home finishing the story. It’s relaxing and has been rewarding creating a world of your own for other people to enjoy. It’s not as easy as everyone thinks. You have to be fully engulfed in your story. Even when I am at work doing something completely removed from writing, an idea may come to my head and I end up keeping it in my mind until I make it home and start writing.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
It is a LOT of work. I decided on self-publishing because with this particular project, I wanted total creative control, which is something that you don’t get once you sign with a traditional publisher. I will pursue traditional publishers in the future but this particular story means a lot to me and every detail had to be precise right down to the cover(s) that I designed myself. I had a theme and look in my head of what this whole thing should be like and the only way it was going to come to fruition was that I do it myself. So the plan was more artistic than commercial.
It is a costly endeavor but I think it’s worth it in the long run. You have to be bold in pushing your books especially when you don’t have the same access to all the channels that traditional publishers have. It’s a process that continues so even when your books are months old, there are still opportunities to push them even when your funds are low.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
People enjoy my writing. When I released this book, I knew that it was risky because nothing was held back in the story. It discusses some unspoken subjects that people find uncomfortable head on. When the positive feedback started pouring in, I felt proud of the story and it boosted my confidence in my writing. My prose for this story is different than the regular poetic sing-songy style that many critics enjoy. There were people who were totally shocked when the read it and expected something more soft and mainstream. It’s a story about gangsters and gangsters aren’t soft so I thought that the writing should reflect that. To know that people are receptive to something different, especially coming from someone who looks like me, makes me happy.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Ralph Ellison. I really enjoyed The Invisible Man. Most people are into “showing” when it comes to writing but I don’t think that always applies and his writing is a good example of that. Sometimes you have to tell it from a perspective that is not directly involved in the story.
I would want to pick his head and discuss what it was like to be a person of color back then and how it was to navigate in a society that didn’t recognize him as a human.
My name is Victoria Bolton and I live in Westchester County, New York. I am a graduate of the College of Westchester, and I work as a computer technician in schools and is a part-time actress. I previously released the book Looking for Mr. Potential under the pen name La’Ketta T. Bolton in 2000 as well as the sequel to Rude Boy Usa, BunnyWine. I am currently working on the third installment of the Rude Boy USA series.
On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XSYaQ0