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Interview: Frank C. Matthews, Author of Respect the Jux

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A New York native, Frank C. Matthews held dreams of someday becoming a world renowned name by playing basketball as an NBA Superstar.  Fast money and lure of the drug trade detoured Mr. Matthews from his dreams, however, landing him behind bars when a deal went horribly wrong.

Instead of allowing defeat to take over, however, Mr. Matthews’ strong resilience and perseverance took over, and the creative bug bit.  With the inspiration of contemporary African-American storytellers, Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, Frank C. Matthews learned to transform the power of the pen to write his way to freedom, and not just any freedom, but real freedom.  

Not only did Mr. Matthews embrace bringing words to life, using his art of “true fiction,” an alternate take on real events he had witnessed firsthand, he was able to hone his craft, further developing a distinctive writing style that was uninhibited, dramatic and yet cinematic.  Delving into the world of publishing, Frank C. Matthews went on to self-publish one of his first novels, Respect the Jux, which sold over 20,000 copies, capturing the attention of everyone from rappers Jay-Z, Ghostface Killer, and 50 Cent (who rapped on Lloyd Banks’s single, “Hands up, if you want to party with crooks you have to learn to Respect the Jux!”) to literary powerhouses like bestselling author and publisher Karen Hunter.  

Respect the Jux made its nationwide debut Sept. 2010 and continues to captivate readers on many levels.

Readers may learn more about Frank C. Matthews by visiting his website.

Please tell us a bit about your book, Respect the Jux, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.

The book is about a foreigner coming to America and chasing the American dream as he depicts it to be. He fails in acquiring it in the manner that we consider to be the right way and forms a fraternity of thieves to achieve it. All the characters in the book contain a little bit of me. Therefore I like them all the same.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

“That night, Cat drove Banit to a large farm-style house in Bayside, Queens. The house was bought by Cat in his sister’s name. It was a quiet and dark neighborhood by the lake, which made it easy to slip in and out without being seen. They pulled into the driveway, exited the car, walked up to the front door and Cat took out a set of keys. The house had three entrances — front, side door, and back. Cat looked at Banit once more in approval before opening the front door. They entered a long hallway at least fifteen feet before reaching an altar. Cat asked Banit to read the inscription on the front side aloud.

‘”Beside Christ, there were two thieves, the repentant and the impenitent thief,’ Banit recited.

“’Don’t ever forget that,’ Cat told him.”

If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

Actually my current release will be turned into a television series, with the critically acclaimed director F Gary Gray. With that in mind, we will be looking for new and refreshing talent with maybe one or two big names to carry the series.

What are your favorite aspects of writing?

I love painting a vivid picture by way of words. I like when someone reads my work and they feel as if they were actually there as a fly on the wall.

Your least favorite aspects of writing?

Waiting on the publisher to put out my work for the world to read.

Who are some of your favorite authors/books?

William Johnstone, Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim, Stephen King, and Maya Angelo are some of my favorite authors who have written some of my favorite book.

What are you reading right now?

I’m currently working on my second novel, The American Dream, but in between I read the Bible.

If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors – dead or alive – who would they be and what would you serve them?

William Johnstone, Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, Maya Angelou, Stephen King, and Moses. And I would serve them all wine.

What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?

I would say the Bible or The Quran because these books touched everyone across the world.

What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?

That would be finish whatever you’ve started.

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