Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Frank C. Matthews Author Interview

About Frank C. Matthews

Prodigious and profound author Frank C. Matthews’ triumphant transformation from inmate to novelist has established him as a leading force in the world of urban literature. Armed with his mastery of the written word, Matthews has achieved feats that are only reserved for the most seasoned of writers, selling an unprecedented amount of books as a first-time author and self-publisher. When it comes to putting the urban voice – the human voice – on the page, Matthews has no peer. His unprecedented journey demonstrates that even when confronted with a web of trials and tribulations, creativity has the ability to flourish. As a New York City native, Matthews grew up with aspirations of one day becoming a household name as an NBA Superstar. His dream took a detour, but his resilience and determination allowed him to persevere.

The lure of the streets and its fast money took Matthews away from hoops and into another game – the drug trade – where he found instant success. But a deal gone bad eventually landed him behind bars. Once incarcerated, Matthews had few options of how to spend his seemingly unending time in what felt like a black hole drawing at all happiness. Taking advantage of the still and silent nights, Matthews spent hours plunged into two of the world’s most renowned, contemporary African-American storytellers, Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.

The books empowered the now bright-eyed and enthusiastic Matthews and awakened a creative bug to tell the stories locked inside him. “Incarceration transformed me,” said Matthews. “I went from a young, frustrated, and confused boy to a mature, humble, and pensive man.” Much the way Malcolm X used the power of words to transform himself in prison, Matthews used the power of the pen to write his way to freedom, real freedom. While the calamities of his past may have blackened his vision they did not still his pen. He found his purpose. He would write his stories in notebooks, on torn-open envelopes, and anything he could get his hands on and would pass them around through the system. While some traded cigarettes, Matthews traded his highly demanded stories, which inmates clung to like emotional life rafts.

Matthews delved into the business of publishing, an industry he now planned to one day master. He found his style of writing to be unique, labeling it as “true fiction,” an alternate take on real events he had witnessed firsthand. He honed his craft and further developed a distinctive writing style that was uninhibited, dramatic yet cinematic as his readers traveled to adventurous sonic territory. He had a burning desire to share his rare experiences in the underworld of crime with anyone who would listen. Matthews’ drive and passion was reinvigorated. He would be relentless in his pursuit to share with the masses his tales of underworld crime, drama, brotherhood and love.

Upon his rebirth in 2005, Matthews discovered that he could put his past behind him and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and unwavering determination. The resilient author took his astounding gift of writing “true fiction,” coupled with his compulsion for words and decided to pursue his passion. Even after numerous failed attempts at landing a publishing deal, Matthews did what he learned to do best – create opportunities for himself. He knew that there was an untapped niche audience eager to hear his voice, and he was steadfast in his desire to supplant the current favorites in the urban lit arena.

Matthews self-published one of his first novels, Respect the Jux, and it caught fire, selling over 20,000 thousand copies. The book catapulted Matthews into the sphere typically reserved for seasoned literary greats while 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.

The gripping tale borrows from Matthews’ recollection of urban legends through the saga of Cat, who journeyed from Jamaica to the United States as a teenager. After a stint in the military, Cat returned with newfound skills and a desire for his own version of the American Dream—by any means necessary.
Using his extensive military background in weapons and intelligence, Cat formed “The Order,” a band of thieves that specialized in pulling off juxes, which Matthews defines as emulating and acquiring another’s style, intellect, or swagger for personal advancement.

Captivating, intriguing, mesmerizing – all words that describe Frank Matthews’ uncanny ability to bring readers into the worlds that he creates. His first auspicious debut Respect the Jux, a dynamic tale of brotherhood, greed, and power, hits the shelves nationwide in September, the style made famous by Slim and Goines will be revived…with a 21st century twist!

Interview with Frank C. Matthews

First of all Frank, I would like to thank you for taking the time out for this interview! 

If you have to describe yourself with one word, what would it be?


What did you do before you were a writer?

I’ve always been an entrepreneur; I’ve owned several businesses in the past.

What are you working on right now?

I just submitted my second book “bury me in it”; in addition to that I’ve been working on the TV series for “Respect The Jux”

How long did it take you to write Respect the Jux?

It took me about 90 days to write.

What type of research goes into your books?

All of my books are written from two degrees of separation, so I either lived it or I was there to witness it. So not much research is needed

What is the main source of inspiration for your writing?

I would say my life. I have a very unique story and a very vivid way of expressing it in my work.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I would say my children, my family

Is there a place you go for inspiration to write?

I just wake up and go outside, I write what’s happening right now in life and what has already happened. So I don’t I have go too far.

Are you reading anything right now?

I’m reading the Bible and the Koran everyday.

What do you like to do when you are not writing (hobbies, etc.)?

Work out, play sports and on hot summer days bring out one of my motorcycles

What advice would you give to those aspiring writers out there?

Stay true yourself, and once you start writing a book, stick with it until you complete it.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like your readers to know?

Visit my website frankmatthews.com, and be on the look out for my other books which should be release every 6-9 months

What is next for you in 2011?

More books, The Respect the Jux TV series and I have I few surprises in the works so stay tuned

How can your readers contact you?

Frankmatthews.com, twitter: frank_matthews or Facebook: Frank C Matthews

Thank you very much for taking the time out to answer my interview questions.  I look forward to knowing more about you and reading more books written by you in the future!

Read my review: Respect The Jux
5/5 Diamonds

Highly recommend!








I wrote this for the March/April issue of  Urban Image Magazine



© 2011, Cheryl of Black Diamond's Book Reviews. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Black Diamond's Book Reviews, Urban Image Magazine, or Cheryl's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

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