Welcome to Alphabet City 5 where I give you the inside scoop on how I wrote this book. This is a continuation from Cheryl's story in Part 4 where her two teenage kids Jermaine and Shameka talk about life in Alphabet City as kids. This was a hard book to write and it took me some time to complete this book.
One reason was because I was managing so much in my life at once. A lot of it was personal stuff and I do go through things as a writer and author. Most of my books I was managing something major in my life but with this book, I had to pace myself.
With that said, this is the only book in the series where I'm writing from two character's perspectives. I wanted to bring out their personalities, what they go through daily but also how much they love and care for their mother. It's a rare occurrence when you read a story where a young boy is from a bad neighborhood and he has love and respect for his mother and does anything to protect her.
We always see life in the hood from an adult’s perspective but never from a child's perspective. The goal of this book is to make everyone see that kids are paying a hefty price in PTSD from all that they see everyday living in a bad neighborhood. The danger they face, the survival they have to learn, the images they can't unsee, living with drug addicts, gang members, sex workers, homeless people, you name it, they deal with it.
I knew that writing this story was going to be the most important one in the series and I made sure I brought my ‘A’ game with this book. I wanted you all to put yourself in these teenager’s shoes and walk in their lives everyday. Now think of how many kids deal with this and see this all over the world. The poverty, the struggle, the fight to survive, that’s what has to be told.
Hearing these stories from a young woman and young man’s perspective and how much death, violence and struggle have impacted their lives. Imagine being a kid and seeing a drug addict strung out in front of your place of living while you walk to school? Or having to walk a different route to school because of gang activity and potentially being robbed for what you have?
Hopefully, after reading Jermaine and Shameka’s stories, you get an understanding for what kids’ lives are like living in a bad neighborhood. How some of these kids just want to be normal, not be caught up in the streets and do something good for themselves in their lives.
This was not an easy book for me to write but I’ve seen plenty in my life being from New York City. I have seen the good, bad and ugly with so many kids and heard the stories of mental health counselors who treat these young kids. Take the time to understand my purpose for writing stories like this and let’s change how young kids grow up. Their experiences will shape them into who they’ll be as adults.
Be good everyone and go accomplish your goals!