Writing 'Alphabet City 9'

'Alphabet City 9' was a book that I didn’t expect to be as long as it is. Originally, I only had 10-12 chapters but it ended up being longer as I wrote the book. It focuses on the matriarch of the community Ms. Evelyn Bates. She reflects on her years living in Alphabet City and how it has gone from an amazing place to live to one of the worst. 


To write a story from an 80 year old woman’s perspective was surely different for me. It was a challenge to tell her life story and also share the struggles she experiences living in Alphabet City now. This is a story where you hear what Alphabet City was like before it got progressively worse.


When I wrote her story, I wanted to not only share her life but also how she was able to raise her children in Alphabet City. How she was able to steer them in the right direction but also chronicle how her kids made it but a lot of kids don’t in this neighborhood. 


It’s the realities of today’s world, a lot of kids just don’t make it. Their home situations aren’t good, sometimes kids are orphans, some kids don’t have the resources to get the help they need to heal. This is a story that delves into all of those things and more. The beauty in all of this is, there are opportunities to change things and make it better.


Books like this are emotional for me because I’ve seen it, heard stories from friends who work in the mental health industry, and been in a few tough neighborhoods in my time to see what goes on. It’s how I’m able to write a lot of these stories, it’s observing and being in environments to feel and experience it. 


Being from New York City, it’s a melting pot of different races, ethnicities and people. I’ve met people in college who have been through the trenches to get to a college campus and escape the neighborhood they’re from. I’ve had classmates in college who did anything they could to not go back during spring break, summer break and Christmas break. 


That’s the reality of kids who are able to get out. They don’t want to go back to the hell of violence, death, gangs, drug dealing, drug overdoses, police sirens and bad people. 


While there’s a long way to go in making things right in Alphabet City and it’s what Evelyn wants to see before she goes. That’s my blog for today, 'Alphabet City 9' is available on B&N, Apple, Kobo, Scribd and other bookstores. Paperbacks are available on The Bookpatch. 


Be good everyone and go accomplish your goals!


Jamell Crouthers


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