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Solomon Jones - Chat Transcript - July 17th 2003

Solomon Jones, the author of Pipe Dreams comes a new novel about Detective Kevin Lynch who returns to his childhood home—The Bridge—to investigate the disappearance of a ten-year-old girl


The Bridge
Click to order via Amazon or Barnes and Noble

by Solomon Jones

Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN: 0-312-30615-6
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur
Publication Date: June 3, 2003


Solomon Jone = Solomon Jones

 Thumper: LOGGED IN
 ~ July 17, Thursday 8:43:48 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: LOGGED IN
 ~ July 17, Thursday 8:58:47 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: Yo Thump - wassup?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 8:59:12 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Hello Solomon, how are you this evening?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 8:59:13 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: I'm great. Sorry I'm late. I'm organizing a church festival for Saturday and if I had hair I'd be pulling it out.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 8:59:47 p.m. ~

 Thumper: You're not that late. I'm glad you could spend a few minutes with me.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:00:30 p.m. ~

 Thumper: A few months ago I read your new novel, The Bridge, and loved it. How did the book and the idea for the book come about?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:02:02 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: I wrote a story for the Philadelphia Weekly about a little girl who'd gone missing in a housing project in Philadelphia. She was murdered, adn the culprit has never been found. It was and is the type of story that deeply affected everyone involved. While The Bridge is not a retelling of that story, it was certainly inspired by it.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:04:16 p.m. ~

 Thumper: I'm sure you are asked this question a lot, or will soon be asked, did you grow up or live in a housing project like The Bridge?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:05:28 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: No, I didn't. But, interestingly enough, the reviewer for Publisher's Weekly writes at the end of the review, "Jones, who grew up in the projects and knows his subject well, is a talent to watch." Don't know where they got that particular peice of erroneous information, but I think that is a high compliment. It says something about the authenticity of the work.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:07:48 p.m. ~

 Thumper: I agree. You brought The Bridge to life for me.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:08:41 p.m. ~

 Thumper: I suspect being a journalist is different from being a novelist. How do you wear both hats at the same time? Does it get confusing at times?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:10:51 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: Thank you. The thing I'd always noticed about the housing projects I've visited - and I've visited a few - is their closed-in nature. It's almost like it's a world unto itself. There is a certain darkness. But at the same time, there is this determination and grit that really bubbles over from the people there. Some of them are determined to make it out. And some are determined to stay where they are. But that is the case is most societies. Not just housing projects.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:11:00 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: Not now. I'm currently writing a column called Keeping Up With The Jones. It's a departure from my work in hard news and in-depth features. Basically, I write funny stories about my wife and kids. For example, my wife bought some cheap sneakers. I wrote about that. The types of stories that are very light-hearted. Really the antithesis of my work as a novelist.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:13:24 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Solomon, you accomplished a feat that not many authors have, you created a child character that was cutesy-wutesy with Kenya. Kenya had problems. Did you set out for Kenya to emerge this way or did it just happen?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:15:47 p.m. ~

 Thumper: I meant -- child character that was NOT cutesy-wutesy
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:16:24 p.m. ~

 Thumper: It seems here lately authors are intent on giving us the black version of Leave it to Beaver. I don't get it.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:17:20 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: I think it just happened. What I notice about children in the 'hood is that they are very intelligent, and keenly aware of their surroundings. They know who's selling, who's using, who's tricking, who's crooked and who's straight. So I tried to breathe that intelligence and sensitivity into Kenya, while at the same time allowing her to be a little girl . . . On the Leave It To Beaver thing, I think some of us believe that's what readers want. I've had readers complain to me that they don't want to read about the 'hood. They know all about the 'hood. And then I challenge them to read my work, adn they realize that a story wellltold can be set anywhere, at any time, in any circumstance, adn still reveal the frailty and the strength of humanity.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:19:16 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Speaking of which, I was going to ask you how you felt about the new wave of Urban-ghetto books that have appear to have captured the media's attention. Would you put your book in the same category as Gangsta or Triple Take?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:21:43 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: I don't think so. I read the first few pages of Triple Take and was impressed with the writing. I haven't read Gangsta and can't speak on it. But I would hope that my storytelling compares favorably with a wide-range of writers. Not just urban writers, but mainstream writers as well. I work hard at my craft, I've been fortunate to have good editors, and I love the support I get from my base, my bread and butta - black readers. I love y'all! But it is so satisfying when little old white ladies come to my signings and say they loved Pipe Dream. Because when they do, it means several things. It means I've written about the hood in such a way that anyone can read and enjoy it. It's not profanity-laced. It's not x-rated. But it is intense and unflinchingly real. The other thing that it means is that our ancestors have emerged victorious. Not only have their children learned to read and write, despite every effort to keep us from doing so. But we've learned to read and write so well that white folks pay money to read our work. That's victory, Thump. That's victory!
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:28:28 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Most definitely!! I agree.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:31:24 p.m. ~

 Thumper: You bring up your first book Pipe Dreams. I could tell a difference in your writing from the first book to The Bridge. I hate to say the word mature, but your style seem to have ripen. That blew me away.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:33:08 p.m. ~

 Thumper: I wasn't expecting it. I don't know why, but I wasn't. Do you feel that you've grown as writer? Have you found your voice?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:34:35 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: Thanks a lot. I definitely learned a lot between the first book and the second. It was really just a matter of relaxing, settling back, and allowing the gift that the Creator gave me to flow. I also had a good editor who did not change anything. Not that my first editor changed anything. She didn't. But Monique Patterson is great because her input enhanced the work. She asked the right questions in all the right places and helped me to really put that little extra into the work . . . On maturing, I feel that I am maturing as a man. I've seen and experienced things that I had not experienced when I wrote Pipe Dream. I think that shows not only in my writing, but in my life.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:38:25 p.m. ~

 Thumper: That's good. I'm glad to hear it.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:39:38 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: One thing that's really challenging for me is being a husband and father - a provider. If that don't make you grow up, nothin' will . . .
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:40:28 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: But I am so glad that God gave me the opportunity to havbe a family to care for. It is truly a great gift, and I appreciate it.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:41:06 p.m. ~

 Thumper: I gotta ask one more question. I know I'm over the 30 minutes time limit. Is it becoming easier juggling home, career?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:41:32 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: It's challenging. What I'm really hoping is that someone will buy the screenplay for Pipe Dream so I can spend more time doing the things I enjoy most - loving my family and writing
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:43:20 p.m. ~

 Thumper: I can't see why Hollywood hasn't beaten down your door yet. Both of your books unfolded like movies playing in my head. They can actually film it directly from the books.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:45:45 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Thanks for chatting with me Solomon. Do you have any parting words you would like to tell the people?
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:47:32 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: Thump, I need you to put a call into Holywood and tell them that . . . But seriously, there has been some interest. But someone really has to commit to the project and put some money on the table.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:47:39 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Man, that's not a problem, email me a phone number or somethin'.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:48:24 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: I just want to reiterate how grateful I am to you and all my readers for following my work, for enjoying it, adn for giving me the opportunity to share it with you. You are the reason I do what I do. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:48:53 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Thank you. It's been a pleasure reading your books and chatting with you. Maybe one day we'll do it in person. *smile*
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:49:58 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: Take care, Thumper.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:50:30 p.m. ~

 Thumper: Good night.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:50:42 p.m. ~

 Thumper: You too Solomon.
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:50:56 p.m. ~

 Thumper: LOGGED OUT
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:51:03 p.m. ~

 Solomon Jone: LOGGED OUT
 ~ July 17, Thursday 9:51:05 p.m. ~


Related Links

Solomon Jones Official Web Site

The Bridge - Review


Pipe Dream
Click to order via Amazon or Barnes and Noble

by Solomon Jones

Format: Paperback, 256pp.
ISBN: 0375756604
Publisher: Random House, Incorporated
Pub. Date: July 24th 2001

Pipe Dream was chosen for the CWMYB Online Book Club's Reading list (Reading List October 2001)

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