Tuesday, September 3, 2013

LADY SCARFACE

Tuesday Tantalizers is pleased to welcome Divine Ortiz, an author with an interesting background.  Welcome.  Will you share a little bit about yourself? My name is Divine Ortiz and I am a 45 year old Puerto Rican man born in The Bronx, NY.  Bronx River Projects to be exact. Even though I didn't come from a "bad home", I still took to the streets like a fish to water. We left NY in my early teens (Father was in the military) and I ended up in FT Bragg, Fayetteville, NC. By the time I was 19, I was back in NY and locked up on New York's notorious Riker's Island. 3 days after my release from Riker's, I ended up in the NC DOC with a 13 year sentence. Once released from the NC prison system, the streets called me again, but hustling and drug dealing just weren't enough, and I ended up in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for Armed Bank Robbery. It was during my third time in the Federal system that I decided that I had had enough. Five prison sentences was all the time that I had in me to give, but I knew that if I wanted to change the pattern that my life had followed up to that point that I had to change ME. So when I was incarcerated in 2007 with 70 months for the crime of Possession of Counterfeit Monetary Funds, I decided to make the necessary changes. I always knew that I could write and after reading the same old recycled urban fiction novels over and over again, I told myself that I could do better. So I started writing. The first novel that I wrote was titled Treacherous Times. It was good. I passed it around and got nothing but praise. I didn't stop there. My second book, Lady Scarface, which became the first book I had published was an instant hit among my fellow inmates. I didn't stop there. When I was finally released in 2012, I had written 15 books and began at least 6 more.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)? I do read, though I haven’t read a book in a while. When I do sit down with a book, I look for a good James Patterson or Jeffery Deaver novel.

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like? I just like to be sitting comfortable with my dictionary and thesaurus at my fingertips.

What is your favorite writing tool? Nothing beats a good pen!

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream? I didn’t really have those kinds of dreams  growing up. Never really gave it much thought.

What were you like as a kid? Nerd? Cheerleader type? I was the kid that other parents didn’t want their kid to play with. I was the one who was always getting suspended and expelled for fighting.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why? I have never been to any theme park. The largest thing I have ever been to are county fairs and things of that nature. I have never been on a rollercoaster and I would like to go on the biggest rollercoaster in the world.

Is there a secret you’d like to let readers know about you? One that isn't in the book perhaps? I have been incarcerated five times. Once in NY, once in NC, and three times in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it. Does your favorite genre influence your writing? I am actually about to start reading the TYCE series by Shareef Jaudon. I figured that since Shareef is my publisher, and since him and I are kicking around the idea of a collaboration in the future, I should know how he writes.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share? “Fuck it”. Oh wait, that isn’t really a quote. 

Who are your mentors or inspirations? My father has been a mentor of sorts for me, but he has definite been an inspiration in my life. Him, my mother, and my wife. The three of them inspire me to be the best that I can be.

Tell us about the journey that led you to write your bookI have always known that I had exceptional  writing skills, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I realized that I could write on the book level.  I was incarcerated in a federal prison and as one of my hustles I would write erotic letters for other inmates to send to their wives, girlfriends, etc.  Well, one day I was approached by two brothers on the yard. They said that they were writers and they had heard that I could write. One of them asked me to take a look at an outline he had written and asked me if I thought I could do something with it. The next day I met them on the yard and I had produced a 25 page beginning to a book. The brother liked it so much that he told me to keep it. When I was released soon after that, I took those 25 pages with me. It wasn’t until 2008, during my last incarceration that I started to really write. I sent for those pages and began writing. Those pages became my first novel---an urban fiction novel titled Treacherous Times. Not yet released by the way.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream? I don’t “dream” about my stories, but I do envision the scenes that I want to write about. I would lay in bed and try and plan out the next scene with the intentions of writing that scene the next day, though they don’t always come out the way I envision them.

What gave you the idea to write your book? And where to set it? I just wanted to write something different. Give the readers a new storyline for a change. I set Lady Scarface in New York and Atlanta because I know those cities. I was born in The Bronx, NYC and I have lived in Atlanta as well.

What inspired you to write about the theme? Again, just to bring a new look to the urban fiction genre.

Please tell us more about your current release. Lady Scarface was the second book that I wrote but the first published.  I was originally signed to a very nice publishing deal in 2009 with one of the most well known urban lit publishers in the game, but that entire deal turned out to be an illusion and it left me very leary of dealing with publishers. As a result, all of my books just sat in boxes in my home collecting dust. Lady Scarface went through three different edits and was typed and ready for submission, but I didn’t trust anyone enough to send it to. Then one day I was online and I saw that Shareef Jaudon was running a contest. He posted that he was having a contest and accepting manuscripts from unknown authors. He stated that he was looking for an author to publish. I spoke to Shareef, then I researched who he was. I eventually sent him my manuscript. A few days later he called me. He said that he doesn’t have to read the rest of my book to know that he doesn’t have to read anymore manuscripts. A contract was drawn out and I signed with Shareef’s publishing company---Write Now Books Publishing. Lady Scarface was released on August 1st, and since its release it has reached the number one spot on Amazon’s Hot New Release list as well as the number three spot on Amazon’s Best Sellers list (both in the Urban Fiction genre).

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I like to write with some slow music playing and I like to hand write my books in pen.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding? The most challenging thing I face when I write is trying to figure out what I am going to name a character and also what kind of car I want them to drive. The most rewarding is watching my characters come to life.

 How much editing do you do? And when and how do you know that the manuscript is ready? Since Lady Scarface is the only book I have had published, I can only use that book as an answer. I went through three of my own edits with LS, but it went through two more before it was ready to publish. 

What’s your favorite part of this writing process? The idea? The structuring/outlining? The writing? The finding a publisher or self-publishing? The marketing? My favorite part of the whole writing process is seeing the reaction of anyone who has read my books.

How do you develop your characters? 
I actually don’t develop them---they develop themselves.

How do you go about the writing process? Are you a strict outliner, a seat-of-the-pantser, or somewhere in-between? I do indeed outline, scene by scene, but once I put pen to paper the outline starts to fade away and the story goes in the direction it wants to.

What you need your surroundings to be like when you are writing? Are your needs different to write than to edit? I need nothing around me except some mellow, quiet storm type music and something to drink. Juice or water is what I like. 

Tell us about the story behind your book cover. There is no real story to tell. We bought the photo, and about seven others from a company that sells stock photos. She was the one that fit the description of Lady Scarface.

What steps have you taken to marketing your book? I am constantly online promoting my book. I have also hired a publicist to market and promote Lady Scarface. Social media has been my primary tool to get the word out there. I have also done several interviews and have several more coming up.

What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different? None at all that I know of.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why? I created the character of Tiana Brantz, Lady Scarface, with Stacy Dash in mind, so I would like to see her play that part when Lady Scarface becomes a movie. If not her, then Sanaa Lathan.

Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.

Divinity was in line at a Chinese restaurant on 161st street, up the block from Yankee Stadium. Mecca was
waiting in the car, which was parked right in front so she could keep an eye on Divinity. Mecca was very protective over her younger cousin. She knew that Divinity was young and sometimes a bit immature. It didn’t help any that she was fine as hell and bowlegged, which always attracted plenty of attention. It didn’t matter though because she loved Divinity and would never let anything happen to her. While Divinity was waiting on her food, an older Puerto Rican walked in. After placing his order, he looked over at Divinity and decided to get his mack on.

“What’s up mami?”

He said as he took his food ticket and leaned on the counter, undressing Divinity with his wolfish eyes.

“Do I look like your fuckin’ mami nigga?” Divinity said as she rolled her eyes at him.

 “Damn, it’s like that?”

“It’s like what?” Divinity spat as she turned back around to face him. “Why the fuck are you still talking to me.  Muthafucka, you know me or something?” 

She turned to walk away from the counter but they called her number so she picked her food up. However just as she took her food from the counter, he reached out and lifted her skirt to peek at her ass.

“You aint all that anyway Puta! Take your stank ass on.”

No he didn’t, Divinity thought to herself furiously as he paused for a second, just briefly enough to flash him a quick smile before she headed out the door towards the car. Mecca had seen the exchange and saw the attitude on Divinity’s face.

“What was up with dude in there? You alright cuz?” She asked as Divinity got in the car and sat the food on the floorboard in the back.

 “Yo, I’m about to shoot that nigga. What car he pull up in?”

“The grey Cutlass over there.”

 She pointed to a shabby gray Cutlass Supreme parked at the end of the row of cars. It was empty.

“Alright look, when he gets in his car I'ma head over there real quick. As soon as I get in his car, start the car and gimme 30 seconds before you pull over there.”

 “You want me to roll with you?”  Mecca asked her.

 “If you roll wit’ me who’s gonna drive the car, duh. Just chill and let me do this. Nigga put his hands on me and tried to diss me. Yo, there he go.”

 As he came out of the Chinese spot, Divinity reached in the sac of food and took out a smaller bag of shrimp rolls. She dumped the rolls into the bigger bag and put her baby .380 automatic inside. She gripped the gun and got out of the car. She went around to the passenger side of the Cutlass and knocked on the window, showing off her dimples as she flashed a seductively sexy smile. When he saw her he smiled back and hit the button to let the window down.

“What’s up ma?”

 “Nothin’. Let me holla at you so I can apologize the right way papi.”

“Ok, see that’s what I’m talking about. Get in mami.”

And with another push of a button the passenger door unlocked.  Divinity opened the door and slid into the car.

 “Whatchu wanna holla at a player ab...”

 Before he got a chance to lay his game on too thick, Princess Divinity pulled her .380 from the small bag it was in and pushed it into his groin.

 “Whoa shorty, what’s up with that! Yo, I was just fuckin’ around in there! Be careful with that shit!”

 “What’s up now, Puta? Take that fuckin’ chain off and empty your pockets on the dash!” He did as he was told, careful not to bump Divinity’s hand so that no accidents would happen.

“It aint got to be like this shorty.”

“Shut the fuck up wit’ yo stank ass.”

 Divinity scooped up all of his jewelry and money from the dashboard, pushed the gun hard into the Puerto Rican brother’s balls and pulled the trigger twice.

“You aint all that!” She said.

 She got out of the car and jumped right into the bowling ball green Acura Integra that was waiting for her.

“Let’s go girl before the food gets cold. I’m starving like hell.”

Tell us about Lady Scarface and where it's available.
 NOOK: 
AMAZON:

Can we look forward to reading about you again anytime soon? Yes. Lady Scarface II is due out on October 1st ,  and I am about to release two erotica projects.

Where can readers find you on the web?
On Facebook: Author Divine Ortiz.
Twitter @AuthorDivineO


Divine, thank you for being here on Some Like It Hotter for such wide-ranging and interesting interview! Readers, as always, happy hot and sexy reading.

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