We had the opportunity to sit down with fiction writer J.M. Benjamin who has been quietly busy these past several months. With movies and new books in the works we needed to see what Mr. Benjamin had brewing and so here you have it.
1.) Since your debut 2006 you have accomplished many things. Most recently you embarked on film tell us about the upcoming project?
Yes, I teamed up with a Sundance Film Festival winner by the name of Alrick Brown and a film/t.v. producer by the named of Lamar Mackson, both from my hometown of Plainfield NJ, about three years ago and had my novel “My Manz And ‘Em” adapted into a screenplay. Since then we’ve been prepping to have have the screenplay become a feature film. So far we have some great talents attached to the project such as Jaime Hector (Marlo from HBO hit series The Wire), to star as “Malik Jones”, Jasmine Guy (Whitley from A Bill Cosby’s A Different World), play his mother, Jamal “Gravy” Woolard (Biggie Smalls in Notorious) and the iconic West Indian comedian/ actor Oliver Samuels just to name a few. It’s really going to be a phenomenal piece and something to be proud of.
2.) Now signed to Official Writers League with the renowned Ashley and JaQuavis what can we expect from the novel, Squeeze?
First let me say, thanks to the brother Jaquavis and the sister Ashley, for acknowledging and recognizing my talent and skills as a writer and even considering me for their “Elite Team”. With “Squeeze” you can expect to see the maturity on an even more sexier level in my writing. I stepped outside the norm of content as far as the subject matter. It’s not so much as about the drugs being sold, money being made or the murders in this one. It’s more so about power and status, the power of the “P” actually lol! It’s definitely an intriguing trilogy. Feb 2014, be on the look out.
3.) In addition to new story lines, you recently announced the relaunch of your most popular series Ride or Die Chick with Carl Weber tell us why the collaboration took place?
Again, thanks goes out to Carl Weber for believing in me and my work and for affording me the opportunity to have it presented to a larger audience. The decision to sign a deal to have the Ride Or Die Chick 1,2 and 3 re-released was a win/win situation for the both of us. I’m mostly known for that series, I mean, what woman doesn’t want to be or believe themselves to be a ride or die chick? What Carl will be doing is introducing those who have never heard of me or my work to a larger audience, his audience. By the time the fall in love with the characters from 1-3, we’ll be ready to satisfy them with the final installment of part 4, which solidified the deal.
4.) Are you working on new fictional works; if so tell us about it?
I am currently working on both Squeeze 2 and Ride Or Die Chick 4. In addition, I am trying to complete another non-fiction motivational book along the lines of my first on “From Incarceration 2 Incorporation”. Aside from having a new love interest in writing short screenplays, my heart is really into non-fiction over fiction.
5.) Where can people meet you on the road in 2014?
In 2014, you will see the 2006 J.M. Benjamin again, where I was here, there and everywhere. Signing these two deals have allowed me to fall back in love with the urban literary game. These books will be found in places like Walmart and Target, which means I have new blocks that I can go and hustle on in addition to the few indie store still left and events that take place. E-Books may have gotten many authors lazy and afraid to do what a true author loves doing and does, but I’m not one of those authors. I’m actually hoping to encourage and inspire more to come from behind their computers and get back out there and mix and mingle with the people who are responsible for us being authors in the first place.
J.M. Benjamin is a prolific an impacting author hailing from Plainfield, New Jersey. He has penned an array of titles, including his 2006 Award Winning freshman novel, Down In The Dirty (Flowers In Bloom Publishing), the Essence Best Selling, Ride Or Die Chick series, Black Expressions’ “Heaven & Earth” and “One Way To Heaven”, My Manz And ‘Em, which is expected to be a theatrical film in 2014 and the non-fiction motivation book From Incarceration 2 Incorporation. He has also contributed to several anthologies, including Soft; Cocaine Love Stories, Christmas In The Hood and Menace II Society. Collectively, J.M. has managed to single handedly sell hundreds of thousands of copies as an author and independent publisher. Since released from prison in 2006, after serving over a dozen years, J.M. has gone on to become one of the hardest working entrepreneurs in the literary world. His work ethics, dedication, passion and experience in street hustling has caught the eye of notable Publishers such as Carl Weber of Urban Books/Kensington and New York Times Best Sellers Ashley & Jaquavis/O.W.L, which he has recently signed book deals with both for 2014 releases. J.M. has been featured in and on various different newspapers, magazines, television and radio shows, for his his ability to turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity, through writing, including The New York Times (Kevin Coyne), The Courier News, Vibe, Don Diva and King magazine, Fox 13 (Good Morning Memphis), NJN News (Candace Kelley Another View), PCTV, WBLS (The Wendy Williams Experience), Michael Baisden and the list goes on. Since then, he has become a mentor for at risk youth and ex-offenders, a motivational speaker and advocate for change. He returned to society with a different mind-set and different game plan. Once given a plat form and a voice due to his literary accomplishments and status, Mr. Benjamin began speaking out about the harsh reality in schools, juvenile/adult facilities and religious/non-profit organizations of his past criminal life style and how writing and religion were contributing factors and his outlet from the streets.He is also the C.E.O of A New Quality Publishing. For more info on J.M. Benjamin follow him on twitter@jmbenjamin, instagram/jmbenjamin and facebook/jmbenjamin.