1. What is the genesis of Ghetto Cowboy?
Stumbling across an article in LIFE magazine (gneri.livejournal.com/124473.html ). Those photos really stopped me in my tracks and I immediately thought: what a great world to set a story in.
2. Was Ghetto Cowboy the original title or where there other titles?
It was one I quickly settled on. It was a term I heard one of the kids use and it perfectly described the story. I love titles that grab and make you think: What is that?
3. What was the most difficult thing about writing Ghetto Cowboy?
Getting to the end. I did two passes, relatively easy until I got about 70% in and then totally blanked, twice. Had to put it away for months on end each time. Then I realized the issue. Originally, I had Cole born into that world but it was more powerful if he was an outsider, a fish out of water, who has to figure that world out and find his inner cowboy. Once I had that, the 3rd pass worked.
4. What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans about Ghetto Cowboy?
So much love for this book. I’ve heard over and over—“This book is about me”, “This is my world” “You understand us more than anyone.” I’ve had teens show up on their horses at school—the real deal!
5. Congratulations on your book Ghetto Cowboy being made into a feature film, what are your thoughts on Idris Elba being casted as Harp, Cole’s father?
A perfect fit. In fact, when I first wrote it, I was a big fan of The Wire and there is a bit of his character, Stringer Bell, in Harp, for sure.
6. Would you like to make a cameo in the film adaptation of Ghetto Cowboy?
I better be a cowboy.
7. Do you write every day, and for how long do you write for?
I work 5-6 days a week. Could be writing a first draft, doing revisions, proofing, doing all the business end of things. But I try to work all day like a regular job.
8. Which author would you love to invite over and chat with? And why?
John Fante (Ask the Dust) because he was a crazy Italian who wrote big, with passion, lust and anger; a real poetry for life. He was quite a character. Put him in a room with his friend Bukowski, and that’d be a night you’d never forget.
9. Do you recall the first story you ever wrote?
Hmm. Not specifically. Probably some short story in high school. I do remember staying in college over Christmas break and writing my first screenplay on a typewriter in an empty dorm.
10. What do you like to read in your free time?
Graphic novels and non-fiction
11. Where was the farthest you have ever traveled to?
12. Silly-Game question: From Ghetto Cowboy, could you please leaf through the pages and point at a random place. What is the full sentence? And what is the page number of this random sentence?
“I think of running, but that’s rule three: Never run.” p. 29
13. Which other books of yours would you like to see adapted into a film?
My new one, Grand Theft Horse, and my series on Tru & Nelle.
14. What is the scariest thing you have ever done for fun?
Jump out of a plane.
15. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To erase hatred from the world.
16. What’s your motto in life?
Always say YES to life.
17. Last question, what is the one thing that anyone should do/eat/try if one is visiting Tampa, Florida?
Walk on the river walk, visit the museum of art, eat at one of the artisanal eateries on the north end, then end up seeing a movie at the old school movie palace, the Tampa Theatre, complete with organ music!
All the best to Mr. Greg Neri on his writing endeavors. I also want to express my greatest appreciation for him doing this interview. I hope each and everyone of you would check out his novel especially Ghetto Cowboy. Furthermore, make sure you keep a look out for the film adaptation as well. Take care and I hope everyone is having a wonderful day.