This interview was done exclusively with Frank for his latest blog tour. Enjoy!
What is the title and genre of your book?
It’s called MURRAN. Murran is the story of a young African-American boy named Trey coming of age in the 1980s, and his rite of passage to adulthood. Trey is a member of a ‘crew’ in Brooklyn and is enticed into helping a violent street gang. He is eventually framed for murder and flees with his high school teacher to the teacher’s Maasai village in Kenya. Trey goes through the Maasai warrior’s rite of passage, becomes a young shaman, and returns to America to confront and defeat the gang leader that framed him.
Frank, who did you write this book for?
It’s a general audience story but is very worthwhile for young teens to read the book. Besides that I wanted to show that Black America had a true unique culture that was abandoned in the mid 20th century for what they claim is an African-American culture today. Black Americans had a unique Black culture. It was called the Black Renaissance and it took place in the early part of the 20th century. A Renaissance steeped in values and culture unique to Blacks. MURRAN proposes that the Maasai cultural values of children and family first and the success of their culture living amidst the dangers of the African bush should be copied by Black Americans today to create a successful community.
“Murran” is an interesting title– how did you come up with it?
MURRAN means ‘warrior’ in Maasai. Trey, the young teen in the book, joins a teen gang called the ‘Warriors’. But when he goes to Africa and lives with the Maasai, he sees the Maasai warriors and learns what a true warrior is.
Where did you get that great cover from? Can you tell us about the cover art?
I wanted to show the two different sides of a warrior. The street warrior – gang member – on one side and the Maasai warrior on the other. It was designed under the direction of myself.
Which of the characters in “Murran” speaks to you?
There are several characters I like but the best one that speaks to me is the Maasai shaman – ol Sanke. He plays the role of the wise old man. His role in the story is the same as Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars or Don Juan in Carlos Castaneda’s books.
And the character you hate is…
That would be the District Sheriff in Kenya. He is crook and used his office to shield himself from any ramifications of his actions. He eventually goes too far.
Almost all writers want to change something about the books they’ve released. We are giving you that opportunity. What are you going to change?
Nothing. It is a perfect story. It’s the most perfect one I have ever written. When you read it you’ll agree.
Is there something you learned while writing “Murran” that you’d like to share with us?
Trey was astonished to learn that Pi burned hot coals into her thighs. When asked why, he was told they served the same purpose as tattoos on girls do in the US. Another is the fact that of all the big cats, the lion is the only one that was a spur on the end of its tail. No one knows whey wand what purpose it serves. But ol Sanki knows why and tells the story to Trey how the lion got its spur.
Of all the ethnic cultures you could have used, why did you select the black culture?
The story of MURRAN led me there. To make my main character an African-American. But it also gave me a vehicle to pursue an alienation theme. If any ethnic group in our country has been alienated the most, it’s the Africa-Americans because of the manner that they arrived to America. When asked what tribe are you from of an African-American – there is no answer. But almost every other ethnic and European culture in our society can point to a ‘tribe’ they came from. MURRAN gives me the opportunity to provide a way for the threatened culture of the Maasai tribe – a proud and brave culture with a strong rite of passage for their youth – to be introduced and hopefully embraced by today’s African-Americans who seem to want to live a true African culture.
As a white male, did you think it might be thought of as strange writing a story about a culture you are not a part of and can only empathize?
Let’s take an old saying about writing that goes: Write what you know. I disagree with that. You write what you CAN know. I put a ton of research into my stories – then – I find a story polisher who has experience in the subject matter and have them check my research and add dimensions to the story. As for Africa and the Maasai, it’s research but also my personal experience of traveling to Africa several times.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Go to my author website at http://www.frankfiore.com
The two latest Frank Fiore novels are below, and are available from Amazon. You can buy your copies by clicking on the links below…