Author Interview "PUGH"
PUGH, the Urbanlistic Novelist, is a Chicago, Illinois, native. He was reared and scholastically cultivated in Miami Dade County, FL. PUGH continued his educational endeavors by obtaining Philosophy, African American Literature, and Shakespeare accreditations.
An up and coming author, PUGH rejects the limitation of his incarcerated circumstances. He lives beyond the prison’s walls by using creativity as an escape and he’s determined to never allow his passion for writing to dissipate.
Writing about the urban experience, PUGH’s penned works include 39 Lashes of Karma, Mini Distractionz and its sequel, Major Repercussions, all five-star review publications. The author’s fourth book, A World Inside A Wicked World is tentatively scheduled to release this year.
Please tell our readers a little about your upcoming release "World Inside A Wicked World." When will it be available, and where will readers be able to purchase it?
"World Inside A Wicked World" is basically about a man named Greg, sentenced to life without the possibility of parole as a result of avenging the death of his father and the set up of his mother. From the moment that he arrives at the maximum security prison, he quickly learns that consequences of his actions not only fall upon him, but also upon the ones closest to him. Inside this novel, I bring to light, a lot of situations and scenarios that go on within this environment that people, such as myself, are forced to face every moment of the day.
Corruption, brutality, drugs, weapons, deaths, cover ups, you name it.
I do my best to touch upon pressure points such as the mental aspect that inmates and prison administration face. I also shed light on the fact that the wicked environment of the incarcerated is no different then the wickedness that goes on in society, and more importantly the effects that incarceration can have on the inmates love ones that are left behind.
The scheduled release date for my upcoming book is July 2nd. Readers will be able to purchase copies on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Your novels touch on many hard topics including police brutality, police corruption, and the senseless killing of black men and boys. I'm curious to know how prison authorities have responded to your work?
There is no pretty way to tell such an ugly truth. To be completely honest with you, the authorities response has been little to none, so far. At one point in time, I was among their main focus and labeled a "problem" inmate. As a result, I spent years in solitary confinement for major infractions. But, once I made the conscious decision to better myself and change my mindset, now it's as if I am an invisible face among 1500 inmates.
In prison, just like the majority of times in society, only the most negative aspects of a person's behavior and actions get the spotlight, the positive frequently get overshadowed. And its sad but true. The facility that i'm in doesn't even have a general library. Inmates are only allowed to receive two books a month through the mail from love ones. So that should be a clear indication of the mindset of the authorities. They could care less if you had access to reading material. The last thing they want is for an individual to pick up a book to better himself, even less for an individual to make a complete turn around to the point of self-publishing several books.
Prisons are in the business of housing humans like livestock, Not rehabilitation or encouraging the betterment of individuals. Just take moment to think, what would happen if each prison around the United States turned their focus strictly towards education and preparation for returning back to society? It would eventually put the prison industry out of business or at least cripple it drastically financially. Due the fact that it would equip individuals with the knowledge and know how to put themselves in a position to earn an honest living and become tax paying citizens.
You have some of the most talented and intelligent individuals in the world incarcerated, believe it or not. But, the thing is that they have boatloads of time, with no avenue or encouragement to better themselves on a higher level.
Singers, Artists, Poets, Pastors, Painters, Writers…You name it, they are here. But very seldom do you hear about the positive.
Have any of your fellow inmates read your books? If so, what has been their response?
Yes. Quite a few have read them. Some read the manuscript for my first book, Mini Distractionz, as soon as I finished writing it on paper. Others read it, along with the rest of my books, once I had them published. At first, I was kind of nervous to let anyone read it because one thing about being in here, is that on every corner you are surrounded with some of the most brutally honest critics in existence. I soon learned that the character Mini Size was a fan favorite. Every one that has read the books in here gave me a thumbs up. So I am both humble and grateful.
The best response that I received is that a couple of inmates that started writing books but never took time to finish, said that I inspired them to do so. That was very humbling to me, to finally be able to influence someone to do something positive, instead of negative.
While we're on the topic I have to ask, why are you currently doing time?
I was charged, convicted, and sentenced to life for the charges of Reckless Vehicle Homicide and Drug Trafficking. I am to this day still fighting my case on appeal, so I can't really go into details. But lack of patience, bad decisions, being afraid to let go of a prior image and reputation in the streets and police corruption are all collectively why I am currently doing time.
What were you doing before you went to prison?
I was pursing a music career and was scheduled to start my first day of truck driving school.
Were you encouraged to write while in prison or have you always wanted to be a writer?
I was encouraged by my mother, who just so happens to be an author herself. I have been incarcerated since 2009. My first book entitled "Mini Distractionz" was published in 2016. Soon to follow were "39 Lashes of Karma" & "Major Repercussions.” "World Inside A Wicked World" will be my fourth book published.
Let’s talk specifically about your book, “39 Lashes of Karma." The story line you wrote about the character Trey is similar to what we hear (and sometimes don't hear) about the murders of innocent black boys in the media today. Im wondering, are your characters and story lines based on real life people or situations from your life? If not, what inspires your writing style?
The whole entire story line of "39 Lashes of Karma" is based on a series of things that have actually happened to real life people. Some of the experiences date back as far as slavery and some are still happening to this day. In my opinion, children are our future, so I decided to start out with the senseless killing of Trey. Incidents involving trigger happy police killing minors and not being held accountable is an issue that I felt needed to be touched upon and hopefully will be discussed in every platform possible. Its no coincidence that every major incident of a senseless killing of a teen that has been brought to the forefront, somehow someway the officer has walked away free. The reality of that provoked that portion of the story line.
Weaved into the story, I also addressed how the commissioner and chief went into action to cover up the shooting.
All of the storylines are inspired by real life situations that people in our community, whether they are rich, middle class or poor, have experienced. Each and every character has a message to spread and when brought together, paints the bigger picture.
Take the character Charles Turtlepu for instance, he is a black billionaire. His wealth intimidated his 'so called friends' so much to the point that they framed him, attempted to manipulate him and then threw him to the wolves. But, in the end, he proves to be much more intelligent than thought to be.
I used his situation to show how people's lives and their freedom are played with in courtrooms when a person is less fortunate or a target. In keeping true to the title of the book, I wanted to base the whole book on the concept of Karma. So It inspired me to create a story, in a way that everything that happened to one set of individuals, poured itself upon the other side. That is why I reversed all of the situations in a "doctor can't take his own medicine" type of style.
You often hear people say when an individual is doing time, those closest to him or her are also doing time. Who are the people (family, friends, etc) that have supported you on your writing journey and have kept you encouraged during your incarceration?
THAT is an absolutely true statement. First of all, I just want to thank God for all the people that have supported and encouraged me along the way. Its not easy and more importantly, it's not a given. So I am truly blessed to have God's favor in that aspect.
The people who have supported me on my writing journey are my mom (Sheila Hodges). There definitely would not be any books if it wasn't for her. She encouraged me to finish my first book, and I do put emphasis on the word finish. In 2010, I started writing it while I was in solitary confinement for a period of 18 months. I pushed it to the side once I was released into general population with the other inmates. She stayed on my back to complete what I started...and the rest is history.
Angel Walker is the one responsible for the eye catching covers on all of my books.
Mrs. Connie Spencer is my godsent Editor, Formatter and Encourager.
My writing journey has definitely moved forward because of them. Their support and encouragement has been consistent and I am truly appreciative and humble.
As far as the people that have kept me encouraged during my incarceration goes, overall I would have to say my mom, my godmother (Mary Dunn), my two cousins (R. Pugh & K. Carter) that always come through for me when services need to be paid, my childhood friend (Sheldon Gordon), My 4 brothers and baby sister Jasmine Pugh, and my daughter Nakayla Pugh. Just to name a few.
I am truly blessed to have people that encourage and support me. Thank you all.
What advice would you give to young people about staying away from prison?
My advice to young people would be to think and give themselves time to make a decision that will turn out to be the best decision. The majority of people incarcerated for life or placed on death row made what they felt at that exact moment, was the best decision. But, it turned out to be the one decision to put them in the worst possible place.
In a lot of cases, oppression can be worst than slaughter. Food not fit for human consumption is served on a regular basis, inadequate medical is the norm, and frequent physical, mental and verbal abuse from certain guards that have track records for excessive use of force. We have 131 inmates housed in garage made into a dorm, with only four toilets. Being in prison does not mean that you are tough or gangster. There is nothing at all fun about being caged like an animal and subjected to the harshest of treatments.
My advice to the young people would be to consider the pain and suffering that they would definitely put their mothers, grandmothers, mothers of their children and children, through on a daily basis knowing that their love one is being held captive.
Time is the 2nd most valuable thing in existence, behind life itself. They are the 2 things that you can never get back once it's taken. I would remind young people to remember that it's impossible to get the time that they spend in prison back and more importantly that once a person walks inside of the gates of any prison,
it's NO GUARANTEE that they will ever walk out.
I would advise young people to get a job and work hard. Freedom is priceless.
And for the ones that argue that a job doesn't pay enough, I will tell them when they end up in prison, 9 times out 10 the people that love you enough to place funds in your commissary, all work at JOBS!!!! So, if the the money that they work hard to earn is good enough for you to call or write home to ask for and gladly accept once you get to prison....then you should cut the middleman out, get a job and work hard so that you never have to come to prison in the first place.
Long story short….Stay out of prison!
What can we expect from you next?
A National Best Seller!!!!!!
Books by PUGH can be found on amazon.com.
You can connect with the author online at facebook.com/author.pugh.5 , twitter.com/MiniSize2016 , and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.