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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Conversation with Booker T. Mattison, author of UNSIGNED HYPE

There are few people who have achieved the success of Booker T. Mattison and managed to remain as humble and appreciative as he is. He is the author of the novel UNSIGNED HYPE as well as a filmmaker who wrote the screenplay for and directed the film adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's "The Gilded Six Bits," which aired on Showtime. His films have been screened at the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress, the Directors Guild of America , and Harvard University . Music videos that he has written and directed have aired on BET, MTV Europe, and the Gospel Music Channel.

Mattison's novel UNSIGNED HYPE has been chosen as the Book of the Month for the Hip Hop and Books Club during September 2009. ( Listen to author Booker T. Mattison's recent interview with Conversations LIVE! Radio

In this discussion he talks about the parallel's between himself and the main character Tory, how he views success in his own life and what he hopes his children remember about him and the work he has created.

Thank you, Booker T., for taking out the time to talk with us today. Before we talk about your debut novel UNSIGNED HYPE I want to talk about you. How would you describe who Booker T. Mattison is?

I am an author and filmmaker, but more importantly I am a professional husband and father.

You have been busy working in music and even film. What led you to writing the book?
Believe it or not, the opportunity to write this book kind of fell in my lap. A publisher friend of my literary agent asked her if she could find a story with a teenaged black male protagonist that wasn't all about sex, violence and drugs. My agent asked me if I could write it because all of her other writers are women. Even though we didn't wind up going with that publisher, once the story was birthed it was ready to find an audience.

Is reading something that you enjoyed growing up?
I have always enjoyed reading. I'm thankful that my mother and father emphasized the importance of reading, and education in general. It's difficult to develop an appreciation for books if you're not introduced to them at a young age.

You happened to weave together a story where the characters dealt with their own personal demons as well as external forces. What led to your writing this story?
Since I'm a former rapper, producer and ex-knuckle head, the story flowed out of many of my own personal experiences. I think that's why the characters in the book resonate with so many people. Essentially, each character in the book represents an aspect of my life or a particular part of my personality.

You talk about being a proud father. When we talked on Conversations LIVE! Radio not too long ago I didn't ask you about the legacy you wanted to leave for your children. When they read the book, what do you hope they think of when it comes to who wrote it?
I want them to remember that their father was a man of integrity, a man of character and a man who embraced truth no matter what the cost. I also want them to recognize the importance of using their God given talents to promote a point of view that is consistent with how God views the world.

Read the entire interview here:

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