Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest today BT Rockwell. BT is an author, producer, and audio engineer who spent years with the legendary Wu Tang Clan, chiefly with one of its star MCs, Raekwon the Chef.
He helped produce, record, mix, and arrange Raekwon’s instant classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II which iTunes and TIME magazine both hailed as the best hip hop album of 2009.
While writing from the road, his music studio in Brooklyn, and his apartment in downtown Manhattan, Rockwell was able to create an authentic and commercially relatable glimpse of one intelligent hustler’s journey in today’s big (rotten) apple.
BT has just authored his first fiction novel, Burn Me Up Fast .
Norm: Good day BT and thanks for participating in our interview.
How was it like to spend years with Wu Tang Chan?
BT: A little nutty as expected. I primarily followed Raekwon around as his personal engineer. I also had the pleasure (and pain) of doing a couple of tours with the Wu--actually on the bus with them. And growing up as a huge fan of theirs, it was surreal. Sometimes it was just real. And sometimes it got too real.
Norm: How did you decide you were ready to write Burn Me Up Fast and could you tell our readers something about the book?
BT: Burn Me Up Fast is an authentic, close to current day tale mainly taking place in downtown Manhattan. Byron and his best friend Primo live on the edge--hustling quality pot while partaking in the city's party/drug scene-- all the while attempting to figure out some of life's most difficult questions. The story lives and breathes New York City and has grit and heart.
Not sure how I decided I was ready to write the novel, but I knew once I had that very initial draft in my hand that I had to follow this project through to the bitter end.
Norm: Did you write from your own experiences and were the characters based on people you know?
BT: [BT passed on this question]
Norm: What purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story?
BT: I want all of my writing to have some sort of message or messages within. This story has three main themes I think: 1. Don't let your fears be the thing that holds you back. 2. Be careful with hard drugs as they can often lead to negative consequences. 3. The love you give and receive will hopefully guide and protect you along your journey. The goal is to have others relate and possibly even learn something as they read. I have very fond memories of reading books. Soaking up the thoughts, ideas, and wisdom like a sponge.
Norm: Was your book improvisational or did you have a set plan?
BT: Both I think, just like the music I've produced since well before I started to write anything serious. It's like your left and right brain. You kind of need both for something like this. You need that mysterious magical creativity that you don't even know where it came from. But you also need a plan. Some structure. Maybe an outline or index cards.
Norm: How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
BT: I've lived in the Rotten Apple for a long time now. It's totally seeped into my skin and into my blood. I've also had the pleasure of knowing and befriending, hip hop heads, skaters, senseis, hippies, nerds, and so many more. I just wanted to represent a version of New York City that is too often inaccurately portrayed.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
BT: Never ending rewrites? Or conquering the feeling of fear of failure? Or perhaps it was knowing when to finally put down the pen and publish. There are many difficult parts. But holding your own printed paperback makes it all worth it.
Norm: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
BT: F... fears! They hold you back like balls and chains locked to your ankles. In addition to that, something I already knew was greatly reinforced: Don't quit and follow things through to the finish line. Nothing worse than a festering incomplete task.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Burn Me Up Fast?
There you can find a book trailer and much more info as well. I'm also on other social media sites such as: Twitter.com/BTRockwell, Facebook.com/BTRockwell, and Instagram.com/BTRockwell. Don't forget GoodReads!
Norm; What is next for BT Rockwell?
BT: A screenplay and TV script loosely based on Burn Me Up Fast are in the works. I'm also thrilled to announce that I am putting the final touches on my novella called Blood Sucker. I don't want to give anything up right now, but if readers like how I tell a story, they are sure to love this next one as well.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
BT: What book are you reading right now?
BT: Paulo Coelho's masterpiece, Veronika Decides to Die.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors
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