Interviewed by Christopher Zoukis
This interview took place at Federal Correctional Institute – Petersburg, a medium security federal prison in Virginia. I sat down with Robert L. Thompson, who goes by the tag of “Bobby B.” We talked about his fiction novel Corruption: Everyone Has A Price, which was published by nHouse Publishing, an independent press located in New Jersey.
CZ: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
BB: My name is Robert L. Thompson. But most people know me as “Bobby B.” In my previous life out in the real world, I was a DJ. My blue-booker was “Bobby B.” For the last decade I’ve been in prison for the distribution of crack cocaine. While doing time, I co-authored a novel.
CZ: Can you summarize your novel? What’s it about?
BB: Corruption is noir urban fiction. The tale of a drug dealer who gets swallowed into the belly of the criminal justice system. Once inside, he discovers a system spider webbed with self-interest and corruption. Filaments of corruption extend to every part of the system, including attorneys and law enforcement. From the outside, everything looks peachy. However, from the inside, everything is not as it appears. Thus although Corruption is a work of fiction, there is a river of truth running through it.
CZ: What I hear you saying is that the novel is autobiographical. That it reflects your own experiences in the system. If so, could you elaborate on the connection?
BB: Of course not! As a federal prisoner, I advocate the very popular doctrine of ethical pragmatism. You know the one where everything turns out to be the doctrine of self-interest. Kind of like former president Clinton. Only I’ve never been in the Oval Office, and I don’t smoke cigars.
CZ: Okay. Let me rephrase my question. What I hear you saying, is that Corruption is an indictment of the system. Where did you get the inspiration to write the novel?
BB: From my own life. I grew up in the Bronx, in New York. Unlike most kids in my neighborhood, my mother and father cared about me. They were actively involved in my life. They supported me financially and emotionally. When I was old enough, they encouraged me to work. I started selling newspapers door-to-door. At the same time, I was in the Boy Scouts. Later, I became a DJ. Everything was good. Then, well, like they say, all good things come to an end. They did.
When I was 14-years old, my family moved to Lynchburg, Virginia. That’s where my mother grew up. And that’s where my ball of string started to unravel. I got caught up in dealing drugs. Drugs were easy money, the way to easy street. I thought. My experiences in hustling and my time in federal prison led me to write Corruption.
CZ: Would you categorize your novel as pure entertainment or is it allegorical? In other words, are there larger social implications?
BB: Both. It’s a good, fast-paced story that people will enjoy. Yet there are undercurrents. In that sense, the story is a cautionary tale designed to warn anyone who would follow in my shoes.
CZ: Most authors are influenced by what they read, by certain authors. Which books or authors shaped your writing style, if any?
BB: I was persuaded by Walter Mosely’s This Year You Write Your Novel, Terri Woods’ True To The Game, Sister Souljah’s The Coldest Winter Ever, along with Let That Be the Reason by Vickie Stringer, and Swame Teague’s remarkable Dutch.
There were many others too. A little here, a little there.
CZ: Are you working on anything right now?
BB: Yes. Gregory McRae is my co-author. We signed a 3-book deal with nHouse Publishing. The first of the three books is Corruption, which will be followed by Corruption 2, which has been completed. It’s ready for editing. The third book of the trilogy is Corruption 3, in which I am neck deep.
CZ: You’re a busy man, and by all indications very prolific. Where can people get more information about you?
BB: They can go to facebook.com/author.rthompson or www.nHousepublishing.com.
CZ: Finally, where may readers purchase a copy of Corruption?
BB: The usual places: Amazon, Barnes and Noble or from the publisher at www.nHouse.com.
CZ: How can your fans get in touch with you?
BB: They can write me at: Robert L. Thompson #08527-084, FCI Petersburg Medium, P.O. Box 1000, Petersburg, Virginia 23804.