By Sheryl Nance-Nash
Inspiration can come from any where – even from behind prison walls. In 2003, Wahida Clark began writing fiction while serving a 10 and a half year sentence for money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud at the federal prison camp in Lexington, KY. By the time she was released in 2007, she had written the first three novels of the “Thug Love Series.” Next week, she releases “Justify My Thug,” the fifth novel in her dramatic and erotic collection.
The New York Times and Essence magazine bestselling author entertains with tales of four girlfriends addicted to the fast-paced life of money, crime and danger, while also suffering the consequences that come along with falling in love with the hood’s most notorious thugs.
Clark, who grew up in the tough world of Trenton, NJ, traded in her street-savvy for business acumen. Her company, Wahida Clark Presents Publishing, established just four years ago, currently has 11 titles in stores and is home to more than 10 authors. The company is approaching $1 million in sales.
We spoke to Clark about her growth, trials and successes.
What motivated you to start writing?
I needed to write. I had just begun serving my 10 year prison sentence. I worked in the law library in prison. I was surrounded by books. I read about someone who was locked up and wrote a book. I started visualizing my name on the spine of a book. I knew I had to build a foundation for my future, and though I had written before, I had no [formal training in] writing. I got the revelation to write.
And write you did. You wrote five books while in prison. How did you stay focused?
My characters. They always have unfinished business. There’s more to tell. I am motivated by my huge base of fans to keep writing because they are looking for more…and of course I have a contract.
How is it that as soon as you got out of prison you were able to launch Wahida Clark Presents Publishing?
I was always entrepreneurial. Before, I had a landscaping business; I sold long distance services and had a small publishing business.