Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sweets and other stories by Andre Williams

Now 73 years old, Bessemer born Andre Williams is launching his fiction writing career this month with the publication of Sweets. Since the 1950's Andre has distinguished himself as a singer, songwriter and producer (see September post on this blog for more details).

"Sweets is a narrative which takes you for a wild ride from Chicago to Houston, New Orleans, and New York City, as a teenage girl finds herself in a family way, without a family. Forced to fend for herself, she is taken under the wing of a local pimp who entices her into prostitution. The adventures that follow are a free-for-all foray through the fantastic world of pimps and their women, funeral directors, gangs and drug running, with sidebar anecdotes that are guaranteed to appall, alarm and astonish. Extreme entries remain unedited, and none of William's raw drawl storytelling style has been tampered in this standout fiction debut."

During a bout of depression, Andre entered a forty-two day program at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center to try to put himself back together. When he got there he called upon longtime friend Miriam Linna at Kicks Magazine. She suggested that he try his hand at fiction writing if only to while away the long days ahead at the center. In the book's preface, Andre describes how once in rehab he felt his mind begin to heal and thoughts began coming to him from all over the place, day and night. He began writing everything down and with Miriam's editorial help he was able to transform his rehabilitation process into the novelette, short story and song-poems comprising Sweets.

As author Nick Toshes writes in his introduction to Sweets, "Andre Williams has proven himself to be a survivor. The stories he has here written deserve to survive as well. They most certainly deserve to be read, as the rewards they offer are many and fine. Heed what I say. Otherwise you got nobody but your own self to blame." For some other folks' thoughts on Sweets, check the reviews by Mick Collins and James Sullivan.

The story collection is a posh pocket paperback originals release by the Kicks Books imprint which hatched from Kicks Magazine, now celebrating its 30th anniversary. The book design is an homage to vintage PBO paperback originals; its "tall" 7 inch format makes it the perfect size to take it in your coat pocket or handbag wherever you go.

Kicks Books will celebrate Andre Williams' arrival as an author on November 14, 8 PM, at a reading and book signing at Phyllis' Musical Inn, 1800 West Division Street, Chicago, IL. There will also be Q&A session with Andre and DJ party featuring Andre Williams' music selected and spun by DJ John Phillips.

And for those in the Memphis area, Andre Williams will be performing at High-Tone Cafe on Saturday, November 7th.

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