T. Weldon Garrett

T. Weldon Garrett

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
August 23, 2008

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write a novel surrounding African-Americans in corporate America and in prison ?

A.    I was reading an article in which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was quoted as having indicated that more white people do drugs than black people. However, in New York approximately 90 percent of those who are incarcerated for drug use or sales are African-Americans and Latinos. After further research, I discovered the prison industrial complex and thought the story needed to be told and would make an exciting novel.

Q.    What type of research did you do to come about the term “black face,” when you exemplified Greg’s partnership with Harrison & Harrison?

A.    In some instances, writers draw on their experience. A friend of mine approached me and said that an executive at a company for which she worked asked her to be a "black face" for a company he was establishing. To be sure, he didn't use the word black face but she did. In other words, on paper only she would appear to have a majority ownership to secure government contracts. She declined.

Q.    Are the statistics that Bill researched on the Rockefeller drug law accurate concerning blacks and Latinos in prison?

A.    Yes. As I write, I include statistics from my research because it gives me and others a point of reference. The statistics may have changed, however. More minorities are being incarcerated and the number of black women sentenced to prison is increasing.

Q.    Will you give the readers your definition of the title THE NIGHTINGALE CALL?

A.    In the novel, the nightingale is explained as follows: “The nightingale is a bird that retreats to Africa during certain periods of the year. The male birds are known for melodious songs during mating season, a time of year during which they coo—a sign of their innocence." The word, "nightingale," is a symbolic term use to denote the innocence of children who have roots in the continent of Africa and the extent to which the innocent is being abused and exploited.

Q.    How did you come about the Justice Hunter character?

A.    You only get The Nightingale Call if you are a member of an elite, secret society, a society comprised of judges, members of academia, politicians, including the current President of the United States and past Presidents of the United States, just to name a few. Judge Hunter is an insider who has been wronged by the society, and, therefore, is vulnerable and willing to talk.

Q.    How did you come about Justice Hunter giving his opinion on modern day slavery?

A.    There is a direct correlation between chattel slavery of the seventeenth century and modern day slavery, a phrase which people tend to dismiss too quickly. Justice Hunter understands the connection. As a lawmaker, he understands that the Thirteen Amendment, which officially abolished, and prohibits, slavery, could also be used to re-establish chattel slavery. For instance, the Thirteen Amendment reads, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." There's an exception clause.

Q.    How would you compare this book to your previous book AGAINST A BRICK WALL?

A.    Both novels are written to entertain and enlighten. Many people have told me that they learned from reading both novels, and they indicated, more importantly, that they also find them to be enjoyable reads. And, remember, the The Nightingale Call is a sequel to Against A Brick Wall but written in away that the people can read them out of order without missing a beat.

Q.    Are you currently working on another novel?

A.    Yes. It will be finished shortly.

Q.    Will you give the readers a brief description of your next novel?

A.    I don't want to reveal too much, but suffice it to say, consistent with my first two novels, it will inform and entertain. If you enjoyed the first two, I hope you will wait with eager anticipation for the third.

Q.    What message would you like to convey in THE NIGHTINGALE CALL?

A.    People need to understand how their past affects their future, keeping in mind that old saying, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."