A terrible cover illustration! He looks Nothing like the character Chester Simmons!
Editoral Photo of Joe Nazel
Pan Afrikan Occult Fiction Originator Odie Hawkins
Odie: My agent took me to Holloway House because of my first book Ghetto Sketches. It started as a play that would be produced in Minnesota at the Guthrie Theatre by Michael Langhan. They didn't end up doing the play the deal fell through. I redeveloped it as a novel and signed for one book with Holloway House who was looking for Black Experience material. I built a relationship with them because they were willing to allow me to go off genre.
Odie: The novel Conspiracy is about Government manipulation of the drug trade for their own purposes. Amazing Grace is a collection of esoteric short stories. Simone was biographical, Brazilian Nights was a stream of consciousness style narrative and Black Chicago was a historical look at Chicago from the time it was started by a Black Man named Du Sable.
Jaycee: How many books did you eventually publish with Holloway House?
Odie: It was about Seventeen Books. Since then, I had one published by Ile Orunumila Communications, Publisher Chief Fawa called The Snake. Afterwards the last four books have been published by Author house. They are Shackles across Time, AKA The Curse, which is the sequel to The Snake. Then Mister Sweets, Lady Bliss, Mr. Bonobo Bliss. Jaycee: Sounds like you've been real busy. Now Odie, you are considered one of the Core Four of the Holloway House Black Experience Genre. The principals being Robert IceBerg Slim Beck, Donald Goines, Joe Nazel, and yourself.
Odie: Yes! That's correct! Holloway House published several different types of fiction and non fiction primarily in paperback. They were basically a pulp fiction mill pioneering and specializing in Black Pulp fiction novels. One of the most famous for them was The Nigger Bible! That book sold based on the title alone!
Now of me and the rest of what's been called the Core Four, I don't know who got there first. Pimp the Story of my life by Iceberg Slim may have already been on the shelf. Pimp the story of life put Holloway House on the map as far as I'm concerned.
Odie: Bentley Morris and Ralph Weinstock of Holloway House had a lock on a certain type of Black writer. The established Black academic press didn't want us.
Odie: The writers today have no idea what we went through. You can get published at least ten different ways now. Blogs, desktop publishing, vanity press and have thousands of people see it. Back in those days you had to go to a publisher if you wanted to get distributed. Alot of writers gave up after dealing with the archaic way we had to do business. They couldn't deal with the rejection. You’re dealing with some sensitive people already and you send your novel off and it comes back two years later with a letter maybe saying we don't like it.
Jaycee: Did you know Donald Goines?
Iceberg Slim had, I believe, nine or ten girls. He was a brilliant guy who lectured alot. He was a good looking guy, well dressed, he didn't dress ghetto chic. He lectured about pimps and hoes. He could have been the Alan Greenspan of Pimps. He saw his scene in economic terms, supply and demand.
I did so I reintroduced myself. He didn't know who I was but he was cordial. He didn't shine me off. We were both from Chicago and he knew I was Chicago and I knew who he was. Later on he was in the Open Door Program. From time to time we'd have drinks at the Parisian on Labrea and Washington.
Odie: It was 1992 and I had wanted to go for while. I had just got an advance for two books from Holloway House and the 1992 Riots had just finished. I want to emphasize that it was not to discover my roots. Alex Haley already did that for me. I simply wanted to see Afrika.
Accra! Sprawling, dirty, nasty, and beautiful. And I do mean beautiful.
A Different Type of Detective
The rain was coming down on the metal roof, the rain came down the hills, and we stood on the tables, with water up to my neck for eight hours before the water went down. We had good screens luckily because rats couldn’t get in. I had to go the great PX and get checked out because the malaria was killing me. I had it on and off for three years. Sometimes bi-weekly. I was having cerebral malaria. Your brain swells up. It never got that far but it came close a few times.
Juju and the Obeah Man, my friend went to see have a sinister aspect to it. My friend’s shop was becoming very successful but he was doing some evil things that involved bloodshed and a murder and the village banned together to stop him. My friend got caught pulling cedis out of a snake’s mouth in his shop. This was the inspiration for the snake.
Kosmic Muffin Publisher Zola Salena-Hawkins