“Three Black Boys” by Zangba Thomson is a urban fiction/street lit novel about three teenagers that spring into dangerous action to obtain financial aid for an uninsured Indian immigrant—who desperately needs a liver transplant to stay alive. The boys go on a dangerous mission to obtain the quarter of a million dollars needed for the woman’s surgery, but subsequently, little do they know that they will encounter huge obstacles, and experience more than they have ever experienced before.
We sat down with Zangba, and this is what he had to say about his urban best-seller.
Bong Mines: What inspired you to write Three Black Boys?
Zangba Thomson: Three Black Boys originally started as a Hip-Hop song, and people who heard the record were always asking me, “What’s the story behind the boys’ robbery attempt?” At that time—I couldn’t give them an answer because there wasn’t any answer to give. One day I decided to record a song about three black boys robbing a grocery store. The story behind why they commit the robbery wasn’t even a thought at that time. But to make a long story short—I answered their intriguing question when I adapted the three-minute-song into the short story—Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version, which later evolved into the novel—Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper. It wasn’t easy adapting a Hip-Hop song into a full-length novel, because if you really think about it—my starting point would most likely be the ending scene in most writers’ stories. Even Kirkus, who did the review for Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version, was impressed that I was able to write my way out of a bad situation—and they wrote, “But Thomson amazingly manages to tack on a happy ending after the unbridled bloodshed! If that’s not inspiring—I don’t know what is.”
Bong Mines: When you start writing a new novel, do you outline the story or do your characters dictate what will happen?
ZT: I would say a little bit of both. Initially, I try to envision the entire story first—from beginning to end, and while I’m writing, if any new idea surfaces, and that idea reinforces my original thought, then I would insert that new idea into the story. But, I try my best to follow the game plan, which is—sticking to my original idea.
ZT: I can’t say I remember a time when that has happened because I’m usually the one telling them what to do. LOL.
Bong Mines: What is something about you that your readers would be surprised to know?
ZT: I am a vegetarian and I’ve been a vegan going on 4 years now.
Bong Mines: If you could write with any other author—who would it be and why?
ZT: If Donald Goines was still alive—I believe him and I would’ve have been the dynamic writing duo. He was a brilliant author; the way he painted pictures with words—was simply amazing!
Bong Mines: When you were little, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up and why?
ZT: Growing up, I wanted to be a songwriter, so I wrote everywhere I went, and when I ran out of paper—I wrote my lyrical ideas down on anything I could find or get my hands on. Writing rhymes was my hobby—before I even knew what I wanted to become.
Bong Mines: When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
ZT: At an early age, I would say around 10 or 11, I used to draw a lot and write poetry. And going into my teenage years—when Hip-Hop was on the rise, I took a very special liking to the music of Boogie Down Production, a Hip-Hop group that was originally composed of KRS-One, D-Nice, and DJ Scott La Rock. KRS-One’s lyrical ability impressed me so much that I started writing my own rap lyrics, which eventually evolved into songs. And shortly after that, a rapper named Kool G Rap rhymed about a Street Lit author named Donald Goines—who in my humble opinion is one of the greatest storytellers in literary fiction, and after reading my first Donald Goines’ book—which was Black Gangster, a whole new literary world opened up to me, and I knew from that point moving forward—I wanted to become a professional writer, and ever since then—I’ve been honing my craft.
Bong Mines: What music inspires your writing?
ZT: I would definitely say Hip-Hop, Jazz, R&B Soul, African and Blues music sung or played by conscious geniuses.
Bong Mines: What is your favorite breakfast?
ZT: Usually I drink my breakfast, and my favorite juicer recipe is ¼ of a papaya, mixed with strawberries, pieces of mango and Kale greens. That vibrant mixture usually gets my brain up and running, and then I go jogging.
Bong Mines: What is your favorite color?
ZT: Blue, and all the different shades of blue—from (A) Air Force Blue all the way down to (Z) Zaffre Blue.
Bong Mines: What is your favorite movie?
ZT: I would definitely say Coming To America. I am a huge fan of Eddie murphy; he’s a really dope actor and I can relate to his character—Prince Akeem, who was an African prince that went to Queens, New York, to find a wife that he could respect for her intelligence and will. I feel Prince Akeem and I are brothers from another mother.
Bong Mines: What is your dream car?
ZT: Around 2850 B.C., there was an intergalactic aircraft used by the GODS called—The Divine Storm Bird, which had a wingspan of about seventy-five feet. I would love to own a Range Rover compatible version of that aircraft. Imagine its extraterrestrial technology—solar powered by the sun in the daytime, and lunar powered by the moon at night; and if I wanted to—at the press of a button, the vehicle can transform into an aircraft and I can travel at the speed of light throughout the galaxies.
Bong Mines: Is there anything else you would like to say?
ZT: (PEACE) and always remember that (P) Positive, (E) Energy, (A) Always, (C) Creates, (E) Elevation.