Accomplished writer Frank C. Matthews is set to re-release his debut novel ‘Respect the Jux‘ on September 21st; a book that successfully combines stories intrinsic to urban America, with the grit and poignancy of everyday life on the streets.
What’s more, Matthews is also getting ready to take the book to a screen near you.
Back in 2003, during Matthews’ incarceration for drug charges, the author sought to spend his time behind bars in a more positive manner.
Matthews wrote about 20 different books and once released from prison, he self-published ‘Respect the Jux.’ Thanks to word of mouth and positive reader reviews, Matthews eventually landed a deal with the publishing house Simon & Schuster.
The novel follows Cat, a young man who travels from Jamaica to the U.S. and after a stint in the army, forms “The Order,” a band of thieves that perform ‘juxes’ which Matthews explains as ‘a form of awareness, its basically stealing someone’s ability to accomplish things by way of observation; being able to take what they have seen or what they experience and build on it.’
The term has become somewhat of a catchphrase. 50 Cent even raps on the Lloyd Banks single ‘Hands Up,’ “If you want to party with crooks you have to learn to Respect the Jux!”
Matthews describes his novel as ‘true fiction.’ It’s based upon real people, real events and real experiences the author has had or knows about personally.
Respected director F. Gary Gray, well-known for his films ‘Law Abiding Citizen,’ ‘Friday‘ and ‘The Italian Job,’ is currently working with Matthews to create a televised series based on ‘Respect the Jux’ to premiere sometime within the next year.
Matthews sees the series as being similar to critically acclaimed shows like ‘The Wire‘ and ‘The Sopranos‘ and cites Don Cheadle, Idris Elba and Edward Norton as actors he would love to see bring the characters to life.
In an effort to give back to his community, the New York City native has founded Dream Ink, an organization that helps inner city children express themselves through writing. ‘I wanted to reach out to these kids and show them there’s something outside of rapping or hip hop,’ he says.
‘Every kid wants to be a rap artist…but there are other talents that are out there that need to be developed and we need to pay attention to that…nurture it and put these kids out there and give them something positive to do,’ the author continued. Check out the Dream Ink Foundation website here.
There’s a lot more to come from Matthews. He has already submitted one of his 20 books for publication (upcoming titles include ‘Below The Radar’ and ‘The American Dream’) as well as the screen version of ‘Respect the Jux.’
Says Matthews, ‘I’m trying to reach across the board; every ethnic group, every class religion, doesn’t matter. African, white, black, asian, you name it. I’m trying to reach everybody and expose them to my writing and my world.’