Rikers High is your latest novel. What was your inspiration?
I wrote Rikers High to be a mirror reflection on what life was like for teens (1992-'98) in a huge and impersonal jail facility which housed school.
Martin is attacked while in prison and his face is slashed. Can that happen in a real prison?
Yes, the slashing that happened to Martin can occur to teen inmates on Rikers, although that kind of extreme violence is not the norm.
Why do you think Martin's friends abandon him when he is in Rikers?
It's too much trouble to visit him. Normally, your friends cut you loose quick, and only your family stays by your side.
Is Martin based on a real person?
Martin's story represents the journey of several teens I knew.
In all of your novels your characters swear. Why is that?
My characters use the language that people use in tense situations. Otherwise, you book would not be real and that mirror image I mentioned would be distorted.
Are you working on a new book? Can you tell us about it?
Crossing Lines is next, about a macho teen football player who must learn to be around his sisters friend- a boy and classmate who decides he feels more comfortable wearing first lipstick and then a dress. Also, in a few years, I will have part II to Black and White, which I think will be called Marcus and Eddie.