Wahida Clark Writes Best Sellers From Her Prison Cell
Who knew that being a prisoner would be profitable?
Wahida Clark grew up in Trenton, New Jersey on the streets. She was involved with the New World, a crew of Black separatist bank robbers known for beheading their rivals, and served time as a result. While serving a ten and a half year sentence in federal prison for money laundering and wire fraud, she began writing fiction. Cark wrote her first book, Thugs and the Women Who Love Them, by hand in her cell. She was released from prison in 2007 and since then has published 14 books, including Thuggz Valentine June 2015.
Her most recent release is Thuggz Valentine is the story of a modern day Bonnie & Clyde, natural born killers who go out in a blaze of glory after taking on the city s police force. Step by step, readers relive Ebony and Bless s last day together . . . Valentines Day. The day however, starts nothing like it ends, and as time goes back, hour by hour, the two lovers are unable to avoid destiny. The story is tweaked to reflect her own experiences while involved with a real crime syndicate.
Amongst the street lit, AKA urban fiction genre Clark is the reigning Queen. She is best known for her Thug and Payback series. Her works are set described as nuanced takes on the schlocky romance novels you see at grocery stores, replacing the cheese with guns, cash, gangs, and drugs. She can’t give all the credit to her imagination but rather what she’s lived and experienced.
After opening her own publishing house, Wahida Clark Presents, she has published 70 plus titles from incarcerated authors like CA$H, Victor L. Martin–author of A Hood Legend and others. Clark has also signed deals with major publishers like Kensington and Hachette. She was also picked up by rapper Birdman/Bryan Williams to have her books distributed through Cash Money Records, and is now entering the movie and TV game with Wahida Clark Films, which currently has two projects in development based on her Thug series.
Clark explained that her husband, was also locked up and they had teenage daughters, so she had to find a means by which to provide for them. She says, “My husband wrote a book called Uncle Yah Yah and then I saw a clip about Shannon Holmes, who signed his first book deal while in prison, and I said I could do this.”
Her husband gave her the best advice, which she took and ran with. He basically told her to write about what she knows. He told her that what publishers are interested in from people in their position is sex, drugs, murder, and crime.
After that she was on her way and signed two deals with two major publishing houses while she was serving time. Her books landed on the Essence Magazine best sellers list multiple times while she was incarcerated. Clark knows that her success stated something . So many of the sisters and brothers locked up were inspired by her that many of them started writing. She relishes in the idea of having inspired others, many who have written her seeking advice or to share their own achievements. As she put it, “It is a wonderful thing to inspire others. On top of being a four-time New York Times Best Seller, it feels like a wonderful accomplishment.”
Clark is excited about the next direction in, which her work is moving but doesn’t know which will come first, a play, a TV series, or a movie. Her producers and directors haven’t decided which route to go but she awaits patiently their final decision. In December they are doing a talent search.
Clark reveals her biggest secret, “My husband taught me that it was easier to write books for money than to write books to educate.” She chose to make money and it’s worked out very well for her.
A list of Clarks Books:
- Thugs and The Women Who Love Them (2002)
- Every Thug Needs a Lady (2003)
- Payback is a Mutha (2006)
- Sleeping With the Enemy (2008)
- Payback With Ya Life (2008)
- Thug Lovin’ (2009)
- Golden Hustla” (2010)
- Justify My Thug” (2011)
- Payback Ain’t Enough (2012)
- Honor Thy Thug” (2013)
- Blood, Sweat & Payback” (2014)