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Pauper and Prince in Harlem by Delia C. Pitts - Book Tour + Giveaway

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Pauper and Prince in Harlem

A vulnerable kid. A brutal enemy. An addled ally. Blood runs cold on Harlem's hottest summer night when Drive-by assassins shoot up a crowded playground, killing the teenaged friend of private eye SJ Rook. Only fourteen, the kid was smart, affectionate, and alive with potential. His sudden death strikes the cynical Rook through the heart. Was this boy the victim of a cruel accident? Or was he targeted by gang hit men in a ruthless display of power?

To find the killers, Rook must enlist the help of another teen, Whip, a mysterious runaway witness. Whip is a transgender boy whose life on the streets has drawn him into the realm of a violent mob kingpin. Damaged by his mother's rejection, Whip doesn't want to be found. Not by the cops or by community do-gooders. And certainly not by Rook, a resolute stranger with vengeance on his mind. Rook's search for the elusive kid becomes a dangerous trek through the meanest corners of his neighborhood.

Racing from desolate homeless camps to urban swamps, from settlement houses to high-rise palaces ruled by greed and corruption, the determined Rook pursues his quarry. An unexpected twist in the detective's relationship with his crime-fighting partner, Sabrina Ross, threatens to derail his mission. Noble tramps, vicious thugs, and a pint-sized trigger woman also complicate Rook's efforts to protect Whip. When a mob prince and a hobo hold the boy's life in the balance will Rook's grit and imagination be enough to save Whip and bring the killers to justice?

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Author Q&A
1.      What would you consider to be your Kryptonite as an author?
My weakest point is physical description of settings. I love dialogue and find that easiest to write. The characters speak rapidly, with vivid variety; my toughest job is keeping up with their conversations.

2. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
In third grade, I used our daily in-class assignment of writing one “perfect paragraph” to craft a multi-chapter saga of a boy and his elephant, Daisy. The novella was an epic adventure with action and dialogue galore! Did I always want to be a writer? You bet!

3. If you could dine with any literary character, who would it be and why?
I would dine with either Jay Gatsby or Lord Peter Whimsy. I know the conversation would be dashing, dangerous, and quirky. And the meal would be sumptuous. They would definitely want to show off to impress me!

4. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Creative, inquisitive, eloquent

5. What is your most unusual writing quirk?
I write in haste; I revise in languor.  I wrote six full-length novels in less than one year, all for my private eye mystery series. Of course, these were first drafts, so now I am slowly revising each of them. I often switch between books during a single writing session, correcting bits and pieces in several novels at a time. Jumping from one plot to another seems to fit my mind’s mode, so I never get lost. I find that this hopping helps me keep continuity of the characters’ personalities, voices, and histories from one book to the next. I also re-read my previous books frequently. This sound quite conceited, but in fact I do get re-inspired by my own writing if I hit a snag or a slow spot. My favorite way out of writer’s block is re-visiting my old books.

6. If you could own any animal as a pet, what would it be?
I am a cat person and grew up with them. I would love to get another one. However, my husband dislikes them. Their haughty style and selfish ways are what infuriate him. Of course, those are the traits I find most endearing in cats. So, we’re at an impasse. And my cat fancy has to emerge only in the fictional pet owned by my private eye.

7. How do you select the names of your characters?I spend huge amounts of time thinking about character names. I look through newspapers, baby name books, gossip sites online, store fronts, telephone directories, billboards, and elsewhere in my search. But the name of my main character came to me on my commute to work. One day, I saw a produce truck with the name “Shelba” scrolled on the side in fancy italics. I wondered who would have a name like that? I decided it was a mash-up of two parental names: “Sheldon” and “Alba.” So, I named my private eye, Shelba Julio Rook, to reflect his bi-cultural, bi-lingual, bi-racial complexities. Only his mother calls him Shelba; his close friends call him SJ, because the long version got him into plenty of fights from kindergarten on up. And he just calls himself Rook.
8. What are your top 5 favorite movies?
I’m an oldies junkie:
1) Casablanca (of course!); 2) Laura; 3) The Maltese Falcon; 4) Swing Time, and 5) A tie: Shane and Red River.
9. If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?
Keep a detailed journal. I’d want to record the experience and leave it for whoever arrived from another planet to find our lost world.
10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Have fun with your writing. If it doesn’t give you pleasure, stop and do something else. Read widely, contemporary books and classics in equal measure. If you can, study another language. The effort stretches your mind, teaches you humility, increases your vocabulary, and gives you a new perspective on the world. Take advice from many sources, but always trust yourself. Your instincts and taste are unique and will always steer you in the right direction.
11. What book do you wish you had written?
Huckleberry Finn, for sure. I love the language, insight, empathy, and vigor of that darn boy.
Author Bio – Delia C. Pitts is the author of the Ross Agency Mysteries, a contemporary private eye series including Lost and Found in Harlem, Practice the Jealous Arts, and Black and Blue in Harlem. She is a former university administrator and U.S. diplomat, who served in West Africa and Mexico. After working as a journalist, she earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. She has published more than sixty fan fiction titles under the pen name Blacktop. Pauper and Prince in Harlem is the fourth novel in the Ross Agency Mystery series. The fifth, Murder My Past, will be released in 2021. Learn more at her website,

Social Media Links – Website: Instagram: deliapitts50 Twitter: @blacktop1950

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB Copies of Pauper and Prince in Harlem (Open to USA Only)

*Terms and Conditions –Only USA entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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  1. Thank you for posing such probing questions! I had fun answering them. And thank you for hosting me on your blog.

    1. You're very welcome! :) And thank you for the interview!


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.