Queenie’s Writer’s Week with Author Tony Lindsay

Genre: Teen


Chess not Checkers is a teen novel with adult adventures and situations. The novel’s thrills happen in both urban and rural environments. A twenty-year-old, Thaddeus Adams, is looking back to when he was a self-described “nerd” who stood up to a brutal bully. Earl Jacobson is gang affiliated and heartless, and he adds layers of difficulties to Thaddeus’ life that no teen should have to endure. The challenges require Thaddeus’ strategic planning, which shears off layers of his nerd qualities. At times, we see Thaddeus flat on his back, and at other times we see him standing with confidence; he learns to depend on family, community, and friends to survive. Chess not Checkers is sure to become a teen classic. 

Tell me more about your latest book.

Chess not Checkers is an urban and rural rite of passage tale. It is the story of Thaddeus Adams – a twenty-year-old looking back at when he was self-described “nerd” who stood up against a school bully. The bully, Earl Jacobson, was gang affiliated, and, and that added layers of difficulties to Thaddeus’ life; he lived in an area where gang members were common, and his neighborhood had been dominated by one gang for decades, the Sinnin’ Gangsters.

 Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

At times, I find it hard to stop writing. I often write past my scheduled time, and I usually feel like I forgot something.

 What motivated you to become an author?

I told stories before I could write. Once I learned to read, I made up better endings for the stories read. I have always spent a lot of time inside my own head.

 What brought you to write this book?

It started out as a short story about responding to bully, but it grew, and it stayed in my mind after I wrote it still growing – more issues came into my mind so I added to the story and it developed into a novel.

How many books have you written so far?

Thirteen: four short story collections and nine novels.

What book or books had a strong influence on you and your writing? 

It is a writer’s work that influences me: Chester Himes, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Octavia Butler; I could go on for days.  

 How hard is it to establish in fiction?

Good question, it appears simple for those with powerful publishing houses and agents. For others, it is a never-ending uphill battle.

Where do you love to write?

At my desk, I think better there, and my chair swivels.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Life experiences – mine and others, historical events, books, movies, Facebook everything really. 

What is your favorite fiction book?

I have hundreds of favorites: The Man that Cried I Am. VooDoo Dreams, and Tumbling to name a few. 

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