The distinguished author also discusses Black literacy and the ‘Flyy Girl’ movie
New York Times best-selling book author Omar Tyree is back in the groove of book publishing with his recent book release “All Access”.
The book develops a story about today’s society, where people have become obsessed with fame and give up too much of their personal lives via social media and reality television. The follows the life of a veteran Atlanta anchor who joins a celebrity gossip website and finds herself in the hot seat landing access to a volatile entertainer’s life.
“Everybody talks about branding right now and you can’t talk about branding without social media. The concept of flipping good or bad things in the media to benefit a particular person is evident right. So, I took that and spun it on its head to create this concept for ‘All Access’,” said Tyree.
He didn’t want to give much of the book away, but in his own words the book is “the type of thriller that keeps you hooked.”
Tyree, 46, has published 28 books that have sold 2.5 million copies combined. He is known for his real life urban depiction novels that casts and chronicles the lives of African American women in today’s American society.
“I understand people, so that’s where I pull from. If you write about people [as a whole] you have to study them and see how they deal with different situations. I create from there and write stories about the psychology and sociology of human interaction,” he said.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tyree found his passion for storytelling during his first two years at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a pharmacy major and aspiring football player. He wrote his first two novels “Colored, On White Campus” and his New York best seller “Flyy Girl” during his time there and created the genre of the urban/street lit books.
Eventually, Tyree transferred to Howard University to finish his education and by the fall of 1989 he began to formerly claim his status as a writer in the school’s print journalism program. His early career as a newspaper reporter turned into him starting his first book publishing company to release his early works of fiction novels.
“When you’re a visionary you think way outside of the curb. People tell me that all the time that I’m always forward thinking and that the way it should be,” he said. “I wrote ‘Diary of a Groupie’ right before the whole Kobe Bryant scandal and ‘Just Say No’ before R. Kelly got in trouble because I’m always thinking ahead of the curb.”
In 2001, he received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature in Fiction and a 2006 Phillis Wheatley Literary Award for Body of Work in Fiction award.
“It was ten years of talking to back and forth with producers about producing a film. Jeff Clanagan from Code Black is the guy who is finally making it happen. If it wasn’t for him we would still be going back and forth with producers about the movie,” said Tyree.
When asked about his excitement for the movie Tyree gets straight to the point. “I have to see it first to get excited about it. I don’t know the Hollywood process of when, where and how. I can only control the book process that I create not the Hollywood aspect. But, when it happens I’ll be jumping for joy,” he said.
But, the one thing that mostly gets Tyree to jump for joy is his ability to push for urban literacy through his works as an author. “All of the work I do is to influence the community and show them that literacy is crucial,” he said. “We have to keep reading going because it’s needed for all parts of life.”
To keep up with Tyree following him on Twitter @OmarTyree.