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October 14: BooksChatter
The last character to discuss in this mini blog series is the character of Roman Soliz. Roman is personal to me, because the idea for this character came from a friend. While writing Black Diamonds, one of my friends attended a Comic Con event in Greenville, SC. He went dressed as Black Mask from Batman, a character I didn’t even know existed until he told me about the event. Since I am the type of person who likes to “stay in the know,” I went and looked up the character to see exactly who Black Mask was. Black Mask, born Roman Sionis, was a character who was born to wealthy parents who cared very little for him. Roman ended up killing his parents by burning down their mansion because they didn’t approve of his relationship with his girlfriend. A freak accident in which he is struck by a lightning bolt trying to break into his parent’s crypt causes him to hit a stone headfirst. It is this incident, which turns him into the villain and crime lord, Black Mask. After discovering this information, I informed my friend that I was going to create a character for him in Black Diamonds. He would be one of the main male character’s sidekicks and I promised him he wouldn’t die, lol. From there, the character of Roman Soliz was born. While my friend is the character, Roman Soliz, there aren’t any personal attributes between him and the character aside from what is mentioned here. The two are completely polar opposites.
From the story of Black Mask, the only thing I took from the Batman character was the character’s first name and I did somewhat of a play on the last name. I also plan on giving Roman a love interest (unlike Gully, who will remain single throughout the series), who Jay and Carmen will not approve of just like Black Mask’s girlfriend wasn’t approved of. Since, I don’t want to give too much away, I’m intentionally leaving out why they won’t approve of the relationship. This storyline will come into affect in Diamonds N’ Roses. As far as Roman Soliz’s persona, he is totally different from Black Mask. Soliz isn’t evil or a villain despite his background as a former bounty hunter for the US government. He, just like most of Jay’s men, only kill when necessary to save their life or the people they are protecting. When it comes to style, their look is also totally different. While this isn’t heavily described in Black Diamonds, Roman Soliz, unlike Jay Santiago and his other right-hand men, doesn’t dress in suits. He dresses in jeans and T-shirts. In fact, I would say Roman Soliz’s character dresses more like Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel’s character in the Fast & Furious).
Last, but not least, Roman Soliz, is of Hispanic descent. He was born in Puerto Rico and is an associate of Gully’s, which is how he ends up working for Jay. He is a widower having lost his wife and daughter during childbirth. Jay describes him in the book as having the same complexion as Jesse Williams. I would like to go on record and say that I don’t at all envision Jesse Williams as the character of Roman Soliz. If anything, the only thing the two share is the same complexion. Roman, similar to Gully, is ruggedly handsome, muscular, and is described as being a few inches shorter than Jay who is 6’5.
Victor Fontaine is a character who was in the works during the beginning stages of the series. In fact, he was a part of the original version of The Ace of Diamonds, which was later scrapped. His character was moved and introduced to what is now known and published as, Black Diamonds. While the character remained a part of the series, his persona completely changed. In the original version, Victor is a twenty-seven year old restaurant owner who is quiet, reserved, and easily intimidated. He is Blu’s sidekick because he is someone Blu can easily control and scare. He also had a strong passion for reading classics (books like Great Expectations). The idea for his character was actually inspired by a photograph I saw of Jay-Z and Kanye West in XXL Magazine. It was a recreation of a famous photograph of the late John F. Kennedy and his brother, the late Robert Kennedy. When I looked at the photo, Jay-Z appeared to be the one in charge and Kanye was there listening to an order. It reminded me of the relationship between Blu and Victor. One was the ringleader while the other was only second in command.
I didn’t change my mind about his character until I started watching Season 3 of VH1’s Single Ladies (now airing on Centric). I liked the persona of Terrence Franks (portrayed by Harold “House” Moore) and how he was tough as nails, ruggedly handsome, and had a great business sense. His character made me think of how Victor could be perceived. I didn’t want readers to think that Victor was soft or a man who couldn’t stand on his own so I decided to change his persona a bit. I made him slightly more like Terrence in the sense that he has great fashion sense and style, and has some clout about him.
In terms of Victor’s background, I’m going to reveal something that was not mentioned in Black Diamonds. Victor was adopted and raised in a single parent household. He has zero knowledge of his birth parents and never had a father figure. This information will be revealed in Diamonds N’ Roses, which is the fifth installment of The Diamond Collection series. As far as his physical appearance, Victor is dark-skinned, has a normal build for a male, and wears his hair cut in a Caesar.
It wasn’t my initial plan when I started writing The Diamond Collection series to have a character by the name of Guillermo “Gully” Perez. The idea for this character came about from me wanting Jay, the main male character, to have other blood ties in the series aside from his children. I easily could’ve resurrected his father or mother from the dead, but I settled on him having a cousin. With Gully, I figured, he could be Jay’s cousin by relation, but his “brother” in terms of the closeness of their relationship.
To start, Guillermo “Gully” Perez was actually born Guillermo Santiago. Gully’s father is Hector Santiago’s brother who I have not yet given a name (Hector Santiago is Jay’s father). He is full-blooded Puerto Rican, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to parents who both have Puerto Rican ancestry. Perez is Gully’s mother maiden name, a name he uses purposely to separate himself from all things Santiago. Just like Jay, both of his parents are deceased, however, they weren’t murdered. I haven’t came up with reasons as to why Gully’s parents are dead, but it will probably be something like a heart attack, cancer, etc.
Before I came up with the name Guillermo, I knew the character’s name was going to be Gully. I chose Gully because I wanted a name that represented a persona which was tough, mean, and hood. While it didn’t seem fitting to have a man in the book with a birth name of Gully, I knew it would have to be a nickname. I didn’t come up with Guillermo until I was watching an episode of Chrissy and Mr. Jones. Jim Jones had the appearance I was visualizing for Gully so I did a little Wikipedia search on the rapper and discovered the name Guillermo, which is actually Jim Jones’ middle name. It fit perfectly with the nickname Gully and made sense. I then gave him the last name Perez because of its Spanish origin.
Gully makes his first appearance in Book Four of The Diamond Collection, but will have a strong presence in the rest of the series. He will serve not only as Jay’s cousin, but also has his new right-hand, best friend, and “brother.” At this time, there are not any plans to give him a love interest, but this can always change. To see how the character, Guillermo Perez pans out in Black Diamonds, check out a copy of the book on Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook.
So I got the idea recently to start a part two to my blog series, Behind the Book. While it is too early to blog about the inspiration for scenes, etc, I realized I could delve into the background of the new characters without spoiling anything. Hence, the subtitle of the series, New Blood. I felt this was important because these new characters are going to be prevalent throughout the rest of the series. This series of Behind the Book is written to give you the background you probably won’t get in the books.
So, the characters I am going to focus on in this series are: Guillermo Perez, Victor Fontaine, and Roman Soliz. I did think about adding Jean Monet, but since she’s technically not a new character, I decided to leave her out. Besides, her story will be told in Part Six of The Diamond Collection, The Diamond Tiara. If you haven’t heard of these three male characters then you haven’t read Black Diamonds or you haven’t finished. This series will give you something to look forward to. If you are familiar with them then this will only give you a little bit more insight on their character. I hope you enjoy!
Well, here we are, the last final edition of Behind the Book for The Ace of Diamonds. I hope you enjoyed the review of Book Three of The Diamond Collection just as much as I enjoyed reviewing it. It was an excellent review as I finalized thing for Black Diamonds, which will be available on July 4th.
1. I’ve been the clean-up man since he got back in this game. – This line spoken by King actually came from a quote by Young Buck I read in a magazine. He was discussing how he was bringing G-Unit back on top because his album, Buck the World, was actually selling thus making him the clean-up man (he even had a song called Clean Up Man on the album). I felt like King was a clean-up man, too and decided to use the phrase in this scene.
2. Coco bit her lip as she thought about giving in to him. Her concern wasn’t necessarily in the physical pain that came with losing her virginity, it was the aftermath. She had heard countless stories about girls who had gave it up only to become single again. She didn’t want to be one of them. – If you’ve ever seen Aretha Franklin’s video with Lauryn Hill, A Rose Is Still a Rose, then you know the synopsis involved a “good girl” losing her virginity only to be ditched for another chick. I think this is one of the fears girls/women have when it comes to making that decision of losing their virginity. The whole idea of “giving it up” only to be ditched. Since Coco is a virgin, I wanted this to be her concern other than the whole, “What if I get pregnant?” or “Will it hurt?”
3. Her right hand was busy putting the final edits on a design while the paper next to it was a rough outline of his grandfather’s homegoing service. – While planning my own father’s funeral, I had several rough outlines of the service before turning in the final one to the funeral home. I figured Carmen should at least have the same.
1. “We commit his body to the ground,” Minister Harrison was saying, “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make His face to shine upon him.” – I had to research how to conduct funerals in order to get this quote. Believe me, this part wasn’t fun. I don’t like looking at caskets especially not at night. This line is from Lotus’ burial ceremony.
2. She took a deep breath and knelt down in front of Tricia’s tombstone. “Well, it’s not a secret that we weren’t the best of friends,” she told her. “I wouldn’t exactly say we were enemies, but we had our differences. For some reason, we never confronted each other about them. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. What I do know is that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that your kids grow up to be successful. I know you’re proud of them and so am I. Without you, I wouldn’t have them. I guess that means I’m indebted to you.” Carmen placed the lily bouquet on the right side of the tombstone. “I know that I could never take you or Consuelo’s place. I don’t want to. I just want to make you proud,” she continued. – One of the things I regret about Book Two, Diamonds are Forever, is that there was never a scene where Carmen and Tricia had a conversation. I tried to make up for it in this book, but there were a slew of things that couldn’t be discussed because Tricia is dead. IY YI YI… too late to change it now.
1. “I’m not taking my foot off his neck. – This line spoken by Kane, is actually a Lil’ Kim quote. She said this in regards to Nicki Minaj during an interview with Angie Martinez. I loved it so much, not because it was in reference to Nicki, because I’m a fan of the Harajuku Barbie, but because I thought it was very ferocious.
2. I guess I better start calling the DreamGirlz now. – The DreamGirlz is actually two of my friends who were looking to start an event planning business. I’m putting them in my series as the event planners Carmen is using for her wedding. They will appear as characters in Book Five, Diamonds N’ Roses.
3. Blu glanced periodically out of the window as he was led down the streets of Copperton City. – This is the first line of the last scene in The Ace of Diamonds. In the original version of the book, this is the FIRST line in the FIRST scene of the entire book.
4. While the money was good, he wanted to get his hands on the black diamonds that he knew Jay possessed. – I dropped the words black diamonds here on purpose as a teaser for the fourth book, Black Diamonds.
5. “See nothing in the air but green dollar signs/ they say I can’t claim it, but from the looks, its mine/ I love the way it shines/ my ski mask, the next in line/ I steal with cats cryin’/ my eye is set on the diamond” – These six bars, part of a fictional rap song that Kristian is listening, too, are actually original rap lyrics written by me. It’s not a full-out song, but just something I wrote quickly for the scene