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Stringer, Vickie M. 1971(?)- (Vickie Stringer)

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1971, in Detroit, MI; daughter of an engineer (father) and a special education teacher (mother); children: Valen, Amon. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: Attended Western Michigan University and Ohio State University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Columbus, OH. Office—Triple Crown Publications, 2184 Citygate Dr., Columbus, OH 43219.

CAREER:

Writer, novelist, publisher, entrepreneur, public speaker, mentor, and literary agent. Triple Crown Publications, founder, owner, president, and publisher. Valen Foundation, founder.

MEMBER:

Delta Sigma Theta.

WRITINGS:

Let That Be the Reason, Triple Crown Publications (Columbus, OH), 2001.

(With Mia McPherson) How to Succeed in the Publishing Game, Triple Crown Publications (Columbus, OH), 2005.

NOVELS

Let That Be the Reason, Triple Crown Publications (Mansfield, OH), 2001.

Imagine This, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Dirty Red, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Author, entrepreneur, publisher, and literary agent Vickie M. Stringer is well practiced in the art of turning misfortune and adversity to her advantage. Once deeply entrenched in the criminal lifestyle, Stringer was at various times an escort, a trafficker in stolen goods, a madam, and one of the most powerful drug dealers in Columbus, Ohio.

Born in Detroit, Stringer experienced a strict religious upbringing overseen by her father, an engineer, and her mother, a teacher. After spending a year at Western Michigan University, she moved to Columbus, Ohio, where she intended to enroll at Ohio State. She never acted on her educational goals; instead, she met and fell in love with a prominent drug dealer, whom she refers to as Chino. Soon, her involvement with Chino brought her into contact with a notorious Columbus gang, the Triple Crown Posse. She began to deal drugs, and for several years she enjoyed a lavish lifestyle funded by the proceeds of drug sales. She hoped to eventually marry Chino, but instead, when he found out she was pregnant, he left her to marry another woman with whom he'd been carrying on a longtime affair. After her son Valen was born, Stringer turned to escorting and recruited workers for an escort service, all the while continuing to sell large amounts of drugs around Columbus, reported a writer in Contemporary Black Biography. When she was finally arrested, she had more than 250 thousand dollars cash in her car. She accepted a plea agreement to serve sixty months in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

During Stringer's incarceration, she sought relief through writing. She completed a novel, Let That Be the Reason. The book, partly autobiographical, focuses on the harsh details of the life of a drug dealer, and as an example of "hip-hop fiction" or "Gangsta-lit," it explores the violence, drug-dealing, sexual activity, and escorting common to that lifestyle. Though she submitted it to twenty-six publishers, the book failed to find a reception at any publishing house. Shortly after her release in 2001, Stringer decided to publish the book herself. She founded her own publishing imprint, Triple Crown Publications, and with borrowed money, printed 2,500 copies of the book. Initially selling it, literally, out of the trunk of her car, the book became extremely popular; she sold out within three weeks. The novel also attracted the attention of mainstream publishers, and has served as the foundation of Stringer's success, both as a publisher herself and as a writer.

From the seed of her self-published novel, Stringer has built Triple Crown Publishing into a flourishing business venture, publishing numerous novels by other authors to both critical and financial success. Remaining with the hip-hop novel genre, Stringer's company has managed to locate enthusiastic readers in communities where more mainstream publishers had determined no readers existed, resulting in a business with revenues topping one million dollars. Stringer has served as literary agent for several Triple Crown authors who went on to relationships with larger publishers. Her own writing career has continued to evolve and grow, with contracts for other novels from larger publishers. She continues to look for new ways to expand her business and has become involved in creating direct-to-DVD films and features. She has also founded an organization called the Valen Foundation, a nonprofit group named after her son and dedicated to helping incarcerated persons reconnect with their children after their terms have been served.

Though Stringer continues to weather criticism for the tone and topics of her books, her drive and tangible success remain testaments to her determination, business talent, and ability to rebound from difficult circumstances.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 58, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2007.

PERIODICALS

Black Enterprise, January, 2006, Zakiyyah El-Amin, "Queen of Hip-Hop Literature: Renaissance Publisher Is Sparking Interest with Her Line of Urban Novels," profile of Vickie Stringer, p. 49.

Booklist, July 1, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of Dirty Red, p. 33.

Ebony, August, 2006, review of Dirty Red, p. 31.

Entrepreneur, May, 2005, Karen Edwards, "Novel Idea: A Gritty Novel Takes a Former Drug Dealer from Prison to Her Own Publishing Business," review of Let That Be the Reason, p. 20.

Essence, September, 2005, Sherri McGee McCovey, "Urban Literati," profile of Vickie M. Stringer, p. 113.

Library Journal, July 1, 2006, Lisa Jones, review of Dirty Red, p. 73.

MetroTimes, June 22, 2007, Jonathan Cunningham, "Romancing the Hood," biography of Vickie Stringer.

New York Times, September 8, 2004, Dinitia Smith, "Unorthodox Publisher Animates Hip-Hop Lit," profile of Vickie Smith, p. 6.

Publishers Weekly, July 19, 2004, Calvin Reid, "Street Publisher Started Small, Thinks Big," profile of Vickie Stringer, p. 11.

Reviewer's Bookwatch, December, 2004, review of Let That Be the Reason.

Writer, August, 2004, "Most Wanted," profile of Vickie Stringer, p. 10.

ONLINE

Triple Crown Publications Web site,http://www.triplecrownpublications.com/ (June 24, 2007), biography of Vickie Stringer.

Urban Book Source,http://www.theurbanbooksource.com/ (June 24, 2007), Seth Ferranti, "Hip-Hop Fiction Beefs."

Urban Reviews,http://www.urban-reviews.com/ (June 24, 2007), "Inside Out with Vickie Stringer," interview with Vickie Stringer.

[Sketch reviewed by assistant, April Tang.]

Stringer, Vickie M. 1971(?)- (Vickie Stringer)

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