The Hearts of Men

Paperback $13.95

May 29, 2001 | 288 Pages

Ebook $9.99

Jul 15, 2001

  • Paperback $13.95

    May 29, 2001 | 288 Pages

  • Ebook $9.99

    Jul 15, 2001

Praise

“Entertaining yet enlightening . . . Travis Hunter holds the reader hostage in his thought-provoking debut. Be prepared to laugh and cry as you examine The Hearts of Men.”
—E. LYNN HARRIS

“Travis Hunter takes us into the lives, the thoughts, and straight into the hearts of men. His work reflects the voice that is often missing—the voice of a brother who loves, listens, and tells his own truth.”
—BERTICE BERRY
Author of Jim and Louella’s Homemade Heart-Fix Remedy

“INSIGHTFUL, SENSITIVE AND IMPRESSIVELY REAL . . . The Hearts of Men has wonderful surprises for readers.”
Essence

“[A] REVEALING LOOK INTO THE MALE PSYCHE.”
Today’s Black Woman

“A BOOK I’LL SHARE WITH MY SONS FOR YEARS TO COME.”
—CARL WEBER
Author of the Essence bestseller Baby Momma Drama

The Hearts of Men is a thought-provoking book that explores the lives of three different men who, despite all of their differences, are easy to identify and understand.”
Upscale magazine

“[A] true-to-life debut novel . . . [Hunter’s] landscape of characters and their quandaries are sho’nuff true to life.”
Black Issues Book Review

“Inspiring, entertaining . . . Hunter is a fresh new talent. . . . The Hearts of Men gives us a glimpse into the mysterious void where black men hide their expectations, inspirations, disappointments and dreams.”
—St. Louis American

“Hunter’s agenda is the strength of this book; even cynical readers may be won over by his . . . positive message and push for African-American communities built on respect and love.”
Publishers Weekly

Author Q&A

Q:Why did you decide to write a “relationship” novel?
A:I can only write about what I know. I’ve always been interested in the human psyche and what makes some relationships work and others fail. So I researched by observing relationships. I listened to people’s gripes about their spouses and what they were expecting out of their relationships but never took the time to communicate to their spouses. People love drama, and some of the things that I’ve encountered in my unofficial research are enough to fill ten novels. My goal is to help women understand men better—why we do what we do. But I want to reach men as well, because it takes more than just being over the age of eighteen to make someone a man.

Q:Are you any of the characters in The Hearts of Men?
A:I have a bit of all of them in me, but if I had to choose it would be Prodigy Banks. We’re very similar. There were a few things that I changed to add to the drama of the book, but I pretty much captured the essence of Travis in the character Prodigy. We have the same heart and the same giving nature but we also have a street edge that says, “Don’t make me lose my mind up in here.”

Q:What advice would give to someone who dreams of becoming an author?
A:Write something every day. And every rejection letter brings you one step closer to realizing your dream. Be realistic with your expectations; this is not a get-rich-quick business. It’s not all glamour; it might seem that way, but you have to put the work in. Surround yourself with positive people; you can’t keep the creative juices flowing in a negative environment. Find yourself a mentor if possible. Most of the authors that I met were very helpful. Get a self-publishing manual, even if you don’t plan to self-publish. There is a ton of information in those manuals that will educate you on the business side of publishing. And last but not least: Keep God first and everything will work out.

Q:In The Hearts of Men, Poppa Doc eases himself into the lives of the male characters to dispense a little wisdom and guidance. How important do you think it is to have a male presence in your life?
A:I think it is extremely important to have a male role model, but not just any male. You need a positive male who thinks first and knows the meaning of sacrifice. I blame a lot of the negativity that is going on in our communities on men. If more men were being men, then black men wouldn’t make up 46 percent of the prison population even though we’re only 13 percent of the nation’s population. If more black men were home raising their daughters, then the teen pregnancy rate wouldn’t be so high among our young sisters. I’m not placing all of the blame on black men, but we have to take care of our own and stop running away from our responsibilities. At the rate that this country is shipping our young men off to prison, we’re headed for genocide. I wrote The Hearts of Men to entertain readers but at the same time make them think what a difference a positive man can make in their lives.

Q:How are you doing your part?
A:I practice what I preach. I take care of my son, financially, emotionally, and physically. My son’s mother and I have gone our separate ways, but I made sure that I remained a major part of his life. He lives with me for the same amount of time that he lives with his mother. I’m also the executive director of The Hearts of Men Foundation. It’s a nonprofit organization that mentors young boys. The men in THOMF make unannounced visits to our youngsters’ schools and homes to speak with their teachers and parents. We ask them to set goals for themselves, and when they meet their objectives, we go out and celebrate. I realize that I don’t have all the answers, but if I can touch a few lives, then my mission will be accomplished. I also speak at high schools and prisons. I’m the only male in my entire family over the age of eighteen who has never been to jail. I think God had a higher purpose for me.

 

Q:Why did you decide to write a “relationship” novel?
A:I can only write about what I know. I’ve always been interested in the human psyche and what makes some relationships work and others fail. So I researched by observing relationships. I listened to people’s gripes about their spouses and what they were expecting out of their relationships but never took the time to communicate to their spouses. People love drama, and some of the things that I’ve encountered in my unofficial research are enough to fill ten novels. My goal is to help women understand men better—why we do what we do. But I want to reach men as well, because it takes more than just being over the age of eighteen to make someone a man.

Q:Are you any of the characters in The Hearts of Men?
A:I have a bit of all of them in me, but if I had to choose it would be Prodigy Banks. We’re very similar. There were a few things that I changed to add to the drama of the book, but I pretty much captured the essence of Travis in the character Prodigy. We have the same heart and the same giving nature but we also have a street edge that says, “Don’t make me lose my mind up in here.”

Q:What advice would give to someone who dreams of becoming an author?
A:Write something every day. And every rejection letter brings you one step closer to realizing your dream. Be realistic with your expectations; this is not a get-rich-quick business. It’s not all glamour; it might seem that way, but you have to put the work in. Surround yourself with positive people; you can’t keep the creative juices flowing in a negative environment. Find yourself a mentor if possible. Most of the authors that I met were very helpful. Get a self-publishing manual, even if you don’t plan to self-publish. There is a ton of information in those manuals that will educate you on the business side of publishing. And last but not least: Keep God first and everything will work out.

Q:In The Hearts of Men, Poppa Doc eases himself into the lives of the male characters to dispense a little wisdom and guidance. How important do you think it is to have a male presence in your life?
A:I think it is extremely important to have a male role model, but not just any male. You need a positive male who thinks first and knows the meaning of sacrifice. I blame a lot of the negativity that is going on in our communities on men. If more men were being men, then black men wouldn’t make up 46 percent of the prison population even though we’re only 13 percent of the nation’s population. If more black men were home raising their daughters, then the teen pregnancy rate wouldn’t be so high among our young sisters. I’m not placing all of the blame on black men, but we have to take care of our own and stop running away from our responsibilities. At the rate that this country is shipping our young men off to prison, we’re headed for genocide. I wrote The Hearts of Men to entertain readers but at the same time make them think what a difference a positive man can make in their lives.

Q:How are you doing your part?
A:I practice what I preach. I take care of my son, financially, emotionally, and physically. My son’s mother and I have gone our separate ways, but I made sure that I remained a major part of his life. He lives with me for the same amount of time that he lives with his mother. I’m also the executive director of The Hearts of Men Foundation. It’s a nonprofit organization that mentors young boys. The men in THOMF make unannounced visits to our youngsters’ schools and homes to speak with their teachers and parents. We ask them to set goals for themselves, and when they meet their objectives, we go out and celebrate. I realize that I don’t have all the answers, but if I can touch a few lives, then my mission will be accomplished. I also speak at high schools and prisons. I’m the only male in my entire family over the age of eighteen who has never been to jail. I think God had a higher purpose for me.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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