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50 Cent led media conglomerate, Thisis50, has interviewed Latris Oliveira about Gully. The interview covers how the story came about, and the early origins of Latris’ own life. She also speaks on her chemistry with Gary Swaby and what the creation process of Gully was like. Head over to Thisis50 to check out the full interview, but here’s a small snippet of it below.

Thisis50 Gully

“Latris Oliveira chats with to introduce her first novel, “Gully” which is available for purchase now on Kindle. In this interview, the Long Island, New York native discusses how she had to live in a car with her son, to later owning a very successful lingerie company (PrettyPosh). Latris explains the ebbs and flows of creative writing, and why it took a decade to complete the first trilogy of Gully.

ThisIs50: Who is Latris Oliveira?

Latris: I (Latris Oliveira) am a creative entrepreneur hailing from Long Island, New York. I spent a lot of time growing up in Queens due to my parents separating early on. I moved out of my parents’ care when I was a young girl, which meant I had to find creative ways to survive. That has stayed with me. Today, I run a successful fashion business, I make music, and I now write books.

ThisIs50: When did you first realize you had a passion for creative writing?

Latris: It started off with poetry. My dad would take me with him to off-track betting spots, and I started writing to escape the cigars & shouting (laughs). My first rhymes and short stories made it on the back of betting slips. My uncle still has them to this day. My handwriting was mad sloppy, I’m telling you.

ThisIs50: Tell us about “Gully” why did you decide to write this book?

Latris: When I had my son, I found life difficult as a single young mother. We struggled A LOT. I lost my apartment, and we literally were staying in my car. My best friend caught wind of it and offered us to live with her.

My brother’s little sister April and his girl Sha held me down too. Right up until I got on my feet and moved to ATL. It was a rough point in my life, and I hustled my way back and forth to New York City, D.C, and Boston to find ways to make ends meet.

April would always open up her home for us; we were always welcome. She was living in Inwood, a little fold of town that bordered Far Rockaway. It was close enough to the train stop to get into the city, so I’d crash there.

In between trips, I started developing Homilee, the main character of Gully. I was using a big old Compaq computer that looked like it could be used in the military or something. She had it on the floor in a spare bedroom she had.

Funk Flex was on one night doing his usual shit-talking and running back records, and he kept saying, “keep it GULLY, New York!” All between those infamous bomb drops. I was like, okay Flex, Ima keeps it real, Gully, and name my book that. And just like that, the story was named.

ThisIs50: What were some key challenges you faced when writing this book?

Latris: Life. It took life to write it. Sometimes you have these ideas, and they’re so closely connected to your own life that you need resolution to your problems before you can even be ready to finish them. So I had to keep fighting. I had to go through shit, the best and the worst kind of experiences until I was finally ready to bless the world with the story.

ThisIs50: Is “Gully” your first published book? If not, what do you enjoy the most/least about this process?  

Latris: Gully is my first novel, yes. My first publication was a poetry book under another imprint. Novels are a different beast.

There were many challenges with self-publishing my own release. But there were definitely lessons learned. Aside from that, the process between Gary and I is so seamless that it’s mostly an enjoyable process.

Making art is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in life. But it’s also mentally draining, which is why the timing has to be right.

ThisIs50: Tell us about your partnership with Gary Swaby?  

Latris: Collaborating with him is truly a blessing. Gary is a gifted and skillful writer that matches my flyness (laughs). He’s from Luton, in the United Kingdom but has roots in NY. His family migrated from Jamaica to Jamaica, Queens, NY, literally.

It’s dope to have someone who’s connected on both sides because he totally gets it. And he’s a huge hip-hop head who loves 50 Cent, Mobb Deep, and Nas. We worked on other projects, too, including a script. (Sssh) That one is going to be a banger!

Our writing chemistry is unmatched. It’s so unique. He sees everything in the Gully universe that I see. He has sickle cell anemia, so he’s felt a different kind of pain that makes him understand the harsh realities in life.

His knowledge and connection to the culture again from both sides is what gives him an edge. And because the sickle cell pain gives him discipline, he’s mad structured in how he works. We kind of flow together like a Jadakiss and Styles P verse (laughs).”

Read the rest of the interview