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#Straight Dope by Leron Barton – Interview & Giveaway

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BookZone welcomes Author, LeRon L. Barton who is on tour with At the Water Cooler Virtual Book Tours promoting his debut title, Straight Dope: A 360 Degree Look Into American Drug Culture. LeRon did not choose an easy topic to begin his foray into the literary world, however, he wanted to make an impact and he wanted to keep it real. He took the time to answer some questions for us about himself and why he writes. Please get comfortable and enjoy:

BookZone: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

LeRon: I have always loved to write, ever since I was a young child. Creating my own comics, writing poetry, to writing scripts, and finally my first book. Writing has always been a part of my life.

BookZone: What inspired you to write your first book?

LeRon: Writing a book has always been a goal of mine. Being a writer, I have always felt that a book would be the ultimate task.

BookZone: Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

LeRon: Straight Dope exposes the reality of drugs in America without any biases.

BookZone: Why this subject matter…why now?

LeRon: I have always wanted to write something that was real and with drug use so rampant, I feel that Straight Dope is so current. With my first book, I wanted it to hit hard and to make an impact.

BookZone: I believe that every author infuses his or her book with a piece of himself or herself. What piece of you would you say resides within the pages of your book?

LeRon: I am all over the book (laughs). Seriously, when I am asking the person the questions, sometimes I may say, “Damn” or ‘Wow.” But when you hear the answers, there was only one way to respond.

BookZone: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

LeRon: I wanted to speak with some police officers and lawyers to make the book more well rounded, but I believe that it is fine the way it is.

BookZone: What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

LeRon: That is a good question…

BookZone: How did you come up with the title?

LeRon: I wanted a title that would catch people’s attention and also pertain to the subject of the book.

BookZone: Who designed the cover?

LeRon: My man David Valin. I sent him a couple of pics and we worked around the concept. David is great. You can contact him at:

BookZone: How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

LeRon: My book has not come out yet, but I do not know. Maybe scream out from the rafters? LOL

BookZone: If readers get nothing else from your book, what is the one takeaway that you hope they do not miss?

LeRon: That Straight Dope is real, uncut. It is realistic, unbiased, and presents people talking about a very important subject. Straight Dope is not political, just real.

BookZone: Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

LeRon: The opportunities that have come forth and the new ones that will come. It feels great to be a published writer.

BookZone: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

LeRon: My ex gf. She was and still is one of my biggest supporters.

BookZone: What would equate success for you, with regards to the release of this title?

  • Purchases
  • Kudos on your writing skills
  • Message received by intended audience
  • All of the above?

LeRon: All of the above. I really want to be respected as a writer. The money and the sales are good, but at the end of the day, I want to be looked at as a great writer that can open the door for other artists – writers, painters, filmmakers….

BookZone: What did you want to be when you grew up…was author on the list?

LeRon: I originally wanted to be a stuntman, but then I realized that they get hurt (LOL). Then I wanted (and still do) to be a race car driver. I have always been fascinated by Formula One racing and have always thought those guys were real fly. I am just not that great of a driver (ask any of my friends), but there is always driving school…… LOL.

BookZone: Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

LeRon: In the summer I am releasing, “It’s Good To Be Alive,” a free project that consists of pictures, essays, and poetry celebrating life. I wanted to write something light after Straight Dope. Everyone will be smiling and everything will be happy.

In November, I will be releasing, “All We Need Is Love,” a book similar to Straight Dope that talks about dating, marriage, and every kind of relationship – from  first time love, long distance, interracial, long distance, newly married couples, everyone.

BookZone: What piece of advice would you give to first time authors?

LeRon: Never give up. If this is your dream, then never give up and keep going. There is an audience for every kind of writer. Also, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. Most of the time, people just want to help.

BookZone: Is there any piece of advice you would like to ask from any of our veteran authors who may stop by?

LeRon: How do you market your book successfully?

BookZone: What book are you reading now?

LeRon: 25th Hour by David Benioff and books on Malcolm X. He is my hero.

BookZone: If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

LeRon: Books, Ipod, and nice blanket. LOL

BookZone: If you could jump into a book and live in that world… which would it be?

LeRon: You know, I have always thought that “Le Morte Darthur” was the greatest story that has been written. But, I don’t know, maybe “The Great Gatsby,” or “One Hundred Years in Solitude.” I have always liked Pilar. Ha!

BookZone: Hidden talent?

LeRon: I am a pretty good dancer and cook.

BookZone: Me too (dancing) not so much (cooking) Favorite Candy?

LeRon: Snickers. A girl in high-school used to call me that. And then corn candy.

BookZone: Favorite smell?

LeRon: A freshly showered woman…

BookZone: Favorite scripture/quote?

LeRon: I have a few:

  • “It can’t rain all the time” – The Crow
  • “Be Like Water,” Bruce Lee
  • “I am all that I have met,” Malcolm X

BookZone: Pet peeve?

LeRon: Tardiness!!! I hate when people are late. Value my time please!!!!!

BookZone: Guilty Pleasure?

LeRon: Karaoke. I love to get up and make a total fool of myself.

BookZone: TV or Movies?

LeRon: Hmmm, that is a good question. The quality of movies are horrible these days, and there are some really good writing on TV, so I will go with TV.

BookZone: Coke or Pepsi?

LeRon: Coke, always.

BookZone: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

LeRon: You know, in the privacy of my home, Merry Christmas. But at work/school, Happy Holidays.

BookZone: What was your favorite children’s book?

LeRon: Anything by Dr. Seuss. I think he was a genius. People do not realize how tough it is to write something compelling and that catch a child’s imagination.

BookZone: What book(s) has most influenced your life?

LeRon: Non Fiction, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It has shaped the way I live my life. I look at things from an aspect of before I read it and after I read it. Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo, because he is another of my heroes and I could relate to it in so many ways.

Fiction, definitely Portrait of An Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce. I thought (and still do) that his form and technique was the best I have ever read. The Great Gatsby is my fave book of all time and then Of Mice and Men and the poetry of Langston Hughes. The rhythm he had, it was just, wow…..

BookZone: How do you react to a bad review?

LeRon: You have to take it in stride. It is not gonna kill you. It is just someone’s point of view. Hey, I am pretty sure people slandered Hemmingway’s work, so don’t take it personal.

BookZone: Well said. If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be?

LeRon: Beautiful women. LOL.

BookZone: You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?

LeRon: I would buy my Mom a house. Every young man wants to buy his Mom a house.

BookZone: True Dat. Do you have a specific writing style?

LeRon: I think that I am influenced by Joyce, Chris Clairemont, Hughes… But I specific style? I don’t know. Hopefully.

BookZone: Which authors have influenced you most and how?

LeRon: Joyce, Hughes, Marquez, Clairemont, Sir Thomas Mallory, Studs Terkel (of course).

BookZone: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his/her work?

LeRon: My fave author is James Joyce. His technique and form are just unbeatable.

BookZone: Do you see writing as a career?

LeRon: Yes. This is what I was meant to do.

BookZone: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

LeRon: Not this book, but I have a couple of ideas for future projects that will need me to hit the road.

BookZone: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

LeRon: My Mom told me, “Self-doubt has no place in your mind.” I think about that a lot and just push on.

BookZone: What’s your favorite season/weather?

LeRon: Fall because the trees and sky are just beautiful. Plus fall has the best fashion!

BookZone: Yeah, we see you rocking the turtleneck…lol. What do you do in your free time?

LeRon: Write (LOL). Read, explore, meet up with friends, travel, take pictures, workout, and just try to be the best LeRon I can possibly be.

BookZone: Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.

LeRon: Okay, I probably wake up around 7 am and start checking emails. I cannot sleep in. My Grandfather would always say, “Boy if you’re up, get up.” LOL. I then turn my phone on, grab some water and go to the gym. If this is a non-work day, then I would write a little, go to brunch and grab some champagne (because it is brunch!), take a train to SF or Oakland, walk around, meet up with friends, and try to have tons of fun!

BookZone: In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?

LeRon: Marquez. He is probably the world’s greatest living writer.

BookZone: If you had to choose, which author would you consider a mentor?

LeRon: My high-school teacher Stan Banks. He would always encourage me and I get a lot of my poetry reciting style from him.

BookZone: Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?

LeRon: I am still reading the classics, so unfortunately not.

BookZone: Name 3 top items on your bucket list.


  • Go on an around the world trip
  • Pay for someone’s meal anonymously
  • Buy a Ferrari (seriously).

BookZone: If you got a TV/movie deal, what would the names in yo ur cast line up look like?

LeRon: That is a good question. I like Taye Diggs, Thandie Newton, Christian Bale, and Oliver Matinez. And we can have Mark Romanek direct it. I love his style.

BookZone: If you were given the opportunity to go back to the past or to the future, which would you choose and why?

LeRon: My dream has always been to live forever. If I had a chance, I would love to go back to the 70’s during the disco era. My Mom loved disco and I love house music. Just the love that was going on back there…

BookZone: Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one?

LeRon: That is a good question. Big gifts…..

BookZone: In the 1999 film, The Matrix, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the “real world”. If you were given such a choice, which pill would you choose and why?

LeRon: I have always been about truth and reality, so I will would go with the red pill. Don’t feed me crap, I want the real.

BookZone: I hear that. Do you have anything specific that you wish to say to your readers?

LeRon: Thank you all for checking out this interview. Straight Dope is my first book of hard work, grind, and determination. I believe that everyone will find something that they like when reading it. Mainline Publications and I will continue to push the line and release edgy, innovative projects. I have a lot of stuff in the pipeline, so stay tuned. You will not be disappointed.

BookZone: We are sure we will not be. Thanks LeRon!

About the Author

LeRon BartonMy name is LeRon L. Barton and I was born in Kansas City, MO in 1978 (totally dating myself – LOL). Like any Midwestern person, I wanted to come to California. Why? Because of the weather and the beaches, duh! After going to school for IT and moving from San Diego to The Bay Area, which I absolutely love, there was a void in my life. I broke down and admitted to myself, I am an artist!  All my life I knew that I wanted to be a writer, well a stuntman, then a race car driver (I still want to!), but finally settled on using the power of the written word. I have written poetry, short stories, essays, and two screen plays, but I have always wanted to write a book. The idea for Straight Dope came because I wanted to create something real and impact–something about which I had knowledge. Where I come from, in my neighborhood, circle of friends, and way of life, drugs have always been around. Instead of taking a judgmental view of the topic, I wanted to have people tell their own story as I listened. I just didn’t want to talk to law enforcement and get this uniform answer on drugs in America, I wanted a well rounded look into drug culture, hence the title, Straight Dope: A 360 Degree Look into American Drug Culture. This is my first book, but definitely not the last. I hope to continue to release projects that will make people take a step back and listen, learn, and as they say around my way, “Recognize, realize, and analyze.”

About the Book

Straight DopeStraight Dope is a book that asks the simple question–why are drugs so entrenched in America’s society. Instead of doing the same ol’ rigamarole song and dance and interviewing talking heads and experts, Straight Dope gets to the heart of the matter and talks to the people at ground zero–the drug addicts whose lives revolve around getting high; the criminals who profit off the misery of the addicts; the teachers who deal with children in drug abused homes; the drug counselors who try to balance breaking the addicts’ cycle of addiction while dealing with the bureaucracy of government politics; the legal marijuana growers’ battle against tobacco companies and how to thrive in the growing industry; and the parents’ issue of how they will prepare their children to just say no.

Inspired by the late great Studs Terkel’s many works, Straight Dope is comprised of raw, uncut hard hitting interviews about the participants experiences, thoughts, opinions, and outlook on drug abuse—why  or why not drugs should be legal, and how the government is handling the war on drugs.

Removing nearly all of the questions, the interviews are more like monologues, allowing the reader to feel as if the subject is just, “talking,” instead of your standard interview.

In addition to the real life accounts, Straight Dope also contains spoken word pieces compiled of biting social commentary, as well as my own personal reflections comprised of my experiences with drugs.

Purchase the Book Online at: Kindle / Paperback

Connect with the Author Online via:

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Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is sponsored by the author, LeRon L. Barton, and administered by At the Water Cooler Virtual Book Tours. BookZone is not responsible for prize fulfillment. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S.A and Canada except where it is considered illegal and/or prohibited. Entrants must be 18 and over to enter. Tour Hosts and their immediate family members are ineligible as entrants. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Join the Tour in Progess:

Tour Schedule

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

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6 Responses to “#Straight Dope by Leron Barton – Interview & Giveaway”

  1. Kelsi says:

    Great interview. I’d really like to check this book out. It has a different approach that I think will bring attention to a huge problem in our society.

  2. There are a ton of options out there but in the end it’s important to think outside of the box and get creative whether it be with blog tours, contests, giveaways, or paid advertising. It’s going to take a while to cultivate relationships but they’re the supporters who will carry you through.
    alchemyofscrawl recently posted..#bookreview Surviving the Spike by Nader Elhefnawy

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