Reymundo Sanchez is the pseudonym of a former Latin King who no longer lives in Chicago. He is the author of My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King, Once a King, Always a King, Latin King: Una vida sangrienta, and the latest Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of a Latin Queen, published by Chicago Review Press. Sanchez has appeared on Fox News Chicago, Telemundo, and Univision. In spite of his busy schedule, he was kind enough to answer a few questions.
About the book:
Offering a rarely seen female perspective on gang life, this raw and powerful memoir tells not only of one woman's struggle to survive the streets but also of her ascent to the top ranks of the new mafia, where the only people more dangerous than rival gangs were members of her own.
At age 5, Sonia Rodriguez's stepfather began to abuse her; at 10 she was molested by her uncle and beaten by her mother when she told on him; and by 13 her home had become a hangout for the Latin Kings and Queens who were friends with her older sister. Threatened by rival gang members at school, Sonia turned away from her education and extracurricular activities in favor of a world of drugs and violence.
The Latin Kings, one of the largest and most notorious street gangs in America, became her refuge, but its violence cost her friends, freedom, self-respect, and nearly her life. As a Latin Queen, she experienced the exhilarating highs and unbelievable lows of gang life. From being shot at by her own gang and kicked out at age 18 with an infant daughter to rejoining the gang and distinguishing herself as a leader, her legacy as Lady Q was cemented both for her willingness to commit violence and for her role as a drug mule.
Q: When did you start your career as a writer?
A: With the first book released in the year 2000. It took about 8 years to put together.
Q: Please tell us about your latest release, Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of a Latin Queen. I understand you wrote it in collaboration with Sonia Rodriguez. How did this project come about?
A: Great majority of e-mails, MySpace/Facebook hits I get are from females from the hood that are in some way affected by the gang lifestyle, so I decided to tell the woman's side of it.
Q: Was it hard writing someone else's memoir?
A: Yes. Had to separate myself emotionally from the person I was writing about in order to present an un-biased story.
Q: What is the main message of the book?
A: That not all kids join gangs because they have nothing better to do, and that gangs are not the "family" they make themselves out to be.
Q: How do you think the book will help young people?
A: By providing non-sugar coated, real accounts of a lifestyle that seems so attractive to manyÔÇª they will hopefully realize what they are getting themselves into and chose a different path.
Q: How has the writing of this book affected you as a person and writer?
A: It has challenged me to reach for a broader reading audience.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share with my readers?
A: Gangs, whether they are female or male, are a product of a blind, uncaring community. To think otherwise is to allow gangs to flourish, and apparently most communities are thinking otherwise.