D.C. Author Reaches Out to Youth - NBC4 Washington

D.C. Author Reaches Out to Youth

Hanna warns against gang life



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    NEW YORK - MAY 25: Pedestrians pass a cart of books for sale May 25, 2005 in New York City. According to a report issued this week by the Book Industry Study Group, the U.S. publishing industry continues to put out more books than the public is buying. As more people made a shift toward home video, DVD, Internet and cable, the number of books sold dropped by nearly 44 million between 2003 and 2004, even as the annual number of books published approaches 175,000. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    When Snowmageddon hit the city last winter, many of us caught up on TiVo or did some reading. But District author Ronald R. Hanna took advantage of being snowbound to knock out his ninth novel.

    Hanna, a reporter and photojournalist, turned to fiction to document the impact of gang violence and drugs on his native Anacostia and the rest of the city. Hanna says that through his writing, he is determined "to do something about the carnage which seems to pervade" the District.

    He has promoted his self-published works through leaflets distributed around the city and through word of mouth. Now he's taking the message of his latest novel, "Hustling Backwards," to the web. In a 12-minute video, Hanna warns against the dark side of "the game."

    "I figured I needed to talk to some of these young'uns who are not going to read my books," he said. "I think this might go viral, and reach a lot of ears, hearts and minds which don't know me as an author."

    His latest novel, published this spring, follows a group of young D.C. drug dealers through their rise and fall. After raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars, they find themselves broke, out of work and unable to reenter legitimate society. While Hanna says the book has been "well received," he hopes to find a wider audience for his message.

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitterat @PJOinDC