Monday, December 16, 2013

Wifey by Fey Ugokwe: Interview and Excerpt

Welcome! Thanks so much for visiting! Tell us about the inspiration for your current release 
So--forever ago, in the things-some-young-couples-oddly-toss-here-and-there starter apartment of a little male cousin of mine and his twentysomething wife, I observed the former sweet-and- winkingly referring to his spouse as "wifey". Now, just like the two main characters in my book, both were relatively recent and endlessly fratbro-soror-proud, respectively, Greek Life college grads. I found it pretty cool the way, frequently with a naughty-boy bass, the word “wifey” slid so effortlessly down my cousin’s tongue and teasingly, out--but it sparked a wonder in my head, that eventually, in part, gave birth to my book. I specifically began earnestly pondering about some other households in the nation, wherein the term "wifey" was perhaps being conversely used to demean, dismantle, destroy. Fast forward the pop culture clock, and "wifey" is now just another part of contemporary parlance, referring to everything from indeed a wife, to an intergalactically-stellar girlfriend. And it was just that--the term's continuing use and its expanded, 2013 reality--that gave rise to the story concept dough for my little work of contempo fiction, Wifey.

Tell us about your current release 
Wifey walks through real-world, contemporary social and political justice themes, namely those of a dramatic change in socioeconomic status due to domestic/worldwide economic downturn; multicultural gender norms; gender disparity in marriage; domestic violence; multiculturalism and multiracialism; religion; and more. However, I wrote it to encompass and not to wedging, shove back--so it’s meant to eat light and lingeringly, and to seek, find the common or compassionate bud on you. Deliberately spliced with moments of real-world humor, and blended with an array of cultures beyond those that pop up in its excerpts, it attempts to ask the ‘what if’--in a time that was smartingly not too far removed from now.

Tell us about your next release 
I would love to pucker-and-prattle here, re: future books (or more appropriately sometimes--re: the way life’s other realities often gray-ly cast shadow on such things along one’s journey--'kiss-and-kvetch'), but my maternal Grandmum did teach me to keep a good secret's trap well shut, and I am also, essentially, yet at the exposed-yolk stage of my career. So, suffice it to say, since many of us writers were almost literally birthed thinking and jotting, the law of probability says I've likely definitely developed some sort of a backlog, somewhere of sorts. And I think I’m going to have to winking and brow-raising, leave it at that for now, lest Grandmum’s apparition swiftly visit me and disapprove with an eerie, pointing finger--from a too-nearby doorway--as she had oft threatened this then-sweet-virgin-teenager to posthumously do. 
Does your significant other read your book? 
I don’t currently have a significant other, but when I do again, that dude indeed must do. He must also know how to perform in the kitchen, she said, as each and every boyfriend I’ve had has (I seem to attract male cooks, and may this awesome, always trend both escalate and continue), and additionally to appreciate the fine art of maintaining a wild and splaying variety of makeshift in-home libraries. That being flatly said, I do however, have a particularly fab ex-boyfriend, who dutifully bought one of the first copies of my book. And, I naturally bless him for it--even if he perhaps missed some of the nuances of it, as, a) English is most definitely not his first language, b) he barely spoke English when I met him (I was like, a psychic, multicultural dictionary and loving thesaurus), and, c) he’s been residing back in his home country (The Netherlands) for the veritable eons now. However, back when, he had already read A River Runs Through It in Dutch, so who is to say. 

What was the hardest part about writing your book?
 Writing Wifey was unyieldingly painful, due to the very sad fact that my Mum, a stage IV uterine cancer patient, was at the same space of time undergoing a grueling chemotherapy regimen, and first set of radiation treatments. Add to that roux an irrepressible urge to seize almost every moment not taken up with taking care of her to pen this book, and you have the sleepless dish that is this, my first large work. Wifey was chiefly written flat on my aching back at odd hours in my bed, draped lanky over by-the-hours-uncomfy hospital chairs, and in running Park and exhausted with the windows cracked open and my nose mashed up against a Tall of seasonal whatever-whathaveyou from you-know-starry-bucks-where--in between the hours limping through the rubble of all of that. 

Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself? 
All of my characters in Wifey have an element of me nosing about in them--at least as regards their good and societally-acceptable conduct. Now, where some have clearly fallen off the mark, I can only state that quite patently, re-baptisms and an endless series of closed-door fire-and-brim sessions are perhaps well in order, followed by some sort of unreasonably public shaming ritual.

Do you have a website or blog? 
My blog lives at and it’s currently just chock full of savory snippet-nuggets and conjured posts about my book. The revamped idea of the blog though, is not just to advance a discourse regarding the various and sundry social issues that affect women, but to spark inner and outer queries regarding the curious sociopolitical conditions that affect us all in this wild, careening theme park that is 21st-century Life. 

Title: Wifey
Author: Fey Ugokwe
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Pink Purse International
Pages: 154
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615764908
ISBN-13: 978-0615764900

Purchase at AMAZON

When life as a curiously paired, young married couple in California--in the midst of a growing state and national economic crisis--becomes literally unworkable, Rodney, an earnestly toiling, playboy of a husband, unilaterally determines that he and P.V., his ambitious but naive, exotic wife, should relocate to Texas. So P.V., a struggling sophomore realtor and avid foodie, and Rodney, a newly unemployed marketer and sports addict, sell virtually everything they own and embark upon a downsized existence in the heart of North Texas--Dallas. But an eerie and horrifying morning dream that P.V. previously experienced becomes a dark and ever-unfurling, pain-filled prophesy that ultimately threatens the very foundations of their humanity. Sex, depravity, despair, and an uneven pavement of good intentions lead to a black, one-way road with a shocking and hair-raising end.


But then one day, unexpectedly, the sun rose sweepingly black upon the state—and it wasn’t the only one—and they awoke to find themselves holding onto nothing but what was standing in three dimensions, and what little they had jointly saved. They had eagerly spent—as if single college co-eds—without much store-housing, always encouraged by the reality that together, they could easily generate sufficient and more. So, in the fresh darkness, their carefree, economic togetherness began to crack, splinter, web. It all started when on a Monday, Rodney’s bosses assigned him to train a new marketing team member from their New York office, and then summarily that Friday, swiftly laid him—and his entire marketing unit—off, except for the one employee he had been forced to mentor. The fragmenting downspiral continued with P.V. realizing that the once flock of eager, wild-eyed buyers had run, scattering well deep, into hiding. Accordingly, she helplessly—an additionally, inexperienced one—watched as her real estate-for-sale listings inventory rolled and aging sat, month after nail-biting month. Resultantly, for income, the two began to snatch away anxiously at the rest of their dwindling, pea-sized savings, and at the vapors of P.V.’s plummeting realtor commissions. 

Suddenly, the two together were thinking older, living older—too much older than their individual years. They began redefining the meaning of frills, and withholding those like penny-pinching pensioners, things they once thought of as basics, that they used to, in better times, allow themselves without blinking. And so, they were struggling to maintain no longer the burgeoning, middle income luxe that they had begun to build, but dearly, just the very safe that they had at least, once been. Yet, somehow, the very last to be redefined—to go—were Rodney’s expensive man-crew weekends away to revel, and the first to be jettisoned, long before the redefining, P.V.’s buffering girlfriend trips to cook and soothingly dine. And then one day, in the choking grit and dust wake of it all, for the first time—inclusive of the days of their respective singlehoods—they were broke, miserable, and officially stuck with someone. They were left id-minded, like runaway children caught up in a typhoon at blind-side—force-dragged into an undertowing cycle downward and downward still, eyes squeezed shut intermittently and little arms looped, each round the other’s, league by league in the under together.


Rodney awoke with a jolting, eyes-up-open-in-a-flash, start. It was as if a hypnotist had bid him loudly, firmly to wake up—snapping fingers together with an equal harsh force, to facilitate his return to full reason. His eyes were the only part of him that first moved, and he let them do the work as he lay there—rest of body static—by increments perceiving, breathing in the morn. Yellow-white rays of California sun were just beginning to stream slightly in through the luxe, half-slanted open, teal linen blinds. They shifted to illuminate too, the lower tips of the matching, clean-lines-contemporary window treatments that neatly boxed both windows. At an angle out like a tipping domino, the elongated shadow of the window loomed on the pristine—and real—white oak floorboards. Rodney twisted slightly to ease a twinge of pain, the minor injury a result of having slipped and almost fallen the night before, on the pristine, white and grey marble tiles that paved his and P.V.’s master bathroom. P.V. was a heavy head to his chest, her mass of black, medium-length, hot-curled hair almost neatly contained in the crook of his elbow. She was still breathing in the realm of sleep, but her little body was tossing and gesturing at intervals, as if walking and acting in that unseen world. And at that very moment, in fact, forever unbeknownst to him, P.V. was indeed dreaming—of Nani. 

In the dream, Nani appeared physically as her normal self: she was a beautiful—almost brown—bent-forward-midway-at-the-waist and thin, but wide-bodied, woman. Her parabolic bearing always made her seem as if she were perpetually giving salaam, a condition caused by her incorrigibly poor posture as a girl, and the late stages of osteoporosis in her end years. Her smooth, black hair was parted in the middle, and streaked with coarser, fly-away strands of white, all disappearing into a long braid that peeked out again near her waist. She was standing in Trinidad, outside P.V.’s parent’s first home together, in an alcove portion off the veranda that was sheltered by the low, Spanish-tiled roof of the house. In the distance, P.V. could see the blanched sands of the beach, and the sparkling, green-blue waters rolling and retreating on its thin lip. But Nani was oddly barefoot—and alarmingly sheathed from top to bottom in a white sheet that was wound about her body in sections, as if on a mummy. She was muttering and curved over a roti flat pan and board, spindly fingers slightly floured and glistening from the oil mix. One roti was already sizzling on the flat pan, and to her left, there was a large, white china plate with a royal blue pattern, heaped high with all that she had previously cooked. 

The sky suddenly darkened into a night, with a large, spinning patch of daylight in the distance—and bright, rich, almost blindingly deep-blue flowers began to fall out of the air to everywhere. The blooms, each as if clovers springing out their vivid blossoms from a single stalk, dropped on top of Nani’s head and onto her shoulders, immediately bouncing off on impact to the area around her. And they fell onto the food and preparation table, sticking into the mixing bowl containing the remainder dough, and blanketed the entire surface of the ground and tiled veranda floor. One huge stalk fell violently and lodged behind Nani’s ear, its tip caught in her hooped, gold earring. 

And Nani seemed to abruptly become aware of P.V’s presence—whipping about sideways to face her, straightening completely up from the waist as would have been impossible for her, braid jerking to and fro with the immediacy of the motion. In her right hand was the stack of roti, topped with the new roti that had been in the pan—which was still gleaming—a flaky, beckoning nourishment, slightly charred and golden in spots. And grunting, face ashen and gaunt, she extended the breads to P.V., wrinkled right hand shaking out an urgency for her to take them. But when P.V. reached for that right hand, Nani moaned and extended her left, which—flesh inexplicably missing in parts—began to gush a dark red blood, thick from the palm and up over like discovered crude oil, from deep within its center.

Fey Ugokwe was born in Washington, D.C., to immigrant parents--one from British Guiana, South America, and the other from Nigeria, West Africa. She was subsequently raised in Pennsylvania, and attended both college and law school in Massachusetts. Fey is an attorney, and the founder of a socially-conscious media activity. At the age of three, she was taught to read and write by her maternal grandmother, a British-trained schoolteacher, and has been writing fiction and poetry since a child. She received her formal training in novel writing, genre fiction writing, contemporary fiction writing, and political fiction writing in Massachusetts, where her professors included renowned authors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her interests are, namely, in genre, contemporary, and political fiction, and she has a strong interest in uniquely combining the essences of the three, in order to highlight the underpinnings of the human experience.

Her latest book is the contemporary fiction, Wifey.

Visit her website at

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