Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh: Interview & Excerpt



When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences. On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief. Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could’ve done the same. But love’s a devil that way. So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone. And Tak understands this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had. And away from him.



“I wish that I didn’t want my family’s love so bad. I wish I could be one of those people who wore leather jackets and didn’t give a damned.”
Tak shot her a look. “You’d be musty if you wore a leather jacket in this heat.”
Deena grinned. “You know what I mean.”
He shrugged. “Who doesn’t want a decent family, Dee? It’s not much to ask for.”
Tak paused to pluck a seashell from the sand. Chipped and polished by time, it shone under the glint of a fast setting sun. “I don’t know the answers,” he said. “But they seem to be in things like this,” he held up the shell.
She frowned. “I don’t follow.”
He shrugged. “Well think about it. What’s a shell? It’s just a—a hard, protective outer layer.” He hurled it in the ocean. “The same is true with family. They’re an outer layer, a protection from the world. At least that’s what they’re supposed to be.” He paused. “Think about what happens when you screw with an animal that has one of those hard shells. What does he do?”
“He goes into it.”
“Right. He retreats.” He thumbed the shell thoughtfully. “Now imagine if you were to rip the shell off a turtle and expose him. What do you think you’d find?”
Deena cringed. “Something soft and hurting.
“And dead, if not close to it. So, our hypothetical turtle, who’s able to stand our shell transplant, needs another shell, another form of protection. And so do you.” Tak handed the grooved and sand-polished subject to Deena. She looked down at it.
“So, how’ve I been surviving all this time? What’s my shell?”
Tak grinned. “Tell you what. I’ll let you know when I crack it.”


Tell us about your current release.
Crimson Footprints is a story of love and self-discovery centering around an always brilliant, sometimes maddening bi-racial woman, the wholly-alive Japanese American guy she comes to love, and the bigoted family that influences her more than she'd care to admit.

Who is your favorite author?
That's an impossible one. I don't have a favorite author, per se, but I'm heavily influenced by an early love affair with Stephen King (sorry Tabitha) and a later discovery of Amy Tan, heavily doused with a reliance on Harlequin to conquer the teenage years. The result is a writing style laced with bluntness (King), family conflict (Tan), and completely content with a love-as-a-healing-force ideal.  

Where do you research for your books?
I'm a heavy Internet surfer, but I'm hardly beyond rifling through the stacks at my alma mater's wonderful library. Library books helped me paint the life and work of an architect, create consistent, complex and richly researched characters, and to visit places through the written word which I'd long since lost to forgetfulness. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I was shocked by how difficult it was to research Japanese American culture. Not much exists in the way of cultural research, there's instead a heavy reliance on the internment experience first and immigration second. Such a reliance is understandable and valuable, however, I found myself yearning for the resources I found so readily when researching my own culture and its corresponding story. 

What are you passionate about these days?
Great books, politics, culture, travel, good food, and wonderful friends.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
Chandigarh, India. I'm in the middle of writing a series centering on an African American ballerina and Asian Indian football player whose families are next door neighbors and best friends until the two fall in love.

Do you have a Website or Blog?

My blog can be found through my website. 

Conversely, I can be found on Twitter  and Facebook, and I'm still pretty good about answering fans. 


Shewanda Pugh is a native of Boston’s inner city, though she now lives in sunny Miami, Florida. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Alabama A&M University and a Master’s in Writing from Nova Southeastern University. Fueled from a young age, her passion for crossing societal boundaries like race, class and culture, is the inspiration for both her cluttered bookshelf and her writing. When she’s not busy obsessing over fiction, she can be found traveling, nursing her social networking addiction or enjoying the company of loved ones.

Facebook Twitter   @ShewandaP  |  Blog  |  Website  |  Goodreads

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This Giveaway ends October 6th 11:59PM Central Time.

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