Welcome to Mass Musings! Today we welcome author Denise Turney - on tour now with Love Pour Over Me. http://www.chistell.com
MM: Many authors relate their characters to people they know. Is this the case with your characters and do you see yourself in any of them?
DT: Interesting question. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never created a character that was based on anyone I knew. However, I have re-read parts of my manuscript and felt as if I took bits and pieces of my own personality and incorporated them into one or more book characters. The funny thing is that it is never my intention to do this. At this point in my writing career (I’ve been writing for more than 30 years) I wonder if it’s possible for an author to keep all parts of herself out of a story. . . . I have my doubts.
MM: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
DT: As much as I love and appreciate Brenda, her gentle strength, her determination, etc., I must say that the main character, Raymond Clarke, is my favorite. Raymond’s my favorite because of the heart wrenching challenges he faces as a child growing up in a single parent home. His father is an untreated alcoholic. I love what comes of Raymond . . . despite it all. I also appreciate the way he finally lets himself learn to love Brenda.
MM: Who is your most favorite character from any book of all time?
DT: Wow! Now that’s a question! For a minute I was stumped then I remembered it’s the one and only Pippi Longstocking!! Pippi Longstocking is a character in an international bestselling children’s book series. Astrid Lindgren is the author of the books. I love Pippi’s spunk, her courage, her boldness! She’s tenacious! She’s a kid who knows her power! When I was a young girl I wanted to be just like Pippi Longstocking; I wanted to have her fun, carefree experiences and not be afraid to get in trouble the way Pippi wasn’t afraid.
MM: If you could dive into the pages of any book, which book would it be and what character would you be?
DT: Hmmm…. If I could dive into the pages of any book I’d be Mulukan, the main character in my book Long Walk Up. After giving the question some thought I decided on Mulukan because she mirrors my heroine, Harriet Tubman in the way she helps the people of the nation she leads. I also appreciate the challenges Mulukan overcomes to step inside her destiny. She gets discouraged along the way but she never gives up. The payoff is huge for her and the people she goes on to lead.
MM: If your book was to become a movie, which actors/actresses do you see playing the parts of your characters?
DT: Interesting question. If my latest book, Love Pour Over Me, was adapted into a major motion picture Samuel Jackson would play Raymond’s father, Malcolm. Not sure who would play the younger Raymond. The middle-aged Raymond would be played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. To play Raymond’s love interest I’d pick Phylicia Rashad; she played the mother on the popular television series The Cosby Show. Andre 3000 would play Anthony, a guy who’s Raymond’s best friend at college, a guy who’s also a football star who gets caught up in a painful web of mystery in Love Pour Over Me. Not sure who’d play the other minor characters. You gave me something to think about!
MM: What can we expect from Denise Turney in the future? Any new projects?
DT: I’m currently working on my 7th novel. The working title is “Gada’s Glory.” The story is set in Chicago in the 1940s. I also plan to continue to host my weekly literary radio show “Off The Shelf.” It airs at Blog Talk Radio and Blake Radio on Saturday mornings starting at 11 a.m. / EST.
MM: Where can readers connect with you?
DT: Thanks for asking!
- Readers can connect with me at my official website which is: http://www.chistell.com. There are free excerpts, my bio, a list of upcoming writer conferences and book signings, etc. at the website.
- My creative business blog is Write Money Incorporated at http://www.writemoneyinc.com. Marketing tips and advice are at the site for Free. You can also enjoy and learn from feature interviews we do with business leaders at WMI.
- I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LovePourOverMe (If you “Like” my Facebook page you can keep up with what I’m doing)!
- My You Tube channel is: http://www.youtube.com/user/DTWrites1?feature=guide (if you go to You Tube you can listen to me read an excerpt from Love Pour Over Me. You can also watch the free short film on Love Pour Over Me)
- And I’m on Twitter at: DTWriters (would absolutely love it if readers followed me!)
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a wonderful pleasure.
Thank you for the opportunity! I appreciate your support and would love for your visitors to meet me at http://www.chistell.com
A father and son's estranged relationship threatens to destroy the son's only chance at real love. But is a painful childhood enough to choke a young man's promising future? Love will find and heal the most broken hearted, disappointed, abused and ashamed. Love has come. There is no turning back.
It was Friday afternoon, June 15, 1984. Raymond Clarke lay across his bed. An empty bowl of popcorn was on the floor. Snacking did little to ease his excitement. In less than three hours his year round efforts to prove himself deserving of unwavering acclaim would be validated in front of hundreds of his classmates. Tonight was his high school graduation, the day he had dreamed about for weeks. He knew his grades were high enough to earn him academic honors. Even more than his grades were his athletic achievements. He hadn’t been beaten in a track race in three years; he won the state half mile and mile runs for the last six years, since he was in middle school. People would cheer wildly for him tonight.
The television was turned up loud. “Carl Lewis threatens to break Bob Beamon’s historic long jump record at the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles this weekend,” an ESPN sportscaster announced. “Beamon’s record has stood for sixteen years. Lewis . . . “
Raymond got so caught up in the mention of the upcoming Olympic Games that he didn’t hear the front door open.
“Ray,” his father Malcolm shouted as soon as he entered the house.
“What?” Raymond leaped off his bed and hurried into the living room. “Dad?”
“What? Boy, if you don’t get your junk--”
Raymond watched his father wave his hand over the sofa, the place where he’d thrown his sports bag as soon as he got home from graduation practice at school.
“Get this sports crap up,” Malcolm growled.
Silence filled the house.
Raymond grabbed his sports bag, carried it into his bedroom and tossed it across his bed.
His father exited the living room and entered the kitchen. Like a dark shadow, frustrations from spending ten hours working at a drab automobile plant where he drilled leather seats into one Ford Mustang after another while his line supervisor stood at his shoulder and barked, “Focus, Malcolm. Get your production up,” followed him there. It was in the furrow of his brow and in the pinch of his lip. “Ray.”
Raymond cursed beneath his breath before he left his bedroom and hurried into the living room. Seconds later he stood in the kitchen’s open doorway.
He watched his father toss an envelope on the table. “Letter from Baker came in the mail. Something about you getting some awards when—“ He reached to the center of the kitchen table for a bottle of Steel Fervor. He’d stopped hiding the alcohol when Raymond turned five. The alcohol looked like liquid gold. Felt that way to Malcolm too. “you graduate tonight.”
Malcolm took a long swig of the whiskey and squinted against the burn. He tried to laugh but only coughed up spleen. “You’re probably the only kid in the whole school who got a letter like this. Everybody up at Baker knows nobody cares about you. Letter said they thought I’d want to let all your relatives know you’re getting some awards so they’d come out and support you.”
Again Malcolm worked at laughter, but instead coughed a dry, scratchy cough that went long and raw through his throat. “We both know ain’t nobody going to be there but me and your sorry ass. Don’t mean nothing anyhow. They’re just giving these diplomas and awards away now days.” On his way out of the kitchen, bottle in hand, he shoved the letter against Raymond’s chest.
Raymond listened to his father’s footsteps go heavy up the back stairs while he stood alone in the kitchen. When the footsteps became a whisper, he looked down at the letter. It was printed on good stationery, the kind Baker High School only used for special occasions. Didn’t matter though. Raymond took the letter and ripped it once, twice, three times --- over and over again --- until it was only shreds of paper, then he walked to the tall kitchen wastebasket next to the gas stove and dropped the bits inside.
He froze. From the sound of his father’s voice, he knew he was at the top of the stairs.
“Give me that letter, so I’ll remember to go to your graduation tonight.”
Raymond twisted his mouth at the foulness of the request, the absolute absurdity of it. He didn’t answer. Instead he turned and walked back inside his bedroom. He grabbed his house keys and headed outside. At the edge of the walkway, he heard his father shout, “Ray.”
Raymond didn’t turn around. He walked down the tree lined sidewalk the way he’d learned to walk since Kindergarten – with his head down. He stepped over raised cracks in the worn sidewalk, turned away from boarded windows of two empty dilapidated buildings and told himself the neighborhood was just like his father – old, useless, unforgiving and hard.
A second floor window back at the house went up. Malcolm stuck his head all the way out the window. “Get your ass back here,” he hollered down the street.
Raymond sprang to his toes and started to run. His muscular arms and legs went back and forth through the cooling air like propellers, like they were devices he used to try to take off, leave the places in his life he wished had never been. It was what he was good at. All his running had earned him high honors in track and field. He was Ohio’s top miler. He’d made Sports Illustrated four times since middle school.
“Yo, man, you better go back,” Joey chuckled as Raymond slowed to a stop. Joey, a troubled eighteen-year-old neighbor who dropped out of school in the tenth grade, leaned across a Pontiac Sunbird waxing its hood. “If you don’t, your old man’s gonna beat your ass good.”
“Aw, Ray’s cool,” Stanley, an equally troubled twenty-one-year-old who pissed on school and failed to get a diploma, a man who couldn’t read beyond the third grade level, said. He stood next to Joey. His hands were shoved to the bottoms of his pants pockets. “And we know the Brother can run. Damn. We all can run,” Stanley laughed.
“Ray, remember the night we ran away from that Texaco station, our wallets all fat?” Joey laughed. He talked so loudly, Raymond worried he’d be overheard.
“Thought we agreed to let that go,” Raymond said. He looked hard at Joey then he looked hard at Stanley and the nine-month old deal was resealed, another secret for Raymond to keep.
One glance back at his father’s house and Raymond started running again. He ran passed Gruder’s an old upholstery company and Truder Albright, a small, worn convenience store, all the way to the Trotwood Recreation Center six miles farther into the city.
Denise Turney is a professional writer who brings more than thirty-two years of book, newspaper, magazine, radio and business writing to a project. She is the author of the books Portia, Love Has Many Faces, Spiral, Rosetta’s Great Adventure, Long Walk Up and Love Pour Over Me. Denise Turney is an internationally celebrated author who is listed in various entertainment and business directories, including industry leaders such as Who’s Who, 100 Most Admired African American Women and Crosswalk. Denise Turney’s works have appeared in Parade, Essence, Ebony, Madame Noire, The Pittsburgh Quarterly and Obsidian II.
Title: Love Pour Over Me
Publisher: Chistell Publishing
Release date: March 2012
Purchase Link: http://www.chistell.com/order.php
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