by Carla Newsome McManus

Hooray for all Erica Simone Turnipseed fans! If you've been hungry for a sequel to her first brilliant novel, Love Noire, then reading her delicious sophomore page-turner, Hunger is sure to satisfy your appetite for something absorbing and romantic but very intelligent. An uncommonly talented and promising new writer, Erica Simone Turnipseed continues the cross-cultural journey when well-heeled, professional invest banker, Innocent and his bohemian, free-spirited love interest, Noire, reunite. Hearthache, identity crises, and the 9-11 tradegy fan the flames of love and lust.

Hunger is a must-have for your harvest of autumn page-turners! To make the journey more enjoyable, purchase the Love Noire/Hunger soundtrack. Visit http://www.ericasimoneturnipseed.com for details!

Carla:
I noticed that Hunger takes place during tragic day of 9/11. Why did you decide to have the story take place during this time period?
Erica: Yes, the story begins on 9/11, with a prologue that chronicles key occurrences after the end of A Love Noire. Given the fact that A Love Noire presents several characters who would necessarily be directly affected by the 9/11 terror attacks(Innocent in particular), it made sense to begin the
story there and explore how our main characters, Innocent and Noire, as well as the people around them, negotiate their lives and there fractured love for each other in the confusing and difficult months following 9/11.

Carla: I understand that during the writing of Hunger you became pregnant and was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. As a result of the illness, you lost your daughter Grace Ayodele Webb. Did you rewrite any portion of Hunger to share your feelings of loss with your readers?
Erica: I lost Grace four days after she was born; I was 24 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome and had to deliver her by emergency cesarean section at that time. I wrote Hunger entirely after that experience, so I can't say that I rewrote any portions of it to reflect my own experiences. Rather, my experiences, including the loss of my daughter, inform some of the issues addressed in the novel and drew me to an exploration of the themes of love, loss, and redemption.

Carla:  Will you engage in any campaigns to increase the awareness of HELLP syndrome?
Erica: It remains to be seen how I can best increase awareness about HELLP Syndrome. I think that the fact that I have been talking about it and have mentioned it in several interviews and etc. is helping to raise awareness. I'm thankful to have this platform from which I can discuss HELLP Syndrome and other important issues.

Carla: The idea of creating a music CD for Hunger is very innovative. What was your inspiration for creating the cd?
Erica: My husband, Kevin Webb, had the idea of developing A Love Noire/Hunger: The Soundtrack and is the executive producer on the project. As he noted, I created a world in A Love Noire and expanded it in Hunger. The Soundtrack extends that world and gives people another, complementary experience to the books. For some, it's their first experience of the novels and entices them to read the books. People have been very receptive to the Soundtrack.

Carla: Hunger and Love Noire are such wonderful books and we believe that will likely receive some requests to adapt both stories to a movie. Have you received any such requests?
Erica: Many people have made the same observation that you have, and we're certainly hopeful that there will be an opportunity to translate these stories to film. We'll see if it happens!

Carla: Are you currently working on any other literary projects? If so, will you continue to write fiction or will you explore another genre?
Erica: My next book will be another work of fiction--a novel--and expect that I will write many more novels, God willing. However, I also enjoy essays, novellas, and short stories. I hope that my writing career will be a long one and that it will embrace different genres of writing.


Carla: Are you currently reading any books? If so, what are they?
Erica: Because I am in the midst of promoting Hunger, it's been hard to read books consistently. I've got quite a backlog!  On my shortlist is the non-fiction book There Goes the 'Hood by Lance Freeman about gentrification in Harlem in Brooklyn, as well as Edward P. Jones's The Known World and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. I keep on picking up I Got Somebody in Staunton, a collection of vivid and evocative short stories by William Henry Lewis. And, as I prepare to sit back at the computer to write, I've been looking at Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America, Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America, Kenji Jasper's Dark, and the largely unsung Harlem Renaissance novellas Quicksand and Passing by Nella Larson. I'm also reading The Power of A Praying Woman with the women's ministry at my church.


Carla: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Erica: That's a hard question because different authors' writing styles and subjects capture my imagination at different times. The list of books that have been formative for me is long and it certainly includes Migrations of the Heart by
The Heart of a Woman.

 

About Erica Simone Turnipseed

Erica Simone Turnipseed's debut, A Love Noire, won the Atlanta Choice Author of the Year Award from the Atlanta Daily World. A philanthropist, Turnipseed founded the Five Years for the House Initiative, a fund-raising drive for the Afro American Cultural Center at Yale. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York. For more about Erica Simone Turnipseed visit her website at http://www.ericasimoneturnipseed.com.