Please welcome Lisa T. Cresswell to the blog! We’re a stop on her Diverse Book Tours promotion of Hush Puppy, a young adult romance. Let’s get to know her!
What do you do for fun?
I love gardening, although not everything I attempt to grow lives! I live in an high elevation desert, so it’s a challenge. When I can’t grow things outdoors, I pin them on Pinterest. My Pinterest garden is much more beautiful than my real one. J
What are your favorite types of movies to watch?
Fantasy of all kinds.
What types of books are on your bookshelf at home?
All kinds. I have books on gardening and cooking. For fiction, I have fantasy, paranormal, historical, and lots of kids books because my son leaves his books in my bedroom!
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
On a beach. I luv the ocean. You would think I’d write more stories set there. I’ve written one! I’m in the process of trying to find a publisher for it.
Finish this sentence: I’m addicted to…
…chocolate covered almonds.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I have a day job, so it’s “part” time, but I’m always thinking about my writing projects throughout my day.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing off and on since the fifth grade, which is quite a few years ago, but I got serious about getting published after the birth of my son about nine years ago.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what else did you want to do?
I always wanted to write, but I never thought I was talented enough to make a living off it, so I never really considered it as a career when I was younger. I wanted to be a marine biologist, and then an archaeologist, which is what I ended up doing. It works out well, having a day job that pays the bills so I can learn the craft of writing without the starving artist part.
What does the area where you write look like?
It looks like my bed! Yes, I write much of my rough drafts in a notebook while sitting on my bed. The other most common place I write is in my car while I wait for my daughter to get out of dance class. It’s not ideal, but I spend a lot of time there so I have to make do.
Why should readers consider buying your books?
I like to think I can spin a good yarn. But more than that, I try very hard to tell honest, truthful stories that get to the heart of what it means to be human. Here’s a link to some nice book reviews: http://www.lisatcresswell.com/hush-puppy.php
What inspired you to write your latest release?
In Hush Puppy, wanted to write a story about falling in love with the wrong person, or what society says is the “wrong” person. And I wanted it to be about friendship and trust, and what happens when that trust is betrayed.
Would any of your books make a good movie? Which actors/actresses do you see in the lead roles?
I think any author would love to see their books as films. I even wrote scripts at one point. However, I don’t usually cast real actors in my stories. I don’t actually watch much television. I imagine my characters, usually in terms of people I know or once knew. They don’t tend to look like Hollywood actors.
Do you have a single book or character that’s dear to your heart, and why?
I love all my characters. In Hush Puppy, I love Corrine and Jamie equally, but for different reasons. I love Corrine because she’s the girl I once was and wish I had been growing up. I love Jamie because I made him my “perfect” boyfriend, but with flaws. I don’t know anyone quite like Jamie in real life.
What can readers expect from you next?
I’ve got a multicultural dystopian titled Vessel coming from Month9Books in 2015 and I’m currently querying a paranormal romance of the ghostly variety. This year I’ve drafted a new steampunk fantasy and another multicultural contemporary YA that I’m really in love with. I call it Crawdad.
Hush Puppy is the story of Corrine Lamb, a seventeen year old black girl, and Jamie Armstrong, a poor white boy, living in a backwater North Carolina town. Intelligent Corrine, abandoned by her mother, and artsy Jamie, forced to play football by a redneck father, both dream of leaving their podunk town and never looking back.
Their shared love of literature and a dream of a better life brings them together and a romance blossoms between them in a secret place of their own in the steamy North Carolina woods. When Jamie is involved in the accidental death of a white girl, he’s terrified of his abusive father. Corrine takes the blame to protect Jaime, with dire consequences for herself and her dreams of the future. Her life in danger, Corrine’s left wondering if Jamie ever cared about her at all.
The weeds had deep roots. They kept breaking off in my hands as I yanked on them, cursing under my breath. Sweat dripped off my nose, making wet spots on the red soil. The beans were in flower and it seemed like every insect in town was humming around them. I was so busy trying to avoid the bees with my hoe, I didn’t notice the shaggy-haired boy walk up behind me.
“Kind of hot for yard work, ain’t it?”
I snapped up and spun around too fast, the blood rushing out of my head. I steadied myself on the hoe as stars blurred my vision. As my sight cleared, I saw Jamie’s face, a halo of glittering lights around him.
“Hey, Hush Puppy!” he said. “Those were good.”
“I’m Corrine.” Still blinking, I wiped my sweaty forehead with the back of my dirty glove.
“I’m Jamie.” For a minute, he just stood there holding a red spiral notebook in one hand. Not knowing what else to do, I tried to make conversation.
“Going to summer school?”
“What?” He seemed confused.
“You look like you just got off the bus,” I said, pointing to his notebook.
“Oh, this?” He glanced at his notebook. “I just write stuff sometimes.”
“What kind of stuff?”
“I…the kind of stuff my old man don’t like, I guess.” Jamie smiled like he thought that was funny. I threw the hoe down in the wilted weeds.
“I need a drink. Want some tea?” I offered.
“Sure,” he said, following me to the house.
I got the tea from the fridge and found two glasses while Jamie sat at the table, setting his notebook on the red and white vinyl tablecloth in front of him. The kitchen was stuffy so I cranked on the window air conditioner until it blew frosty gusts at us. Jamie watched quietly while I cracked a tray of ice cubes and tossed a few in each glass before pouring the tea. We both took a long drink.
“You’re not like most boys around here.”
“I can’t think of one who would actually admit to writing something that wasn’t for school.”
Jamie smirked and chugged some more tea.
“So what’s in it?” I asked.
“Your notebook. What do you write?”
“Um…” Jamie’s thumb fingered the corner of the pages. “Stories, essays mostly.” His eyes traveled over the plastic tablecloth between us, not daring to look up.
“Can I see?” I reached for the notebook, but Jamie quickly slid it away from me.
“Naw. You wouldn’t like it.”
“How do you know?” The questions sounded ruder than I meant and I tried to make up for it. “I like a lot of stuff.”
“It’s just that it’s not that good.” He pulled it off the table onto his lap where I couldn’t see it. I felt myself frowning.
“Fine. Be like that.”
The crunching sound of a car on gravel grabbed my attention. Memaw wasn’t due home for hours. I jumped up to check out the tiny kitchen window, but there was no one there. When I turned around, Jamie was gone, his empty glass on the table. I walked into the living room and saw him down the short hallway, standing in my room.
“What are you doing?” I asked, hoping I hadn’t left my underwear on the floor that morning. It was dark in my room because we kept the windows covered during the day to keep it cool. I walked up behind Jamie, who was gazing up at the world map on my bedroom wall. I caught our reflection in my mirror and realized just how different we were next to each other. My dark skin, the color of rich, black coffee, made his skin look that much lighter. My kinky hair, poking out of the braids that were coming undone, made his hair seem that much straighter. But Jamie didn’t notice any of that.
“Cool map,” said Jamie. “What are the pins for?” He fingered the blue push pin I had stuck in the map at Munich.
“Places I want to see one day.”
“You sure got a lot of traveling to do.”
“That’s the plan. Red is for must-see, blue is for nice to see.”
“There’s a lot of red. These your books?” Jamie asked, looking over my shelf.
Jamie paused a minute and then sighed. “I should probably go. My dad would freak if he knew I was here.” He turned to walk down the hall toward the front door. I should have been relieved to get him out of my room, but some part of me was disappointed to see him go. I followed him outside and across the yard toward the driveway. He glanced back at me once or twice, as if he thought I was going home with him.
“I gotta finish weeding,” I explained.
“Thanks for stopping by,” I said. It was something Memaw would have said.
“Yeah, thanks for the tea.” He kicked a grubby sneaker toe into the fresh garden dirt I’d just cleared of weeds. The notebook dangled from his fingertips. He stared at me like he had something more to say, but he never got the chance. Harley’s truck, held together with duct tape and wire, rattled down the road, stopped suddenly and backed up. Harley drove his truck into our driveway and hung his head out the window.
“What the hell are you doing over here?” he shouted at Jamie, who didn’t answer. Instead, Jamie looked at me and offered me the notebook he had been so reluctant to share before.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” Harley kept ranting.
“I think you dropped this,” Jamie said to me, somehow ignoring Harley.
“What?” I couldn’t understand what was happening.
“Damn it, Jamie! Get in the truck!”
“Isn’t it yours?” Jamie’s eyes pleaded with me to play along. “Take it.” I finally did what he said and he joined Harley in the truck.
“When I call you, I expect you to answer, boy!” I heard Harley shouting as they drove away. I didn’t understand how or why, but suddenly the mysterious red notebook was mine.
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prize: 3 winners will receive an ebook copy of Hush Puppy
How to enter: Use the Rafflecopter link below. Prize open to international entrants.
About the Author
I’m a professional archaeologist by day, but I spend my nights shuttling kids to dance practice and back, while dreaming young adult stories. My weekends are spent writing, editing, blogging, and querying. At least, that’s how it feels. Television is a thing of the past for me, but that’s ok. I find it maddening these days. I live in Idaho with my family and way too many furry beasts, aka pets.