The event we fondly refer to as Wine With Writers has a tagline: Sip. Meet. Chat. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? As a reader myself, I know having an opportunity to talk to authors about their work or the work of other favorites we all know and love is the best. Especially when a writer’s book has made you feel a myriad of emotions or something in what they wrote made you think somehow they knew you and your experience the way a friend does. And it certainly hits the trifecta of good times if you can do all that over a delicious glass of wine. Join us on Saturday, March 10th at 5 p.m., in Atlanta, GA for a relaxing and frank discussion about ‘Identity & Individuality: The Movement Toward Issue-Based Black Women’s Fiction.’ Today I’m introducing another marvelous author who will be on the panel with us. Read about her, enjoy, then register here to spend some time with us in ATL. We’re looking forward to meeting you.
I’m new to Tasha L. Harrison’s work but I started reading it a few weeks ago and I am a super quick convert, because it’s goooooood. Still, I don’t know much about her. What I’ve learned about her in a short time period is that she’s sharp, funny, insightful, and loves sushi as much as Nia and I do. I can’t wait to meet Tasha in Atlanta, but until then reading the answers to her interview below just left me feeling all the more intrigued.
What’s in your purse?
First things first, it’s not really a purse. I feel like it’s sheer size and weight have pushed beyond the purse description into bag territory because it’s a big ole bag. In my big ole bag, I carry my travelers notebook which usually has about three composition size books in it; a pencil bag with more pens, pencils, or markers than anyone could ever need or use in one day; my deck of tarot cards and sometimes a small deck of affirmation cards I like to keep on me; a bag of healing crystals—right now it’s carnelian, selenite, and rose quartz; my kindle because I don’t like reading on my iPhone; and a million things of chapstick that always seem to get lost in the bottom of my bag.
Favorite book you’ve written?
I don’t really have a favorite, but the one I had the most fun writing was Having it Both Ways, the third book in The Lust Diaries. It was just fun to write.
Are you spring, summer, fall, or winter? Please share why.
I grew up in South Jersey, and I’ve lived in various cities in the Northeast most of my life. Summers always seemed so precious and tragically short.
August is also Birthday month. Me and my sons (fur baby included) are all Leos, and we usually spend it on the beach.
Mostly I love summer because I’m a sun worshipper. I tend to spend a majority of my summer evenings and weekends reading or writing on my back deck, slathered in sunblock, with a beer in hand, and the sun on my face.
If you were a city, which city would you choose to be and why?
New Orleans. It’s dark, dangerous, dirty, fun, loud, and it’s perfectly okay to be slightly tipsy most of the day. In fact, it’s encouraged. At any moment a band can start playing, and people will be dancing in the streets. Everyone is a weirdo, and no one cares. NOLA feels like the dark, gooey center of my soul.
If you could choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why?
I turn forty this year, and I wouldn’t mind holding here. I feel young enough to do things but wise enough not to let those things get me arrested.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Hands down being a soldier in the United States Army. It was both the best and the worst job. The day to day stuff was tedious and dealing with people who wore their rank and ego on the same sleeve was mentally exhausting. However, it did offer me an opportunity to travel and experience a diverse group of people from all parts of the US. I also learned to respect weapons and qualified on quite a few. Handy skill to have.
What technology from science fiction do you wish existed?
That thing from Matrix where they could download information into a brain. There is so much I want to learn and know. Having a quick way to download it would be awesome.
What’s the most crucial thing for a healthy relationship?
Definitely communication. If you can’t communicate effectively, all of your relationships will suffer.
What do a lot of parents do that screws up their kid?
I think that parents spend a ton of time trying to make their kid into a mini version of themselves versus actually getting to know the kid and letting them be and become whoever they are.
Why are there so many people who are lonely? Why is it so hard for people to make real connections when almost everyone wants to make real connections?
It’s really easy to blame this epidemic level of loneliness on technology, but I think it’s a large part of it. It’s definitely the reason why people have a difficult time making real connections. Words or a picture on a screen will never equal the real intensity of sitting across from someone and experiencing them in real time, but getting to the place where you can trust folks enough to let them in that way has become increasingly more difficult. We burrow in our hidey-holes and play on a tippy-taps (iPhone, computer, whatever) and create what feels like real relationships. You have to put in real effort to bring that relationship offline and into real life. Sadly, most people either don’t want to make that effort or have given up on trying.
What are the most common roadblocks that stop people from achieving their dreams?
Mindset. A lot of what kept me from pursuing my dreams was rooted in an ideal image of the person I thought I was supposed to be. Once I changed my mindset and decided that an idea of perceived perfection was less important than being fulfilled and happy, things changed and pursuing my dreams became easier.
If you suddenly found out that your internal monologue for the last week was actually audible, how screwed would you be?
Completely and utterly screwed. I’ve had some thoughts this week about myself AND others that should remain in the brain vault.
A Wine/Book Pairing from Tasha:
From ‘The Truth of Things’:
Walking through the doors of Camden County Police Department wasn’t something I ever saw myself doing voluntarily. Memories of the last time I was here flooded me as I stepped across the threshold of the precinct. I shook my head, pushing away those thoughts and the feelings attached to them and walked right up to the Sergeant’s desk.
“One second, honey.” The cop behind the desk said, holding up one finger to silence me as he continued to scribble in his notebook. I gritted my teeth.
Do not show your ass in this police station.
After what seemed like an eternity, the officer lifted his head. Within seconds his countenance went from rude and dismissive to leering. “What was it you needed, beautiful?”
“I want to file a complaint.”
His mouth twisted into a sour expression. “For what?”
“Property damage. I was detained by a couple of your officers last night and one of them damaged my lens. I’m a photojournalist, and I need that lens for work.”
The desk sergeant sighed and reached under his desktop. “Fill out this paperwork, and someone will contact you about reimbursement.”
No-fucking-body was reimbursing me for the damage to this lens. I mentally assessed the balance of my credit cards and tried to figure out if I could replace it as I filled out the complaint form.
When I was done, I brought the clipboard and my form back to the desk. “Can you give me some info on two men arrested last night?”
“What are their names?”
“Two guys with the first names Emiliano and Khalid.”
“Do you know the names of the arresting officers?”
“Raymond and Stevenson.”
The desk sergeant entered the names into his computer and took some time to scroll through the records. “Looks like Emiliano Perez was released this morning. Khalid Williamson is still in custody.”
“Okay, thanks.” I pushed away from the desk and turned to leave…
And slammed right into a sweaty, panting Officer Levi Raymond.
My eyes didn’t know where to land first. His gorgeous face, dark brows, thick dark lashes. He wore a stretched out singlet top which was basically a rag meant to strategically cover his nipples. Remnants of last night’s dream flickered through my mind as I watched a droplet of sweat trickle down his chest, a chest covered in curling, wet hair. Slightly damp sweatpants hung low on his hip bones revealing those two lines on either side of his abdomen that said hey, look down here! Iliac furrows, that’s what they were called and, holy shit, was that the imprint of his—
“Ms. Greene? Is everything all right?”
I managed to drag my eyes away from his crotch and back to his face.
“Those guys didn’t come after you did they?” he asked, seeming genuinely concerned. “Did something happen?”
I shook my head, eyes tracking a droplet of sweat from his neck to his chest. “No. No…I…” My mouth was suddenly very dry…Can I please lick that droplet of sweat off of your chest? “Your partner broke my camera lens,” I blurted. “Came in to file a complaint.”
His brow furrowed. “Okay. I’m sorry to hear that your property was damaged. I’m sure the precinct will take care of it.”
“Yeah, yeah, sure they will,” I said rolling my eyes, annoyance about my damaged property overriding my sudden lust-triggered, bashfulness.
He stared at me a moment longer. “Is there something else you need? Are you confused about something?”
“Excuse me? Confused? No, absolutely not.”
“Okay, I just wanted to make sure.” He gave me an uneasy smile.
“Well, I did want to thank you for walking me home.”
Wait. No. That’s not what I meant to say at all.
“Really? You didn’t seem all that grateful last night.”
“Yes, really. I’m not usually that rude. Well, no. That’s a lie. I am usually that rude, but maybe I was a little too harsh—”
“Miss Greene…it’s fine.”
“Call me Ava.”
“Ava,” he said, his voice filled with the smile that twitched at the corners of his mouth. “You can call me Levi.”
And suddenly I was thinking about how that voice would sound in a much lower, much more secretive tone.
“But I did overstep. I apologized.”
“No, it wasn’t—you didn’t overstep. I still should’ve been more gracious.”
“Okay, how about this. How about you treat me to a cup of coffee?”
“Buy me a cup of coffee, and all is forgiven,” he said with a nonchalant shrug.
“I…but I’m on my way to work.”
“So I’ll take a raincheck.” He hooked his thumbs into the waistband of his sweats, tugging them just a bit lower and short-circuiting my brain.
“Is that appropriate?” I asked.
And more importantly was this what I wanted? When I walked into the police station, I meant to file a complaint for damage done to my camera lens and maybe check on Emiliano. But Levi, standing in front of me all sweaty and hairy and manly in all the right ways, demanded more of my attention. And he smelled so good. How could he be so sweaty and smell so good? God, he smelled like something I wanted to hold in my mouth, roll over my tongue, and savor for a good long time.