Intimate Conversation with author Tash Hawthorne
Tash Hawthorne comes out strong and does her thing with her freshman novel… Showing that Karma is definitely a mutha! — J.M. Benjamin, Essence Bestselling author of Ride or Die Chick and On The Run With Love
Tash Hawthorne, born in Summit, NJ and raised in the Valley section of Orange, NJ, cannot be viewed as the typical Jersey Girl. For the first 18 years of her life, Tash had the rare privilege of being raised by three generations of strong Black women; all who lived under the same roof. Having received such ingredients like fearlessness from her mother, compassion from her grandmother, and resilience from her great grandmother, Tash grew to be a product of her environment. One of pure love and unadulterated passion for the human condition.
As a child, Tash dreamed of becoming an Olympic gold-medalist in track & field and an Alvin Ailey dancer, but her hopes to run and dance were soon deferred due to medical reasons. Writing evolved from that of her mother. Tash showed early signs of her gift of script at the age of 9; winning second place in a state-wide essay contest for students in grades 4-6. At age 14, she placed first in another essay contest which consisted of 1300 junior high school candidates along the East Coast.
Despite her early accolades, Tash did not seriously begin writing until the age of 17, three months after the untimely passing of her best friend. Writing became a therapeutic way to escape the unpleasant realities of her surroundings. And it was in that time of salutary that her first screenplay, “The Jaded Edge” was born.
After graduating from high school, Tash went on to attend the first college of her choice, Hampton University, where she furthered her love for the arts, pursuing a degree in theatre. She would soon be faced with another tragedy. Just seven days into her studies at the university, Tash received a phone call from her mother stating that her great-grandmother had unexpectedly passed away. Tash’s entire academic world came to a standstill. The woman she used to secretly meet in the middle of the night to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with had been taken away from her. It would take Tash the rest of her tenure at Hampton to fully recover from the sudden loss.
Having regrouped and accepted God’s will, Tash turned her focus back to her studies. With the help of some of her professors and staff at Hampton, she went from being on academic probation to graduating on time with Honors. During her term, she was able to write a second screenplay entitled “Nu JeruSlum” and a stage play entitled “Mourning Glory.” After returning home to Orange, Tash began to write a third screenplay entitled “Karma.” Throughout that year, she experienced unsettling thoughts about the format of the piece. It was not until a year later when she decided to turn it into a novel. “Karma,” like all of Tash’s works, encompasses the reality of life as she sees it and knows it.
Ella: Tash, you’ve had a full life for one so young! Please tell us about your passion for writing. (A) My passion for writing stems from life experiences (mine and others) and my love for the arts. I write because I believe the genre of urban literature is missing something…and that something is substance. My goal is to give readers an alternate view of the urban world. This goal is what drives me.
Ella: What legacy do you want your writing to leave future readers?(A) My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…a legacy of integrity. When I say that, I mean to say that I stood my ground in telling my characters’ stories. It was important to always tell the truth…their truths.
Ella: Introduce us to your new book, Karma with a Vengeance. (ISBN-10: 0981854508)
(A) There is a time in a young woman’s life where the choices she makes will determine the outcome of her existence in the years (of uncertainty) to come. Those choices will lead to mistakes. The mistakes will lead to hard times. The hard times will lead to answers, searched for by that lost soul. In the urban setting of Newark, NJ, we accompany Karma Alonso-Walker, who, on this journey, gains support from an unwanted, unlikely source through life’s greatest troubles.
At the age of 17, Karma becomes caught in the middle of her parents’ deteriorating marriage. Due to the unexpected appearance of her father’s one night-stand at the family’s church on Easter Sunday, Karma’s perception of men changes for the worst. With an opportunity to join the US Women’s Track and Field team for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia, Karma is driven to achieve her dream of winning Olympic gold. But to her dismay, her mother is stricken with Ovarian Cancer. Karma is forced to choose between running professionally at her mother’s request or running home to be at her mother’s side.
Ten years later, we follow Karma to her mother’s home on her fifty-second birthday. Her parents have separated and found comfort in new partners. All the while, unbeknownst to Karma, her mother’s boyfriend has made himself a permanent fixture in their life. While trying to protect her mother from her abusive lover, Karma finds herself distracted by the presence of her cousin’s new police partner. As distraction and attraction become intertwined, Karma loses focus of her mother’s safety. And on the very same celebratory day of her birth, Karma is forced to mourn her mother’s death.
Driven by hatred and fury, Karma sets out to find her mother’s boyfriend and avenge her death. Having severed her ties with God, been dismissed by her family and the Newark Police Department, Karma becomes a menace to society–and to herself. This timeless chronicle about a young woman’s unyielding loyalty to her mother will open your eyes to the way life can be, even when the glass looks half empty. As Karma’s life spirals out of control, her exploration leads her to self-preservation and true happiness…or does it?
Ella: Who are your two main characters? And what do you like most about them?(A) My two main characters are Karma Alonso-Walker and Money Parks. What I like most about Karma is that she is a strong, independent woman who can adapt to any environment. I also admire Karma’s ability to be dependent on someone else when her burdens are too much for her to bear. What I like most about Money is that although he makes many mistakes (terrible ones at that) his intentions are good.
Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?(A) I want readers to know that there are successful people of color in the inner city. Every woman is not materialistic or abusing the system or bedding multiple men for financial gain. Every man is not a drug dealer or a gangster or a male gigolo. For the most part, people are living their lives trying to do the right thing.
Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?(A) I would advise a new writer to not write pieces for the sole purpose of sales or what he/she thinks other people would want to read. I would encourage the writer to write what he/she feels people NEED to know. It is imperative to ALWAYS tell the truth.
Ella: Name three things that it takes to make a successful author in your opinion. (A) A writer must have discipline. For instance, they must have the strength of mind and will to be able to shut the world out so they can immerse themselves in their work.
A writer must be able to deal with adversity. They must have tough skin and be able to take criticism, be it constructive or destructive. They must have an open mind and be flexible in their approach to the art and craft of writing.
A writer must be a consummate student. A successful author reads works written by other authors, not only for pleasure, but also to learn new ways to invent and deliver their own stories.
Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?(A) You can expect the sequel to Karma: With A Vengeance (wink). Seriously, you can expect a continuation of my works in film and theatre in the future. I believe writers should be multi-dimensional. They should never cripple themselves by writing in only one facet of scribe.
Ella: How may our readers connect with you online?E-Mail Addresses: TJade424@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Links: www.twitter.com/tashhawthorne or www.facebook.com/people/Tash-Hawthorne/41003060
Karma with a Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne
Genre: Urban Fiction, Women, African-American, Cuban-American
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing
Book Reviews for Karma with a Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne
Karma Alonso-Walker loves her family fiercely, particularly her mother Soleil. She would do anything for her mother. So when the beloved matron is killed by her abusive boyfriend, Jimmy, Karma sets out deep into the dark corners of the underworld to take revenge on the man who took away her world. Karma with a Vengeance unfolds through flashbacks and the present day, slowly revealing the real story behind Karma’s family and the people she loves.
Author Tash Hawthorne does a great job through most of the twists and turns throughout the story. The characters are not one-dimensional caricatures of good and evil; good people do bad things and bad people have charm. Hawthorne does a nice job in giving them enough depth so that they become human. All the names are symbolic and Karma’s beauty, so essential to the plot, seems a bit beyond belief.
Karma with a Vengeance is entertaining and contains a better storyline than most books of its genre. It is written well enough to keep readers interested.
— Reviewed by Inda Lauryn “Inda”, excerpt from Amazon review
As an only child, 27 year-old Karma Alfonzo-Walker is very close to her parents especially her mother Soleil. Her parents have been separated for some years now since her father Lorenzo keeps his family second to his Military career. Soleil has had enough. And until Lorenzo decides to make her first priority, they will stay apart. Until then Soleil, a beauty in her own right has been keeping company with Jimmy, much to her daughter’s Karma disgust. To say Karma didn’t like Jimmy would be an understatement…she can’t stand him! But with respect to her mother she tolerates him hoping one day Soleil would come to her senses and leave Jimmy behind. Karma is upset with her dad and wishes he would retire from the Military and come back home. She knows deep in their hearts her parents still loved each other and that Jimmy would not be apart of her mother’s life if her dad was around.
But tragedy strikes leaving Soleil dead and Karma feeling like the police aren’t doing enough to find her mother’s killer. Indigo, Karma’s cousin and a police officer is none to happy when Karma expresses her need to avenge her mother’s murder and take things into her own hands. While Karma maybe putting herself in danger to find her mother killer; she also finds love with police officer Money, Indigo’s partner. As her plans for revenge start to take shape and her relationship with Money becomes intense, revelations from the past begin to surface throwing a disturbing light on Karma’s new relationship.
I predicted one event prior to it happening, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this story. As I kept reading nothing prepared me for the in depth back ground information on Soleil and Karma told by the author’s timely steps back into their past. I was astonished, at the repercussions of Soleil’s abuse that trickled down to Karma paying the price, and I felt the author did a good job developing the love between mother and daughter.
Yes, Karma with a Vengeance is an excellent title for this recommended read. I like the characters enough to want to read the sequel, so I’ll wait and see what author Tash Hawthorne has in store for us. Star Rating 4.0- This star rating is based on the story alone, as I read an uncorrected proof copy of the book. — Reviewed by Locksie, ARC Book Club Inc.
Karma with a Vengeance by Tash HawthorneGenre: Urban Fiction, Women, African-American, Cuban-American
Purchase the book from Wahida Clark Publishing