Intimate Conversation with Sabrina A. Eubanks
Sabrina A. Eubanks is the author of five successful novels; Chasing Bliss, Boosters, and the Love and Consequences series, books 1-3, previously the bestselling Karma series. She has also written several short stories; Fame and Low Lo, Up In The Air, and The Magnificent Darryl Ivey. Pandora, was released in March 2013. She lives in NYC with her young son and is currently hard at work on her next project, Rock Stars, the fourth installment in the Love and Consequences series.
BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I really can’t recall a period in my life when I wasn’t a storyteller. When I was a kid, grown folks thought I was embellishing the truth or playing pretend. When I played with my Barbie dolls, they were never just going camping or living in a townhouse. There were entire storylines involved and they were full of drama! I started to actually write things down when I was about 8 or 9, and they were simple stories on the surface, but once folks got to the end they would look at me funny because they’d have doubts that those stories came from the mind of someone so young. I started to develop the Chase Brown character from Chasing Bliss when I was 15 and he evolved into what he has become. I didn’t seriously start writing until I’d been a few things and life taught me some lessons. Pain is a tremendous well of creativity.
BPM: Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
I don’t think there is any one person that was the heaviest influence on my decision to become an author. I think it was more like collective encouragement. My parents always thought that I had a unique ability to express myself and my brother probably saw it more because he was the one I most often told my stories to, but I think my teachers saw it most clearly, some of them to the point of being prophetic. I had a few of them tell me they knew I would become an author.
BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
My latest book is Pandora. This book is closely tied to Chasing Bliss, but I would stop short of calling it the sequel because it is Pandora Sheridan’s story. Pandora was very briefly mentioned in Chasing Bliss when Chase says he couldn’t recall feeling the way Bliss made him feel since Pandora Sheridan did something wonderful to him in the 7th grade. Pandora was Chase Brown’s first love whom he masterfully trained in the art of assassination. Violet is Pandora’s sister and right hand and Timmy is her handsome and tragic heroin addicted brother. Pandora is carrying on a one-sided love affair with Tariq Crawford whose allegiance is to Fabian Gregory, who not only is the chief user of Pandora’s services, but his son was Wolf, who was mutilated and killed by Chase Brown in Chasing Bliss. Fabian is determined to flush Chase out and make him pay for killing his son.
Pandora is already thinking she wants to get out of the murder-for-hire game, but when she meets the gorgeous Michael Harris, she really starts to think of the future they could possibly share and starts to extricate herself from Fabian. She is terrified of Michael discovering who she really is. Michael Harris is a legitimate businessman, but he comes with a few problems of his own, a big one being his brother Mason. Mason and Michael are the sons of Mason Harris Sr., a notorious drug dealer who was killed by Fabian Gregory in a coup to take over his territory. Mason Jr. (Mase) will stop at nothing to get revenge on Fabian and resume the throne he feels is rightfully his.
All of these characters are special in their own unique way: Pandora is hot and cold at the same time. Her icy veneer hides a generous, warm, and very loyal heart. Violet is dedicated to her family. Timmy’s addiction rivals the terror he feels for his sister. Tariq is a ruthless villain, yet the love he feels for Pandora is very real, though misguided. Fabian calmly manipulates a fire-keg climax like a master puppeteer to flush Chase out. Mase doesn’t care what it costs to get his own way, and Michael is shocked by what he is capable of.
Out of all these characters, I have to say I was most drawn to Michael Harris. He thinks he knows the man he is, but his angst is very real as he deals with his brother’s self-righteous criminality, his love for Pandora, and his own predestined potential for unlawful and violent behavior.
BPM: Share with us a brief excerpt from one of the most powerful chapters in Pandora.
It was hard as hell to pull the reins in on a wild horse, but Fabian Gregory was always up to a challenge. Pandora Sheridan had always been a bit wild and untamed, but he was more than willing to bide his time and wait for his chance to break her.
He was used to things going his way; it had been that way for a long time. Pandora had been bucking furiously at the two things he’d wanted most from her. First, he wanted her to put Smoke down once and for all.
Fabian had been willing to ignore Smoke as long as he’d been slashing his way through the ‘hood, for the last ten years or so. He’d heard tales of the horrors he’d inflicted on people Fabian had known and done business with, but in reality, Smoke had been little more than an exaggerated urban legend to him, until his razor had sliced its way into Fabian’s heart personally and claimed the life of his only son, Wolf.
Fabian had been well aware that his son was having trouble with a rival dealer in Bushwick, ever since Fabian had let Wolf in on his heroin connection. He’d offered to step in and exact retribution when one of Wolf’s drug houses was hit, but Wolf had wanted to handle it on his own; in fact, he’d insisted on it. Wolf had made a mess of things, sending in two bad shots that hit their target and didn’t kill him. They’d fled the scene without even making sure the intended target was dead. Unfortunately, for Fabian’s poor boy, the dealer who wouldn’t die was Smoke’s brother, and Smoke had meted out his revenge with a heavy hand—the end result being Fabian crying copious amounts of tears at Wolf’s funeral.
Fabian had been in the game for a long time, and he hadn’t gotten to where he was without knowing how to play it. He knew to weigh the pros and cons of a situation before he leapt into action. He knew that sometimes it was wiser to fold than to play his hand, especially when his enemy was as dangerous, unpredictable, and formidable as Smoke.
Sometimes no matter how bitter the pill, he knew it was best to swallow it, at least until he had the right power to fight back and perhaps claim victory. Fabian had never been known to bring a knife to a gunfight. He’d been waiting to find someone just as unpredictable and capable as Fabian himself. The downside was, Pandora wasn’t one to take the bait.
Fabian was walking on eggshells the first time he’d broached the subject with Pandora. He felt her out for her general mood and opinion about Smoke. It was a simple approach: “I wonder how much I’d have to pay someone to get rid of Smoke?” he’d asked.
Pandora had given him an even simpler answer: “Smoke? Good luck with that, Fabian.”
Fabian had bristled at first. He wasn’t used to people saying no to him, but there were a few reasons he fought off the urge to let Pandora taste his knuckles. The old adage about catching more flies with honey was strong in his mind, but he knew that would definitely be the wrong way to go with her. Pandora was not only beautiful and extremely sexy, but she was also highly skilled in the art of assassination. He had no intention of taking a bullet in the forehead because he couldn’t get his way. Fabian wasn’t about to mess with Pandora like that. The chick was dangerous and more than a little crazy, just like Fabian himself.
Everyone thought Fabian had slid off the deep end since Wolf’s demise. He preferred not to think of it that way, though he had to admit, he’d become a lot more paranoid and a bit more obsessive. At times, the thoughts in his head seemed like he was pushing the envelope as far as it would go when it came to reality. Yeah, Fabian knew something in him had mostly taken a left turn and manifested itself when Wolf died. Perhaps I have gone off the deep end. He was, after all, obsessing over things he couldn’t possibly have: Smoke dead and perhaps the hand of the lovely Pandora. He knew in his heart that he had a far better chance at dancing on Smoke’s grave than Pandora giving him the time of day, but he figured it didn’t hurt to try, as long as he didn’t make her too angry.
BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
As a writer, my main goal is to tell a great story, so I guess my main answer would be I write to entertain, but if the reader can become inspired or illuminated by something I wrote, that’s a big plus. It’s always a good thing when the reader can get more from a story that entertainment.
BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another. Finish this sentence – “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… ”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers, writing is a fine art form, just as sure as painting, sculpting, dance, singing, or making motion pictures. Most of those things could never be done without some form of writing, even if there’s nothing more involved other than developmental planning. Also, just like all the other arts, great writing takes practice, creativity, patience, dedication, and a certain amount of natural ability; and just like the other arts, writing endures. If you tell a good story then you have the makings for endurance. Endurance makes a classic.
Pandora by Sabrina A. Eubanks
Pandora Sheridan isn’t who she seems. The face she presents to the world belongs to a beautiful, successful owner of a boutique and a fledgling day spa who’s holding things together on the strength of her forceful personality and her business acumen. From the outside looking in, one would think her life was easy and highly favored, but Pandora has deep dark secrets and a double life. She’s a highly-skilled and very efficient assassin, trained personally by her first love, the notorious and very elusive Smoke.
The luxury of Pandora’s lifestyle is financed mostly by Fabian Gregory, the reprehensible drug overlord who has his hand in most of the trade in Brooklyn and uses Pandora’s services on a regular basis. Fabian is haunted by and obsessed with Smoke, who took the life of his much loved son Wolf and he’s determined to flush him out to be dealt with.
Pandora has problems of her own. When she meets Michael Harris, he has the potential to become the love of her life, but Pandora is still involved in a dead love affair with Tariq, one of Fabian’s highest minions. As it turns out, Michael also has a few secrets. Fabian is an excellent puppet master as he sets everyone up for a cataclysmic showdown in his efforts to have Smoke resurface, and all are left holding their breaths to see if he’ll get his wish.