Chandra Adams: No Retribution Here

In recent times, the subject of a lack of eligible Black men for Black women is a controversial subject in social circles of color. Due to the disproportionate amount of Blacks (and Latinos) in jail as opposed to the total makeup of the population, the rise of interracial marriages, and on some part, the unfortunate reality more Black women have higher paying jobs than their male counterparts, the frustration from Black women to find a suitable mate is evident. To that end, author Chandra Adams from Vallejo, California wrote a book examining this very issue centering around three women of color, from different walks of life willing and determined to get what they want – at all costs.

For the first interview, we’ll learn more about Chandra, how her literary journey began and take a closer look at Shades of Retribution, which is “entertaining, thought provoking, and sexy. It has a little something for everyone – and still manages to be just downright fun.” We’re now with Chandra Adams, the author of Shades of Retribution!

Charles: Chandra, welcome to Authors N Focus. Tell us a little about yourself. When and why did you start writing?
Chandra: Hi Charles, first of all I really want to thank you so much for inviting me to be your first guest on Authors N Focus! I really started writing in college. At one point I had decided that I wanted a minor in African-American Studies, and as a result I took classes that required quite a bit of writing. I didn’t complete the coursework for the minor, but I developed a passion for expressing myself with the written word and was fortunate enough to be exposed to some of the best African-American literature ever written.

Charles: What was the inspiration behind Shades of Retribution?
Chandra: I grew up in Berkeley which is an incredibly diverse city, especially with Oakland as our neighboring city, which is regarded as the most diverse city in the country. Many of the black males in my community seemed to be a lot more open to dating and marrying outside of their race than many of the black females I knew, and this seemed to be a recurring topic among my circle of friends over the years. We talked about it in high school, and when I noticed that it was something we were still talking about over a decade later, I thought it would be worthwhile to examine some of the themes surrounding this subject matter. I actually became less concerned about why black men were more flexible with regard to race in their relationships and more interested in why black women tend to be more conservative in that arena.

Charles: I see the action in Shades takes place in a college town, Berkeley. Why did you choose that location for the book?
Chandra: First of all, I loved growing up in Berkeley! There’s no place like it. Since I also spent my undergraduate years at Cal Berkeley, much of the scenery, and many of the places and experiences I had there helped provide the backdrop for the story. Secondly, Berkeley is the birthplace of many political and social movements of our time, and it seemed fitting to build the story in such a historically rich and colorful geographic location.

Charles: Tell us about the characters in Shades. Who are they and what roles do they play in the novel?
Chandra: The three main characters, Meena, Basilah and Kenya, are three women who interact in some very interesting ways. Meena, the protagonist, is a young woman trying to do it all — school, community work, house manager for her dormitory. She manages to get involved with a scheme that Basilah cooks up under the guise of rebuilding the black community. Kenya decides she wants in on the action and that’s when the games begin.

Charles: In the beginning of the interview, I borrowed the quote from your press release that Shades “is entertaining, thought provoking, and sexy. It has a little something for everyone – and still manages to be just downright fun.” What do you think the reading audience will take away from the novel?
Chandra: I like this question a lot, because I discovered that I’ve managed to ruffle quite a few feathers with the interracial themes in the book, and some missed what I viewed as the bigger picture. I wanted very much to illustrate for my readers just exactly how some women choose to relate to each other and how we relate to men in relationships, and how often our problems really begin within ourselves.

Charles: Chandra, outside of writing this book, I understand you’re involved in other projects. Would you mind sharing them with us?
Chandra: I started a podcast and internet talk show called “Mixed Matters” which launched February 2006. Every other week I interview authors about themselves and their books. Listeners can download the podcasts from iTunes, or visit the website at to listen in. I also work with Lillian Cauldwell on her internet radio show/podcast at , where I just began hosting The Chandra Adams Show.

Charles: Since your novel’s been out for about two years now, What have you experienced as a new author?
Chandra: You know, Charles, I feel like I have grown in so many ways that I would not have if I had not become an author. I am normally the quiet type you would find standing in the corner at a party. I have found though, that if you want to get noticed, you have to make some noise! Surrounding myself with supportive friends, avoiding negative people and staying organized are just a few things that have helped me to succeed so far.

Charles: Are you currently working on another book or are you focused on what you’re doing right now?
Chandra: I am currently working on a new book, although I have to admit that my foray into the world of talk show hosting has temporarily taken a front seat. I love learning about other authors and I enjoy doing what I can to help them gain exposure, it has become extremely rewarding.

Charles: What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an author?
Chandra: Be true to yourself. Ask for help when you need it. Trust your own instincts. Hire a professional editor. Learn the difference between someone who is offering constructive criticism and someone with a hidden agenda, it can save you a lot of grief.

Charles: Is there anything else you would like to say in closing?
Chandra: I just want to thank you again Charles for this opportunity. I know Authors N Focus will be a huge success!

Chandra, thanks for stopping by.

Ladies and gentlemen, please check out Chandra’s website at and and if you’re interested in what you just read, please purchase a copy of Shades of Retribution. Be the first to read the novel before it becomes a movie!

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Posted on April 24, 2006, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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