Intimate Conversation with author James W. Lewis

James W. Lewis is a novelist and freelance writer published in several books. After spending twenty years in the Navy, James retired from active duty and now moonlights as an assistant personal trainer while completing his studies in Kinesiology.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Sellout.
SELLOUT follows a black woman, black man and white woman who face the consequences of dating outside their race. In the quest to find what they think is missing in their lives, they encounter guilt, fear and struggles they never anticipated...including murder.

SELLOUT also offers a comprehensive look at interracial dating, revealing an inside view on how racial stereotypes and prejudice impact relationships within and outside the race. Sometimes, stereotypes influence people to "jump the fence."

BPM: What motivated you to write the book?
While in the Navy, I worked at a duty station where about 80% of the black men were dating outside the race (about twenty of us total). I was one of the few married to a black woman. One of the guys told me about his messy divorce and he said he was never going to date another black woman again. It seemed like the brothers were running away from black women. I found this "flight to the white" disturbing and intriguing at the same time. Were these men running away? That experience gave birth to SELLOUT.

BPM: What issues in today's society does your book address?
Although we live in the age of Obama and a multi-ethnic society like never before, we are still not color-blind. Remnants of the Jim Crow past creep up daily and some people just can not stand the sight of racial mixing, especially between blacks and whites. Still, there's been an increase in marriages between black men and white women. And even though statistics show black women as least likely to date interracially, that trend is changing as well.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
To open a dialogue about interracial dating and uncover why some people are so quick to abandon their own race (in regards to finding a mate). I wanted to understand the difference between personal preference (for another race) and flat-out refusal to date within the race. I've learned these refusals mostly stem from negative stereotypes.

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?
I wrote the book not just for black women, black men and white women, but for anyone who may be curious about interracial dating and those who've done it. With SELLOUT, I believe most people will identify with at least one of the characters (including the supporting cast), even if the reader is of a race other than black or white. Attitudes toward miscegenation spans across all color lines.

BPM: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?
My main message is this: It doesn't matter what race you are, EACH race has its bad apples. I don't think any race is superior, especially in regards to finding a potential mate. People should not be so quick to believe in stereotypes as if they are completely true.

James W. Lewis, The Pantheon Collective

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