Ms. Abrams writes award winning romantic suspense under the pseudonym Selena Montgomery. Ms Abrams has sold more than 100,000 copies of her novels.
Ms. Abrams studied public policy at the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs as a Henry S. Truman scholar. She earned a Master of Public Affairs from the same university (1998). She went to Yale Law School where she graduated with a JD (1999).
While working as a a tax attorney at the Sutherland Asbill & Brennan law firm in Atlanta, Ms. Abrams wrote four romantic suspense novels: Rules of Engagement (2001) for Arabesque, the Art of Desire (2001) and Power of Persuasion (2002) for Harlequin Kimani Arabesque and Never Tell (2004) for St. Martins.
1.Why the frick is this politician on this list? I don't need to justify this to you. Make your own list.
Writers are incredibly powerful. They change minds and hearts. They see what's wrong and get to work. Maybe it's time for you to get to work -- writing, changing what's wrong, or getting it done. Now is not a time to sit on the sidelines and ask questions. Now is a time to get moving. So get to it. When you have accomplished something, let us know. We'll be the first to cheer you on. In the meantime, read this profile and get inspired. Peace -- chc
Ms. Flournoy received her BA from University of Southern California and studied at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She has taught writing at University of Iowa, Trinity Washington University, and the DC Public Library.
Ms. Flournoy was a fellow for the Rona Jaffe Foundation at the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers (2016-2017). She was a fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts (2018).
Her bestselling debut novel, The Turner House (2015 and 2016), was the Black Caucus of the American Library Association 1st Novelist Award Winner (2106) and won VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. The book was chosen as the Amazon Top 100 Editors' Pick of the Year (2106), a Michigan Notable Book (2016), A New York Times Notable Book of the Year (2015), Buzzfeed's 24 Best Fiction Books (2015) and a New York Times Editors' Choice. Her book was nominated for the NAACP Image Awards, "Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author" (2015). The Turner House was short-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and the Ernest Gaines Award and long-listed for NBCC John Leonard Prize for A Debut Novel. The novel was a finalist for Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.
Like so many first generation Americans, Ms. Adeyemi was not taught about her Nigerian heritage, her parents did not to teach their children their native tongue. As an adult, she found herself called to her heritage.
Ms. Adeyemi graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in English Literature. She studied West African mythology and culture on fellowship in Salvador, Brazil.
When she is now working on her fiction, Ms. Adeyemi works as a creative writing coach. She writes passionately about "Telling a Story that Matters." Through her website, Ms. Adeyemi provides a depth of resources to help people "stop messing around and start achieving your writing dreams."
If you are an author, we encourage you to join Ms. Adeyemi's website to learn more about the craft.
For Black History month, we wanted to shine our light on the tremendous work done by African-American and black women fiction authors.
Today we highlight the work of debut American author -- Yaa Gyasi (Wikipedia, Amazon).
Ms. Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English at Stanford, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Her debut novel, Homegoing (2016), is "(a)n unflinching portrayal of the slave trade explores its impact down the generations, from 18th-century west Africa to the modern-day US." (Guardian, 2017).
She speaks about Homegoing,her writing, and the novel she is work on here:
The novel has received winner of the PEN/ Hemingway Award (2016), the NBCC's John Leonard Award (2016), the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" (2016), American Book Award (2016) and Granta Best of Young American Novelists (2017). It was also considered one of the Best Books of the Year (2016): NPR, Time, Oprah.com, Harper’s Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Esquire, Elle, Paste, Entertainment Weekly, the Skimm, PopSugar, Minneapolis Star Tribune, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and the Financial Times. The book was shortlisted for for the British Book Award - Debut of the Year (2016). It was a New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post Notable Book (2016).
From an early age, Ms. Thomas felt the desire to encapsulate the world around her and make it into story. She was a rapper for a while before turning to writing fiction. Ms. Thomas holds a BFA from Belhaven University.
Her young adult debut novel, The Hate U Give (2017), has won a number of awards including the William C. Morris Award (2018), Michael L. Printz Award Honor (2018), Coretta Scott King Award Honor (2018), Waterstones Children's Book Prize (2018), and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Children's Literature Award), category young adult jury, German edition (2018). The Hate U Give reached #1 on the New York Times Bestselling books list. The book was made into a movie in 2018 staring Amandla Stenberg.
Ms. Thomas writes heartfelt, well written fiction about real-life issues of race and culture, including police brutality toward African-Americans, in modern America.
Ms. Smith is an award winning, best-selling novelist and short-story author. She writes essays about life and culture for the New Yorker and other magazines.
Ms. Smith studied English at Kings College, Cambridge. While there, she published a number of essays in the acclaimed Mays Anthology. Her essays attracted the attention of a publisher. This encouraged Ms. Smith to write her first novel, White Teeth (2000), which she finished her last year at Cambridge.
She was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002. The New York Times did a short interview video of Ms. Smith:
BBC poll of cultural researchers, Smith was named among the top twenty most influential people in British culture (2004). She was included on Granta's list of 20 best young authors (2003 and 2013) Smith has won the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (2006) and her novel White Teeth was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. She won the Welt-Literaturpreis (2016) and the Langston Hughes Medal (2017). She has twice been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize (On Beauty and Swing Time)
In 2010, the Guardian invited her to write her 10 rules for writers in "Rules for Writers."
Ms. Smith splits her time between New York City, where she is a tenured professor at New York University's Creative Writing Program and London.
Want to read one of Ms. Smith's books? We'd encourage you to start with White Teeth (Wikipedia, Amazon) or her recently published book of essays, Feel Free (Wikipedia, Amazon).
Ms. Blue is a prolific author who writes what she called "romantic fiction for geeks." She is a hard worker who has turned her drive and ambition to writing fiction. While supporting seven series, she works full-time as a mail clerk for the US Federal Government. She began her career in 2004 "on a typewriter one month after her son was born" (her website).
Unlike many of our authors highlighted in this series, Ms. Blue's fiction spans raced with main characters of every race and background. She tends to focus on hardworking, career oriented women. Her books are definitely hot romances, but they are also fun and filled with rich, memorable characters. Each book in the series is about a new male character and a new romance.
She was on the Women and Fiction podcast:
Where should you start? It depends on what you like!
Ms. Jenkins is a prolific writer with a penchant for intricately researched, factually correct historical fiction.
She is the recipient of the 2018 Michigan Author Award by the Michigan Library Association (2018), the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for historical romance (2016). She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature (2013) and was voted one of the Top 50 Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by the African American Literature Book Club (1999). Ms. Jenkins is a USA Today best selling author.
She was also on the Women and Fiction podcast. You can listen to her interview here:
Ms. Jenkins writes historical fiction that focuses on a period of time after slavery when African-American and black independent communities thrived in the plains and Western United States. While she receives much of her inspiration from history, she has also written in other genres.
She studied Journalism and English Literature at the University of Michigan.
Ms. Jenkins is a strong supporter of the modern "independent" author movement because it opens the door for so many people who have been locked out of publishing from African-American authors to people of non-cis sexual orientation.
She is currently supporting three series -- Destiny, which is set in 19th century California; Blessings, which is about modern day Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War; and Old West, which takes on issues of inter-racial love, even when one of the lovers is "passing" as white. She wrote the series, The Order of Edge, a sparks flying modern romance, in 2014. She launches a new series in 2019, Women Who Dare, set in a newly emancipated community in New Orleans.
Ms. Jenkins has written twenty-three stand alone novels, two novellas, and at least seven short story anthologies. Her anthology, A Beverly Jenkins Collection (2018), revives her Kimani romance series of strong African-American women.
For Black History month, we wanted to shine our light on the tremendous work done by African-American and black women fiction authors.
Today we shift gears a bit to highlight the woman who has brought African-American men and women into our homes once a week, screenplay author, show creator, and producer --Shonda Rhimes (Wikipedia, Amazon).
There has been so much written about Ms. Rhimes that we thought we might focus on her beginnings -- how did she get started? What helped her in those early days?
The youngest of six children, Ms. Rhimes knew that she was a storyteller from an early age. Ms. Rhimes received her BA from Dartmouth college in English and Film Studies (1991). While at Dartmouth, she directed and performing in student productions for the Black Underground Theater Association. She also wrote fiction.
After Dartmouth, she moved to San Francisco with an older sibling. She worked in advertising for the global advertising company, McCann Erickson.
She left McCann Erickson to study screenwriting at the University of Southern California where she earned the Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship. She also worked as an intern for Debra Martin Chase. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the USC School of Cinematic Arts
While at USC, Rhimes was hired as an intern by Debra Martin Chase while Ms. Chase ran Denzel Washington's production company, Mundy Lane Entertainment. Ms. Rhimes credits her success to these early experiences with African-American professionals, but clearly, Ms. Rhimes was focused on gaining the experience she needed to be successful.
After graduation, Ms. Rhimes worked a variety of jobs to make ends meet. Her first post-graduate school break was working as a research director on the documentary, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (1995). The film won a Peabody Award that same year. She wrote, directed, and produced a short film, Blossoms and Veils, starring Jada Pinkett-Smith (1998).
Ms. Rhimes sold her first screenplay, Human Seeking Same, about an older black woman looking for love in the personals to New Line Cinema. (The film has yet to be made.)
From there, Ms. Rhimes wrote the teleplay for HBO's award winning Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999). The success of this project elevated Rhimes's status in the business. This experience led to her writing the screenplay for Crossroads staring Britney Spears (2001). The film generated $60 million worldwide.
Ms. Rhimes wrote the screenplay for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), the sequel to , The Princess Diaries (2001). for Walt Disney Corporation which was at time run by Debra Martin Chase.
During this time, Ms. Rhimes wrote her first TV pilot, about young female war correspondents, but the ABC turned it down.
In 2005, Gray's Anatomy debuted at a typically low interest time in the middle of a season -- usually a recipe for disaster for a new show. Gray's Anatomy was such a success that ABC moved the series to a better time slot (Thursdays) and made it the anchor of their Thursday evening programming. Gray's Anatomy is in its 15th season and continues to be ABC's highest-rated drama.
Ms. Rhimes continues to produce and create award winning, popular television drama through her production company, Shondaland. She will soon be creating content for Netflix.
Ms. Rhimes talks about her work and life in the following Ted Talk.