For #BlackHistoryMonth, we highlight the work of American author -- Yaa Gyasi

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,, 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).

Ms. Gyasi writes about writing and life for the Guardian. Her shorter works of fiction have been published at Granta and Guernica Magazine.

Looking for something to read? We encourage you to read Homegoing.


Season 2 -- Episode 4 -- Beverly Jenkins about historic fiction, race, and storytelling

USA Today bestselling author, Beverly Jenkins, writes historic fiction including romance fiction and romantic suspense. Her work brings life and voice to an often forgotten time in US history -- the 1900s when small African American communities thrived. Her work is rooted in American history. She has traditionally published 38 books through a traditional publisher. In this interview, we begin talking about publishing and writing before diving deep into issues of race and storytelling.

Beverly Jenkin's book Deadly Sexy is being made into a film by an independent filmmaker. You can help by donating to the GoFund Me. Her book, Second Time Sweeter, Book 9 of the Blessings Series, will be released in August. You can connect with Beverly Jenkins at Twitter, Facebook, or on her website.


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Season 2 -- Episode 3 -- Aliette de Bodards about writing award winning speculative fiction in a time of tension and change.


Aliette de Bodard writes award winning speculative fiction while raising two children and working full time as a systems engineer. She joined us from her home in Paris, France. We had a wide ranging conversation about life, writing, and gender norms. We picked up a slight echo in our recording of this interview which you may notice in places.

Aliette de Bodard is the author of the BSFA award winning novel, The House of Shattered Wings and it's sequel, The House of Binding Thorns. She has also written the Obsidian and Blood series -- Servant of the Underworld, Harbinger of the Storm, and Master of House of Darts. Her short stories have won two Nebula Awards, another BSFA award, and a Locus award.


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Season 2 -- Episode 2 -- MD Martin - Triple Threat - Southern, Female, Horror author


Season 2 of Women and Fiction continues with MD Martin, the pseudonym of Misty Martin. Misty writes something she calls "Southern Gothic Horror." She joins us to discuss her life as a female, Southern, horror author.

Misty is currently working on a new series called Mariner's Cove. Her horror series, Williams Point, originally published in 1995 was republished in 2016. She has written an anthology of the Legends of Williams Point. Her quirky, fun series, Lola Avocado, including XTC and An Avocado in Vegas, are available at Amazon. Her writing series called "Writers High Tea" is available on YouTube. She can be found at Twitter, Facebook, and her Amazon page.

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Season 2 -- Episode 01 -- Melissa Westemeier - a new kind of author unhindered by publisher or genre or a busy life

Women and Fiction returns!

Women and Fiction returns with Season 2 of our podcast.

We begin the season with Melissa Westemeire. Melissa's first book, Whipped, Not Beaten, is what she calls "chick lit" and was published by Cornerstone Press.  By the time the book came out, Melissa had finished her second book. After lunch with a friend, she decided to publish her second book, Kick like a Girl, also "chick lit", herself. Her third book, Across the River, is a more serious look at change in a small town. It is published by Bridle Path Press.  

Melissa represents a new kind of author. One who is unhindered by her publisher or strict rules about staying in her genre. 

Melissa is a mother, a wife, a full-time high school teacher, who fits writing in to her life.

Melissa Westemeier joins Women and Fiction for the first Episode of Season 2.



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New Episode of Women and Fiction -- Deborah Smith



Deborah Smith discusses her personal experiences -- good and bad -- with publishing and why she ended up opening her own publishing company, Bell Bridge Books. Deborah is a best selling author of over 35 romance and women's fiction. Her latest book, Kitchen Charmer, was released in September. Her next book Tomato Moon will be out by the end of the year.

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Season One : Episode 05 -- Melissa Blue talks to Claudia about writing romantic fiction for geeks.

Melissa Blue is a prolific author who writes romantic fiction for geeks. In this episode, she talks about writing, being published by a publisher vs. self publishing, as well as the challenges of being a person of color in the all white world of romance fiction publishing. 

Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. She penned that first contemporary romance, upgraded to a computer and hasn’t looked back since. Outside of writing, Blue works as a mail clerk for the federal government, has a paralegal certificate (that she has more use for as a dust pan) and is a mother of two rambunctious children. She lives in California where the wine is good and, despite popular belief, is not always sunny.

You can find her on her at her website, but Claudia usually finds her at Facebook or Twitter.

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Episode 04 -- Claudia speaks with Maya Rodale about the world of romance fiction

Maya Rodale

Maya Rodale joins women and fiction to discuss the world of romance fiction. She shares her research into why romance gets so little respect despite being a billion dollar business and why she believes it's so incredibly popular.

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the bestselling and award winning author of numerous smart and sassy romance novels. A champion of the genre and its readers, she is also the author of the non-fiction book Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation Of Romance Novels, Explained and a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post, Bustle and more. Maya lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

For more information about Maya, go to We'd love to hear from you -- drop us a line or leave a review. 

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Episode 03 -- Amanda Cochran Helstrom-White talks poetry, written events, and issues in publishing #Metoo

AmandaAmanda is a champion of writers and the written word. She joins Women and Fiction to discuss a wide range of issues that affect women writers including her spoken word events, making money from writing, as well as her poetry.  

 Amanda Helstrom-White is Coloradoan who has made Portland her home for over 10 years. She started writing poetry via osmosis when she found herself in a relationship with the godfather of the poetry mafia. She is on a mission to bring new voices to the world via her New Poet Challenge reading series, that invites new writers to share their work in front of a live audience. She has read her poetry live at New Poet Challenge, Free Range Poetry, Unchaste Readers, Get Nervous, Grief Rites, KBOO’s Talking Earth, Talking To at Tony's Tavern, and Word Warriors which she co-hosts with her husband Curtis White-Carroll. She has been published in Gobshite Quarterly, Acta Aperta, and recently published her first chapbook Tattoos and Haiku, a collection of 100 Haiku. She is currently working on her next project, Neurotica: A collection of 300 Tanka. She lives in Downtown Portland, Oregon, with her husband and her two teacup panthers, Walter and Jesse. You can find more of her work at You can support her and her work at Patreon