Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meet Author Niobia Bryant, AAMBC Blog Tour

Message from a Mistress
Will 160 characters lead to the end of someone’s marriage?

“Very Impressive” –Cyndey Rax, author of My Sister’s Ex

(March 2010) National bestselling author Niobia Bryant releases her seventeenth novel, Message from a Mistress which is loosely based on the 1940's movie A Letter to Three Wives.

Jaime Hall, Renee Clinton, and Aria Livewell all reside with their spouses in the affluent gated community, Richmond Hills, in New Jersey. The ladies are all best friends with their Richmond Hill neighbor, Jessa Bell–a sexy and single socialite. Trouble is Jessa Bell has just sent them all a text message taunting that she has run away with one of their husbands. That message opens the door to each of the woman’s unspoken insecurities in their marriage as each recalls incidents that hint that their husband is the one. And with the husbands away—and unreachable-- on a chartered fishing boat all day and Jessa not answering her phone, they have all day to wonder…and to worry about scandalous secrets of their own.

Throughout the book–which takes place in one day–Jessa Bell also recalls her steamy relationship with her unidentified lover. Everything about their explicit romps are revealed from the day she first seduced him up until the day he agreed to leave his wife–her friend–for her.

Book excerpt---
After receiving the text message from Jessa Bell-- Aria, Renee and Jamie decide to head to Jessa's home to confront her and discover yet another surprise.

The taxi slowed at the glass-enclosed security booth and Aria lowered the window, knowing they would need to identify themselves to get inside their subdivision. Sure enough, Lucky, the potbelly, red-faced security guard, walked back to the rear of the taxi. He stuck his head inside.

"Hello ladies, he greeted them warmly.

"Lucky, have you seen Ms. Bell yet? Aria asked. His face was instantly confused. "Ms. Bell?" Well, remember she moved today ---?

"She moved," all three women said in unison with plenty of emphasis, obviously shocked as hell.

"You ladies being such good friends, I assumed you all knew she was moving today."
Renee pocked the cork on the Patron again.

A sexy, unforgettable and drama filled novel about love, infidelity, and the importance of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer... From bestselling author, Niobia Bryant

1 writer with
3 Publishers
15+ books
4 Genres
Celebrates 10 years of being an author with 2 award nominations and 3 new book releases in 2010

Message from a Mistress is your 15th novel since you started your career as a published author in 2000. What was the inspiration behind this book and its storyline of a woman sending a text message to alert her friends of her affair with one of their husbands?

My first book that was published ten years ago was a romance and I enjoyed--and still enjoy--telling these really great stories about the love a black woman and black man have for each other. But I always wanted to tell more drama driven fictional stories where there was no guarantee of a happy ending. Where people dealt with real meaty and complex issues in their lives. So I had to one day cross over into the commercial or mainstream fiction genre.

Message from a Mistress is my third mainstream work and it is a look at the dynamics of both marriage and friendship and how they can be affected by secrets, lies and betrayals. My main inspiration was not just to deliver drama and scandal but to really travel the road many marriages take that leads to that ultimate betrayal and then to examine the effects of it. More than my previous mainstreams novels, I truly believe that Message from a Mistress is the one that most captures the reason why I wanted to write more than just romance fiction.

Message from a Mistress was loosely inspired by the 1940's film A Letter to Three Wives, and your Hoodwives series was inspired by the television show Desperate Housewives on ABC… it seems that you find inspiration in TV and film to influence your writing. Are you inspired to tell stories that share views of what women of color aka "sistahs" would do in particular scenarios?

Definitely. Although the vast majority of my books are completely original I have been influenced by my own desire to see “you know what would a sistah do in this same situation.”

For the Hoodwives series, my co-author and I were like “Desperate? Puh-leeze. Living in a beautiful subdivision in a great neighborhood? They want desperate? How about the wives in the projects? We’ll show you desperation.” The idea for the series was born and then we came up with four original story lines for the wives.

I loved, loved, loved the movie “A Letter to Three Wives”. I enjoyed the concept of three wives learning that their mutual friend has run off with one of their husbands and then have the entire day to ponder which one of them has been betrayed. It’s really clever and it intrigued on so many levels. So I wanted to modernize the story and give it some new perspectives-- like adding the wives having secrets of their own. I really just wanted to see where I could go with it. Again the general premise is the same but the actual stories for each character are original and I had a lot of fun bringing those characters to life in Message from a Mistress.

You write in 4 genres… and are signed to 3 different publishing houses... very impressive…how did that happen for you?

I am definitely ambitious and very focused on living my dreams. The same way that I write in different genres, I read different genres. Black, white, whatever. From non-fiction by Cornel West to street-lit by Donald Goines. Sci-fi, young adult fiction, romance, commercial fiction, literary fiction and those like Tina McElroy Ansa and Gloria Naylor who have found a nice blend of commercial and literary fiction--I read it all. I wanted to try my hand at a lot of it. People always say to write what you enjoy. Well, I enjoy a lot of different things and it transitioned over into my writing.

I started out in romance because I did my research and discovered it was easier to get published without agent in this particular genre. Those books did well and I eventual got the agent. I had these different stories in me that I wanted in print so I came up with proposals over the years and my agent got to work making the deals happen.

This year you are nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best African American Romance for your 9th full length romance novel "Make You Mine" as well as the Best Steamy Romance in the 2010 Emma Award presented by Romance Slam Jam. Congratulations on those accolades. As a national bestselling author, how important are these award nominations to you?

The award nominations are great. They are testament that the hard work you put into a book is appreciated and respected. It’s a great way, besides having a great sell through percentage, to know that you’re getting it done; that people enjoy what you’re doing. I’ve been up for a lot of awards in the past ten years and I’ve won some, but I’m always just as excited as if it was my very first nomination because I have great passion and love for this writing game.

For someone who is celebrating her 10-year anniversary in book publishing and has over 15 novels of your own, what is your greatest achievement to date and what would you like to accomplish in the next 10 years?

I think the fact that I once dreamed of getting published and having just one book deal and to now have four is a great achievement for me. I’m a girl from a single-parent household from Newark, NJ who use to sit on the back of the public bus and tell stories to my friends and anyone who would listen. I used to write short stories in my notebook. I used to say I will have a book published before I turn a certain age. I did it. But I have even more dreams. I am a national bestseller which means I have hit some bestseller lists across the country but I definitely want to hit the New York Times or USA Today. Also, like any other author I would like to see one of my books turned into a major movie or television show. So in a nutshell, New York Times and a movie deal. Point blank, those two things are definitely on my to-do list.

For those who have never read one of your books please suggest a book in each one of the categories that you write in for them to begin reading--

Let’s see for one of my “sexy, funny and oh so real” romances, I suggest my GIVE ME FEVER. It comes out in May of this year and its book 3 in a series centered on the Strong family.

For the teen fiction of course I recommend my debut book, FABULOUS. I am writing under the name Simone Bryant. It’s about a clique at a private school for children of celebrities.

For urban fiction, my solo book as Meesha Mink debut in January 2011 so I suggest starting with the book that kicked off the series, DESPERATE HOODWIVES.

For mainstream, I suggest MESSAGE FROM A MISTRESS. It really is a smart, well-written, emotional, drama-filled roller coaster ride in the pages of the book.

What writers inspire you and why?

I am most inspired by authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Gloria Naylor. Tina's book, The Hand I Fan With and Gloria's novel, Mama Day are two of my all time favorite works of fiction. What I love about them is the blend of literary and commercial fiction. They both write very smart, entertaining, character driven books that remained with me so many years after first reading them. As a writer I want to be able to create that kind of lasting connection between my books and readers.

As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Message of a Mistress getting out to the public?

The internet has been such a fun way of promoting the release of Message from a Mistress and I'm sure will prove itself vital in the upcoming sales success as well. I have my Twitter pages, I have my Facebooks pages, MySpace and my personal blog; I use them all to keep my fans updated and to invite new ones. Tweetdeck is a must for me. I simply love the way it works.

As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Message of a Mistress?

Since I write in multiple genres it helps me stay organized by creating a synopsis and an outline for each of my books. I write a full synopsis of the entire story and the first chapter which I usually have to submit to the publisher. Afterward I begin writing with the use of an outline chapter breakdown. Message from a Mistress took a few months not including editing.

What's next for Niobia Bryant?

I am working on promoting my three 2010 book releases, Fabulous my first teen fiction/young adult novel on Kimani Tru, Message from a Mistress on Dafina/Kensington and in May I will release Give Me Fever on Dafina. I'm doing my first virtual book tour starting March 1st. Readers can keep up with the itinerary on my blog and by following me on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Author--

Niobia Bryant a self described chameleon of the written word has contributed to the book world since 1999 with the release of her first short story Hush, Hush. Since then she has garnered publishing deals with 3 major houses, Simon & Schuster, Dafina and Harlequin. As a full-time writer she has penned over 15 novels using three different monikers including Simone Bryant (Young Adult) and Meesha Mink (Urban Fiction) within four genres of fiction literature targeted for African American females including romance and contemporary. In 2010 she will release three new books a contemporary, a romance and a young-adult within months of each other. This Newark, NJ native splits her time between South Carolina and New Jersey.

Communicate with Niobia Bryant
TWITTER @infiniteink
FACEBOOK--Niobia Bryant| Meesha Mink
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