Niobia Bryant-the red-hot author of Live and Learn and Show and Tell-delivers a sexy, unforgettable novel about love, infidelity, and the importance of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer…
Through good times and bad, longtime friends Jaime, Renee, Aria, and Jessa have shared just about everything. But all hell breaks loose when Jessa texts them a shocking revelation: she’s been sharing her bed-with one of their husbands. To make matters worse, she refuses to name which husband she’s been cheating with. And all three wives have reason to worry…
Jaime wonders if her own past infidelity drove her man into Jessa’s waiting arms…Renee thinks her busy career opened the door for Jessa to step in and fulfill her wifely duties…and Aria fears her competitive relationship with Jessa pushed her so-called friend to claim the ultimate prize in revenge.
The betrayed trio vow to stick together. But before the identity of Jessa’s lover is revealed, each woman’s deepest secrets will be exposed for all to see-and they’ll need each other more than ever.
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 storylines 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.