ReShonda Tate Billingsley is a national bestselling author of 19 books, all published by Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books. In 2000, after numerous rejections from publishers, ReShonda stepped out on faith, established her own publishing company, and self published her debut novel, My Brother’s Keeper. The book caught the attention of one of the country’s top literary agents, who secured a deal for ReShonda with megahouse publisher, Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.
The rest, as they say, is history.
ReShonda went on to sign one deal after another with Simon & Schuster and to date, is considered one of the country’s top inspirational authors. Her sophomore novel, Let the Church Say Amen, is being made into a movie of which she is Executive Producer and actress Regina King is the director. ReShonda’s literary career is such a success that in 2007, she was able to leave her job as a reporter with Fox 26 News in Houston to write full time.
ReShonda has appeared on the Essence Bestseller’s list more than 20 times, as well as The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News and Ebony Magazine Bestseller’s lists. Her books include The Devil is a Lie, Can I Get a Witness, The Pastor’s Wife, Let the Church Say Amen, Everybody Say Amen, I Know I’ve Been Changed and My Brother’s Keeper. Her inspirational teen novels include Nothing But Drama, Blessings in Disguise,With Friends Like These, Getting Even, Fairweather Friends, Friends ‘Til the End, and Caught up in the Drama. She has one non-fiction title, Help! I’ve Turned into my Mother. ReShonda has won numerous awards for her journalism, fiction and poetry writing skills. She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition, one of Rolling Out Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Houston and H-Texas Magazine’s Top Professional.
ReShonda’s upcoming projects include Holy Rollers (July 2010), Say Amen, Again (July, 2011), the teen novel Drama Queens (Fall 2010), and two travel suspense novels. The Houston native also serves as a freelance editorial and marketing consultant. She has ghostwritten four fiction projects and five non-fiction projects. She is married with three small children and does not hide her addiction to Reality TV and Facebook.
She welcomes readers to her websites at http://www.reshondatatebillingsley.com/.
List your published books.
Let the Church Say Amen
The Devil is a Lie
Can I Get a Witness
The Pastor’s Wife
Everybody Say Amen
I Know I’ve Been Changed
My Brother’s Keeper
Caught Up in the Drama
Friends ‘til the End
With Friends Like These
Blessings in Disguise
Nothing But Drama
Help! I’ve Turned Into My Mother
Have a Little Faith
Four Degrees of Heat
Which book did you find the hardest to birth?
The first one, My Brother’s Keeper. I worked in television news so I was trained to leave out all of the details and just write the story in the simplest terms. So the first draft of my book was like 100 pages. I had to go back in and retrain my thought process when it came to writing stories.
Which book is your current favorite?
That’s hard to say, it’s like saying which child do you like the best. Although I do have a personal connection to I Know I’ve Been Changed, which is about a television news anchor from Arkansas who moves to Houston, hits the big time and tries to forget her country, trouble-filled family. (By the way, that’s not my story, even though I was a news anchor from Arkansas!)
How would you describe your writing style?
I love storytelling. But I need a fast-paced story that keeps my attention, so that’s how I write. You’ll almost always find a dose of humor in my writing.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
No. For some reason I can’t write with music playing. While I’m editing, I love listening to soft R&B.
Tell us anything about you as a writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.
I’m not too interesting. People often tell me they think I’m very funny. The crazy thing is I don’t think so at all. Maybe because my mother is hilarious and I just grew up with her witty ways so it seems second nature to me. One of the things I do know is I’m a note-taker on life. So if we’re sitting and holding a conversation and I break out my pen and paper and start jotting down some stuff you’re saying/doing, don’t be surprised!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Stop talking about why you don’t have time to write and write. And please don’t approach writers for help/advice and start the conversation off by saying, “I never read anything you’ve written but could you explain the publishing process to me from A to Z,” which believe it or not, I get all the time. And most importantly, don’t stand in judgment of others because you think you “have a better story.” What God has for you is for you.
Writers are often encouraged to write what they know. Have you found that to be the case with your writing? Absolutely. You can tell your best stories writing about what you know. But at the same time, I don’t think writers should limit themselves to writing only what they know. They’re so much to discover in this world and through the Internet and research, so much to be learned. A good writer can do their homework on a subject they don’t know too much about and still tell a compelling story.
About the Book
Looking for Love . . .
Lifelong friends Coco, Nita, and Audra have spent years looking for love in the arms of flashy pro athletes, hoping to land a baller but ending up with a stream of failed relationships. The beautiful and demure Coco has endured years of physical abuse from her boyfriend, Sonny, while Audra, a single mother, has dated her fair share of cheaters and yearns for a stable companion who will be a father figure to her son. And feisty, seductive Nita is tired of being the million-dollar mistress and wants to settle down—if she can find someone worth coming home to.
Changing the Game . . .
Now that the women are approaching thirty, they’re finding it harder than ever to compete with the pro groupies. Determined to change the game and find some worthwhile men, Audra hatches an outrageous plan. Soon the trio is "holy rolling," masquerading as God-fearing churchgoers at a local conference for young ministers in the hopes of snagging a prominent pastor. But will their big gamble pay off? Men of the cloth are still just men, after all. As the three friends meet their potential life partners, they will have to decide how far they want to take their holy rollers scheme—each risking heartbreak while taking a chance on finding a reliable, responsible man to love and cherish, flaws and all.
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