What’s the definition of wifey? What determines wifey material? If you’re confused by either of these questions, or simply don’t know or think you are than author Meesha Mink is about school you via her second book of the “Real Wifeys” trilogy: Real Wifeys: Get Money. In her first book, she showed us Real Wifeys: On The Grind, but now she’s back again to show the world what the ups and downs of a wifey to Hip-Hop star on the rise. I sat down with Ms. Mink as we discussed the second part of her planned trilogy, her career thus far and how she plans to shake up the world of Urban Fiction.
Parlé Magazine: What pushed you in the direction of wanting to become an author?
Meesha Mink: I’ve always been a vivacious book reader as long as I can remember. My mom encouraged me and my brothers to read books. As I got older, I wanted to be able to write my own stories. I started out writing short stories for those true confessional magazine and I would get paid $100 to write 20-25 page romance short. I did that for a few years and decided to try and write my first book because the short stories helped me learn to plot out a story. After researching the publishing industry, I learned that it was easier to get published without an agent in the romance genre. Once I finished the story and felt confident in it, I submitted it to two publishers of African-American romance and received deal offers from both. I decided to go with BET Books and my first book, Admission of Love, was released in 2000. As my career grew and I branched out into new genres I was able to transition to writing full time in 2006.
Parlé: Why did you choose the Urban Fiction genre?
Meesha: I’m a reader of everything, from fiction to non-fiction and everything in between and it was just natural to want to write more than just romance books. I started off writing in the romance genre because I wouldn’t need an agent. My plan was to get some published books under my belt and then purse getting an agent to transition into other genres–which is what I ended up doing.
Growing up Newark, NJ’s Central Ward, I definitely wanted to also tell stories that reflected things I saw, heard or experienced growing up. I loved reading books by Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim and even Louise Merewether’s “Daddy’s Was a Number’s Runner”. Also I thought stories based in a urban setting should be a diverse as those neighborhoods and I felt I could contribute another viewpoint as someone else. All of the stories are valid.
I have an article on my website entitled, “I Love Urban Fiction and…”, and it lets my readers and fans read why I enjoy this genre so much, what I consider to be urban fiction, and why I decided to pursue it.
Parlé: Can you tell us about this trilogy, Real Wifeys and your second book of the three, Real Wifeys: Get Money which has just been released?
Meesha: The trilogy is my take on “The Real Housewives” franchise whatever with an urban spin. I love those shows on Bravo and I just wanted to do my take on it. The trilogy follows three different “wifeys” from three different Newark, NJ neighborhoods learning how to deal with their individual issues and their crazy relationships.
First, let me say that my definition of a wifey–like a lot of other people’s– just means a long time girlfriend who’s been holding their relationship down, putting in work since the beginning, even though she’s not legally his wife. I do understand that some people affectionately refer to their legal as wife as their wifeys and I think there was some confusion as to how I was using the term.
But back to the books: The first one, Real Wifeys: On The Grind, which came out in 2011, is about Goldie who was in a relationship with an older married man and when it didn’t work out she has to struggle 1) to get back on her feet and 2) to learn that her quest for money and power was diminishing her having and receiving respect. In the newest book, Real Wifeys: Get Money, Luscious, who was a minor character and friend to Goldie in the first book, takes the spotlight enjoying her life a she wifeys of a platinum selling hip-hop star but she has she deals to deal with her unhappiness and her discover of Goldie sleeping with her man behind her back. Her focus become a quest for revenge against Goldie and how that nearly destroys her in the process. It’s also interesting because of a portion of the book gives Luscious’ viewpoint on things that happened in the previous book from Goldie’s viewpoint.
This book revisits book one and the third and final book, Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard, will revisit books one and two. It’ll all come full circle.
Parlé: How does your style of Urban Fiction differ from everything else?
Meesha: I’m not judging anyone else’s style but what I try to deliver is a precise story with character development, good editing and a story that can be told in any setting. In any of the four genres that I write, my main goal is making a universal story that the readers can relate to or know someone similar to the characters their reading about. Nothing over the top just some real scenarios than can–and sometimes does–go down.
Parlé: What is the hardest part in writing this trilogy for you?
Meesha: To make sure there’s consistency. I go back and I’ll reread the original book. Especially with Real Wifeys: Get Money, I had to go back to make sure that when I revisited certain scenes that they matched up the same in book one. Also, even though this is a trilogy and there’s a common theme in all three books, I didn’t want to just tell the same story over and over again. These are three different stories from three different women with three different issues. Readers can read the books independently or together and still be able to make out what’s going in the series.
Parlé: How do you manage to stay fresh with your writing?
Meesha: I’m a lover of pop culture so I try to write things that would appeal to me as the reader. I’m always reading the gossip blogs and trying to stay on top of what’s current. Also, if I’m not interested in what I’m writing I know the readers won’t be so I’m willing to scrap a scene or revisit it later if I’m interested.
Parlé: How would you describe your style of work to people who might not know what you’re about?
Meesha: I try to deliver fast moving stories with lots of heart, emotion, and action. My job is to entertain the reader–and sometimes enlighten them. After 11 years in the industry, I’ve built a lot strong fan base via word of mouth. I’ve been blessed to have readers who appreciate my work enough to spread the word to others who haven’t heard of me.
Parlé: Are you on any social sites so readers/fans can get updates about you?
Meesha: You can go to my main website www.meeshamink.com and get connected to me that way. Or readers can “Like me” on Facebook Fan page: Niobia Bryant | Meesha Mink where I give lots of book updates. On Twitter my handle is: @INFINITEink. I’m easily reachable on Twitter and Facebook so if anyone has a question or comment, I respond pretty quick.
Parlé: Do you have any words of advice for aspiring and up and coming writers?
Meesha: Definitely. For unpublished writers please learn the industry, deliver the best possible representation of your work to an agent or editor, and always be professional in your dealings within the industry. This is a business.
In terms of submitting your work, that goes back to learning about the industry. If you do your research online, there are all sorts of rules on how to submit your stuff to publishers and agents: what type of submissions thy accept, the format they prefer, the delivery method they prefer, etc. It would be easier for a lot of people to get published if they followed the rules that are in place. Yes, you may write the next great American novel but a publisher gets so many submissions in a day, that they won’t read your work without it being submitted properly. Your work will just hit the slush pile and never be read or given a chance. Take the time to learn the rules and always be willing to educate yourself, it’s a continuing learning experience.
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