Many people have fallen in love with the romanticism between vampires and werewolves as of lately but few realize that in the world of romantic fiction there is another growing brand of love and danger known hidden in urban fiction. Spearheading this genre with one of this decade’s most thought provoking, realistic and entertaining reads is self-made business woman and author Meesha Mink aka Niobia Bryant. With her breakout series The Real Wifeys garnering praise from the likes of the Huffington Post, Juicy Magazine, and various blogs across the web, it was inevitable that a sit down with the self-made author would come. Check out what she had to say about her life, her books, and the evolution of her brand.
Parlé Magazine: Penning multiple books including your hit Real Wifeys series must have taken a lot of determination and love for writing, when and how did that start for you?
Author Meesha Mink: Well, since I’ve was little I’ve always had a love for the written word. I can remember when I was in second grade writing my first story and handing it out to my friends. I continued reading and writing and became more determined to write a book and it just went from there. Actually, I really feel like my destiny was to write, that’s what I think I was meant to do.
Parlé: Second Grade, wow, that’s impressive. What kind of story was it or what was it about?
Mink: I don’t remember the specific story but I do remember that it was a horror story, which is so weird because I hate anything horror related now.
Parlé: Many writers who work on short stories at a young age enter into competitions and get published, did you pursue that route as a child?
Mink: No, I never really did anything for recognition. I just loved creating stories.
Parlé: And having done both short stories as well as romance fiction novels are there any other genre’s that you dabble in or would like to try?
Mink: Well at this time I write romance–which is the happily ever after, fall in love stories; urban fiction novels written as Meesha Mink; and for my little cousins—who I don’t necessarily condone reading the sex and violence of my adult books—I also write a teen series about black celeb kids.
Parlé: With all these different stories and fields of work you have to be very busy.
Mink: I am (laughs), sometimes I feel like I’m constantly writing.
Parlé: To continually write as much as you do with so many different kinds of stories inspiration must either come rapidly from thought or real life. Which would you say it was for you?
Mink: I would say it depends on the genre. One of more successful books penned under my real name, Niobia Bryant, actually came from an old black and white movie from the 1940’s “A Letter to Three Wives”. I wanted to take this intriguing story that I enjoyed, add some “color” (laughs), some more drama, update it and change the ending. That book was Message from a Mistress. Other than that I would say that most of the stories I write are my own creating or variations on popular themes found in many books.. All my friends are always saying “I better not see my life in the book” or “she must be writing about us” but I say it’s my job to sit and create. Plus, if their lives is not interesting enough for them to pick up a pen and pad to wrote about it…why would I?
Parlé: Speaking on inspiration and use of movies, a growing trend for authors are turning their series into movies. How do you feel about this and is that something you hope to see for your Real Wifeys Series?
Mink: I’m a writer and I love to write but would I also love to see my books become movies? Of course. I love to write but I also love to make money! (Laughs)
Parlé: A lot of authors become successful from that type of transition but face a lot of difficulties in staying relevant with their work to make it that far. Have you battled any obstacles to help push you further to create all the bodies of work that you have to date?
Mink: Yeah. There are trials and tribulations that I go through every day and even though writing is something I feel I am blessed to do, this is still a business and in any business there comes work and learning and headaches. It’s more than just writing a book in being published, You have everything to worry about from editing to viewing your sales and earning out when you receive royalty statement and then everything in between. What pushes me through it is my love for writing and support from people who love my work.
Parlé: And clearly they loved your work as you went on to write several more series’ of stories as well as create several pen names, one of which I’m curious about is Meesha Mink. Who is she?
Mink: (Laughs) Meesha is gritty, Meesha is raw, and Meesha is such a part of me (laughs). There is a time and a place for everything in everyday life. With that said if we were in a business setting and professional you would see Niobia, but if we were at a party or something or someone came at me gritty you would meet Meesha (lol). She goes back to that little girl who grew up in the Central Ward on 16th Avenue in Newark. That’s Meesha. Cussing and fussing and all of that. I came up with the name Meesha Mink to use so readers would not be shocked with this type of gritty and raw story coming from Niobia Bryant.
Parlé: The star character of your new book Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard, Suga, seems to share some of the grittiness that is Meesha Mink. Was she based off of Meesha’s Life?
Mink: No. It’s the same for my urban fiction books as my other books. It’s my job to create. To make things up. But I would say of all the “real wifeys” in the trilogy that Suga is most like me with that mix of hood smarts, common sense, and formal education.
Parlé:How did you get started in the urban fiction genre?
Mink: Another author and myself were on the phone talking about writing and at the time urban fiction was really just beginning to grow so we were playfully kicking around ideas for something we could do together in that genre. Also big at the time was the show Desperate Housewives and she suggested that we do a hood version of it and I was “Yeah we’ll call it Desperate Hoodwives”. It sparked something and we went from there and starting coming up with ideas for the characters. I’ve always enjoyed reading street lit way back from the days of Donald Goines and Ice Berg Slim.
Parlé: You’ve went on to create the Real Wifeys series. How would you describe these stories to someone who hasn’t read one of the series yet?
Mink: First, let me clarify the term “wifey”. I understand that people call their wife—the one they walk down the aisle with or have the ring on their finger—“wifey”, but in the hood a “wifey” is more like a girlfriend. A live-in girlfriend who does all the things wives do but without the legal commitment. For the trilogy I took three different women who are considered “wifeys,” who go through gritty, raw and hurtful things with the men in their lives and have to fight to learn the lesson of independence and come out stronger and better. In the final book, Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard, its revealed how all three wifeys are connected and wraps up everything up. I’m not into ongoing series so “Real Wifeys” will only be a trilogy.
Parlé: So it’s something that most folks can relate to?
Mink: I think so. Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard is definitely a story that’s been told before. It’s about a legit woman who has a good career in finance and is trying to make it to the top while dealing with a guy who hustle is illegal gambling and loan sharking. Because she has been pressuring him to go legit when they both are arrested she has to decide whether to flip on him to save herself. It’s a fun, fast paced energetic book packed with a lot of raw emotion.
Parlé: All in all it sounds like a page turner or a book I wouldn’t want to put down.
Mink: Definitely give it a try and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.
Parlé: Great, thanks again for your time and sharing a little about yourself and your new book Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard.
Mink: No Problem and thank you!