The name Meesha Mink stands out in urban fiction like no other, simply because it speaks to the uniqueness and creativity of it’s owner. After making her debut in 2008 with the well received, Desperate Hoodwives, Mink has continued to release page turning quality both as a co-author and with her individual works. Her latest book to make a mark on readers is Kiss The Ring, a modern day Foxy Brown type story, about a woman on a mission to avenge the death of her son. Released in August, it’s the first book of her latest series and a dynamic read for lovers of all genres. We interviewed the author to discuss the series, the state of urban fiction and much more. Check it out here…
Parlé Magazine: What inspires you to write?
Meesha Mink: A strong desire to tell interesting stories with compelling characters…and making a living doing so.
Parlé: What’s your personal favorite urban fiction book?
Meesha: It would be hard to select one favorite because I believe urban fiction is any book with an urban setting, and not just street lit, so that broadens the field of choices. Some of my favs would be Donald Goines’ Whoreson, Omar Tyree’s Flyy Girl, Sistah Soujah’s The Coldest Winter Ever, Rosa Guy’s Edith Jackson or Louise Merriweather’s Daddy was a Numbers Runner.
Parlé: Let’s talk about Kiss The Ring. First, how did that title come about?
Meesha: In Kiss the Ring, Naeema is gifted the ring of her murdered son and decides to make his killer not only beg her forgiveness but kiss that ring as a sign of deference–even though she knew she would execute the killer right afterwards. Historically the kissing of the ring of royal or religious figures is the ultimate sign of respect, loyalty and humility. I liked the play on her alter ego of Queen and how she felt the murder of her son by one of his friends was the ultimate act of disrespect and betrayal. The kissing of the ring for her is like giving to her and her son the loyalty, respect and her humility that the killer did not when they took his life.
Parlé: Naeema or Queen is a deep character who is strong but also has her dark secrets. Who, if anyone inspired that character?
Meesha: In general the character of Naeema/Queen is like a modern day Foxy Brown. A street vigilante. A complex woman who was bad-ass. Her personal story and everything she’s been through that made her into the tough woman is based off no one. She is someone I wanted to create a series around.
Parlé: I don’t want to give away too much for those readers who haven’t read the book yet, but the next door neighbor, Coko seems to be an important piece of this book. Does she have a story all her own coming or what did you hope to get across through her character in this book?
Meesha: Coko was a great opportunity to 1) connect the new series to my Real Wifeys trilogy, 2) to address the issue of rising heroin use in New Jersey, and 3) to prep her story for a future Queen book.
Parlé: Kiss The Ring is the first of a series, but is this the last we’ll read of Naeema?
Meesha: Kiss the Ring came from my love of Blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Again, Queen, the protagonist of the series, is my take on a modern day Foxy Brown. Going on it was my intention to create the first ongoing series I’ve ever done as Meesha Mink. Book two, All Hail the Queen, drops in February and I am currently plotting out book three. Kiss the Ring will definitely not be the last the readers see of Naeema “Queen” Cole.
Parlé: Don’t want to get too deep about it, but can we expect any more co-authored books coming from you any time soon?
Parlé: What are your thoughts on the state of the urban fiction genre. It’s not as populated with fair-weather authors as it was a few years ago, but is it still a genre budding with potential?
Meesha: I think it’s still a viable genre. Most definitely. But as with any genre authors have to be willing to shift or adjust with the changes in the market. Speaking only for me, I developed this new series wanting to remain true to the genre of urban fiction in terms of the language, the use of Hip-Hop, the urban settings, pop culture references and other familiar characteristics but I also wanted to add a new layer that set me apart a bit from the abundance of books available right now. So Kiss the Ring and all the other books in the series are mysteries–or noirs—as well. I’m excited about that.
Readers who are familiar with Meesha Mink, know that the name is a pseudonym for well renowned author and friend of Parlé Magazine, Niobia Bryant. Having talked to Niobia in the recent past, we wanted to put a little spin on this interview. Those who aren’t familiar with Bryant should know that she’s released over 35 works on fiction and has been a published author since 2000. She is a national bestselling author and had won many awards in her time. Besides urban fiction she also writes romance novels and young adult fiction.
Our interview continues…
Parlé: How did the name Meesha Mink come about?
Niobia Bryant: Once I made the decision to write urban fiction I wanted to use a pseudonym so that the readers of my Niobia Bryant books were clear that I was offering up something entirely different. The writing was raw with lots more profanity and some violent scenes. I didn’t want the romance readers especially to be stunned by it so I came up with an edgy name that I thought screamed urban fiction and I let people know ahead of time to enter the pages of one of my urban fiction books at your own risk. For me the word Mink was a great symbol of the flash being seen in urban fiction back then. I added Meesha as the first name and I thought it had a good sound to it. Meesha Mink was “born.”
Parlé: Looking at the length of your career overall, urban fiction is a relatively new genre for you, but how different is it writing these works as compared to your other stuff?
Niobia: Well, I’m up to eight books if we’re including my coauthoring of the Hoodwives series so I’m not that new. The only difference to me is the removal of the filter that I use in writing romance. In the urban there is profanity, there is sexual content, and there is violence. With the romance novels there is always a happy ever after and with the urban I feel freer with the storyline because anything can happen and that can be fun to write.
Parlé: Any final words you want to put out there?
Niobia: Just want to thank Parlé Magazine for always being so supportive of me and my books over the years since the interview for Message from a Mistress back in 2008. I truly appreciate that. Please believe it!
Oh… and be sure to cop your copy of Kiss the Ring wherever books are sold.
Also Check Out:
Message From A Mistress… Niobia Bryant book review
The Jagged Edge Era of Greatness: Our Interview
Tamika Newhouse – Self-Made Author & Motivational Speaker
Love & Hip Hop’s Erica Mena Goes ‘Underneath It All’