ReShonda Tate Billingsley, a national bestselling author
has published seventeen books with Simon & Schuster/Pocket
Books which includes her most recent adult novels, The Devil
is a Lie, Can I Get a Witness and teen novel, Friends
'Til the End. Her other projects include the #1 Essence Magazine
Bestselling Book, Let the Church Say Amen, the bestselling
sequel Everybody Say Amen, and the national bestseller
I Know I've Been Changed (all of which are currently being
made into movies where she will serve as Executive Producer).
She is also the author of the multiple Essence bestseller The
Pastor's Wife and the teen inspirational novels, Nothing
But Drama, Blessings in Disguise (which was voted a #1 pick
by Ebony Magazine), With Friends Like These, Getting
Even, Fairweather Friends, and Friends 'Til the End,
as well as a non-fiction title, Help! I've Turned into my
Mother. ReShonda is also a contributor to the bestselling
anthologies Have a Little Faith, Four Degrees of Heat
and Proverbs for the People.
ReShonda has won numerous awards for her journalism, fiction
and poetry writing skills. My Brother's Keeper was originally
rejected by publishers. ReShonda decided to step out on faith
and established her own publishing company, releasing that debut
novel. The book was later republished by Simon & Schuster/Pocket
Books. Let the Church Say Amen was voted best Christian
Fiction book of 2004 by the Library Journal. ReShonda's
upcoming projects include The Devil is a Lie (July 7,
2009), Holy Rollers (2010) and the teen books, Caught
up in the Drama and Drama Queens. She also has a book
of poetry called Something to Say: Poetry to Motivate the
Vanessa Davis Griggs: Welcome, ReShonda! You have accomplished
so much. Share with us a little about yourself.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley: I am a writer who loves
what I do so much, that I would do it for free. The great thing
is I don't have to! I am a former television news reporter and
mother of three. I also co-host a literary talk show www.fromcovertocovershow.com.
Griggs: As the mother of three children (ages 8, 7, and
2), how do you manage all that's required of you and manage to
do it so well?
Billingsley: I believe every minute you spend talking
about what you don't have time to do, could be spent doing it.
You make time to pursue your passion. You don't make excuses
why you can't. I would love to say I'm just this severely organized
individual, but I'm not. I just write every chance I get - at
the dentist's office, on long commutes, even at stop lights if
Griggs: You left your job as a reporter with KRIV, Fox
26 News in Houston to write full time. What's the best thing
about what you're doing now?
Billingsley: I get to travel more because I'm not burdened
by that whole "you only get two weeks vacation" thing.
I also love setting my own schedule. If I want to go have lunch
with my daughters, I can. But truthfully, I was more productive
as a writer with a full-time job. I think that's because I knew
I had to get X,Y,Z done in this little time. Now that I'm a lot
more flexible, I have to be a whole lot more disciplined.
Griggs: You have quite an impressive collection of books
published. Please tell us about your most recent release: The
Devil is a Lie.
Billingsley: The Devil is a Lie is about a woman
(Nina Lawson) who wins $16 million in the Texas Lotto. She and
her fiancé ecstatically begin planning their future.But
while counting her millions, Nina didn't count on one other astounding
twist of fate: her ex-husband, Todd Lawson, isn't her ex anything
-- since the paperwork for their divorce was never officially
filed. Now he's shown up with his money-hungry girlfriend, Pam,
to claim half of Nina's winnings. Add to this the relatives coming
out of the woodwork to seek a payday for themselves, and Nina
must ask herself if scoring a fortune in cash comes with too
high a price tag. With a little bit of luck, Nina will discern
the real wealth in her heart, not just her bank account -- or
risk losing everything -- to find out what matters the most.
Griggs: When you write a book, what is your "intent"
for that work (feel free to be specific if different intents
Billingsley: I always strive to entertain and inspire.
I want readers to have laugh out loud moments, yet still walk
away inspired and fulfilled.
Griggs: When you reflect back over your life, what are
some of the things you're most proud of? What do you hope to
accomplish that you haven't as yet?
Billingsley: My children and the fact that I don't
let anyone but me and my God determine my destiny. I've had many
people who didn't believe in me and my dreams over the years.
But I've always believed in myself and that was fuel enough to
keep me going. It's funny, everything I ever said I wanted to
be growing up, a TV news anchor, a talk show host and an author
- I've accomplished. The only goal I havent met is to be an actress
and that's coming when I sneak into one of my movies!
Griggs: You write for both the adult and the teen market.
What are the challenges, if any, in doing something like that?
Billingsley: You have to keep the voices separate.
Teens can recognize an adult writing as a teen if the voice is
not genuine. That would be the biggest challenge. Oh, and accepting
that I'm not as hip as I thought I was.
Griggs: As one of her magazine columns, Oprah has a section
where she speaks on what she knows for sure. ReShonda, what do
you know for sure?
Billingsley: I know that you shouldn't let anyone but
you and your God determine your destiny. I know that your greatest
joy will come when you pursue your passion, when you ask yourself
what is it I would do for free, then you do it. And I know life
is too short to dwell in negative energy.
ReShonda, you truly are making a difference in so many
lives. Thank you for being such a great you!
- To visit ReShonda's Web site, go to: www.ReShondaTateBillingsley.com
- Copyright © 2009 Vanessa Davis Griggs All rights reserved
- Interview by: Vanessa Davis Griggs, Author of: Promises
Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace, Blessed Trinity, Strongholds,
If Memory Serves, Practicing What You Preach. (Web site:
- For permission to use
this interview, contact Vanessa Davis Griggs at Vanessa@VanessaDavisGriggs.com