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Donya Blaze

Terry McMillan: From Waiting to Exhale to Getting to Happy

Back in the early 90s, Terry McMillan was just another author trying to make it. Then, came a little book called Waiting to Exhale. McMillan’s novel about four single women and their love lives helped birth a new genre of African-American fiction and became a hit film.

Now, over 15 years later, McMillan has released the sequel, Getting to Happy. But she said she never intended to revisit Savannah, Bernie, Gloria, or Robin — in fact, she wasn’t that in love with them in the first place.

“After Waiting to Exhale, I think that book never even crossed my mind when I was telling new stories. And, even with [Getting to Happy], I thought about [the characters] a lot differently,” McMillan said in our Media Beat interview. “I thought they were somewhat… They got on my nerves. I thought that they were a little desperate.”

Watch the full video to hear more of McMillan’s inspiration for Getting to Happy and to find out which segment of Black fiction she is not a fan of.

Part 2: Terry McMillan Puts the ‘Ugliness’ of Divorce Behind Her

Part 3: Terry McMillan’s Advice to Young Authors: ‘Focus on Your Stories, Not the Fame’

Sarah Ellison Makes Friends and Enemies with War at the Wall Street Journal

It goes without saying that your colleagues may not be too pleased to find out you’re writing a book about the inner dealings of the company. And when that company is as esteemed as the Wall Street Journal and said tome is an insider account of its sale to Rupert Murdoch, well, let’s just say you should probably start looking for another gig just in case.

“I mean, a lot of people I talked to did [like the book] and some didn’t,” said Sarah Ellison, author of War at the Wall Street Journal. “I feel like at the very top level of Dow Jones, I don’t think that the people who read it liked it.”

Ellison also told mediabistro.com founder Laurel Touby in the final segment of Media Beat how she was able to include so much detail about the main characters, including Rupert Murdoch.

“The day that Murdoch essentially fired Marcus Brauchli, I was traveling with him that day. And so that was a literal fly on the wall kind of thing. And I heard conversations. That was a level of detail where it was just a reporter’s dream.”

Part 1: Sarah Ellison Calls Wall Street Journal Sale ‘An Epic Clash of Cultures’

Part 2: Sarah Ellison on Writing War at The Wall Street Journal

Kitty Kelley Predicts the End of the Unauthorized Biography

After documenting the lives of iconic figures like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Bushes, and Britain’s royal family, author Kitty Kelley says she doesn’t see much of a future for the genre of biographies and her style of in-depth writing.

“Well, I just think it’s a huge investment of a writer’s time and a publisher’s commitment. This represents four years of my life. This was college,” she says of her latest release, Oprah: A Biography. “You know, we’re in a 24/7 information era…I don’t think you’ll be able to write this kind of book 10 years from now.”

Watch the final installment of our Media Beat interview to find out what Kelley says has been the biggest piece of feedback she’s gotten on the book, plus the answer to the million dollar question: How would she feel if there was a bio about her?

Part 1: Kitty Kelley Says Bio is Not ‘A Takedown’ of Oprah

Part 2: Kitty Kelley Calls Oprah Herself ‘The Biggest Source’ for Bio

RELATED: Attend Mediabistro Circus to hear from visionary women in media and tech.

Kitty Kelley Calls Oprah Herself ‘The Biggest Source’ for Bio

Few remember that Oprah Winfrey wasn’t always the beacon of “best life” she is today. Once upon a time, the rising talk show host covered topics like KKK members, Mexican satanic cult murderers, and women who were allergic to their husbands (true story). Unfortunately for the now media mogul, educator, and activist, all of her not so enlightened moments are back in the spotlight thanks to infamous biographer Kitty Kelley.

For Oprah: A Biography, Kelley says she combed through a mountain of information on the icon and spoke to 850 people who either worked with or knew her. “Oprah turns out to be the biggest source of information in this book — THE biggest source. Because I got all the interviews that she’s given over a period of 25 years to radio and television, to newspapers, and to magazines.”

Sidebar: How happy are you that Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist back then?

Part 1: Kitty Kelley Says Bio is Not ‘A Takedown’ of Oprah

Part 3: Kitty Kelley Predicts the End of the Unauthorized Biography

RELATED: Attend Mediabistro Circus to hear from visionary women in media and tech.

Kitty Kelley Says Bio is Not ‘A Takedown’ of Oprah

Unless you’re just getting back from a vacation on Neptune, you should know by now that Kitty Kelley (best known previously for upsetting Frank Sinatra‘s number one fan) has a new biography out about Oprah Winfrey.

But, at just 196 pages in, I felt like Kelley was editorializing a bit too much. So, I called her on it. Without interviewing Oprah herself, how do you know that your sources aren’t fudging the facts out of jealousy?

“Everybody has a motive. Everybody does. You have to give it to the reader honestly. You have to put it in context, and that’s really what I’ve tried to do,” said Kelley during our Media Beat interview. “This book is not a takedown of Oprah by any means. There are many, many people on the record talking about her in a most admirable fashion.”

Watch the video to find out what Kelley says she uncovered about Oprah’s now distant relationships with her family and several co-workers from The Color Purple, including Steven Spielberg, Alice Walker, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Part 2: Kitty Kelley Calls Oprah Herself ‘The Biggest Source’ for Bio

Part 3: Kitty Kelley Predicts the End of the Unauthorized Biography

RELATED: Attend Mediabistro Circus to hear from visionary women in media and tech.

Kate White: From Cosmopolitan EIC to Bestselling Author

Kate White‘s books have topped The New York Times bestsellers list and Amazon. She’s written career guides and novels, recently released her first thriller Hush, and even had her popular Bailey Weggins mystery series optioned for films. Oh, and did we mention that her day job is running Cosmopolitan?

“I started writing mysteries and thrillers, and I love it. It’s just been something that has really been fulfilling,” White said in our Media Beat interview. “Like a lot of women, I wanted to do more than one thing. But it did take a few tricks to learn how to balance and do both of them.”

Trick #1: Figure out your “writer’s cocktail.”

Part 1: Kate White on Why Cosmopolitan Doesn’t Need a Reality Show

Part 2: Kate White of Cosmo Says Women Need to ‘Break the Rules’

Media Beat is mediabistro.com’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at MediaBeat.com.

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