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Posts Tagged ‘Terry McMillan’

Transgender Advocate and Author Janet Mock Talks About Her Memoir

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Janet Mock has known she wanted to be a storyteller since she was a fifth grader in Honolulu who escaped to her local public library to devour books by Maya AngelouTerry McMillan and Zora Neale Hurston. ”I knew that words would be my refuge and words were where I could create a composite of the dreams and the life that I wanted to live,” she recalls.

Years later, the now 30-year-old moved to New York to pursue her writing career. And after coming out as a transgender woman in a 2011 Marie Claire article, Mock became an ardent advocate for other transgender women, especially those who are young and struggle financially. Her newly released memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster) delves into the self-identify struggles that many trans people face. Mock recently spoke to Mediabistro about her book and offered some advice on writing your own memoir:

Anchor yourself in your own experience and write from that place. And you’ll find your voice. You’ll find out what you want to do. You’ll find your purpose. And I think that everything comes out of that. It’s [about] being able to sit still with yourself and really excavate those parts of yourself that were shut off or silenced or put into the dark a long time ago. I know that when I actually sat down with myself to do that work… that’s when my life began transforming.

To hear more from Mock, including what her literary idol, bell hooks, thought of her book, read: So What Do You Do, Janet Mock, Writer, Transgender Advocate and Author?

Mediabistro Course

Novel Writing: Editing Your Draft

Novel Writing: Editing Your DraftStarting July 16, workshop your novel in-progress with a published author! Erika Mailman's course will function as a workshop, with the emphasis on sharing your work for review and providing critiques for your peers. By the end of this class you'll have up to 75 pages of you novel workshopped and developed patterns to improve your writing. Register now! 

World Book Night Titles Announced for 2014

lwqzpyn7y8q8dmnbh44f-292x300On April 23, 2014, thousands of bibliophiles will give away half million books in the United States to celebrate World Book Night.

Below, we’ve listed the all of the titles that will be given away. To take part in this event, follow this link to learn more details and fill out an application to be a book giver.

Shelf Awareness reports that this year’s selections “includes the first graphic novel, first university press title and first Asian-American authors. As before, one book is in English and Spanish, and two are available in large-print editions. In addition, the 35 titles were an increase from the previous years’ 30, allowing more authors and publishers to be represented.”
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Writing Advice From Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including the now-classic Waiting To Exhale. Now, 25 years since her debut, she’s back with Who Asked You?, a multi-generational family saga that is already being applauded by critics. In the latest installment of So What Do You Do?, she tells Mediabistro about creating memorable characters, the challenges of writing from the perspective of an eight-year-old and the pressure of living up to all the hype:

You’re known for writing such authentic characters. How do you keep them all straight?
Well, first of all, it’s not as hard as you would think. If you take [people] that you know really well, and you had to capture them on paper — their gesticulations, how they talk, how they think — from what you know about them, you could do it. But before anything, I do a lot to profile my characters so that I know them. I know almost everything about them, in terms of their educational background, how tall they are, what color they are, what they like and don’t like, what their favorite class was in school, what they’re afraid of, what their biggest secret is, if they lie, if they pay their bills on time, what they wish they coulda, woulda, shoulda done, etc., etc.

To learn more about Terry McMillan’s writing process, read So What Do You Do, Terry McMillan, New York Times Best Selling Author?

Aneya Fernando

Madavor Media Acquires The Writer Lit Mag

Madavor Media, a niche-focused media company based in Boston, has acquired the literary magazine The Writer, in a deal whose terms were not disclosed. Through the deal, Madavor has gained the rights to the print, web, and digital properties of the magazine from midwestern media company Kalmbach Publishing.

VP/Group Publisher for Madavor Susan Fitzgerald mentioned plans for expansion, stating: “We will continue to deliver the quality and authoritative content readers and advertisers expect, and we intend to take both magazines to new and engaging places.”

In March, The Writer celebrated its 125th year anniversary. The magazine was founded in Boston and was run independently until it was sold to Kalmbach Publishing in 2000. Since then has been run out of the Milwaukee area. Since 2007, Jeff Reich has served as the publication’s editor-in-chief. Authors who have graced the pages of the magazine include: Ray Bradbury, Patricia Cornwell, Jonathan Franzen, Gail Godwin, Pete Hamill, Stephen King, Sinclair Lewis, W. Somerset Maugham, Terry McMillan, Joyce Carol Oates, Anne Perry, May Sarton and John Updike. (Via Sarah Weinman)

Essence EIC: We Are ‘Absolutely’ Looking for New Writers

Before they were mainstays on countless bestseller lists, Maya Angelou, Terry McMillan and Alice Walker were all once featured in Essence. And, says editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White, the magazine is always looking to give the next big talent a shot at a byline as well.

“The first thing you think about is what are Black women thinking about. What’s important to Black women?” White explains in our latest Media Beat interview. “And that is really the crux of what we do at Essence and, therefore if you’re pitching us, that’s what you should be focused on too as a writer.”

You can also view this video on YouTube.

Part 2: Tuesday, we discuss the real deal behind that fashion director controversy.

Part 3: Wednesday, White explains how she’s growing Essence.com in the face of steep competition from entertainment blogs.

Algonquin Books Launches Book Club

Algonquin Books has launched the Algonquin Books Club. The publisher has chosen twenty-five paperback titles from its list, building a readers guide for each book.

Here’s more from the site: “We’ll be featuring four Algonquin Book Club selections a year for dynamic literary events held around the country and simultaneously webcast on our site. For each event, an Algonquin author will be interviewed by a notable writer.”

The first event (March 21st) will be held in Miami at Books & Books. Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I’m Dying, will interview Julia Alvarez on her masterpiece, In the Time of the Butterflies. Below we’ve listed the rest of Algonquin Book Club’s 2011 event offerings.

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

With millions of books sold and fans already salivating over news that a film version is in the works for her latest release Getting To Happy, Terry McMillan has accomplished feats in publishing that most scribes could only dream of.

So, what’s the one piece of advice she’d give to those looking to emulate her success?

“I tell a lot of young writers that they should be more concerned about their stories and characters than being famous and even getting published, because when they’re ready they will be published,” she said in the final installment of our Media Beat interview. “Too many of them now all they think about is how much money they’re gonna make, being famous, getting on The New York Times, that’s their goal. And that’s such a phony, superficial, shallow goal to have as a reason for writing.”

Watch the full video to get more of McMillan’s insights on the screenwriting process and to find out why she’s not a Kindle fan.

Part 1: Terry McMillan: From Waiting To Exhale To Getting To Happy

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

Terry McMillan Puts the ‘Ugliness’ of Divorce Behind Her

One thing you’ll often hear fans praise about author Terry McMillan is her authenticity. And it doesn’t get any more real than the headline-grabbing drama surrounding her marriage and divorce to Jonathan Plummer.

After McMillan drew from the couple’s island courtship for How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Plummer later famously came out as a gay man. But McMillan says neither the novel nor its accompanying film were completely autobiographical.

“Yes, I went to Jamaica. Yes, I met a younger man. But most of what happened in that book and in the movie didn’t happen to us that way. It was fiction,” the Getting to Happy author explained in our Media Beat interview.

So, what does she think of her ex now? “We’re friends. I’ve forgiven him. One of the reasons I was able to tell [the story of Getting To Happy] is the fact that I really did overcome a lot of things, one of which was anger and bitterness,” she said.

And nothing like a little jerk chicken to ease the pain.

Part 1: Terry McMillan: From Waiting To Exhale To Getting To Happy

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

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’

The Racial Divide of Reading

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s piece on the frequency of reading among African-American populations isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but it is nice to have everything spelled out once more. A young black male has a better chance of getting teased for reading books instead of playing sports. Black children are less likely to have parents who read to them at an early age and expose them to books. Until recently, black adults were largely ignored by some book publishers who believed black people don’t read books. And many black people had not been reading books because there were fewer books on the market that appealed to them.

“The racial disparity in reading is a reflection of the differences in the kinds of backgrounds that children enjoy,” said Helen Faison, director of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute at Chatham University. “We have to surround children early on with reading,” Faison said. “You have to create an environment where books are everywhere.” Authors like Brandon Massey notice the difference when men come up to get books signed for their wives because they won’t read something that “isn’t real.” But the lack of a book market for African-Americans pretty much died in the early 90s with the success of Terry McMillan and the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill case, which allowed the public to see a parade of intelligent African-American witnesses who graduated from Ivy League colleges testifying on national TV. “Publishers opened their eyes and saw a market they had totally avoided,” said literary agent Barbara Lowenstein.

John Thomas, superintendent of the Aliquippa School District, said the notion that black men who read books are less masculine is one that should be dispelled in the African-American community. “It’s just as powerful to carry a book as it is to carry a football or a basketball, because the power of knowledge is in the books,” he said. “If we prepare our bodies for the gridiron or the basketball court, to me it’s just as important to prepare your mind to survive in society. The body will soon wear out for athletic competition, but knowledge you have will carry you through life.”

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