JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, author of The Devil Is A Lie
(Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books)
When Nina Lawson wins $16 million in the Texas Lotto, she and her fiancÃ© ecstatically begin planning their future. 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.
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.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write The Devil Is A Lie?
ReShonda Tate-Billingsley: I actually was visiting with a book club when one of the ladies told me she’d just gotten back with her husband after three years, during which she thought they were divorced. Since I’m always in ‘what if’ mode, my mind started churning.
JP: What sets The Devil Is A Lie apart from other novels in its genre?
RTB: I write reality, infused with faith and inspiration. Meaning, everything doesn’t wrap up nice and neat. My characters struggle in their walk with God. Like most of us, they often fall.
You’re not going to have one of my characters catch her husband cheating and she says, “Let us pray.” She may say, “You better pray that I don’t cut you and this tramp.” I also interject a lot of humor into my writing.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to The Devil Is A Lie getting out to the public?
RTB: Promotion, promotion, promotion. Word-of-mouth is the best way to sell a book, so it’s crucial that I pound the pavement in promoting the book.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish The Devil Is A Lie?
RTB: I have three small children, so I don’t go sit next to a waterfall in Maine and wait for my muse to arrive. I write whenever I can, wherever I can. There is no particular structure when it comes to my writing. I do get my best work done late at night. Like now, it’s 3:30 am and I’m wired and just getting my mojo flowing.
It took me about three months to write The Devil Is A Lie, which is my standard. I’m trying to write faster because I’m a full-time writer now. I don’t get paid unless I write, so that’s inspiration to keep it moving.
JP: What’s next for ReShonda Tate Billingsley?
RTB: I am so excited about working with Regina King on Let the Church Say Amen, the movie, which is based on my sophomore novel. She’s directing and I’m executive producer, so I’m really looking forward to that.
I’m also working on my 2011 book, Say Amen Again, which is the third (and final) book in the Amen series. My 2010 book, Holy Rollers is in the editing stage right now. So I hope to just keep creating stories that touch and inspire people.
I’ve appeared on the Essence Bestseller’s list more than 20 times. I am also a Washington Post bestseller. The Devil is a Lie is currently in Ebony Magazine as one of its steamy, sexy, sassy summer reads.
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