Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Chat with Writing Diva, ReShonda Tate Billingsley

ReShonda Tate Billingsley has won many awards and has created her own space amongst the greatest in the world of commercial women's fiction. A writer who freely declares, "I am an 'open book'," ReShonda writes page-turning stories about REAL situations offering positive messages we can relate to. Enjoying success in a changing industry, ReShonda shines as a national best-selling author, professional editor, ghost writer, public speaker, talk show host, freelance reporter, actress, MOGUL, and literary sensation. 
Though many of us know her because of her mind-sizzling stories, she is doing it ALL! To date, she has successfully published over 21 titles (8 adult novels, 8 teen novels, 1 non-fiction book, 3 anthologies and 1 poetry book) and doesn't plan to stop any time soon. She has a movie deal in the works, a popular book tour that is attracting large crowds and an Image Award nomination.
   With her calendar full, tour dates booked and book deadlines looming, she took a minute to chat with us about her teen series titled, The Good Girlz. Please enjoy the insight provided by this, Woman on the Move. 
     What inspired you to write the Good Girlz teen series?
      I wanted to write drama-filled pages that teens would want to read. I noticed that teens weren't interested in the books I read when I was growing up, so I wrote stories that were interesting with positive messages (without all the sex and demeaning aspects) that I wouldn't mind my children reading.
     What is the central message you want girls to grasp, understand or learn from the series?
     The Good Girlz Teen series is focused around the 10 commandments. Each book has a fun and engaging message inspired by the bible. That way, young girls are having a good time reading stories they can relate to, while also learning a message that will help them.  
         Many teen girls are dealing with difficult situations concerning; boys, self-esteem, body image, fitting in, family life etc. How do your characters speak to these issues and help teens find solutions and inspiration?
     My characters reflect real life situations. I write about the good, the bad and ugly aspects of being a teen. My characters make mistakes and learn from them, learn what to do and what NOT to do and ultimately take a second look at their actions so they can make better ones. These are some of the messages teen girls can learn from my books.  
         You’ve done it all: books, movies, tours etc. What is your message about achieving your goals, persevering past obstacles and dreaming BIG?
    Don't let ANYONE but YOU determine your destiny. There were people who told me 'NO' and said that I couldn't make it. I found another way to make it happen and came to realize that I have to believe in MY OWN DREAMS and find out a way to make them happen. 
   What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Are you a fan of any current fashion or music?
    I am a BIG Reality TV fan. I watch Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop etc. I play music on my I-PAD. I also have my 11 year old daughter who keeps me on top of all the latest dances and music.   
    What project are you currently working on? Will there be any more books in the Good Girlz series?
    Currently, I am touring my latest book, Sinners & Saints that I co-wrote with novelist, Victoria Christopher Murray. I also have a movie in the works (which I executive produce along with actress Regina King) and another line of books for teens.   
    What advice or words of wisdom would you share with girls who are going through their teen years?
     It doesn't matter where you've been, it only matters where you are going. Don't EVER give up. Stay determined to achieve your dreams and if someone tells you 'No', find another way!
   ReShonda is proving that any and everything is possible when you believe. She has managed to stay on top throughout all of the changes in the book publishing industry and has created a brand loyal readers embrace. She is.... the Queen of her Dynasty. 
  Visit her website at www.reshondatatebillingsley for more information or connect with her via facebook and twitter. Whatever you do, don’t get caught without one of her books.

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