Venesha: A Novel About Being
the Other Woman - Mistress Me
by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti
Urban Book Source
Urban Fiction has covered all the bases—drugs, sex, money, murder—but 2007 marks the year of the mistress. And one of the best is Mistress Me by Venesha, which recently won the Breakout Author of the Year and Self-Published Author of the Year at the African American Literary Awards show. Venesha’s debut novel is not a tell-all confessional book, but an entertaining fictional novel inspired by the lifestyle of women who are other woman in a professional athlete’s life. Venesha gives readers a behind the scenes look into the glitzy and glamorous world of NBA players and their lives—wifeys, groupies, mistresses and all. You heard about baby-mama drama but this book reaches heights unexplored. When the claws come out, gold-diggers beware. Besides publishing novels on her Polka Dotz Publishing label, Venesha also hosts Ya Heard Magazine’s Urban Fiction Lounge. But don’t let us tell you, hear if from Venesha herself. Here is an Urban Book Source exclusive.
Seth: How is the world taking you?
Venesha: The readers are intrigued, the press is a buzz, and the industry is on pins and needles!
Seth: What’s up with your column?
Venesha: The Urban Fiction Lounge, in Ya’ Heard Magazine is of course a great opportunity for urban fiction as a genre to reach a totally different audience. Ya’ Heard Magazine is a hip-hop and R&B magazine, so to be given a platform, within their publication is ultra fabulous to say the least. I enjoy being the voice of a few of my peers and interviewing authors. Their journey, within and around the industry is usually nothing less than fascinating.
Seth: What other types of books do you write?
Venesha: Believe it or not, non-fiction Christian is a very big part of who I am and why I am the way I am today. Every year I will be writing a non-fiction book, perhaps twice a year. I have so much to share, with hopes that it will truly help someone else. I also have a project in the works with a few of my diva family members that will be smoking, which is non-fiction and self-help with a twist.
Seth: Why did you start writing?
Venesha: Journaling, journaling, and more journaling. I was healing from so much heartache and pain that it became therapeutic to journal. I was also attending college at night and on weekends so to stay awake I began taping the lectures and I would write short stories. At the time I really thought nothing of it or perhaps I was just a little weird. My cousin gave me a couple of urban fiction novels and I was blown away. Within six months I had read nearly everything the genre had to offer. Waiting for new stories was the worst and reading a dope boy or girl type story each time was weighing on me. I started to think as most readers do, I can write another type of story that the industry doesn’t have. The next weekend I went to church and my Bishop preached a message, which informed, “God gave you gifts and He told me to tell you, if you don’t use them He will find someone else.” That evening I went home and went through my notebooks from college and found the prologue to Mistress and here I am. The prologue was written three years before I wrote the story.
Seth: What books do you have out?
Venesha: Mistress Me. Mistress Me was a long and eventful journey. I must tell UBS readers that I went through hell and high water to bring the readers the ultimate novel, detailing ultra fabulous strategies of a mistress and a few sinful secrets surrounding the NBA. It took a little longer than expected because I was thrown a few curve balls by the industry’s most prominent players. Before Mistress came out I received two grand offers for re-release and a major publishing deal, which is still being considered. My second novel will drop fairly soon as well. My second novel Notorious is extremely controversial and is slated for a mystery release and is so hot, there will be no promotions or advanced copies until it is ready to be shipped to the bookstores and distributors.
Seth: What do you think of Urban Lit?
Venesha: It’s what I am and what I do now, so I accept the good, the bad and the ugly. I am honored to be a part of the genre and I feel that the authors that paved the way did a phenomenal job and certainly respect most of them for their contributions. Is it easy coming into an industry that is so self-centered and competitive? Well of course not, however whether its music, fashion, sports or books you have your snakes, squirrels and rats where ever you go. I am here to stay and do Venesha. I wish everyone well and so much success but if you disrespect me, or steal from me, it’s for you to be on alert. All of this will be addressed in great detail in Notorious.
Seth: When did you start writing?
Venesha: Journaling in 2003 and actual writing of urban fiction in April of 2006.
Seth: What are our future plans?
Venesha: To simply continue to put out stories no one else can tell. Within the next six months I will have dropped four novels. I will also start accepting submission in June of 2008 for my publishing company, Polka Dotz & Stripez Publishing. I am obsessed with writing and marketing so of course that is what I will be spending the majority of my time on. I can’t wait to get out there and hustle my novels in person too!
Seth: Who do you like to read?
Venesha: No one in particular, but I enjoy everyone. At present I am waiting to read the next Dutch novel, just like the rest of urban fiction industry. I am also waiting to read Karrine Steffans latest book dropping soon. Sitting on my nightstand ready to be read is Get Money Chicks by Anna J. and Insatiable by Heather Hunter. Other than that I really really enjoy, new authors because their stories for some odd reason seem to be extremely fresh and full of raw emotion and passion. Sideline Ho by C.J. Domino is hot to death as well as Pink Shorts by Reginald Hammeth, both new authors that are taking the writing world by storm. Black & Ugly by T. Styles was a wonderful read and Spot Rushers by Brandon McCalla is a definite must read. Quentin Carter is doing his thing as well, Hoodwinked, In Cahootz and Contagious, were all great novels as well. I could go on and on but let me stop!
Seth: What is up with Polka Dotz & Stripez?
Venesha: That’s my publishing company and I am the franchise author, well of course. I am pretty much just establishing my company and myself as an author to begin with. I look forward to publishing other authors very soon. I am very excited about having my own publishing company and I love the perks that go along with that. It’s really hard for me to simply sit around and wait on others to drop my novels, do the marketing and promoting as well. Me personally, I feel as though no one can really market me, the author and promote me the way I can. That’s my biggest struggle right now, especially being offered deals; I am having a hard time giving up my creative control. Coming into the industry with my own company as a new author afforded me certain power and with being presented with a major deal I would have to give up all my rights. I guess I came in backwards by having my own publishing company. Now, I am really spoiled and not willing to give up so much for others to make money off of my works. The trade isn’t impressive when you crunch the numbers, which I have but of course thus far it’s been flattering, needless to say Polka Dotz & Stripez Publishing is here to stay. There is a lot that needs to be done but I am ready to grind for the sake of my novels and future authors that I will publish.
Seth: Anything else you would like to add?
Venesha: Mistress Me got now, Notorious got next…stay tuned…the saga continues. I also have a blog coming soon right before Notorious drops, which will incorporate African-American celebrity gossip and urban fiction’s secrets and whispers. As a publisher, I am always busy building relationships with distributors, bookstores, press, and printing companies. As an author, I am constantly being overwhelmed with new stories and grand ideas. As a marketing guru, I am always working on endless angles, shooting visual visions to my graphic designer, and working endlessly to promote Mistress Me the novel, Venesha the author, and Polka Dotz & Stripez. Last but not least, new authors please stay hopeful and encouraged, there are endless possibilities! Veteran authors stop complaining the industry is saturated; step you game up and you won’t have to worry. Selling a hundred thousand copies years ago won’t carry you forever…stop blaming the new authors…its sooooo unpretty. Whether or not the industry is saturated or not, if your stories are hot and your marketing is innovative you will continue to prevail but not by bashing those that are simply trying to tell a fresh story. Stop wasting your interview time bashing and use it to promote your projects.
Seth Ferranti is a contributing writer for The Urban Book Source and accomplished journalist having written articles for Don Diva, Slam, King, Feds and many more. View more of his articles at: www.gorillaconvict.com
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