summer I have been blessed to feature women’s voices in Christian
fiction. Last month I shared four women authors who have inspired us by
telling American history through their eyes. This month I want to step
into the future.
With the digitization of
publishing and the changing formatting of book creation, the publishing
industry is evolving, changing at a rate so fast the industry still
hasn’t caught up. ABA publishers are purchasing CBA houses. Marquee
authors are losing book deals or changing houses, while other authors,
especially women authors, are riding these shifts like a soft ripple on
Rhonda McKnight is one of those
authors. Not only is she one of my write-or-die chicks, but she is a
prolific author and now publisher, who has graciously allowed me to
pick her brain for Christian Fiction Online Magazine.
McKnight is a published novelist under Urban Christian Books but also
is a co-publisher with 3 Sisters Books. This summer both her latest
novel and 3 Sisters first novella releases.
you are involved in so much right now. Let’s start with your latest
book release, An Inconvenient Friend (August, Urban
Christian/Kensington). Why the title?
An unlikely friendship develops
between two of the main characters, Samaria Jacobs and Angelina
Preston. It’s inconvenient for Samaria because her plan was to get to
know Angelina so she could steal her husband. It’s inconvenient for
Angelina because Samaria is the woman whom the church people frown
upon—too much makeup, too tight clothing, and too short. She’s the type
most women would prefer to see leave.
What is this
An Inconvenient Friend
is the story of two broken women who are fighting over a man. They both
don’t know it. The wife, Angelina, desires to restore a marriage that
has been torn apart by tragedy. Samaria is just a home-wreckin’, man
stealer. Gregory Preston is in the middle of it all, and he’s being
takeaway does this book have?
Interesting question. I think
I’ll let the readers decide. I took away the message of redemption for
the one lost sheep out of the hundred that the Shepherd wants to come
How can you
incorporate a summer sizzle novel into a faith-based story?
Well, I learned recently at the
Faith and Fiction Retreat’s panel about the Anatomy of a Bestseller,
which featured best sellers Kimberla Lawson Roby and ReShonda Tate
Billingsley: Tell the story you want to tell, but be strategic about
it. As for my novel, I lucked out on it. I started writing and it
started sizzling on its own.
Is this story
universal for readers who are not African American? If so, how?
think so. The themes of love, forgiveness, and redemption are common to
us all. I think the long ago lessons about sisterhood among women are
being lost in our “I gotta get mine!” culture. We need to be reminded
that we are our sister’s keeper.
infidelity in our current society becoming the norm?
Another interesting question. I
don’t know. LOL. Seriously, in my opinion it’s the boob tube and all
the promiscuity on television that is permeating our culture.
What is God
trying to say to us?
Through my book? Love one
another, forgive one another, talk to one another. Work at marriage.
about A Woman’s Revenge. Why a novella?
Sherri Lewis, Tiffany Warren,
and I wanted to publish a project together, but a 600-page book would
not sell well. We wanted to cross promote our work in a big way, beyond
Website links and the exchanging of postcards or word of mouth to our
readers. We thought what better way to introduce our readers to each of
us than to write a book together. None of us had ever written a novella
length story, so we decided to give it a try.
Tell us about
A Woman’s Revenge
is a collection of three stories about three women who put three plans
into motion to get revenge against someone who has hurt them. My story,
“A Piece of Revenge,” is about a woman whose husband has run off with a
small fortune that belonged to her and her plan to get her money back.
She’s riding shotgun. Tiffany and Sherri’s stories are different but
along the same lines. All three are quite humorous, which makes it a
great summer read.
What can women
readers gain from this story?
I hope some people will see
themselves. Perhaps not holding a gun but trying to get even. We never
really get even. We just move ourselves farther away from God, and He
is the only one who can really bring us peace when we’ve been hurt.
Tell me about
the genesis of 3 Sisters Books.
It’s a long, super-spiritual
story, but let me just say that Sherri, Tiffany, and I met in the
spirit at the Faith and Fiction Retreat in Destin, Florida, two years
ago. We all felt God telling us to connect with one another, to brand
our work together as a cross-promotion strategy to reach a larger
Why is it
important for authors to find more ways to leverage their readership?
To take more ownership of their brands?
The market is flooded with
offerings, and book sales are down because of the economy. Hence,
readers have more to choose from, but they’re buying fewer books, as
As for their brands, I think
authors have to take ownership of their brands because no one else
will. The publishing house packages and distributes, so the author has
to figure out who he or she is in the bookstore and on social media.
Who is their reader and how do they reach them? I don’t think anyone
who can’t or won’t figure that out will be published for long. Not with
a traditional house, anyway, because gone are the days of bookstores
buying the entire catalogue from a publishing house, and with those
days went the big marketing budgets.
What haven’t I
asked that you would like to say?
You haven’t asked me what my
favorite pick is for the summer: Holy Rollers by
ReShonda Tate Billingsley. I received an advance copy for my blog. I
Use social media to
track book sales by adding Feedjit, an Amazon Associate account, or
Google Analytics stats to your online tours or marketing blitz.