Dee Stewart

A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner of DeeGospel PR (,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.

Multicultural Fiction

Summer Inspired Book Fun

Victoria Christopher MurrayThe best way to kick off adult summer reading is to get inspired. What better way to do that than chatting with best-selling inspirational drama author Victoria Christopher Murray. She is the author of nine Essence best-selling novels, including The Ex Files; Too Little, Too Late; and Lady Jasmine. She is also the author of the DIVA teen series, winner of the African American Literary Award for Fiction, and Author of the Year. Her newest novel, Destiny Divas (Touchstone), releases this month.

What was your inspiration behindDestiny Divas?

I had this idea back in 2002. Kim Roby and I were driving to Iowa and I told her just the germ of the idea. I wanted to write a story about people who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. So we talked about it for a while and worked through the plot. But still, the story hadn’t “matured” in my heart until last year.

State the synopsis in fourteen words or less.

Destiny’s Divas is about three evangelists who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

While writing this novel what interesting things did you learn about our current gospel music climate that you decided to include in the novel?

Actually, I didn’t learn anything. I did speak to a couple of popular gospel singers, but I didn’t learn anything new . . . or juicy! :-) I just asked about touring and how that worked.

What is the spiritual takeaway of the novel?

You know, when I write novels, I don’t sit down and plan the spiritual message. Truly, I just write the book, and the message shows up. I don’t know how that happens, but it always works out. In this novel, I think different people will receive different messages, but some of the messages are quite simple. One is that God will not always fix your mess. If you know what you’re doing is wrong, when you get in trouble, God’s not always going to work it out. Another message is that the truth will always come out, and last, whatever is done in the dark will come to the light.

What would you want readers to experience from this novel?

The first thing I want readers to experience is fun! When I write, I write first to bring enjoyment to readers because no one will receive a message if no one wants to read the book. After that, I hope people get whatever message they need at that point in their lives. I have truly found that God meets people on the pages on all of our books. He gives readers what they need. He’s just using our fingers.

Your novels are suspenseful and contemporary. What advice would you give on writing compelling and relevant fiction?

That’s a nice thing to say. I would advise new writers to study everything contemporary. Of course, authors must read! I read about fifty books a year, and once I month, I choose a book that’s on the NYT list. Also, watch popular (but not stupid!) television shows. Some shows have amazing writers. I’ve watched shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and now Scandal for the writing. And another place: the news! There is no better place to find out about what’s going on than the news. Authors have to be aware of everything that is going on around them.

Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked?

Two things: In this market, it’s important for readers to support authors they enjoy—especially during the first week of a book’s release. And everyone can read the first chapter of Destiny’s Divas on my website at

Destiny DivasMore about Destiny Divas:

Sierra, Raine, and Liza are Destiny’s Divas, a fresh, new gospel group whose unique blend of singing and testifying has gained them fans across the country. They tell the world about how good God has been to them, but off stage, each member is living a life totally opposite to what she preaches—and each is harboring a secret that could ruin them all.

Twenty-something Sierra Dixon speaks about the joy of being single and celibate, though she is anything but, drifting from one relationship to another. Although she stresses the importance of unconditional love within the family, Raine Omari has hit her breaking point with her mother-in-law and is ready to take drastic steps. And when Liza Washington discovers that her pastor-husband is in the middle of a scandal that could bring down more than just their ministry, she knows she must do something to stop him. One fateful evening their secrets are exposed, and one diva commits an act that could land her in prison for the rest of her life. Each has motive—who will crack?