Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Exposed Conversations w/ Naleigna Kai
What made you get into writing?
I didn’t grow up saying I wanted to be an author. One day I was in the MS Network playing spades and met a guy who at first sent me poetry, then it was erotic poetry, then it was an erotic short story saying the wonderful things he wanted to do to me. I sent back ten pages detailing all the points he was missing. I used the stories I penned to him on the internet as chapters 16-22 of my first self-published novel, More Than Enough. My minister encouraged me to continue writing, detailing the sexual abuse that I experienced at the hands of my father. Those counseling sessions with her ended up being the basis for my second novel, She Touched My Soul. I’ve been writing steadily ever since.
What made you want to write a novel called, Every Woman Needs a Wife?
Every Woman Needs a Wife is a book I threw together at the last minute trying to get a book deal at Book Expo America 2005. Tee C. Royal was the first editor and it was her observation of the cover that changed one of the characters from Black to White. I wrote it in a night club, four Fridays in a row from 8 p.m to 6:00 a.m., (my brother was the DJ at the time). The book stemmed from a conversation with a friend, and later a short story that I wrote to grab the attention of an audience attending the African American Book Club Summit. I self-published Every Woman Needs a Wife, gave away free copies at BEA and gained the interest of two publishers. I went with an imprint of Simon & Schuster as they offered a contract to me and my son, (NAACP Image Award Nominee, J. L. Woodson, www.jlwoodson.com, on the same day (they were faxed to the hotel during the RAWSISTAZ Affair 2005. I knew it was an opportunity to promote both of us at the same time and the gamble paid off.
Do you have any other novels coming out soon?
The Pleasure’s All Mine, a spin-off of Every Woman Needs a Wife, comes out in April 2010. I’m excited about this piece as it is a lighter, funnier, more fast-paced read. I’m re-releasing She Touched My Soul later this year. It will be the 10th anniversary of the release for this novel. Folks can visit www.naleighnakai.com and join the mailing list so they can get updates.
What projects are you currently working on?
Well, that’s a loaded question! I’m writing Slaves of Heaven and should be finished by the end of February. I have three novels in different stages of the editing process right now--The Pleasure’s All Mine and She Touched My Soul are both with a final proofreader; Wife-in-Law is with a developmental editor.
When you’re not writing, what are you up to?
I’m marketing and promoting my work or other authors. I have clients listed with my company, Macro Marketing & Promotions Group (www.macrompg.com). I also work for a major law firm and I’m a developmental editor and ghostwriter with several projects on board right now.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a published author?
Meeting so many wonderful people, and having the opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors like L.A. Banks, Brenda Jackson, Iris Johansen, Jackie Collins, James Patterson, Rochelle Alers, Beverly Jenkins, E. Lynn Harris and so many others. I think the crowning moment to date was hitting the Essence Best-seller’s list, then the Black Expressions Bestsellers list; or when I walked the red carpet with my son in Los Angeles for the NAACP Image Awards.
What advice would you give up and coming authors?
Self-publish, learn the industry, set some goals, build a name, then spread your wings. The people mentioned in this article inspired me to follow in their footsteps...I'm happy that I self-published first as it allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow. Self-publishing venues have made it easy for authors to get a book into print and into the hands of avid readers. There are a great deal of authors who started on that path and eventually swept into a lane which put them on the New York Times Best-seller's list.
Case-in-point, the Romancing the Stone series written by Catherine Lanigan writing as Joan Wilder, was on the NY Times for several weeks, then eventually made into a movie. Robert T. Kiyosaki was turned down by several major houses before he published his own book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, then hit it big on the NY Times list. Louise L. Hay's self-published book, You Can Heal Your Life, was on the NY Times list for thirteen consecutive weeks. She went on to publish other powerhouses such as Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Suze Orman, Doreen Virtue, Sandra Brown, Tavis Smiley and many others. And it goes to show that what's in, what's popular, what's perfect to publish with major houses is subjective. So do not give up. Even John Grisham’s A Time to Kill was rejected by several major houses before The Firm was eventually picked up. Then they went back to publish A Time to Kill, which in my estimation, was his best work (and a great movie, too!).
Every Woman Needs a Wife by Naleighna Kai
“Wild...an awesome ride! After reading Every Woman Needs a Wife, I knew I needed one too!”
---L.A. Banks, New York Times Best-selling author
“What Naleighna Kai has done with this book--this story line--is create a work of imaginary genius.”
---Zane, New York Times Best-selling author
“Outrageously funny and entertaining! The clever story is one that will have most women thinking...what if?”
---Mary B. Morrison, New York Times Best-selling author
“An implausible premise evolves into a fascinating story. Kai has penned a novel that plumbs the emotions of three people caught up in an all-too-common triangle.”
Evelyn Palfrey, national best selling author of Three Perfect Men
“Simply marvelous! An original story which takes a different approach on a subject that strikes a chord with all women. Definitely a novel that book clubs will be talking about for years to come. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.”
--Ella Houston, The Book Lovers Club, Chicago
“Kai has given an original twist to an age-old problem that shows the many dynamics of marriage and what one must do to get over the betrayal. It also shows that it is possible to heal from past wrongs.’
---Nina Lewis, RAWSistaz Guest Reviewer
“Every Woman Needs a Wife is an ingenuously crafted novel from Naleighna Kai which is more than a catchy title with over the top drama; it is a plausible storyline with an inspiring and empowering message for all women who have ever felt they were less than a woman if they did not have a man in their life. Naleighna Kai has created a compelling read with unforgettable characters and sub-plots. If you are looking for a contemporary fiction relationship novel to enjoy with a cold glass of lemonade or sweet tea on a warm, summer day, then check out Kai's latest novel.”
--Yasmin, APOOO Book Club
Naleighna Kai, a Chicago native, is the author of the national best-selling novel, Every Woman Needs a Wife, coauthor of Speak it into Existence and a contributing author to a New York Times Best-seller. Naleighna started writing in December of 1999, self-publishing her first three novels before landing a deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster. She is the mother of, J. L. Woodson, NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literature (Superwoman’s Child: Son of a Single Mother). Every Woman Needs a Wife is currently required reading for Indiana University’s Women and Gender Studies Course and has received rave reviews and awards across the nation. Naleighna is currently working on a new project: Wife-in-Law and the next novel, The Pleasure’s All Mine is set to release April 2010.
contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 888.854.8823
Purchase the book at Amazon.com
it's under the name of Naleighna Kai