Monday, January 2, 2012
Sinners and Saints -- eight days until the battle of the first ladies.
Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley created two iconic characters in Jasmine Larson Bush and Rachel Jackson Adams. Both women are first ladies in their husbands' churches and they have not so squeaky clean pasts.
They had to meet, right?
Jasmine Larson Bush and Rachel Jackson Adams are not your typical first ladies. But they’ve overcome their scandalous and drama-filled pasts to stand firmly by their husbands’ sides.
When a coveted position opens up—president of the American Baptist Coalition— both women think their husbands are perfect for the job. And winning the position may require both women to get down and dirty and revert to their old tricks. Just when Jasmine and Rachel think they’re going to have to fight to the finish, the current first lady of the coalition steps in . . . a woman bigger, badder, and more devious than either of them.
Murray and Billingsley recently spoke to me about the release of their new novel.
"First week sales are really important," said Murray. (In other words, order this book or get your booty in the store and buy it.)
Especially since the idea to write about Jasmine and Rachel had been brewing for years. Billingsley said a few years ago, her publisher said "it would be a great idea for Victoria and I to write a book together."
"She didn't come up with the idea of our characters meeting, but she thought since we wrote so similar it would be great for us to write a book together. And we just thought, naturally, that it would be great for Rachel to beat down Jasmine," she said.
"And it just didn't work out that way," Murray interjected. "This was in 2006, 2007, that's how long it took to get the whole thing together. People think you can jump in and just write books and get deals. This was at a 2007 BEA (Book Expo America) when Louise Burke told me that she'd talked to ReShonda."
For the authors, putting Jasmine and Rachel together was a perfect fit. Not because they're already fan favorites, but according to Murray, they're just so opposite in who they are.
"Readers resonate with both of them because they can see themselves (in the characters) both the good and the bad," Billingsley said. "It's like one of those reality shows and you see them getting in all the trouble, but you keep watching and rooting for the person causing the most trouble. Well, in most cases -- except for NeNe. They're the girls you love to hate."
"They're just perfect," Murray said. "You have the north versus the south, you have the age (Jasmine's the older first lady) and Jasmine's so bougie. Rachel is like, 'yeah, I can get the same thing you get at Marshall's."
So, are you ready to see who gets beat down and who comes out on top? Pick up Sinners and Saints when it drops on Jan.10 -- unless you're happy with Snooki from Jersey Shore being an New York Times bestselling author.