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Angela’s latest book, Diva’s Last Curtain Call (great title!)

When did you first get published?

2005

What genre do you write in?

Mystery

What race/colour are the majority of your characters?

African-American

How is your work marketed?

To African-American audiences.

Where are your books generally shelved?

In the black book section.

Where would you prefer your books to be shelved?

In the mystery section.

Have you been subjected to direct/indirect racism from editors, publishers etc in your publishing career.

No.

How do you feel about Oprah Winfrey’s book club- Do you think she could do more to promote AA authors?

I don’t really pay much attention to any of the major book club picks but they all seem to gravitate more towards nonfiction and literature. I’d like to see more commerical fiction featured, period.

Do you believe that publishers are more ambivalent when it comes to marketing AA books?

No. I think publishers are always looking for the next big thing like the next JK Rowling or the next Dan Brown.

Which race groups would you say bought the majority of your books?

African-American

What do you think needs to change in order for more white people to read African American books?

I think many white readers will read a book by a black author if they know about the book. They aren’t going to look in the black book section.

Have you ever been snubbed by white readers/white authors during a signing?

No. But then again I don’t do many signings.

Have you ever been overlooked by an editor in favour of a white author?

No.

Have you ever been asked to tone down, or increase the ethnicity within your books?

No.

Are you familiar with Millennia Black’s lawsuit against Penguin? If so, what do you think her chances of winning are?

Yes. I’ve heard of the lawsuit but I’m not that familiar with all the details.

How do you think her victory will affect the way AA authors are treated within the industry?

I’m not sure.

What are your thoughts on niche marketing? What do you think the limitations are if any?

Niche marketing is fine for an author who is just starting out but I think it can hurt an author who is trying to to broaden their audience.

Have you been personally involved in trying to bring about changes within the publishing industry, with regards to how African American authors are treated? If so can you tell me about your efforts?

Not personally, no. But I do have a website Mystnoir.com that features AA mystery authors and characters, since our mysteries don’t get a lot of mainstream attention.

Do you think this will still be a controversial subject in five years time, or do you think major changes would have been made by then?

I certainly hope things will be different five years from now but they’ll probably just be another issue to deal with.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Thank you for letting me participate ; ).

If you want to know a little bit more about Angela and her books, you can find her website here.

Coming up next, Gwyneth Bolton.

14 Comments »


  • Kate R
    March 18
    1:12 pm

    which takes more of your time/effort in your books, the mystery or the romance?

    and if you had to decide between being shelved in the mystery (or suspense) shelves and the romance area, which would you pick?

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  • Kate R
    March 18
    1:13 pm

    KAREN. damn my laptop really loves your site. First it keeps dragging me over here and then it makes me double post.

    SORRY.

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  • avidbookreader
    March 18
    2:19 pm

    Another comment is that this gives me a chance to check out some of these titles & authors, I love mysteries and will have to get this one, thanks.—keishon

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  • Sandra Schwab
    March 18
    6:03 pm

    Diva’s Last Curtain Call (great title!)

    Not only great title — great cover, too! 🙂

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  • katieM
    March 18
    6:31 pm

    I’ve read her other two books, The Company You Keep and Tangled Roots. They are excellent and I’m so excited about the next book that I check her site and Amazon everyday looking for it. The writing is well done, the characters are thoroughly fleshed out, and the mystery is really interesting. I think her books are more mystery than romance, though there is a nice romantic angle developing within the series.

    I found her first book through the Essence Books website. It wasn’t shelved with the mysteries at my local Borders; it was in the AA section. How wide would her audience be if it had been shelved with the other mysteries? Valerie Wilson Wesley’s books are shelved in the mystery section. I’ve been reading her for years. I see people of all races buying VWW’s books. If Angela Henry’s books were in the mystery section, I would have found her book in 2005 when it was first published, not 2007 – two years after it was published. How many other readers has AH missed out on because of shelving? Then again, I’ve started complaining about shelving so if enough join in, then hopefully she’ll get a bigger audience.

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  • Kate R
    March 18
    7:59 pm

    Ha! I can’t well enough alone and started talking about this subject on my various loops and what not. A lot of the women (and I think we’re mostly not AA, but the subject hasn’t come up) are annoyed by the separate shelving.

    Someone complained that she heard Ann Christopher was good and had a book out this month. She couldn’t find it. She just figured they’d already sold out of copies and was going to leave.

    It’s a good thing on her way out the store she asked at the cash register because that store had a small AA section tucked in a corner. I don’t think my friend even knew the imprint (Kimani) just that Christopher is good H/S writer. (I think it was from RT and she didn’t read the review? Only saw it was a Top Pick?)

    If your new readers can’t find you, it’s a problem.

    I wonder if publishers try to address the placement thing with booksellers. I know they pay more for cap positions and special displays. . .

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  • katieM
    March 18
    10:08 pm

    See! How many readers do authors miss out on because of shelving? Do they get more readers back in that little dark corner than they would out in the open where their actual genre is located? You can’t prove that the corner is better. When I go to the bookstore, all the Black are not clustered around the AA section. Most don’t even know it exists.

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  • Wendy
    March 19
    1:18 am

    Personally speaking, if I have to hunt and peck too much I get annoyed and just say, “Well bugger it, I’ll order from Amazon.”

    When I saw you were posting Henry’s survey next I hit her web site – dang her series sounds good! And I’d never heard of her (and I adore mysteries). Another example of how niche marketing can bite you in the butt.

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  • sallahdog
    March 19
    2:15 am

    OOOOhhhh… I love mysteries.. and one without cutsey old ladies or cats solving the crime…

    One good thing about ordering these books off Amazon, is that I am getting a whole new slew of reccomendations coming my way. It makes it easier to shop for new authors.. (I am sad to say it, but I think I am vampired out… I never thought the day would come..shakes head at an end of an era)

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  • Devon
    March 19
    1:35 pm

    I used to read a ton of mysteries, but I kind of abandoned them for romance. These look like my favorite kind of mystery: younger female amatuer sleuth, small town setting, dash of romance. Actually, I’ve noticed that there’s an upswing in mysteries like these. I was getting sick of old ladies.

    I’m putting this on my list.

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  • Sandra Schwab
    March 20
    9:15 am

    Someone complained that she heard Ann Christopher was good and had a book out this month.

    Just About Sex — and it’s a great book! Very funny, but also very touching and emotional.

    I’m a bit puzzled, though, why the guy on the cover is as bald as an egg.

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  • TheVixenne
    March 20
    10:31 pm

    I just ordered the first two books of this series from both Amazon and B&N.com. Thanks much to Karen for having such a cool blog, but more importantly, thanks for getting involved. It’s horrible that when I go to the bookstore looking for something to read, I seldom find anything awesome anymore–and honestly, I haven’t seen your books in either the AA section nor in mystery.

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  • Angela Henry
    March 21
    1:50 pm

    Hi, Guys!

    I just wanted to thank those of you who’ve read and enjoyed the books, and are recommending them to others, for all your kind words. You’re the ones who keep me writing when I’m having a bad day ; ).

    For those of you who are new to the series and have ordered the books, THANK YOU! I really hope you enjoy Kendra’s adventures. I truly appreciate Karen taking the time to conduct the survey and for posting the results.

    Take care!

    Angela Henry

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  • Sara Dennis
    March 21
    2:51 pm

    I just realized last night, going through my TBR mountain, that I’d ordered The Company You Keep some time back. Now there’s a cool surprise. 🙂

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