Join us as we chat with Tina Brooks McKinney, The Reigning Queen of Drama and Sexy Ebony BBW African American Book Club's October Featured Author. Sit back as Tina talks about her literary journey and her new book Deep Deception. And don't forget to visit the Sexy Ebony BBW African American Book Club website for a chance to win a copy of Deep Deception.
SE Book Club: Tell us about yourself?
Tina Brooks McKinney: Well, I’m a mother of two wonderful children, a wife to a fantastic husband, and child of Ivor and Luetta Brooks who have been married for over fifty years. I try to juggle working a full time job, this family thang and this thing I do on the side, writing. I am also a host to a radio show where I interview other authors both new and old. I absolutely love books and I love to talk about them.
SE Book Club: How long have you been writing? What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time?
Tina Brooks McKinney: I've written since as far back as I can remember. My first piece was a poem about my dad LOL, my mother still has it for black mail. I called him a big black grizzly bear! (He had just whipped my behind.)
I started my first book back in the late nineties while I was going through a messy divorce. My ex stole those tablets that I had written thinking he could use them against me in our divorce. He assumed what I wrote was the truth, silly him. That was the original version of All That Drama, I had to start all over back in 2002.
I used to come to work and read to my co-worker or tell her stories of what my ex did. She said I should write a book and that planted the seed.
SE Book Club: Tell us a little about your literary journey from All That Drama to Deep Deception. You have come so far. How does it feel to be a well known best selling author with 5 books under your belt?
Tina Brooks McKinney: Nothing I ever dreamed of could have prepared me for this roller coaster ride. Most days, I can’t believe I wrote one book let alone five. It doesn't hit me until I see someone reading my book on the train or at the library and I swell with pride. I am so humbled by the love and support that I get from my fans and the emails keep me going. I can’t tell you how many times I've said I was going to quit. Then I get an email that brings me to tears thanking me for telling their story or making them laugh.
Currently I am working on my next novel called Snapped. I’m at the half way point and I've got to get more focused and finish it before my tour begins.
SE Book Club: How did you get your first publishing deal?
Tina Brooks McKinney: I lucked up, there is no other way to explain it. Before I’d even finished All That Drama, I sent an email to Zane (who I’d known from over the Internet in one of the Internet groups) and asked her if she read submissions from Joe Blow Public. At the time I didn't know she was a publisher, I just wanted her opinion. She answered and said when the book was finished send her the synopsis (I had no clue what that was) and the first three chapters. I did it and the rest is history.
SE Book Club: Tell us the story behind Dubious. Why did you decided to self-publish Dubious via Taboo Publishing? How was your experience holding the dual role of writer and publisher. Do you plan on releasing more books under Taboo Publishing?
Tina Brooks McKinney: Dubious started in my mind while at the African braiding salon. Three chicks were working me over, they had a sista’s weave so tight I could not close my eyes. A man came in and stood behind me, he was the only person in the shop that spoke a semblance of English so I listened to him. He still had a French accent but I could understand him. He spoke about this huge dog he saw that stood as tall as a man. From there the story was born.
When I first pitched the idea to my publisher they said I would make a million so I finished the book. However it does cover a touchy subject that I don’t want to give away and they did not want to publish it even though they said it was my best book. So I was left with scrapping the book or putting it out myself. That’s when I decided to create my own publishing company Taboo Publishing.
Right now I am the only title on Taboo but I do intend to publish other titles. But I don’t want the typical novels. I want Taboo to be a show case for books that push the envelope. Books that talk about things that are happening in the world that no one wants to acknowledge. You know … the white elephant in the room type of thing.
My biggest problem is time. I like putting things together myself but there is so much to learn. I relied on someone else to do my typesetting but I need to know how to do that myself. I’m learning but again that takes time. When I’m confident that I can do that like second nature and not spend weeks working on one project, I’ll open the doors to others.
SE Book Club: Tell us about your most recent release Deep Deception? How is this book different from the novels you have out so far?
Tina Brooks McKinney: Deep Deception is a story of betrayal to the tenth power. When I first submitted it to my editor he couldn't believe I wrote it because it is so different from my other books. It still brings the drama but it’s the mystery more than anything. Deep Deception is my first novel that is completely fabricated. In my other works, I drew on real life experiences and people – in Deep Deception I let my mind run free and I hope you will enjoy the ride especially the jaw dropping ending.
SE Book Club: What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors?
Tina Brooks McKinney: I’m reading several novels at this present time. I’m reading Sinning in My Bed by Pat G’Orge-Walker (for my radio show), The Eyes of March by Gregory Townes (a manuscript) and How to Adapt Anything Into a Screenplay (my next venture).
My favorite authors, lawd that is a very long list but to name a few, Mary Monroe, Allison Hobbs, Carl Weber, Moses Miller, Gregory Townes, umph you trying to get me into trouble so I’m going to stop LOL.
SE Book Club: Do you have any public appearances in the near future?
Tina Brooks McKinney: I’m at a down point right now because I’m gearing up for the release of Deep Deception scheduled for early November. I am however doing a Screen Writing Event in Atlanta where I will be one of two featured authors. Myself and Lee Hayes. Details will be on my website shortly. I’m also doing an event called Books & Brunch which is also posted on my tour page.
SE Book Club: How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website?
Tina Brooks McKinney: I’m so accessible. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (that’s my prime email account that I check every day.) My website is http://www.tinamckinney.com/ and also http://www.taboopublishing.com/. I’m also on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter just do a search for Tina McKinney. Also, make sure you check out my blog talk radio show on Tuesday night to learn about some exciting books. www.blogtalkradio.com/tinamckinney.
SE Book Club: What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you?
Tina Brooks McKinney: I write from my heart about real life situations. People sometimes say that I am blunt and to the point. That’s how my characters talk, saying things that you think in your head but have enough sense to keep in your mouth. I’m beginning to think my characters are sneaking to work with me LOL. I’m going to have to put them in time out before I get in trouble.
SE Book Club: If you could tell one thing to every aspiring writer what would it be?
Tina Brooks McKinney: Be careful of whom you trust. This is a ruthless industry. I’m keeping it real when I say that. There are many of us out here that legitimately want to help you but there are others that just want to use you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and listen to the answers. Don’t just hear what you want to hear, hear what is actually being said.