Welcome to the new and improved "Tananarive Due Readers' Circle." I apologize to those of you who joined my former AOL Group who have had trouble sending and receiving messages in the past...but we have now arrived in a new era!
I am christening my brand new blog to tell you about a project I am VERY excited about--my first mystery novel, Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel. But that's not where the excitement ends: This novel is a three-way collaboration between me, actor/director Blair Underwood and my husband, Steven Barnes. It's a taste of Hollywood on your bookshelf!
Casanegra will be published in July, and the buzz is already beginning. Here are a few highlights:
** Casanegra is the July pick for the Essence Book Club.
** Publishers Weekly called Casanegra "seamlessly entertaining."
** A video interview with the three of us will soon be posted on YouTube.
** New York Times bestselling author E. Lynn Harris writes: "Casanegra is a wild ride through Hollywood, heart-pounding in every way. Smooth, ultra-sexy Tennyson Hardwick is a man readers will want to meet up close. He is all heart and danger, a knight in battered armor. You will love this novel!"
What's it about?
Here's the jacket copy: "Casanegra follows the adventures of Tennyson Hardwick, a gorgeous, sexy actor and former gigolo, living on the fringes of the good life in Hollywood. This story, which chronicles the redemption of a prodigal son, combines the glamour of Hollywood with the seedy hopelessness of the inner city.
"In this hot and steamy mystery, Tennyson struggles to hang on to his acting career and redeem his sex-for-pay history, which estranged him from his family--especially his father, a decorated LAPD captain who raised Tennyson to call him 'sir.' Now, in the wake of his father's sudden stroke, Tennyson has to save himself from taking the fall for the first murder of a female rapper. In the process, he discovers his hidden talents--the hard way.
"Golden Globe-nominated actor and author of Before I Got Here, Blair Underwood joins bestselling novelists Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes to create a cool, irresistible character in Tennyson Hardwick. This gritty, provocative mystery will keep readers craving more."
Why a collaboration?
Casanegra is a brand new experience for all three of us, something none of us as individuals would have written on our own. I have known Blair for many years, since he optioned my novel My Soul to Keep and helped set it up at Fox Searchlight studios, where it is still at the script stage. The idea of a collaboration came up in our ongoing conversations. Steve and I moved to Southern California two years ago to have a more direct role in shepherding our books to films, and we consider Casanegra to be our first "co-production." It is a book written to be a movie, complete with an actor as the star. It is an utterly unique project.
There is no supernatural element in Casanegra, which is what my writing is best known for, but the book has enough suspense that I don't believe my readers will be disappointed. As in all of my work, there is a serious message beneath the entertainment: namely, the violence that plagues rap music and LAPD corruption linked to rappers. This mystery series is designed to take news from real-life headlines and fictionalize it in Tennyson Hardwick's world, all of it packaged under classic movie titles. It was great fun to write!
Are you still writing solo novels?
Absolutely! I am currently writing a sequel to my novels My Soul to Keep and The Living Blood, entitled The Colony, which will be published by Atria Books in 2008. Thank you so much for your patience, but I wanted to get it right! The Colony is set in the near-future, following the adventures of my African immortals, especially 17-year-old Fana. I will update you when I know more about the publication date.
Once again, welcome to my blog. If you want to email me, please write to me at TheLivingBlood@aol.com. I can't always respond right away, but I look forward to hearing from you!