by Carleen Brice
Connie Briscoe, author of the new novel Money Can't Buy Love. Connie's bio from her website:
I have had seven novels, one novella, and one nonfiction book published. My first novel, Sisters and Lovers, sold more than 100,000 hardcover copies and about 500,000 copies in paperback. I still pinch myself about that. My work has appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. Also pinch-worthy. A Long Way From Home, the story of my ancestors, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. My nonfiction title Jewels, a photo-essay book featuring luminaries such as actress Ruby Dee and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, was coauthored with photographer Michael Cunningham. The collection of novellas was coauthored with Lolita Files and Anita Bunkley. Both of these were welcome changes from what I usually write. I’m currently living in Maryland with my family and trying to keep up with this brave, new publishing world.
**Tell us about your latest book. What’s it about?
Money Can’t Buy Love is the story of Lenora Stone, a thirty-eight-year-old photographer for the fictional Baltimore Scene magazine. She loves her job but is poor at managing her money. She can barely make the mortgage payments on her condo, and her clunker of a car, which she can’t afford to replace, could die on her at any moment. Even things with her boyfriend Gerald aren’t right. They've been together for three years and Lenora wants to take the relationship to the next level, but he isn’t ready to pop the question.
Then Lenora’s luck changes dramatically. Just when she thinks things can't get worse, she wins the jackpot in the Maryland lottery and meets the man of her dreams. She thinks her world has changed for the better. But has it? Or will she learn that fortune can come with a heavy price?
**What inspired this story? Have you ever won any money?
Given the current tough economic climate I asked myself: what might an insecure woman do—and many of us are insecure at times or in certain situations--if she suddenly won millions of dollars and met her ideal man? Would she smarten up, gain more confidence and go on to live a good life? Or would she blow it all?
As for me, the most money I have ever won was a few hundred dollars many years ago.
**What was the process of writing this novel like compared to your previous books?
Writing Money Can’t Buy Love was different because the main character Lenora is not like any of my previous main characters. She’s not beautiful in the traditional sense and struggles with her weight. She lacks poise and confidence. She’s vulnerable, like so many of us were when we were in our thirties.
**As a writer, what’s the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to you?
That’s easy. Hooking up with a wonderful agent from the beginning. We’ve been together since 1993, just before my first novel was published. And I honestly believe she’s one of the reasons I’ve endured through all the ups and downs in this crazy business. [Full disclosure, Connie and I have the same agent.]
**How would you define "hitting the jackpot" in your own life?
Writing a novel that sells a million copies. To me, that would be better than winning a lot of money because it would mean that I had done something to earn it.
**Last time I chatted with you on my blog White Readers Meet Black Authors, you were talking about looking into real estate as a side career. Is that still something you’re doing? If not, what’s next for you, especially writing-wise?
My sister and I inherited a couple of houses and we fixed them up and sold them. It was fun, and we’ve talked about buying property to flip. At this point, it’s just been talk. Writing is still my the focus of my career.
**What have you read lately that you recommend?
Right now I’m actually reading a book about social media, just trying to keep up with all the exciting changes around me.
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