Meesha Mink loves urban fiction. That diverse and interesting genre that ranges from stories about hustlers to stories about hip-hop, from romance to 'round the way girls, urban fiction is a genre as broad as the people that it represents. While the stories, in quality and quanity of books sold, may vary; one thing remains the same, the setting of urban city centers filled with predominately black and brown people whose stories beg to be told.
A Newark native, who also publishes under her given name, Meesha Mink made her debut in 2008 as the co-author of the bestselling Hoodwives series with De'Nesha Diamond. Her own trilogy, the Real Wifeys series tell the tales of strong female characters who overcome obstacles while standing by or getting over the men that they love. Her newest novel, Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard tells the story of Sophie "Suga" Alvarez, a college educated half-black and Puerto Rican sistah who is involved with a man who runs an underground gambling house and who has the Feds, the streets, and his own conscience on his tail.
AllHipHop.com talked to Meesha about hip-hop, where she gets her inspiration, and which of her characters she wishes she could meet in real life.
AllHipHop.com: Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?
Meesha Mink: I definitely am inspired by everyday life but a lot of the time I try to create characters that are recognizable and memorable. I want the readers to say, "I'm just like that character" or "I know someone who is just like that character". It could be pure imagination or a combo of several characteristics I may encounter in people. Mainly it's all my own creation because everything about the character (from physical characteristics to something as odd as biting their fingernails) helps to create all of the many layers to a story.
Who are you favorite hip-hop artists?
Hip-hop is such an integral part of my Meesha Mink books. Whether I use rap lyrics to lead off a chapter, come up with a title, or just to vibe to while I am writing, I am completely for the affinity between hip-hop and urban fiction books. In my newest book, Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard, each section of the book is kicked off with lyrics from hip-hop songs centered on hustling (Ace Hood's "Hustle Hard", 50 Cent's "Hustler Ambition", and both of Jay-Z's "No Hook" and "Can't Knock the Hustle"). Besides loving Biggie, Nas, and Jay-Z (just to name a few) and anything old school, I am all in for some newbies like 2 Chainz and Meek Mill. I love the classic rap/R&B collabo. Right now I am loving Meek Mill and Mary J. Blige's "Who You're Around". Love it. It can't touch Method Man and Mary's "All I Need" but it’s definitely on repeat for me right now.
Which of your characters do you wish was a real person you could meet?
If I had to pick from the three women (Goldie, Luscious, and Suga) of the Real Wifeys trilogy, I would pick Suga because she's the most like me. College educated but still having common sense and street smarts. I also write fiction under my real name, Niobia Bryant, and like my books there are both similarities and differences between presenting you Niobia and presenting you Meesha. Depending on how I am approached and/or the setting you may get the college educated women or the chick who will go hard in less than ten seconds. It's a thin line between Niobia and Meesha and the same went for Suga aka Sophie.
Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard is in stores now. Follow Niobia Bryant/Meesha Mink on Twitter @INFINITEink