Black Authors Who Changed My Life
Sistah Girls, when I first discovered Black authors, I was elated to find books written by people who looked like me.
And for those readers who always had the benefit of reading about Black love, you are fortunate. Some of you are probably thinking, ‘What are you talking bout, Willis?’ There was a time in the late 70s and early 80s when most romance books featured blonde characters, brunettes, or redheads with deep blue, light blue, or gray eyes.
By the early, to mid-90s there was a shift and more Black authors began publishing love stories. And I was on cloud nine and I began devouring books written by Black authors. Unfortunately, a few of my early favorites passed away in recent years. However, several others continue to thrive today.
Francis Ray wrote about flawed characters and uniquely powerful ones. Although she passed away several years ago, her Falcon/Taggert, Grayson, and Wainwright Series are etched permanently in my heart and soul.
In 1994, Forever Yours, A Taggert/Falcon story, was the first book I read by this author. Over several years, Ray continued to write some of the most compelling stories about characters I could relate to and make a connection with.
She published All That I Desire in November 2013, her final known publication. In 2010, If I Were Your Man was a risqué story for the time, then there was, And Mistress Makes Three; this was another not-so-common theme in that period. Nevertheless, I will forever cherish the way her novels permeated my mind.
Kayla Perrin gave new meaning to steamy stories in 2000 with Getting Even, Getting Some, Getting Lucky, Afternoon Delight, and Playing with Fire. As you can probably glean from the titles, each story was a sexy interlude with lots of horizontal action in each storytelling. But, again, I counted on Ms. Perrin to bring the heat.
Pearl Cleage was famous for being the first Black author to grace Oprah’s Book Club with a book with the most unusual title, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day.
The book opened doors for subsequent Black authors to flex their writing muscles to flourish. In addition, the book allowed readers to see real people living like regular folks who could be our neighbors.
I first fell in love with Maureen Smith’s books when I read No One But You in 2008. Romantic suspense became my go-to genre after reading this book.
The fantastic saga began with Taming the Wolf; others to follow included Recipe For Temptation, Tempt Me at Midnight, Seducing the Wolf, and others. I will forever credit this Smith with bringing energy and sexual prowess to a love story.
She is the headmaster/mistress in this genre.
Adrienne Byrd was my second favorite mystery and suspense author with a humorous side. Unfortunately, Ms. Byrd passed away in 2020.
The first book I read was All I Ever Wanted in 2001; I had to go back and read her earlier materials from 1993, My Only Desire, and 1997 and 1998 Man of the House and Defenseless.
My favorite books were the House of Kings- Kings Passion, Kings Promise, Kings Pleasure, the Hinton books, Feel the Fire and The Beautiful Ones, and the subsequent Hinton Brothers’ books in later years.
Byrd’s books had a comical side along with her romantic element. My absolute favorite was She’s, My Baby. This story is about a baby left in a CEO’s kitchen. The always-in-control Leila requests the help of her also single, handsome neighbor Garrick Grayson to help her figure out what to do with Baby Emma.
The story was laugh aloud, slap my knees funny. Also, read, Measure of a Man for an extra treat and more laughter. Byrd told fabulous stories and gave me hours of enjoyment with each tale she crafted with obsessive delight.
Sistah Girls, Black authors writing about Black love became popular for readers by providing some of the best writing about Black couples loving one another.
Eric Jerome Dickey, Bianca Sloan, Farrah Rochon, Zuri Day, Angie Daniels, and many others followed these pioneers over the years. We all benefited from the efforts and works of these fantastic authors.