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Billingsley, ReShonda Tate 1969(?)–

Billingsley, ReShonda Tate 1969(?)–

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1969; married; children: three. Education: University of Texas at Austin, B.A., 1991.

ADDRESSES:

Home— TX. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, publisher. Worked variously as a teacher for Langston University and a reporter for the National Enquirer; previously worked for KRIV Fox 26 News, Houston, TX, as a reporter; founder of Paradigm Publishing, Oklahoma City, OK.

MEMBER:

National Association of Black Journalists, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Best New Author, Black Writer's Alliance; five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition; Best Christian Fiction book of 2004,Library Journal, for Let the Church Say Amen; Texas Executive Woman on the Move, 2006.

WRITINGS:

My Brother's Keeper: A Novel, Paradigm Publishing (Oklahoma City, OK), 2001, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Let the Church Say Amen, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.

(With others)Four Degrees of Heat, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Help! I've Turned into My Mother, Strebor Books (Largo, MD), 2005.

I Know I've Been Changed, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Nothing but Drama, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2006.

(With others)Have a Little Faith, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Blessings in Disguise, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Everybody Say Amen, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The Pastor's Wife, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2007.

With Friends Like These, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Getting Even: Good Girlz,(young adult), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Can I Get a Witness?, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Fair-Weather Friends, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Also author of the blog,My World.

SIDELIGHTS:

ReShonda Tate Billingsley is a nationally known, best-selling author who proves that determination is a vital trait for a writer. A born storyteller, she wrote from a young age, always intent on getting her work published. When she found herself unable to sell her first book, she let her imagination and drive take over and started her own publishing company, Paradigm Publishing, in her home state of Oklahoma. Billingsley then went on to publish her book My Brother's Keeper: A Novel. Despite her freshman status in the publishing world, Billingsley managed to break out with her first effort, garnering the attention of a major literary agent who was able to sell the novel to Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. That first effort was the start of a long, successful relationship with Simon & Schuster, who went on to publish the majority of Billingsley's work going forward. Several of the books have hit major national best-seller lists, and Billingsley herself has won several awards for her journalism and other writing, including Best New Author, from the Black Writer's Alliance. She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition and was awarded the prize for Best Christian Fiction book of 2004, for Let the Church Say Amen, from Library Journal. In 2006 she was named Texas Executive Woman on the Move. Billingsley's writing takes up so much of her time that she finally chose to leave her job working for KRIV, Fox 26, in Houston, Texas, so that she could write on a full-time basis.

My Brother's Keeper tells the story of what happens to the James family when the father loses his job and with it his sense of self, an event that leads him to seek solace in alcohol and to abuse his wife physically. When the situation escalates to such a serious point that two of the three children risk intervening, the story takes a twist, following the results of that fateful night, and how the third child's refusal to take action reverberates through their relationships moving forward. A reviewer for the Absolute Write Web site observed: "Billingsley does a wonderful job of teaching us the pitfalls of harboring hatred and anger. She immediately pulls you in from the very first page and holds you captive until the end."

In Let the Church Say Amen, Billingsley tells the story of the respected Reverend Simon Jackson, the leader of an influential church in Houston, who has contributed much time and effort to building up his parish to the detriment of his family relationships. His daughter has two children at only nineteen, each by a different father, and his son has developed a drug addiction after an injury forces him to retire from playing football. Simon's other son, who seems to have his life in order and is following in his father's footsteps, has a secret of his own, and wife Loretta is struggling to hold the family together in Simon's absence. Tamara Butler, reviewing for Library Journal, remarked that "Billingsley infuses her text with just the right dose of humor to balance the novel's serious events."

I Know I've Been Changed recounts the experiences of a young Arkansas-born reporter who becomes successful when she moves to Houston and earns a coveted news anchor position. Only when her family comes to visit does she realize just what it was she left behind and the true value of family and friends who love you for who you are rather than what you do. Tee C. Royal, reviewing for Romantic Times Online, called Billingsley's effort "a remarkably well-written book."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, September 1, 2004, Tamara Butler, review of Let the Church Say Amen, p. 130; September 1, 2004, "ReShonda Tate Billingsley," p. 132; February 1, 2006, Tamara Butler, review of I Know I've Been Changed, p. 62.

ONLINE

Absolute Write Web site,http://www.absolutewrite.com/ (November 11, 2007), review of My Brother's Keeper: A Novel.

Fantastic Fiction Web site,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (November 11, 2007), author profile.

ReShonda Tate Billingsley Home Page,http://www.reshondatatebillingsley.com (November 11, 2007).

ReShonda Tate Billingsley MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/reshonda_tate_billingsley (November 11, 2007).

Romantic Times Online,http://romantictimes.com/ (November 11, 2007), Dee Y. Stewart, review of Everybody Say Amen; Tee C. Royal, review of I Know I've Been Changed.

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