Griffin, Bettye (Bettye-Lynn Griffin)

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Griffin, Bettye (Bettye-Lynn Griffin)

PERSONAL:

Female.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Gurnee, IL. Office—P.O. Box 9171, Gurnee, IL 60031. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Medical transcriptionist.

WRITINGS:

At Long Last Love, Kensington (New York, NY), 1999.

A Love of Her Own, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 1999.

Prelude to a Kiss, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2001.

Love Affair, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2001.

From This Day Forward, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2002.

Closer Than Close, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2003.

Straight to the Heart, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2004.

The People Next Door, Dafina Books/Kensington (New York, NY), 2005.

Where There's Smoke, BET (Washington, DC), 2005.

Nothing but Trouble, Kensington (New York, NY), 2006.

A Love for All Seasons, Kimani Press, 2007.

One on One, Kimani Press, 2007.

If These Walls Could Talk, Kensington (New York, NY), 2007.

Once upon a Project, Dafina (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Growing up in Yonkers, New York, Bettye Griffin always knew she wanted to write stories that featured characters who looked more like her and less like the traditional schoolbook figures of Dick and Jane. That dream became a reality in 1998 when she published At Long Last Love, the first in a long line of romance novels featuring strong African-American heroines. In an interview for Romance in Color, Griffin proclaimed that "love is for everybody, not just those who have hourglass figures, weigh 120 lbs., have 20/20 vision, etc. Few people are that perfect, and whether it's fallen arches, knock knees, skinny legs or something more serious, I can't stress enough that love is for everybody."

At Long Last Love is the story of Kendall, a soul-food restaurateur who has no desire for children and finds herself on the receiving end of much criticism from friends and family for her decision. Eventually, Kendall falls in love with a man who accepts her choices and helps her deal with those who disagree with her. Kendall's good friend Ava Maxwell, the owner of a bridal boutique, is the heroine of Griffin's second novel, A Love of Her Own. In contrast to Kendall, Ava desperately wants a baby but is infertile. The crisis brings an end to Ava's first marriage and strains her relationship with her mother, who places a high premium on being a grandmother. Eventually, she succumbs to the charms of Hilton White, a wealthy man who accepts her for who she is, not for what she cannot have.

Prelude to a Kiss features perennially cursed Vivian St. James, whose every date seems to end in the local emergency room. To say the least, these men quickly disappear. The only man who is a constant in her life is Dr. Zachary Warner, the medical maestro who is always on duty when she arrives at the hospital with her injured date. It turns out that Dr. Warner also owns the building Vivian lives in. Their roles are reversed when he injures himself in a repair mishap and she nurses him back to health.

In Love Affair, Austin Hughes and Desiree Mack are forced to masquerade as a married couple while reviewing upscale hotels in Africa for Austin's New York consulting firm. Thais and Lucien's unconventional affair is the focus of Where There's Smoke. Fifteen years ago, they annulled their hasty, unconsummated Las Vegas marriage. A chance encounter with Thais'a eleven-year-old daughter, reignites Lucien's interest in his ex-wife, but this time he vows to woo her slowly. His plans are hampered by Thais's "spoiled daughter and … philandering ex-husband," wrote Lynne Welch in Booklist.

One on One concerns Natasha Lawrence, a 9/11 widow who has left New York behind and settled with her two boys in South Carolina to be closer to their paternal grandparents. When her late husband's stepbrother enters the scene, their mutual attraction stirs up feelings of disloyalty to her dead husband. In Nothing but Trouble, another recent widow, Dana, asks her best friends, Norelle and Cecile, to go into business with her. They agree, despite the fact that Norelle is more focused on having a baby with her new husband and Cecile is dealing with a blended family of six children. Real trouble begins when Cecile's sister comes to town, moves into Dana's house, begins to date Dana's new boyfriend, and has an affair with Norelle's husband. The book is "a compelling read," according to Lillian Lewis in Booklist.

Forty-year-old Monique Oliver is an unemployed paralegal with a history of short-term relationships in Straight to the Heart. She decides her life needs a radical change, so she swears off men completely and takes a job at her aunt and uncle's bed-and-breakfast. The People Next Door features happily married couple Lisa and Darrell, who move into their dream home in Florida. Their happiness is seriously challenged when Lisa's ex-husband, Brad, moves in next door, against the wishes of his new wife.

From This Day Forward focuses on Cornelia, also known as "Hatch," who works as a cashier in the economically depressed town of Farmingdale, Illinois. She has put her life on hold in order to provide for her father and sisters, until a knight in shining armor appears in the form of television news reporter Skye Audsley. Skye, who is in town reporting on the dismal living conditions in the area, offers her a way out—she can be his grandmother's caretaker. Closer Than Close gives Ivy Smith the chance to get even with classmates who teased her in high school. No longer an awkward teenager, she has become a successful businesswoman. She prepares to attend her twentieth high school reunion in triumph, but first she has to find a date. Enter Raymond, a working-class father of two who falls for Ivy, even though he knows she is out of his league.

A Love for All Seasons tells the story of the emotionally distant Alicia Timberlake, a woman wounded by family secrets, and Jack Devlin, the man who tries to get her to open up. If These Walls Could Talk presents an ensemble cast of characters comprised of three unacquainted families who move out of Manhattan after 9/11. All three families buy new homes in the same bucolic Pennsylvania neighborhood one hundred miles from New York City. Their paths cross on the commuter bus into New York each day, where they discover their shared dislike of the long trip. The book is "a compelling drama about … striving for the American dream," wrote Patty Engelmann in Booklist.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Black Issues Book Review, May 2001, review of Love Affair, p. 25.

Booklist, April 15, 2005, Lynne Welch, review of Where There's Smoke, p. 1437; February 15, 2006, Lillian Lewis, review of Nothing but Trouble, p. 44; May 1, 2007, Patty Engelmann, review of If These Walls Could Talk, p. 73.

ONLINE

Bettye Griffin Home Page,http://www.bettyegriffin.com (February 21, 2008).

Romance in Color,http://www.romanceincolor.com/ (November, 1999), Melanie Schuster, review of A Love of Her Own; (February 22, 2008), interview with Bettye Griffin.

Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (February 22, 2008), Gwendolyn Osborne, reviews of Love Affair, A Love of Her Own, and At Long Last Love.

Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (February 22, 2008), Cindy Harrison, review of Closer Than Close; Cheryl Ferguson, reviews of At Long Last Love and A Love of Her Own; T.L. Burton, reviews of From This Day Forward,Nothing but Trouble, and Prelude to a Kiss; Debbie Sims, review of Love Affair; Robin R. Pendleton, reviews of If These Walls Could Talk and One on One; Robin Taylor, reviews of Straight to the Heart and Where There's Smoke; Page Traynor, review of The People Next Door.

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