Neale, Naomi [A pseudonym] (Vance Briceland, Naomi Nash)
Neale, Naomi [A pseudonym] (Vance Briceland, Naomi Nash)
Education: College of William and Mary, bachelor's degree; Virginia Commonwealth University, master's degree.
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, Office of Sponsored Program Administration, information officer.
(With Alesia Holliday and Stephanie Rowe) Shop 'til Yule Drop (novellas), Dorchester Publishing/Love Spell (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Jennifer Ashley and Lisa Cach) Christmas Cards from the Edge (novellas), Dorchester Publishing/Making It (New York, NY), 2005.
Calendar Girl (novel), Dorchester Publishing/Making It (New York, NY), 2005.
The Mile-High Hair Club (novel), Dorchester Publishing/Making It (New York, NY), 2005.
I Went to Vassar for This? (novel), Dorchester Publishing/Making It (New York, NY), 2006.
Method Man (novel), Dorchester Publishing/Making It (New York, NY), 2007.
UNDER PSEUDONYM NAOMI NASH; YOUNG ADULT NOVELS
Beaner O'Brian's Absolutely Ginormous Guidebook to Guys, Dorchester Publishing/Smooch (New York, NY), 2004.
Chloe, Queen of Denial, Dorchester Publishing/Smooch (New York, NY), 2004.
You Are So Cursed!, Dorchester Publishing/Smooch (New York, NY), 2004.
Senses Working Overtime, Dorchester Publishing/Smooch (New York, NY), 2005.
I Am So Jinxed!, Dorchester Publishing/Smooch (New York, NY), 2006.
Naomi Neale, a pseudonym for Vance Briceland, is one of the few men writing in the romance genre. He writes stories aimed at young women, in the subgenre sometimes called "chick lit," and novels for teenage girls as Naomi Nash. "Many people tend to be surprised that I don't mind writing for what's perceived as a female-oriented genre," Neale told Derrick Sobodash in an interview for the Royal Oak, Michigan, Oakland Press. Neale further explained to Sobodash: "I've always enjoyed stories with romantic components to them." His background figures into his writing to some extent. He is the son of two historians, whom he considers "storytellers," he told Sobodash. He also has a sympathy for outsiders and has done extensive volunteer work with youths, which has given him "insight into the mind of a teenage girl," noted Debra Pascoe in a profile of Neale for the online publication [email protected] at Wayne State University, where he works as an administrator.
Some of his novels under the Neale pseudonym put their protagonists in fish-out-of-water situations. In The Mile-High Hair Club, successful young New Yorker Bailey Rhodes must take time off from her prestigious job to look after her ailing mother in her small Virginia hometown. There she deals with oddball relatives, becomes involved with a beauty pageant, and meets a handsome local man who may tempt her away from her New York boyfriend. Some reviewers found this novel one of the better examples of "chick lit." In addition to the genre's "requisite elements," related John Charles in Booklist, it has "quirky, yet surprisingly realistic characters." Melissa Parcel, writing for the Web site Curled Up with a Good Book, remarked that this humorous story also has "moments of sincerity and depth" in its characters' interactions. The novel is "sure to please," Parcel concluded, while Charles dubbed it "deliciously fun and simply irresistible."
I Went to Vassar for This? sends its heroine, advertising executive Cathy Voorhees, back from the twenty-first century to 1959. She attempts to cope in this prefeminist environment while trying to return to her own time; she also becomes attracted to her landlord. Several critics praised the work as creative and funny. "Neale's highly original time-travel tale is delightful," Maria Hatton commented in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly reviewer thought it an "inventive romantic comedy," adding that Cathy has "an enjoyable, sarcastic narrative voice."
The young people in Neale's books for teens also often feel like outsiders. In You Are So Cursed!, Vickie "Vick" Marotti is uncomfortable in her high school until she convinces her schoolmates she is a witch, leading some to revere and others to fear her. She reconsiders her role, however, when a popular boy begins to romance her. Some reviewers found the portrayal of teen angst realistic and entertaining. "This book perfectly describes an alienated teenager," remarked Sherri Ginsberg in Kliatt. There were some similar reactions to the sequel, I Am So Jinxed!, in which Vick has joined the mainstream of school life but finds she still has problems. Vick "springs from the page," observed Elaine Baran Black in School Library Journal, describing the character as "honest," "vibrant," and "wry." The prose style, Black continued, is superior to that often found in young adult literature.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2005, John Charles, review of Calendar Girl, p. 821; September 1, 2005, John Charles, review of The Mile-High Hair Club, p. 66; June 1, 2006, Maria Hatton, review of I Went to Vassar for This?, p. 48; January 1, 2007, Lynne Welch, review of Method Man, p. 68.
Kliatt, May, 2004, Sherri Ginsberg, review of You Are So Cursed!, p. 21; July, 2005, Heidi Hauser Green, review of Senses Working Overtime, p. 23.
Oakland Press (Royal Oak, MI), April 6, 2005, Derrick Sobodash, "Successful Romance Author Defies Genre Stereotypes."
Publishers Weekly, August 16, 2004, review of Chloe, Queen of Denial, p. 64; April 24, 2006, review of I Went to Vassar for This?, p. 44.
School Library Journal, May, 2006, Elaine Baran Black, review of I Am So Jinxed!, p. 134.
Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2005, review of Senses Working Overtime, p. 137.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (June 30, 2006), Melissa Parcel, review of The Mile-High Hair Club.
Gothic Revue,http://www.gothicrevue.com/ (June 30, 2006), Ailema Racek, review of You Are So Cursed!
[email protected],http://life.wayne.edu/ (February 19, 2004), Debra Pascoe, "WSU Author Definitely Not ‘Cursed.’"
MBR Bookwatch,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (July 7, 2007), review of Shop 'til Yule Drop; (July 7, 2007), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Calendar Girl and Beaner O'Brian's Absolutely Ginormous Guidebook to Guys.
Naomi Nash Home Page,http://www.naominash.com (June 30, 2007).
Naomi Neale Home Page,http://www.naomineale.com (June 30, 2007).