100 Creatives 2012: ReShonda Tate Billingsley
When ReShonda Tate Billingsley was a little girl, she loved making up stories. Her mother called it lying. Today, as a celebrated writer and national bestselling author, she continues to share her passion of storytelling, 24 books later.
ReShonda originally took up journalism, but found it lacking when she realized that she was still drawn to creating her own stories. After being rejected by numerous publishers, ReShonda decided to self-publish her first book in 1999. It eventually caught the eye of an agent at Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books, and she continues to establish herself as a force not only in the publishing industry, but on the silver screen as well. She is currently producing the film adaptation of her novel Let the Church Say Amen, and is also in the midst of turning two of her other novels, Nothing But Drama and Caught Up in the Drama, into movies.
What she does: ReShonda is always writing. There is almost no pause between any of her projects. She just finished up a sequel to a book that just came out, Sinners and Saints, and is already working on another title, A Family Affair. ReShonda is also constantly on tour and promoting her books.
|ReShonda Tate Billingsley's latest novel: Sinners and Saints|
What inspires her: People-watching is the thing that gives ReShonda her brightest ideas.
"I would love to say I go off to a mountain in Maine and let my imagination go to work, but I literally go to Starbucks and people-watch and let my imagination run rampant. I also get inspiration from my family. They are a colorful cast of characters who keep me with no shortage of stories!"
If not this, then what? In addition to being a much sought-after public speaker, journalist and writer, she has recently added actress to her résumé.
"I love to act. I recently made my acting debut in the stage play Marriage Material. I hope now to have a small role in my upcoming book-to-movie Let the Church Say Amen."
If not here, then where? Houston is home to ReShonda, and she can't imagine being anywhere else.
"When I'm not touring, I love being at home -- in Houston, with my family. It honestly is my dream place to settle. But I would love to be able to travel all over the world whenever I felt like."
What's next: ReShonda not only writes for herself, but also works as a ghostwriter and as an editor for the Defender Media Group. Her next goal is to break into the movie industry.
"Several of my books have been optioned for film and I've been blessed enough to be involved from the start, so I'm learning so much about the moviemaking process."
More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer
Wade Wilson, gallery owner
Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright