Don't confuse the author of Fever with the author of Nowhere Is a Place.
You're releasing two novels within two months of one another, under different names. Why not stagger them instead of using the pseudonym?
There is a stark difference between Geneva Holliday (Fever) and Bernice McFadden (Nowhere Is a Place).
I didn't want to confuse my audience.
Would you call Groove and Fever urban fiction or chick lit?
I think of them as humorous pieces of mainstream African-American fiction. They are human stories, and humans have sex.
Some readers worry that the market now excludes what they consider "quality black literature."
I thought of Groove while becoming frustrated trying to sell my first novel, Sugar, and it took 10 years to sell Sugar. I see both sides. Publishers feel they are getting a bad rap and the larger bookstores do, I think, have a role. Often the hard-to-sell title goes out the window while at the same time, smaller neighborhood bookstores close. If you're a serious reader, you're not always going to find what you are looking for in the big chains. To my mind, the Geneva Holliday books help Bernice McFadden.
Whom do you read?
Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Terry McMillan and others. But I started out reading my mother's books, things she had around the house by Jackie Collins and Harold Robbins.
How would you characterize Terry McMillan's impact?
She's one of the main reasons that black writers are published in greater numbers. She kicked down the door with Waiting to Exhale. What it comes down to is the dollar. It's not that publishers didn't think there was a black audience, but that with Terry they found a market.
How did you come up with the name Geneva Holliday?
I needed to take a break, wanted to write something else and kept telling myself "you need a holiday."
Does writing her books pose any special challenges?
I guess Geneva Holliday's books are more about dialogue. They have very little of the symbolism or history you might find in a Bernice McFadden novel. At one point I tried writing Groove as a screenplay. I wanted to hear these characters talking.
Would you let your teen daughter read Fever?
I encourage her to read whatever she wants. I guess I'm liberal. But she knows the way I feel: if you have any questions, come to me.