We asked our readers to write biography sketches of African American writers. These are their words. We encourage you to comment.
October 18, 1951
Port Huron, MI
Terry McMillan, a very prominent African American author, has the vein of every strong woman’s existence in her books. She knows women, knows what they want and knows how to write about them. No matter what type of woman you are, no matter what race or religion, Terry McMillan crosses boundaries with her books that make her appeal to every woman, providing strength and showing us that we are resilient and will survive anything that comes our way.
McMillan has had a very successful career in writing, but like many authors she had to start at the bottom and fight to be heard. Her first novel, Mama, was published in 1987 and was self-promoted. It wasn’t until her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, that she had received national attention. In 1995, Waiting to Exhale was made into a movie staring Angela Bassett and Whitney Houston, and directed by Forrest Whitaker.The movie soundtrack was made by acclaimed music maker, Babyface.
It was clear at this point that Terry McMillan was something very special. In 1996 McMillan published the best selling book, How Stella Got Her Groove Back which was made into a movie in 1998. The movie had such actors as Taye Diggs and Angela Bassett. How Stella Got Her Groove Back spoke to women about heartache, love and survival and McMillan was making a name known by readers and movie watchers alike. In 2000, McMillan published the New York Times best-seller, Disappearing Acts, which was made into a cable movie that same year. The movie starred Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan, proving yet again that McMillan is an author that people want to read and see in film and prominent actors want to be in her films. McMillan has gone on to write two more successful novels: In 2001, A Day Late and a Dollar Short was released and in 2005, The Interruption of Everything was published. In 2006, It’s OK if You are Clueless was published, which is meant to help college bound children and their families along their path to college.
McMillan’s real life story shows that she has experienced the heartache and pain that the women in her novels has felt, although anyone who reads her novels would know that only a person experiencing this pain and joy could write like she does. Born on October 18, 1951 in Port Huron, Michigan, McMillan began becoming interested in books while working at the library at age sixteen.
In 1986, she graduated from the University of California, Berkley with a BA in journalism. Her parents divorced when she was thirteen and her father died a few years later. She was raised by her mother alone, who worked nights at a factory. In 1998, she married Jonathan Plummer a younger man by at least 20 years. Plummer was the inspiration for the love interest in How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Her life turned the way of one of her novels when Plummer told McMillan that he was gay and they were soon divorced. Just like what her books strong female characters would do, McMillan sued Plummer and his lawyer for $40 million for attempting to embarrass and humiliate her during the divorce proceedings. McMillan has one child, named Solomon. McMillan is a strong vivacious woman and has been an inspiration for many woman over the years and she is certainly an inspiration to me. How Stella Got Her Groove Back is a book that I consider a favorite and helps me when life and love has gotten the very best of me.
submitted by Faith Mauro