Marissa Monteilh

Marissa Monteilh

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
February 26, 2005

Q. Why did you choose to write a novel about an upper class family dealing with violence, stardom, infidelity and money?

A. I think we all hear about the lifestyles of the rich and famous and think that the grass is greener simply because they have money. But, I wanted to explore the other side of the coin, kind of a "more money, more problems" type story. They, rich folks, say money doesn't buy happiness, and I wanted the Wilson's to be a true example of that. We see stars all the time being involved in murders, scandals, infidelity, etc. I wanted to go inside of the home and show it first hand. I hope I did that with Hot Boyz.

Q. Why was Los Angeles (Ladera Heights) the neighborhood your choice to have the characters reside?

A. A lot of rich or "almost rich" African Americans live in Los Angeles, but perhaps the most upscale neighborhood in the area for Blacks is Ladera Heights - a sight to see with the immaculate million dollar-plus homes and fancy cars. Many celebrates have lived in the area, from Tina Turner, to Ray Charles, to Nancy Wilson and so on. To me, it was almost like an African American Falcon Crest.

Q. How did you come about the title?

A. I was actually driving through Ladera and the song Hot Boyz by Missy came on the radio. I heard the line about playing hardball with the Lexus jeeps, Jaguars, Bentleys, and Platinum Visas. I laughed out loud as a brotha with a Bentley drove by. I knew that Ladera was the perfect setting for the book, and Hot Boyz was the perfect title.

Q. How did you come about the relationship surrounding Mason, Mercedes and "the other woman?"

A. I wanted to show that there are "good men" out there, and I wanted Mason, the eldest brother of the three, to be a shining example of an intelligent, successful man who takes care of his family, is easy on the eyes, is personable, is a good son and brother, yet he's human. And so, being a good man, he needed a good woman. Yet, I also wanted some friction relating to whether or not a wife should stay at all costs, especially if a man has lots of money.

Q. How did you come about the idea to have Claude, Venus and Cameron relationship centered around Fatima?

A. I've always thought about why people do "freaky" things, and explore taboo relationships, from threesomes to marrying a dead friend's mate. Sometimes, we tend to judge from afar, but I wanted people to understand what could make people do certain things. Also it was important to show how it affected Fatima's son, Cameron. He was a very pivotal character in this drama.

Q. How did you come about the relationship surrounding Colette, Torino and Sequoia?

A. I love passionate characters who have upsides and downsides, i.e. Colette. She may have seemed totally out there with her jealousies and possessiveness, but I hope she served of as example of what can happen when we women hold on too tight. Torino, being a player, I thought need to get played back so that I could experience his reaction. And Sequoia needed to be the one for him to run to . . . the readers will have to check out the book to see what happened.

Q. How long did it take you to write HOT BOYZ?

A. It took me about eight (8) months to write Hot Boyz. It unfolded fairly quickly, but Harper Collins suggested some awesome edits and the story ended up being even better. The hard work led to this hot story that has been my best seller to date.

Q. Are you currently working on another novel?

A. Yes, I just completed a novel for Kensington that will be released in January 2006 about a Black woman in search of being pretty, therefore she has a plastic surgery makeover. It is untitled for now, but it shows the downside of seeking happiness through a nip-tuck. And I wrote a short story on fateful love for an anthology with two other talented authors. Right now I'm writing Dr. Feelgood, my 6th novel, and co-writing two more books, one with my brother, and one with three other fine and fabulous authors. I'm excited about adding to my list of works.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading HOT BOYZ?

A. Just that we're all human, no matter what choices we make, how weak we get, how wild we get, or how tempted we get. All of what we go through are life lessons that shape our evolution. You can't take the "things" with you, even if you're driven to have more and more. Just make sure you make time for what matters most - love and family.