Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
January 11, 2005

Q. How did you come about the title "RED LIGHT WIVES?"

A. I wanted a unique title. And it had to be one that would stand out and still fit the story. I made a list of five possible titles and narrowed it down to this one and "RED LIGHT DIVAS." I chose not to go with "Divas" because it was too close to words like "prima donna" and "bitch". I didn't want my readers to perceive these women that way and not want to read the story.

Q. How did you come about the ideal for the story?

A. I grew up around women who slept with men for money. I ran errands for the local hookers, I babysit their kids, and I braided their hair. Knowing that I was an aspiring author, they often shared their stories with me. I always knew that one day I would write a book about these women.

Q. Did you do any research to develop the characters?

A. I rarely do any research at all. This was one of the easiest books to write because I already knew so much about my subjects. And, I had already watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books on the subject.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from Lulu's situation?

A. When a man waves as many red flags as Larry Holmes did in Lula's face, she should take a reality check! There are a lot things that are a lot worse than being alone--especially when that man is obviously leading a double life. Once you realize the truth, don't run away from your problems. Had Lula stayed in Mississippi and worked through her problems she never would have ended up in San Francisco hopping from bed to bed with a dozen men a night, and with Clyde Brook's blood on her hands.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from Keisha, Clyde's and Megan's situation?

A. No matter how bad a situation is, if you try hard enough you can find something positive in it. The more lemons you have, the more lemonade you can make.

Q. How did you come about Ester's situation?

A. I read about a lot of desperate women who throw their newborn babies in the trash. I figured that some of those babies who make it out of those trash cans alive end up like Ester. I have some really close Latina friends so I know how closely related women of color are. Of all the women, Ester was the one I felt the most. She was rough, crude, and hostile but her heart was in the same place as the rest of the women on this planet.

Q. How did you come about Rockelle and Rosalee's characters?

A. Rockelle was based on a female in my own family. But unlike Rockelle, who finally came to her senses, my relative is still acting a fool; which proves that the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. I had a friend once whose older sister lost all but one of her five children within a five-year period, similar to what happened to Rosalee siblings. Like Rosalee's mother was with Rosalee, my friend's sister would not let her surviving child live a normal life. As soon as my friend shared that tragic story with me I decided to work it into one of my stories.

Q. Are you looking forward to the release of your next novel MASQUERADE?

A. The title was changed to "In Sheep's Clothing." My publisher and editor decided that there were too many other books already out there with the same or a similar title. I am very excited about it because identity theft is a subject in the news a lot lately. Last year more than ten million people had their identities stolen so I know a lot of people will be able to relate to this story.

Q. Are you currently working on another novel?

A. Every single day! The NEXT one, "God Don't Play," is a continuation of the "God Don't Like Ugly," series. It will be the third book with the same characters and there will probably be at least one more because the two main characters, Annette Goode and her homicidal best friend Rhoda Nelson, are my most popular characters.