“Eric Hayes is a man with too many women in his life. As a bachelor, he loved all of the attention, but now being a married man, he quickly realizes that he cannot please more than one woman at a time. Succumbing to the pressure, Eric takes a course at his wife’s church to become better equipped for the bittersweet realities of marriage: Husband 101. The course ends up being more than he bargained for and his role and actions as a man are put to the test, one that he struggles to pass. Unable to keep everyone satisfied, Eric’s picture-perfect life begins to crumble even before he can make it to his first anniversary. Will he heed to good advice and put into practice the lessons that can salvage his family, or will his pride and self-reliance guarantee his fall?”
After reading Andrea Wilson’s Wife 101, admittedly, I was anxious to see what she could contribute to the literary world as a follow up. Would she be able to weave an interesting storyline using the same characters while telling a tale that has that customary nugget of wisdom? In Husband 101, Ms. Wilson doesn’t disappoint.
She delivers a story from the male perspective, blending the components of humanity, forgiveness with just the right touch of drama to keep her readers turning the pages. Picking up where Wife 101 ends, the reader finds Eric Hayes struggling to take the real estate company that he owns from residential to commercial. Enter the sultry character of Jacqueline “Jay” Johnson who is in her own right a show-stopping, powerhouse entrepreneur who has more than business on her mind when it comes to Mr. Hayes. Will this woman become the catalyst that undoes the marriage that Eric Hayes has fought so hard to maintain? Only time will tell as you must read the story to find out the truth.
We find that Amber Ross-Hayes is still as headstrong now as she was in Wife 101 if not somewhat annoying; but the stage is set purposefully and the intent will be revealed by the stories end.
I was more engrossed in the Wife 101 than Husband 101, even though both stories hold their own respectfully. Reading Husband 101 reminds me of cruising down the highway with the sunroof open on a sunny day and then encountering the occasional summer cloudburst that lasts but for a moment. I get to where I want to get to unscathed but slightly soiled, yet I enjoyed the journey all the same.
Wilson’s execution of the storyline was velvet smooth and at times pulls on the heartstrings. It reveals man as a well-intentioned, flawed character who means well at times but oftentimes gets in his own way. The story is peppered with mistakes that Eric makes. Most times, the reader can see what is going to happen before he makes them; and at times, you want to shake some good old common sense into him.
Wilson’s biblical overtones come across as balanced and not preachy which is essential when you are addressing issues that you wish your audience to glean some type of wisdom from.
There are predictable circumstances that arise with outcomes that may come as no surprise to the reader. But in the same vein, there are issues that are addressed that may take the audience by surprise.
Hat’s off to A’ndrea J. Wilson for putting together another well-thought out, Christian-based story.
The Examiner: Your books seem to seem share a common theme. You manage to blend wisdom and religion into a good storyline. In your opinion, is this a trend that you see within the literary community among the average person that desires good African American literature?
AJW: Actually no. I think that this is one of the reasons that this series has been so well received. There are not many books out there that have been able to mix fiction and nonfiction well, and honestly, most do not try. Books tend to be straight nonfiction, fiction for pure entertainment, or fiction with an underlying message. But it is not often that people get the chance to read fiction with blatant nonfictional lessons. Based on the response that I am getting from the Wife 101 Series, I do believe that people are open to this kind of literature and would like to see more of it. Even in my own reading, yes, I like to be entertained, but I love when a books challenges and changes me.
The Examiner: Do you see a backlash against the Street Lit genre or do you see African American Literature expanding into more genres?
AJW: There are black authors in every literary genre. I think as self-publishing continues to grow, we will see more black authors represented in genres that historically African American writers have not been very successful in. Our creativity does not limit itself to only certain genres. I think that in the past, publishing limitations prevented our exposure to black writers who were interested in other genres, but this is no longer the case. I have even begun to expand outwards, now writing thrillers under the pen name Janell.
I wouldn't say there is a blacklash against street or urban literature, but I think the genre is overpopulated with authors and books, and I think that many of the stories have been told too many times. For those who wish to continue writing urban literature and want to actually achieve mainstream success, they will have to work harder to put out better quality books with more unique stories.
The Examiner: New authors are coming onto the scene every day. What are some of the common mistakes that you see that they make?
AJW: Lack of professionalism, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of commitment to the process. There are so many people who are living other people's dreams. I've had people tell me that they are writing/publishing or wanting to write/publish, but that is not their talent. They only want to do it because they see myself or someone else doing it and it looks fascinating. Being an author, especially a good author, is a lot of work and requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication. People who simply throw a book together and call themselves an author make it difficult for those who really are passionate about reading and writing. If you are, (or want to be) a new author, take writing and publishing seriously. Be willing to learn both the craft and the publishing business. Invest countless time, money, and energy into yourself and your work. Most likely you will not be an internationally-known, award-winning, bestseller overnight. Book signings and accolades are the smallest part of what an author does. The majority of our time is spent creating and developing ideas, learning, researching, writing, and marketing our work. If this sounds dull, maybe writing is not your God-given purpose.
The Examiner: How critical is self-promotion and what are some of the ways that an author can promote his/herself in this industry?
AJW: Self-promotional is critical in the literary industry. Even traditionally published authors are expected to promote themselves. It is the difference between selling and not selling books. A big part of marketing is deciding who your target audience is and then exposing this group to your work. Your target audience will want what you are selling, buy what you are selling, and then tell others like themselves about your product. This is a tactic that many authors overlook. Every book is not for every reader. In most cases, giving me a fantasy or science fiction or even a street literature book is not a good idea. I am not likely to read it and if I do; because I am not interested in many of the topics addressed, I probably won't enjoy it. My lack of enjoyment equals not reviewing the book or giving it a poor review and not recommending the book. One of the first questions I ask a potential reader is, "What kinds of books do you like to read?" If they say erotica, they probably will not like Husband 101. Consider where people who like the topics you write about congregate and aim to market at these places or events.
The Examiner: What other projects does A'ndrea Wilson have coming up for her and what are some of her goals for 2013?
AJW: On New Year's Day, I am releasing the second edition of my first published book, My Business His Way. I am also releasing my second thriller short story, Vanity, on that same day (under pen name Janell). I have a romance anthology called Four Seasons of Love coming out in April. My first thriller novel, Spell, releases in June (under pen name Janell), and Couples 101 will be out in October. I also plan to re-release my first novel The Things We Said We Would Never Do by the end of summer. My goals for 2013 are to write more and gain more exposure for my work. I would also like to do more speaking engagements connected to the nonfictional aspects and topics of the Wife 101 Series. And of course, I plan to get out and meet more book clubs and individual readers.
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