Alison Flood, in the Guardian, writes about the minority leader who pens romantic novels. November 2020.
Stacey Abrams is the former Georgia state house minority leader, whose fierce fight for Georgians’ right to vote has been credited for potentially handing the state to the Democrats for the first time in 28 years. But Abrams has another identity: the novelist Selena Montgomery, a romance and thriller writer who has sold more than 100,000 copies of her eight novels.
Abrams wrote her first novel during her third year at Yale Law School, inspired after reading her ex-boyfriend’s PhD dissertation in chemical physics. She had wanted to write a spy novel: “For me, for other young black girls, I wanted to write books that showed them to be as adventurous and attractive as any white woman,” she wrote in her memoir Minority Leader. But after being told repeatedly by editors that women don’t read spy novels, and that men don’t read spy novels by women, she made her spies fall in love. Rules of Engagement, her debut, was published in 2001, and sees temperatures flare as covert operative Raleigh partners with the handsome Adam Grayson to infiltrate a terrorist group that has stolen deadly environmental technology.
Abrams published the novel under a pen name “to separate my fiction from more academic publications on tax policy”. Seven more novels would follow, including Never Tell, which sees criminal psychologist Dr Erin Abbott take on a New Orleans serial killer with the help of journalist Gabriel Moss; Hidden Sins, which follows Mara Reed as she reunites with the scientist whose heart she once broke in her hometown; and Reckless, in which top lawyer Kell Jameson faces her past when the head of her childhood orphanage is accused of murder.In 2018, when Abrams made an unsuccessful bid to become governor of Georgia, she told Entertainment Weekly that she believed she could tell her characters stories “in ways that are engaging, but are also reflective of the complexity of women’s lives”.
About Alison Flood: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/alisonflood