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There are some true street lit authors who write from their experiences, and then there is the Duchess of street lit. De’nesha Diamond has put pen to paper and gives a graphic and vivid inside look into the streets from a female perspective. In her new novel, Hustlin’ Divas (Dafina – November 2010; $15) it is the first book of a fierce, groundbreaking new series. Meet Memphis’ hardest ride or die chicks as they fight along with their infamous men to lock down the dirty south.

In Hustlin’ Divas readers are introduced to Ta’Shara who has no interest in following in the footsteps of her older sister LeShelle in the street game. But when she falls for the brother of a rival, her own sister orders a punishment so severe that it sets off a chain of events that can only end in a hail of bullets.

LeShelle didn’t get to where she is by being nice. Outside of her hardheaded sister, she’s got bigger problems when a drug mule tries to take her spot beside her man, Python. To get him back, she will have to pull off the hustle of a lifetime—and pray she can walk away without the use of a body bag.

Yolanda is ambitious—even though she’s not the smartest chick on the block. However, a lucky break lands her in Python’s bed and makes her an enemy of the chick that no one dares to cross.

Melanie is a police detective, but that doesn’t stop her from helping her thuggish boo Python and his crew from skirting the reach of the law a few times. But when she starts catching feelings, everything goes to hell.

National bestselling author De’nesha Diamond burst onto the scene as the co-author of the gritty, Desperate Hoodwives tales. The Essence magazine recommended series has taken the street-lit game by storm and paved a brand-new path for the edgy Memphis native who understands that there’s a fine line between glorifying thug life and telling it like it is. De’nesha Diamond spins cautionary tales inspired by personal experience and the heartbreaking stories that make our nightly news. In the end, she aims to deliver hope, even if sometimes there are no rides into the golden sunset. You can visit De’nesha on her website, HERE!

I spoke with De’nesha about her unique writing style and her breakout series.

TD: What prompted you to write, Hustlin’ Divas?

DD: The storyline is really my attempt to do something different.  Everything from the pacing, the structure and even the characters are from me analyzing how I can create something a little different.  On its face it could have been five different stories from the five main characters.  Getting them to connect into one big picture is challenging and exciting at the same time.  Reader will be surprised to know that I really don’t know what’s going to happen either.

TD: Are your main characters, who are some true Hustlin’ Divas, anything like your friends in your real life?

DD: Absolutely, positively not.  I’m allergic to drama.  Now, do I have ghetto drama in the family tree?   Who doesn’t?  But I’m just usually the one that hears about it instead of being around it.

TD: Why did you decide to make Memphis as the backdrop of your story?

DD: You know, I just really had a desire to write about my hometown the way that I saw it.  It has a whole other vibe than what the city tries to promote.  Usually when you think of Memphis it’s all Elvis Presley and good Barbeque.  The racism is palpable and in your face. Places like Whitehaven and Germantown.  You get the sense they just wanna say ‘Blacks, stay the hell out.’ (And that’s the P.G. version of what I wanna say.)  So to answer your question, I wanted to write about the place more than say this particular story.  Plus, I haven’t read any street-lit based there, yet.

TD: In writing, Hustlin’ Divas did you experience any epiphanies or ‘Ah-ha’ moments that connected with your own life?

DD: I wish I could say yes to that, but none of these characters are like me in any way.  Writing, often give me a chance to be a bit of an actress.  It’s something that I enjoy.

TD: What do you want readers to take away from the novel?

DD: Other than De’nesha Diamond deserves a place at the table?  I’d say that the lesson of there being consequences to every action and that there are no do-overs in life.  A lot of the women, LeShelle and Yolanda particularly, act and react strictly on an emotional level.  It’s about their feelings and their desires.  The other people in their lives are obstacles in reaching their goals.  A singular focus like that can and will leave a lot of blind spots.  That kind of driving can cause a lot of wrecks.  Ones that don’t end well.

TD: What is next for you?

DD: Well, currently I’m wrapping up Street Divas-which is the second book and then I’ll immediate launch into the last book Gangsta Divas—but there’s so much going on I’m starting to think there needs to be a fourth book.  I also have another novella to write A Gangsta and a Gentlemen.  I’m really looking forward to all those projects.

De’nesha has agreed to give away three copies of Hustlin’ Divas to three lucky persons. The first persons to answer the following the question will win a copy.

  • What is De’nesha’s real name?

Please send your answers to girlworkonyou@aol.com

Good luck!

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