Author Guest Post
The Unraveling of Bebe Jones is a book that’s all about experimenting: For one thing, it’s intended as a kind of television drama series in print, with each book representing a ‘season’. As a television producer and a lover of the TV drama series, (which to me are like novels on the screen) my ultimate goal, my dream, is to have the Bebe Jones series translated to the screen. Why? Because television is an enormously powerful and influential medium and there is no better place in my opinion (besides books of course) to say what you want to say. I suppose The Unraveling of Bebe Jones is my nudge to mainstream media to do something outside the box where African American stories are concerned. A tall order I know, but one must aim high in life!
Remember The Cosby Show? That excellent, groundbreaking, race-neutral sit-com that introduced America to an average middle class family that just happened to be black? Where have more of those shows gone? And why haven’t there been any primetime dramatic versions, where the family at the heart of the series is African American? These are important questions for me because they get to the core of why I do what I do, say what I say, and write what I write.
As a child of the 70s, I grew up on an unsavory TV diet of black characters that dwelled in criminal, marginal, supporting, or second-class shadows. We were slaves, we were pimps, we were hookers, we were thieves, we were dumb and we were poor. Always. Yes there were a few exceptions and yes things are changing in the media today, but not enough. They are mere token changes. And I won’t even get into the curriculums I was required to digest in the public school system!
The point of all of this is that it had a deep impact on my psyche. To have continually watched people of color typecast in negative stereotypes was in many ways a psychologically debilitating experience for me because it became all too easy to internalize a subconscious patina of inferiority and anger. I’m over that now, thank the Lord, but I don’t want the same to happen to my children, and I already see it starting in them.
The Unraveling of Bebe Jones is my answer to this—a story conceived out of a life-long passion to create a popular saga about an African-American family whose struggles stem not from racial issues or stereotypes but from the experiences of trust, betrayal, greed, hatred, love and death that mark us all as human beings. How do lies impact relationships? What chain reactions do they trigger? How are people affected by greed or denial? These are just a few of the themes explored through the Jones clan.
And there’s a soundtrack! Or rather, a short list of titles I enjoyed during the final stages of writing the book. Like most people, I love the use of music in storytelling to create mood. It’s commonplace in film, television and radio, but I thought it would be fun to experiment with books. I chose the songs because the artists unravel stereotypes in their own unique way (for example, Lyric’s Born is a Japanese rapper). Their music set the tone I was after and I wanted to share that with readers. You’ll find the titles listed in various chapters of the novel. You’ll also find links to the music videos on my website: rojeaugustin.com. I encourage all readers to have a listen so as to get the full flavor of my vision for the project.
So, as you can see, I’ve tried to tell a new kind of story, one that hopefully contributes to the enlightenment of the collective narrative, as it were; that broadens the scope of popular culture by shattering racial stereotypes and improving the way people of color are viewed through the media and ultimately through life. Because when all is said and done, there is nothing truer than the Story.
The second book in the series is well under way, with all the characters returning for another season of relationships and jealousies, triumphs and disappointments, joys and tragedies. Plus, there’s a companion children’s book to the series called A Family, which is the children’s book that my fictional character Bebe Jones and her daughter Jasmine Jones have written in the novel. If you’re curious about how it all fits together, please visit my website, rojeaugustin.com, for more information.
The Unraveling of Bebe Jones is available in paperback and hardcover on Amazon, Createspace, and Lulu.com, as well as on Kindle and other e-platforms like iBook and Nook, or it can be ordered from select retail bookstores. For more information about the series, the characters, and me, please visit www.rojeaugustin.com. Also, feel free to connect with me on Facebook/rojesbook, or follow me on Twitter @rojeaugustin.
Again, many thanks, much love, and happy reading!
About The Author
The Unraveling of Bebe Jones by Roje Augustin ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours
The Unraveling of Bebe Jones by Roje Augustin
Book 1: The Bebe Jones Series
Publisher: Breaknight Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback - 278 pages / Kindle - 414 KB / Nook - 503 KB
Genre: Contemporary African American Literature
BUY THE BOOK: The Unraveling of Bebe Jones
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
The Unraveling of Bebe Jones revolves around the rich and famous Jones family and the people who work for them as they cope through an array of personal dramas. The story begins at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, when 23-year-old Desiree Washington lands a job with her idol, legendary R&B singer Bebe Jones. Desiree quickly discovers that the outwardly perfect Bebe is in fact a troubled and lonely diva reeling from a career in decline and a marriage in tatters, and that behind all the money, glamor and fame, there are skeletons in the family closet. Throughout all of this Desiree seeks support from her best friend Sean Minton, an aspiring music producer who hails from the insulated world of New York’s black elite burdened with secrets of his own. Rounding out the cast are Bebe's husband, Magnus Chadwick, a British hedge fund manager who cares more about money than family; her disgruntled household staff—all with strange ties to Bebe; and her children, brave casualties of their mother's nightmare.
My Book Review:
In her debut novel The Unraveling of Bebe Jones, author Roje Augustin weaves an intriguing tale that takes the reader into the behind the scenes world of the rich and famous. The story follows the unraveling world of R&B diva Bebe Jones.
When twenty-three year old struggling writer Desiree Washington is hired by her idol, R&B superstar Bebe Jones to tutor her children, Desiree isn't prepared for the reality of the singer's world. Filled with personal dramas, secrets, dysfunctional family relationships, career crises, and heartbreak, the reality of Bebe's world unraveling and spiraling out of control is eye-opening, as we all like to believe that the rich and famous live a glamorous and privileged lifestyle. Desiree gets to see the behind the scenes life of her idol, and comes to realize that Bebe's public diva persona is a clever mask that hides the reality of a vulnerable, insecure, unhappy and lonely woman.
The Unraveling of Bebe Jones is a fascinating story that takes the reader on a dramatic and emotional roller coaster ride. You can't help but get drawn into Bebe's world and feel for her as it starts to crumble, the author provides the reader with a realistic inside look into a famous person's personal life, and shatters the fantasized illusion of the glamorous lifestyle of the rich and famous. While Bebe's struggling career and personal life is the main focus, I loved that the author interweaves the personal stories of Desiree and Sean into the storyline, each has their own skeleton in the closet and buried secrets that make the story even more intriguing. But alas ... the author leaves the readers wanting more with a cliffhanger ending, but rest assured,
the Jones family saga will continue in the next installment in the Bebe Jones series.
In The Unraveling of Bebe Jones, Author Roje Augustin uses her professional experience in the entertainment industry to weave an entertaining tale that captivates the reader's attention. She draws them in with a behind the curtain real world portrait of the lifestyle of the rich and famous, and reveals the dramatic trials and tribulations that the public never gets to see.
RATING: 4 STARS ****
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