A Hustler’s Wife, Project Chick, The Glamorous Life, Riding Dirty on I-95, Death Before Dishonor, Forever a Hustler’s Wife– these are the titles of Nikki Turner’s books but could easily be superlatives to describe the Queen of hip-hip fiction and her life. The Richmond, VA author is on top of the game now but it wasn’t always like that. Still a come up is a come up and in the parlance of the streets Nikki is what they call a big baller. But every big baller started somewhere and most came from humble beginnings.
“I started writing in 7th grade when my English teacher gave me a journal because I passed notes in her class,” Nikki says. “From that point I knew I could write. I’ve always been a very outspoken person but if I put my thoughts on paper or in a letter than I would truly get my point across. That’s with anything, if I went to a restaurant or to a store and was mistreated, if I complained it was ok but if I wrote a letter I always got a surprising response. So it goes back to there.” And from there it went to her first novel, A Hustler’s Wife, which was a look into the world Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim left behind, but from a female’s perspective.
“When I first penned A Hustler’s Wife there were not many street books on the market so I thought, ‘hmmm, I think I’ll write a book.’ And I did. Once I had it in my mind that I was going to do it, thirty-seven days later I had the rough draft of A Hustler’s Wife.” A now that rough draft, which found its way to Triple Crown founders Shannon Holmes and Vickie Stringer and sold in the six figures within the first year of publication is being made into a movie.
“It’s in production now and scheduled to hit the big screen,” Nikki says. But the Essence and Don Diva Magazine best selling author hasn’t rested on her laurels. Besides Project Chicks, The Glamorous Life, Riding Dirty of I-95 and Forever A Hustler’s Wife which came out on Random House/Ballentine Nikki put out the first two books in her Street Chronicle series. “Street Chronicles is my baby.” She says. “Initially, I created it as a vehicle for new and upcoming authors to be put on. In the process I somehow ended up getting some already published and established authors under the Nikki Turner book line through Random House.” She also co-wrote Girls in the Hood with Cruchi for Urban Books, which part 2 is ready to come out also and Nikki launched gangsta rapper 50 cent’s imprint G-Unit books too with Death Before Dishonor. So Nikki stays grinding and getting that dollar but she has other responsibilities also.
“Some days I’m a soccer mom,” she says. “I have two children, although, I have a live in nanny. I am still a very instrumental part of my children’s lives. Even successful as I am I still go through the struggles and prejudices of being a single mother.” Still writing is her focus.
“Other days I am consumed with my writing.” She says. “Those days I am strictly hugging the block, only the block becomes my computer and my project. I go hard. After I get three chapters into it, I completely submit to it. I don’t answer the phone, cook and most of the time I don’t leave the house. Outside of those doors are too many perils and traps to get me side tracked and snatch away my focus. During my writing time I don’t do anything but sit at the computer with my cute pj ‘s or some sweats and a wife beater and write.” Nikki draws a lot of material directly from her life.
“Most of my days are merely drama filled and can fit in between the chapters of any Nikki Turner original book,” she says. “Funny incidents, arguments, things that could only happen to me. Never a dull experience. You have no idea… you think my books are intriguing? Try a day in my actual life.” And since signing a reported six-figure deal with Random House Nikki Turner is definitely that big baller.
“My first book deal with Random House was for 2 books (The Glamorous Life and Riding Dirty on I-95),” she says. “That came about through my agent, he held an auction for the highest bidder, who ironically I didn’t sign with. Random House was just the best place and deal for me.” With her own imprint to put out Street Chronicles and to put new authors on under Nikki Turner presents she is ready to take over the street lit game. But still it’s all about the down time.
“The small breaks, usually a couple of weeks or one month that I take between writing, I’m usually a wreck,” she says. “I have too much time on my hands but I usually take this time to read through the submissions and other books.” Nikki enjoys traveling in her down time too.
“Every time I finish a book, I take a trip.” She says. “I do travel the world extensively. This is when I let go of a project and move onto the next.’ But even on vacation Nikki handles her business.
“It’s always about promoting my books. It has become a habit that no matter the handbag I carry or which one of my cars I’m driving I always have my promo postcards/bookmarks. In my travels I never know whom I may meet.” She says. “Of course, my favorite past time is shopping, shopping and more shopping.” And to Nikki it’s more than just writing books
“I feel I represent every woman- the single mother, the sister, the mother, the cousin, the sister-friend, the wife, the ambitious, the heart broken, the confused and especially who ever has had a story to tell.” She says. “I also feel I symbolize a woman who is the epitome of a real chic on mission. I am the true definition of real life drama in all its splendor and as I pen every story I want all my sisters out there to know that through me their mission is considered accomplished.” And that about sums up the life of Nikki Turner.
She just inked another three book deal with Random House and about the book deal she says, “Inquiring minds want to know for how much? Let’s just say that I’m eating and I don’t miss a meal.” The first book in the new deal is the sequel to A Hustler’s Wife, Forever A Hustler’s Wife. So it’s back to the beginning for Nikki. What comes around goes around.
In closing she says, “I’m just thankful for all the blessing that have come my way. I’m just going to continue to do whatever God places on my heart and mind. There are too many people to name who contributed to me being where I am today but I can honestly say that I’m truly blessed.” As are we to be able to read this wonderful and talented authors work, book after book after book.
Will there be another Bank Sisters?