Karen E. Quinones Miller is the Essence bestselling author of the novels “Satin Doll,” “I’m Telling,” “Using What You Got” and “Uptown Dreams.” This week, the bestselling author will release “An Angry-Ass Black Woman” (Gallery Books, $15), a fictionalized look at the life she lived before she achieved success as an established writer.
Miller, in the guise of her childhood nickname, “Ke-Ke” (Kay-Kay), writes about the hardscrabble life she had growing up on Harlem’s 117th Street in extreme poverty. After an accident leaves her in a coma in her late 40s, with her beloved family around her in the hospital, she remembers moments from her childhood and the events that would later shape her desires to get out of Harlem and make something of herself. Her sometimes poignant and sometimes hilarious memories — like trying to rob the landlord to pay her family’s back rent — are interspersed with her present-day family’s concerns for her health. Miller, 54, has survived brain surgery to remove a tumor and is currently controlling muscular sclerosis.
“This is my first book in four years, and readers can be a little fickle — ‘What have I read from you lately?’ — so there’s always a fear that you have lost your costumer base,” said Miller. “And so, initially they were not going to send me out on tour. But now, I have a seven-city tour. I’m going to Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Charlotte, Norfolk and Baltimore.”
Throughout the book, and with every hard-knock lesson learned, Miller’s character unleashes her inner angry-ass Black woman to get through it all. “Anger is an emotion that's healthy. It is an emotion that pushes you forward to bring about change,” explains Miller. “A lot of times when people talk about a angry Black woman they’re speaking about a back-biting, hypocritical, snap-at-anybody-for-any-little-thing woman. But that’s not an angry woman. That’s a woman with issues. You know, that’s a woman that'’s bitter with the world, and she can’t take it out on the right people, so she takes it out on everybody else. She’s not bringing about change, she’s just snapping at everything she sees.”
Still, the bestselling author has found some resistance from retailers who refuse to stock the book because of it’s provocative title. “Walmart won’t carry the book because they felt white people would find the title offensive,” said Miller. “But do you know that we have already sold out our first printing and the book is not even out yet? It’s not released until October 2, and we are already on the second printing — and we did that without Walmart. People are feeling the book, and it’s not because they read the book. They are feeling the title, and they are looking to see what it’s about, and they are feeling it.”
The official book launch party for Karen E. Miller Quinones’ “An Angry Ass Black Woman” will take place on Saturday, September 29, 1 p.m.–4 p.m. at Warmdaddy’s, 1400 S. Columbus Blvd. The free event will be emceed by WDAS’ Patty Jackson and feature stand-up comedienne MK Lewis and pop/jazz vocalist Rodney Williams accompanied by guitarist D.L. Watson. For more more information, visit www.KarenEQuinonesMiller.com.