Best Selling Author La Jill Hunt Talks About Life, Writing, and Family Business.
By J.D. Myall
La Jill Hunt the urban chick lit writing Phenom is originally from Mobile Alabama. She blasted into the literary world in 2003 with her debut novel, Drama Queen. Since then she has penned several novels. Her titles include Jaded, Say It Aint So, and the Best Selling title, Grand Opening 2: A Family Business Novel.
Surprisingly, novel writing was not in La Jill’s plans when she was younger. She was unsure of what she wanted to do professionally. Hunt started and and quit college. She later returned to get a degree in Mass Communications. She even worked as an educator at one point.
Hunt: “I taught third grade for one year. I realized it was not my calling in life. Not at all.”
At the urging of a former boss, La Jill Hunt found her calling in novel writing. Hunt’s boss handed her a pen and a legal pad and advised her to write and find the positive in her negative situation. Fiction became a form of therapy for her. It helped her to mentally flee the abuse that she was suffering in her marriage.
Hunt: “Writing was an escape for me. I was able to write about people that I could control and enjoy. It was like mentally living in a fantasy world that I could control and that allowed me to be free…”
At a time when she was being abused and controlled, writing became empowering. Life changing.
Now divorced, and strengthened by her past; Hunt still writes.
Hunt: “I create women’s contemporary fiction with an urban twist. My current release is Grand Opening 2: A Family Business Novel. I co-wrote it with New York Times Best Selling Author, Carl Weber. I was actually the first author he signed to his imprint, Urban Books.”
Ironically, her publishing career at Urban Books began at an urban bookstore.
Hunt: “I went in a store in Virginia Beach. I told the guy working there that I wrote this novel (Drama Queen). I said I didn’t know what to do with it. He told me I would need a distributor in order to self-publish. He wrote a number on the back of a card and told me to call this number for distribution. He didn’t realize that he inadvertently gave me Carl’s number.”
Carl Weber informed Hunt that he wasn’t a distributor. However, he asked her to send him her book anyway. He liked it. So, he asked her to co-write an anthology called A Dollar And A Dream with him. After that, he said he was getting his own imprint. He wanted La Jill Hunt to be his first author.
Many books later, they are still collaborating. New York Times Bestselling author Carl Weber, and Essence Bestseller La Jill Hunt, have just published the newest entry into their “game-changing” Family Business saga. The title, Grand Opening 2: A Family Business Novel.
The story is set in 1978, with the Duncan brothers and their tough-as-steel women. They have defeated their enemies and taken their place as the leaders of a criminal enterprise. However, their rise to power has not gone unnoticed by dangerous new rivals.
According to Hunt, this novel is now a New York Times Best Seller in its own right. That success hasn’t altered her humility or hunger for writing.
Hunt: “If I sell one book or I sell a million, it doesn’t matter. If someone reads it and gets as much enjoyment out of reading it as I enjoyed writing it… Then, I feel successful. I did what I set out to do. This is my calling. My chosen profession. I’m grateful, blessed and thankful. Thank you to my fans. Knowing you appreciate what I do makes my work worthwhile. That is worth way more to me than any list I could be on.”