When voting rights champion Stacey Abrams isn't busy saving democracy and dunking on white Republican politicians who think voter suppression is a good thing, she also writes books. And not just political nonfiction, though she's penned best-sellers in that genre, too. Nope, Abrams is a bonafide novelist, who wrote her latest political thriller, While Justice Sleeps, while simultaneously registering 800,000 Georgians to vote. It's the first novel published under her real name, and it hits bookshelves on Tuesday.
Plus, a romance trilogy Abrams wrote 20 years ago under the nom de plume Selena Montgomery will get a second chance at wooing readers in 2022. The publisher Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is reissuing three of her novels that've been out of print for years: Rules of Engagement, The Art of Desire and Power of Persuasion. Abrams wrote the first book during her final year at Yale Law School.
The three books are romantic thrillers, featuring diverse protagonists who are part of a covert espionage ring within the U.S. government. Each novel centers on a different pair of Black main characters, with an overarching narrative that ties the trilogy together. The romance genre tends to be very white, and Abrams' books fill a representation gap.
"As my first novels, they remain incredibly special to me," she said in a statement. "The characters and their adventures are what I'd wished to read as a young Black woman — stories that showcase women of color as nuanced, determined, and exciting."
Abrams wrote eight books total as Selena Montgomery, one of which, Never Tell, is in development as a TV series for CBS. (Fun fact: her pen name is a nod to the Bewitched actress Elizabeth Montgomery.)
“Writing is as much a part of who I am as anything,” Abrams told The New York Times. “One thing I am grateful to my parents for is that there was never a moment where they said, ‘Don’t do this.’ What they wanted for us was to explore and try. And writing is native to the way I think about the world.”