Champagne Divas Book Club: Urban Fiction and Cheese? .
What does cheese, wine, and nine beautiful women have in common with urban fiction?
Champagne Divas is a small but tight knit book club from the state of California who lives within the well-known city of Angels. Yes, it’s not every day that an author turns the tables and gets the privilege of interacting with a small, but beautiful group of intelligent and bright women. And on top of that, I had the honor of interviewing them. Let’s see how they feel being in the hot seat for a change.
The Champagne Divas book club based in Los Angeles, California, was started by Rhonda Mitchell in January 2011. This may appear quite odd for those of us not acquainted with the West Coast; being that most who are unfamiliar…, think of LA as the home of such nefarious group as the Bloods, Crips, Black P Stones, Mexican Mafia, homicidal maniacs, drive byes, Biggie and Tupac murders, wantonly over lavished lifestyles, and corrupt politicians from a naïve point of view.
However accurate the above may be true, LA has evolved into a place where one can enjoy a great “…Urban Fiction” novel as stated by the group’s founder. Growing up within a city infested with crime at every turn hasn’t caused Rhonda Mitchell from making a difference by embracing what others fear within the pages of urban novels often written by those who have experienced the “street life” firsthand. Rhonda understands the intellect of the genre that is often looked down upon by mainstream publishing circles while finding others who also enjoy the intellectual task of reading and discussing the inner workings of such stories. Urban stories, often written by imprisoned authors who are not afraid to expose the darker sides of life in tandem with its brightest moments.
Conversely, many to this day would find it hard to envision this 9 member, career oriented entourage becoming Ambassadors for the urban fiction genre having an afternoon lunch affairs that include as their name implies; Champagne, among many other fine dishes. Yet these vibrant ladies meet regularly, sitting around a table within an upbeat restaurant getting their intellectual groove on while sharing the best life has to offer; lifelong friendships. The members within this tight knit group ranging in age from their early 20’s to their 40’s.
When I asked them about their small numbers, a spokeswoman within the group said they are okay with being small compared to other book clubs which have much larger numbers. Speaking emphatically the diva stated, “Rhonda our group founder has an exuberant personality so she has no problem recruiting other ladies that love to read, socialize, dine out, travel and party!” So, when the time comes to expand we will easily do so.” Aside from her well-spoken answer every author should take note that no group is too small an audience for your book.
To sum things up the Champagne Divas state that they come together with genuine love for one another stating,
“We have common interests and friendships outside of the book club. We vote on the monthly reading selections and meet once a month to discuss what we’ve read.” Sometimes, their meetings get a little rambunctious and can go from being tepid to boiling hot within mere seconds as would be expected among friends I was told firsthand by Rhonda their group leader, “We also invite authors to our book club meetings… We all have personality and style.” Their future book club plans include, writing our own racy novel, supporting literacy programs in our area and traveling abroad.
Street Certified Interview: Champagne Torture
Q: First things first, where are you from, and how did you come up with the name Champagne Divas?
A: I’m from the Los Angeles area. How I came up with the name Champagne Divas is LA is known for their fabulous Sunday brunches and I thought it would be a great name for the group since we are divas reading while discussing books that we’ve read over champagne.
Q: What motivated you to start up a book club? And where do you all meet per say; online, etc.?
A: I was motivated to start a book club that was organized without all the personal drama. We meet on the second Sunday of every month at a restaurant that serves brunch with unlimited champagne/mimosas.
Q: Do you have chapters in other states, a group president or council?
A: We currently only have the Los Angeles chapter. We are hoping that the idea spreads like wild fire and will bring divas together that love champagne and reading.
Q: How does your group decide what books to read for the month? What genres do you prefer the most?
A: We normally vote on a book and if we can get an author to appear at our meetings we will select their book. We prefer the urban-fiction genre.
Q: Do most of your members give feedback in the form of reviews on other sites and if so, which ones do you prefer the most?
A: Yes, we give reviews on Amazon.com
Q: Back to the name hand, when I think of the name Champagne Divas I get an image of a group of beautiful women discussing books, plots, etc. over some cheese, and Chardonnay…LOL. But you tell me how does it really go down inside of the club?
A: Champagne is mandatory for every book club meeting and when the champagne starts flowing, the conversation turns outrageous and risqué in the blink of an eye. We all have personality and style.
Q: Have you any of your meetings ever turn into a heated debate over a particular character, plot, or message, whereas it almost got of hand?
A: Yes, our divas are very passionate. We have a group of 3 sisters that have totally different views where it will get out of hand with different views and opinions.
Q: How do you settle controversies within your group?
A: I as the founder/president will speak to the ladies individually after sending out a general email.
Q: Has your group met or has had the opportunity to interview any authors?
A: We invite authors to our book club meetings to bombard them with questions about their books and no question or subject is off limits.
Q: If you all had to pick any one author within the urban genre that you would love to have an audience with for one time only who would that author be?
A: My choice would be Terry McMillan. She has inspired me to read urban novel and has opened up the door for so many black authors.
Q: This is my last question of the day. As you know, I am an author as well but I’m not shocked that you didn’t pick me as your favorite author being that I’m new to the arena. But if I come through Cali-forn-I-A, will I be served wine and cheese as well. No pun intended? Can I get a back massage to go along with our gathering as well?
A: We have no problem hanging out with you at one of our posh LA spas for a back massage and will also treat you to a fabulous champagne brunch at one of our favorite local restaurants.
Thanks for your time and it’s a pleasure to have met you all. I hope to see you all on iurban.org our second site. And there you have it folks, I did it again. I managed to weasel my way into getting a back massage by 9 beautiful ladies along with a free meal at an upscale spa. Doesn’t that just make you angry fellas? Well, not being a hater you can get your chance to meet them by friending them on at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/champagne.divas.5 , and on http://iurban.org/index.php/community the new home of urban fiction.
Ciao bitches! Enjoy…dioncheese.com