About the Authors:
Donisha Derice is an up and coming author bringing her creativity to life by penning tales of fiction. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Donisha had only dreamed of being two things: a lawyer and a writer. Receiving degrees in Paralegal Studies, Criminal Justice, and Public Management, she worked as criminal defense paralegal for over four years. After realizing she no longer desired to become an attorney, Donisha decided to follow her other dream. Her first novel, The Hustle, was completed while Donisha’s plate was full with motherhood, college, and her full-time job. Writing a book and receiving a publishing deal all within a year, Donisha knows she has found her true passion and calling—and it is in writing.
Jai Darlene is an army brat who traveled all over the world with her family before settling down in Fort Wayne, IN. She later moved to Indianapolis and obtained a juris doctorate from Indiana University School of Law, where she discovered an aptitude for writing, earning herself a spot on her school’s Law Review. After practicing law for five years, Jai discovered her artistic talent through using her creative skills to litigate countless jury and bench trials. This inspired her to pursue her passion by harnessing her imagination to make fictional characters come to life.
Q & A with Authors Donisha and Jai
What makes The Hustle different from other urban fiction novels?
It’s not just urban. It is a tale of two lives that many people from different backgrounds can relate to. We have all made bad choices and mistakes thinking we can get away with it. This story shows how our past can always affect our future.
Are there any parts of the book drawn from your own lives and experiences?
Donisha: Yes, for the Beau’s character she is loosely a physical description of me—especially the bowlegged part. My grandma does say I am very bowlegged. Also, Beau’s love of music, especially Tupac; I reference Pac and his music a few times. One of the important details of the book (I don’t want to give away too much,) but when I was around 19 or 20 one of my uncles sat me down and told me about an over the counter product that if placed in a drink has the same results of a date rape drug. Another thing is that Jai is an attorney and I am a paralegal that once dreamed of being an attorney, so one of the characters having a legal profession made total sense.
Jai: Not really. I will say I have had my fair share of bug-a-boos and was even followed once. It was pretty scary, but nothing to the extent of what Bella went through. And I definitely never tased or pistol-whipped anyone. But I do wish to have a purple pistol like Bella.
If you could pick any actors to portray the characters of The Hustle in a film adaptation, who would you choose any why?
Okay this is a good one:
Beau – This one is easy. Taylour Paige (Ahsha from Hit the Floor.) she is an up-and-coming young actress and definitely has the look.
Bella – To fit the look of Bella it is hard to come up with a young actress, but we think Evelyn Lozada from Basket Ball Wives’ daughter, Shaniece Lozada, has the look. Maybe she will start acting by the time our movie comes out. (Fingers crossed.)
Clifford – Rick Ross definitely was our inspiration for this character. We wanted readers to think of a big handsome guy, but we don’t know any more since he’s been losing so much weight. We may need him to put on a couple of pounds.
Real – Lance Gross…no explanation needed J. He is a good actor that is growing and evolving into different roles.
Beau and Bella’s dad, Beaunifide Upendo Jones – We definitely will have some flashbacks with him just to have Dennis Haysbert play this role. He has the voice and he is fine.
Give us an idea of your writing process, working together as co-authors.
We both visualized each chapter in our minds as if it was a movie scene. When it came to writing, we each wrote one of the characters and had meetings to discuss which direction each sister was taking to make sure we were flowing well. It was amazing how easy it was for us to write together. When we disagreed, we’d just throw on the boxing gloves and duke it out until one of us tapped out. No, just kidding. We would talk it over and if we couldn’t agree, whoever’s character it was won. It is just really fun to have someone to develop the story with. It is also good to have someone there to pull you back when you go too far. (Side-eye, talking about you, Jai.)
When you’re not writing, how do you ladies like to spend your free time?
(Look at each other and laugh.) Writing is what we do in our free time. We are both very busy with our lives.
Jai: I am attorney, enough said. But seriously, there is a large amount of time that I put into my legal work. So in my free time I don’t do anything but write because that is what I love to do.
Donisha: My downtime is also spent writing. I am a single mother and my children come first. So after taking care of them and all the fun and games with them, I write. I have great family support so when my family has the kids, I just love writing.
What inspires you to write?
Jai: There is no greater inspiration than life and love. It’s funny how an idea will just pop into my head out of nowhere. It must be God. For instance, I can see a homeless person on the street and imagine his story and his life if it was a book. I see everything as a story.
Donisha: God and my imagination and my love of stories inspire me. I find it amazing how God works in our lives and I love seeing it and knowing it could be nothing but God. So life and everything in it inspires me to write. The ups and downs, the journeys we take. I love to see a real life story and envision how it will play out.
What is next for you two?
Promoting our book. We want everyone to learn about The Hustle and enjoy our first (but definitely not our last) book. We are working on our next book now and have so many different ideas. We want to explore different genres and just have fun doing what we love and sharing it with the world.
About The Book
Being the daughters of the most notorious drug kingpin in the Midwest, hustling runs through Beau and Bella Jones’ veins thicker than blood. But when their father is killed, the sisters are left to fend for themselves. Accustomed to the lavishness their dad’s criminal activities once afforded them, they refuse to allow their quality of living to deteriorate. So Bella and Beau do what they were born and bred to do—they hustle.
Hustling is easy, and for years the sisters live luxuriously doing just that. But chaos ensues when someone fails to stick to the script. A brush with death is all it takes for Beau to want to abandon the hustle for a peaceful, normal life. Bella, on the other hand, does not see quitting as an option. She remains knee-deep in the game until she falls in love and wants out.
But ghosts of hustles past soon return to haunt them, threatening to tear their worlds apart and ultimately ruin them. Bella and Beau have two choices: either hustle their way out of catastrophe, or watch their happily-ever-afters become casualties of the hustle.
Nonstop parties, sex, and fast living are all a part of the game’s allure. But the crazed stalkers, deadly car chases, and murders that come along with it are much more than the sisters bargained for. Bella and Beau quickly learn that what started out as a means to an end doesn’t mean anything if you have to risk losing yourself and everything you love in the process.