About the Author

valerie new bio picValerie Wilson Wesley is the author of two paranormal romances, The Moon Tells Secrets and When the Night Whispers, written under the penname Savanna Welles. Under her own name, she has published eight Tamara Hayle Mysteries and three stand-alone novels including Playing My Mother’s Blues, Always True to You in My Fashion and Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do for which she received the 2000 award for excellence from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association  (BCALA). Her Tamara Hayle Mysteries include When Death Comes Stealing, Devil’s Gonna Get Him, Where Evil Sleeps, No Hiding Place, Easier to Kill, The Devil Riding, Dying in the Dark, and Blood and Sorrow. Most of her books have been Essence bestsellers and When Death Comes Stealing was nominated for a Shamus Award. Her mysteries have been published in Great Britain, France, German and Poland, and her stand-alone novels in Germany.

Wesley's short stories and essays are included in the anthologies The Bluelight Corner, Black Women Writing on Passion, Sex and Romantic Love, edited by Rosemarie Robotham, Gumbo, A Literary Rent Party, edited by Marita Golden and E. Lynn Harris and Room to Grow, edited by Christina Baker Kline.

Wesley’s books for children include the Willimena Rules! series, Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story and Where Do I Go From Here, and The Afro-bets Book of Black Heroes, which she co-wrote with Wade Hudson.

She is a former executive editor of Essence magazine and a former adjunct professor at Ramapo College in New Jersey.  In 2005, she was an artist-in-residence at Columbia College in Chicago. Her fiction and nonfiction for both adults and children have appeared in many publications, including Essence, Family Circle, TV Guide, Ms, Creative Classroom and Weltwoche, a Swiss weekly newspaper. She is a 1993 recipient of the Griot Award from the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. She has received awards from many book clubs and community organizations, including 2004 Author of the Year from the Amigirls Book Club and the 1996 Author of the Year, 2012 Mystery Writer of the Year and 2012 Literary Beacon Award from the Go On Girls Book Club. She is a former board member of Sisters in Crime, an organization committed to promoting women writing mysteries.

Wesley is a graduate of Howard University and holds masters degrees from both the Bank Street College of Education and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She is married to noted screenwriter and playwright Richard Wesley and has two adult daughters.

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"The question I'm most often asked is where I find my ideas. My answer is always the same: anywhere and everywhere. I've learned to respect my creative process even though it's often unpredictable and unreliable; the muse rarely comes when called. Much of writing is simply re-writing."


"I'm never afraid to put something down on paper. Writers aren't surgeons; our mistakes aren't fatal. Writing is play--with words, ideas and characters. It's make believe, it's let's pretend, it's what if…."

--Valerie Wilson Wesley