About the Author


Valerie Wilson Wesley writes mysteries, novels, children’s books.  Her latest mystery A Glimmer or Death–An Odessa Jones Mystery will be published in February 2021. She is the author of nine Tamara Hayle Mysteries, which include When Death Comes Stealing and Dying in the Dark. Most of her mysteries have been Blackboard Bestsellers. She has also written paranormal romances under the pen name Savanna Welles. They include When the Night Whispers (2013) and The Moon Tells Secrets (2015). Her novels include 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 in adult fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). Most of her mysteries and several of her novels have been published in Germany, France and Great Britain.   

Wesley’s books for children and young adults include seven titles in her Willimena Rules! series, Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story, Where Do I Go From Here, and The Afro-bets Book of Black Heroes, which she co-wrote with Wade Hudson. Her short essay, “Never Be Afraid to Soar,” is included in The Talk Conversations about Race, Love and Truth (2020) edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson. Her short stories and essays are also 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 is a former executive editor of Essence Magazine. She served as artist-in-residence at Columbia College in Chicago in spring 2005. She is a former adjunct professor at Ramapo College in Mahwah New Jersey, and a former artist-in-residence at the Tyson School of the Arts in East Orange, New Jersey.

Her fiction and nonfiction for both adults and children have appeared in magazines including Essence, Family Circle, TV Guide, Ms, Creative Classroom, Scholastic News 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 groups and community organizations, including 2004 Author of the Year from the Amigirls Book Club and 1996 Author of the Year, 2012 Mystery Writer of the Year and 2012 Literary Beacon Award from the national 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 master’s degrees from 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.

Short Bio

Valerie Wilson Wesley is the author of A Glimmer of Death, an Odessa Jones Mystery, to be published next year, as well as the popular Tamara Hayle Mystery series, three novels and two paranormal romances under the pen name Savanna Welles. Her books for children include the Wlllimena Rules! series, Freedom’s Gifts—A Juneteenth Story, and the Afro-bets Book of Black Heroes co-written with Wade Hudson. Her novels and mysteries are published in Germany, France and the UK and her nonfiction has been published in magazines such as Essence and Family Circle. In 2000, she received best book for her novel Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, from the American Library Black Caucus Association.  She is a former executive editor of Essence magazine.