Best-Selling author Van Whitfield resides in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Lanham, Maryland. His debut novel, Beeperless Remote was cited as the number one hardback fiction book in Emerge Magazine's 1997 Year End issue and earned 6 Ben Franklin Award nominations including Best Author and Best New Voice in Books.
German Publishing giant, Knaur Verlag, which sought to acquire the top new releases from around the world at 1997's American Book Association convention, selected Beeperless Remote as the sole American title for it's upcoming Urban Landscape Series (release date - August 15, 1999). When asked about the author, the publisher commented: Whitfield is by far the most substantial and significant voice to emerge from the American book scene in years. He is an amazing talent with an uncanny, refreshing style. We believe he will undoubtedly lead where others are certain to follow."
Whitfield started writing because of a bad blind date which is chronicled in Beeperless Remote.
"I didn't aspire to write and never considered it as a career option," he says. "But after that date, I was so frustrated I went home and put it down on paper."
The budding author soon secured the services of high power literary agent, Marie Brown, and together, they set about pitching his
|Van Whitfield participated in an On-line Chat with the AALBC's CWMYB on-line Reading Group on August 4, 1999 - Click to read the transcript|
manuscript to publishing's top houses. Though many were quick to acknowledge Van's writing talent and unique comedic flair, his work was tabbed as "not black enough" (no violence, not enough sex, profanity, etc.).
He eventually teamed with a small, Baltimore based publishing firm and despite outstanding sales, the relationship ended when Whitfield was forced to file suit against the publisher. He then landed on his feet with Pines One Publications which released the successful hardcover edition of Beeperless Remote. Doubleday-Random House has published his current release, Something's Wrong With Your Scale! (as well as the paperback edition of Beeperless Remote). Ironically, Doubleday was the first publisher to reject his original manuscript.
Van has also proved to be a popular guest on numerous televison and radio broadcasts including Tavis Smiley's BET Tonight, Good Day New York, New Jersey's Talking, Nite Talk with nationally syndicated radio host Bob Law, LA Book Talk with Connie Martinson, New York's Tony Brown Live, NPR's Derrick McGinty Show, RadioScope (syndicated to over 300 stations), The Peter Solomon and Louise Collins Shows in Philadelphia, and the National Book Club's Newsmaker of the Day program, which is syndicated to nearly 100 radio outlets across the country.
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Format: Paperback, 272pp
Pub. Date: May 11, 2004
Publisher: Broadway Books
'What's a baby? ' It's an interruption!' ' And so starts Dad Interrupted, the much-anticipated sequel to Van Whitfield's smash debut romantic comedy, Beeperless Remote, which takes an uncompromising and revealing look at the state of Black fatherhood.
Hilarious single guy Shawn Wayne has a problem ' actually he has three problems.
1. His girlfriend, the no nonsense TV star, Dawn expects that the New Year's broadcast of her new BET talk show will produce a long-awaited proposal from Shawn.
2. His 'sort of' ex-girlfriend, the shapely, seductive Troi, announces she's pregnant ' and that she's coming to join Shawn in DC.
3. Shawn doesn't know if the baby is his (though he would never deny it) ' doesn't know if he's even ready to be a dad ' and doesn't know if he should tell Dawn ' he simply can't afford to risk losing his one and only soul mate without first knowing he is indeed the father.
Shawn's embarrassing, nationally televised confession is the centerpiece of a laugh-out-loud tale that includes The Official Babies Mamma Checklist, The Why Men Are Lost Quotient and the What It Takes To Be A Dad Inventory.
Dad Interrupted brings back Donnie, the enterprising recovering crack addict, who now works as a drug counselor, Kelly, whose crush on Shawn may finally be realized, Alan, Kelly's 'boy-toy' M.D. boyfriend and Shawn's loveable parents who spin their special brand of advice and wisdom from the great beyond. They all have a unique take on what Shawn should do, when he should do it and more importantly, whom he should do it with ' Dawn or Troi?
Responsibility, recovery, courage, honesty, communication, childrearing, adoption, child support good vs. evil and how they all go to affect careers, self esteem and relationships will be explored in Whitfield's trademark witty, fast-paced style.
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Format: Hardcover, 272pp.
Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Incorporated
Pub. Date: September 2001
Edition Desc: 1 ED
Readers across the country are discovering the marvelously original
voice of Van Whitfield as he champions the romantic trials and
tribulations of today's everyman. In Guys in Suits, a
laugh-out-loud expos? of how differently women treat blue-collar guys and
white-collar 'suitors,' Whitfield shines the spotlight on the
desperate bus-driving Simon and his stockbroker best friend Stuart,
D.C.'s consummate ladies' man.
Having just turned thirty, Simon is in search of his soul mate and determined to settle down. Stuart has different plans. He subscribes to the 'Quintessential Male Manifesto,' the 60-day rule'a theory that suggests men are inherently bound to successfully coexist in relationships for just 60 days!
Weeks 1'2 are the 'Glory Days,' when a man actually looks forward to 'communicating' with a potential mate. Weeks 2'4 are known as the 'Realm of Reality,' the period in which the gloss wears off. The 'Prozac Period,' weeks 5'6, is a time of high anxiety because the woman thinks she's found Mr. Right but the guy knows he's in too deep. And the 'Dawn of Destruction,' the final era of the 60-day rule, is when the guy is ready to bail, but unfortunately, the woman isn't!
As Simon and Stuart's annual New Year's Eve investment group vacation approaches (with their two 'happily' married buddies and their wives, no less) they're in a mad dash to find dates. As the deadline for this fun-in-the-sun extravaganza approaches both Simon and Stuart have met potential Ms. Rights and are confident that for the first time, they'll take their dream dates on their annual island getaway. Everything looks good, but just before the tickets are booked a staggering discovery threatens to upset Simon and Stuart's seemingly perfect plan.
With all the laughs and hubris of a sweet old-fashioned comedy, Van Whitfield takes readers on a madcap romp through the rocky terrain of today's relationships.
Something's Wrong with Your Scale : A Romantic Comedy
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Format: Hardcover, 293pp
Pub. Date: January 1999
Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Incorporated
Van Whitfield's first novel, Beeperless Remote, originally published in paperback in 1996, was an underground sensation. Following its successful hardcover publication the following year, this Blackboard and Emerge bestseller placed Van Whitfield among the ranks of a cadre of young up-and-coming African-American male writers such as Omar Tyree and Eric Jerome Dickey. Now, in Something'S Wrong With Your Scale, Whitfield exercises his comedic flair in a universal tale of two people who meet and fall in love at a weight-loss center
Meet Sonny Walker, a thirty-something-Mr. Nice Guy who's found companionship and comfort with Marsha. The only problem is that he's become too comfortable. Weighing seventy-five pounds more than when the courtship first began, the newly food-obsessed Sonny just can't stay away from Marsha's marvelous pie, even in the middle of their breakup conversation.
Determined to slim down and get his girlfriend back, Sonny joins the FutraSystem weight-loss center and meets potential love interest Kayla, as well as a host of other colorful characters. In a heartwarming tale that is alternately hilarious, wise, and ultimately self-affirming, Whitfield has created a thoroughly delicious and engaging novel sure to be enjoyed by those who have waged the battle of the bulge, or know someone who has.
Guy, Some Girls and His Answering Machine
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Format: Hardcover, 280pp
Pub. Date: August 1997
Publisher: Pines One Publications
Offering a male perspective on dating in the 1990s, this romantic comedy follows a frugal sports fanatic on his search for the perfect woman. Along the way he discovers that there are six types of women in the world-1. those who are recovering from a bad relationship; 2. those who just want to be friends; 3. those who are so beautiful they only date rich and powerful men; 4. those who believe that men are dogs; 5. those who are looking only for husbands; and 6. those who are perfect. He is looking for number six. Read author interview on Beeperless Remote."A humorous version of Waiting to Exhale."
"Pokes fun at the search for a soul mate and the crucial role that technology
(the answering machine) plays in the contemporary dating game."
- Quarterly Black Review
"With dialogue as true as it is funny, characters likeable as they are
familiar, and a search so addictive it will keep you reading into the night."
Question and answer session with Van Whitfield on Beeperless Remote
Q: What inspired you to write Beeperless Remote?
A: A very bad blind date. I was totally hyped about meeting this particular woman but the date was a complete disaster. The next morning, I found that I was being downsized from my job. Losing my job made the date seem even worse. I remember blaming literally everything on the woman and the date. I needed an outlet, so I wrote about the date and made it funny to keep my spirits up. 30 chapters later, I had a book.
Q: How different or alike are men and women when it comes to dating?
A: Not much. Women and men basically want the same things. Trust. Respect. Support. Love. Room to grow and a major physical attraction. Women do date better than men though. Theyll get prepared. Men just kind of show-up.
Q: Where do you find regular guys?
A: The same place you find regular women. At the supermarket (in the soft-drink aisle). At the laundry-mat (by the overload capacity machines). On elevators (going-up). And, of course, in electronics stores (near the big screen tv section).
Q: Do you believe men are waiting to exhale?
A: No way. Men arent waiting to do anything besides finding a way to meet the right woman and making sure that bad dates are over in time to catch SportsCenter.
Q: Commercial fiction is popping up across the country as fast as Barnes & Noble. Whats unique about your approach?
A: Beeperless Remote is about entertainment. We have been extremely fortunate, because it seems to have struck a cord with many readers. Were told that people feel its funny and that its fresh. Id like to believe its a real change of pace from the books that dominate the market. From what Im told, most of the other relationship books are down right depressing. Plus, weve approached the entire publishing experience from many different angles. Our web-site is simply the best interactive Internet experience for any author anywhere. It captures my spirit and the fun and energy that makes Beeperless Remote work. My team thinks big and dares to be innovative, challenging and close to the edge. We believe that the publishing industry is stuck somewhere in the Jurassic era. When it comes to my work, well push the envelope and drag them along with us. Publishing companies and a great many authors have missed the opportunity to capitalize on the very real relationships they create with their readers. Hopefully our success will inspire others to be more creative in their approach to marketing and connecting with their audiences.
Q: Will you continue to use humor as your style of writing?
A: Absolutely. I am not a trained writer and I dont think anyone would accuse me of being a funny person. But I feel God has truly blessed me. I cant begin to explain where the ability to write humor even came from. My next book, Somethings Wrong With Your Scale! is completely different. Its about two people who meet at a NutraSystem weight-loss center. The story-line focuses on gaining and losing weight and how it affects relationships, careers and self esteem. Doubleday will release the book in 98.
Q: Beeperless Remote achieved success in the DC metro area, but there were problems with your publisher. Why did you create another alliance with a small press?
A: People have some mixed-up idea that I had to go with a small press, which couldnt be further from the truth. We turned down substantial offers from major houses. I always believed that Beeperless was going to make somebody a bunch of money. If I could keep that money in the community and really learn the business at the same time (something a large press wouldnt afford me), I felt Id be better off. Pines One stepped to the plate and things couldnt be better. A small, capable press like Pines One Publications gives me a level of involvement, commitment and personal attention that is not easily matched.
Q: Now that youve signed a multibook deal with Doubleday, will you ever find the need to go with a small press?
A: I honestly believe that all of my work have the type of impact that will allow me to create some unique opportunities. Right now, I have companion books and products planned for my other works. These will be profitable ventures for the right company, so Im open to anyone who can or has demonstrated that they can effectively market and distribute with the best. It wouldnt hurt if they could put up with my nonsense too.
Q: In your book you make reference to music a lot, what song would you use to describe each type of woman?
A: Interestingly, each woman in the book has her own theme song. And one the opportunities I eluded to in the previous question, is the soundtrack (not the spoken book) which is based on all the songs featured in the Beeperless Remote. It would be easier to assign a movie title to each type of woman, so here goes:
1s. Fatal Attraction
2s. Shes Gotta Have It
3s. Jerry Maguire (especially the "Show Me The Money!" part)
4s. Waiting to Exhale
5s. Four Weddings and A Funeral
6s. Dont need a movie. 6s would accept the free video that you get with your Sports Illustrated subscription.
Q: Your book seems to reveal a womens secret test. Is it true that women judge men as potential mates by the shoes they wear?
A: As I wrote the book, I developed a survey and interviewed 50 men and 50 women. One of the questions was: What is the first thing you notice when you see a member of the opposite sex? To my surprise, many women answered, "His shoes." I was shocked. Nearly all of my shoes have a Nike swoosh on them, so Im out of step. I ultimately found it to be true that women absolutely have a thing about shoes. Bad shoes = Bad guy.
Q: What are other love tests in relationships?
A: From a male point of view, heres how it goes. If you can trust her when you cant see her, shes okay. If shes there when you need her, shes cool. If she cares, keeps it exciting and knows when to push and when not to push, shes making a mark. And when you want to do stuff as opposed to having to do stuff, her mark is made. The true test is simple. If she has cable, knows what channel carries ESPN and gets excited about watching SportsCenter with you (because she knows youre excited), shes all of it.
Q: What is your dream date?
A: Dream date? My dates are nightmares! If she were awake, alive, not on parole and truly single that would start. Place, time and what we do matters little if Im out with the right woman.
Q: What are some of the best one liners that women used to get your attention?
A: Thats funny. As if women were actually trying to get my attention. Anyway, I guess the best line is, "The treats on me." Followed closely by, "Are you busy tonight?" It doesnt take much. It seems like women arent forced into the role of pursuer that often. They dont have to come up with slick lines (like guys do) and they know it. So the most youll usually get from a woman is, "What time are you picking me up?"
Q: Every man seems to have some obsession -- Your main character, Shawn Wayne is frugal and a die-hard sports fan. Whats yours?
A: My obsession, if you can call it one, is my very real desire to encourage others to write and to pursue their dreams. I was shot down so much in the process of writing and marketing Beeperless Remote that I started feeling like a human bulls eye. But I never stopped believing in my ability or what I was doing. I want to pass that sense of faith and perseverance on to others. which is how my "Education Works!" Foundation came about.
Q: Describe dating in seven words?
A: Fun. Exciting. Difficult. Stressful. Good. Bad. Necessary. Basically, full of major contradictions. But if you want to meet your soulmate, its what youve got to do.
Q: With so many magazines and books offering women warning signals and defense tactics on men who cheat -- what do you think Shawns warning signs should be?
A: Shawn, like many guys is looking for someone who is real. So the warning signs are obvious. Shawns mother is a major influence in his life and she would probably tell him: Dont date a woman who gives you a pager number instead of a home number (shes looking for control). Dont date a woman who doesnt take care of her place (she wont take care of you). Dont date a woman with satin sheets on her bed (she didnt put them there just for you). And dont date a woman without cable (no cable, no SportsCenter).
Q: What tips would you offer both men and women on dating?
A: Id first tell them to read Beeperless Remote! Then Id say, be honest, be consistent, be fair and go with the flow. If it was meant to be, it will.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Id tell them to read Beeperless Remote too. Then Id say, believe in your work, educate yourself about the business, surround yourself with good people, set goals and timetables and stay focused on them, dont get down on yourself when you get rejection letters, learn your audience and know how to reach them and dont sign anything without a good lawyer and a capable agent.