‘Hello, This Is Oprah.’ What It’s Like When Oprah Tells You Your Book Will Be In Her Book Club.

By Bridgette A. Lacy
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Author Tayari Jones shares the experience of what is it like to get “THE CALL” from the one and only Oprah Winfrey.

The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Author Tayari Jones has been keeping a big secret about her new book “An American Marriage” for a very long time, at least it has seemed that way.

In October, Jones got a phone call that changed her life. Oprah Winfrey was on the line, telling her that “An American Marriage” had been selected for Oprah’s Book Club. But there was a catch. She couldn’t tell anyone until the book was published months later in February.

“So you have to sit on the secret a long time,” Jones, a 47-year-old Atlanta native, said in a phone interview.
It’s something authors dream of. An Oprah endorsement guarantees instant sales.

And since Winfrey relaunched her book club online in 2012, it ran for 15 years to coincide with the “Oprah Winfrey Show”, she has been more selective, picking fewer books. Only one was named in 2017, “Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue.

Winfrey, apparently, has been waiting for months, too, to tell readers about Jones’s novel and is betting big. Her Harpo Films company is attached to produce the adaptation of the book, too. In a video announcing the book’s selection, she said she read the book in galley form, before it went to print.

“It’s so juicy,” she said. “Every chapter, it’s, ‘Will they, or won’t they, and how’s this going to end?’ It’s one of those books I could not put down. As soon as I did, I called up the author and said, ‘I gotta talk to you about this story.'”

“An American Marriage” tells the story of Celestial and Roy, a recently married black couple living in modern-day Atlanta. Everything seems to be going their way. Celestial is getting recognized for her work as an artist. Roy’s career as an executive also is thriving. But when Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison, for a crime he didn’t do, everything changes. Celestial, the newlywed, has some big questions to answer.

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