Terry McMillan (born October 18, 1951, in Port Huron, Michigan) is an American author. Her interest in books comes from working at a library when she was sixteen. She received her BA in journalism in 1986 at University of California, Berkeley. Her work is characterized by relatable female protagonists.
Her first book, Mama, was published in 1987. She achieved national attention in 1992 with her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, which remained on The New York Times bestseller list for many months. In 1995, Forest Whitaker turned it into a film starring Whitney Houston. In 1998, another of McMillan’s novels, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was made into a movie. McMillan’s novel Disappearing Acts was subsequently produced as a direct-to-cable feature, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan. She also wrote the best seller A Day Late and a Dollar Short. The Interruption of Everything was published on July 19, 2005. Getting to Happy, the long-awaited sequel to Waiting to Exhale, was published on September 7, 2010.
The 1992 publication of Waiting to Exhale sold over three million copies by 1995, the time of its film adaptation, The novel announced and contributed to a landmark shift in Black popular cultural consciousness and production. McMillan was instrumental to the construction and visibility of a female Black middle-class identity in popular culture. The novel develops female protagonists expressing heartbreak, sadness, loneliness, and sexual desire.McMillan thus introduced the interior world of black women professionals in their thirties who are successful, alone, available, and unhappy.The novel embraced a rhetoric of Black women openly venting about men and embracing a desire to be taken care of. The novel’s themes are resonated in a number of successful R&B Projects such as TLC’s No Scrubs and Destiny’s Child’s Bills, Bills, Bills.