|Niobia Bryant is a popular romance writer who also pens mainstream fiction, young-adult novels (under the name Simone Bryant), and gritty volumes of urban fiction (under the name Meesha Mink). Bryant was born and raised in the predominately black Central Ward of Newark, New Jersey. Her father, who battled a drug addiction, was largely absent from the family, and her mother was frequently short of funds. Despite that, the home was filled with books, particularly the Harlequin romances that Bryant's mother loved, and she encouraged her children to be avid readers as well. Among Bryant's fondest childhood memories is her mother buying the Little House on the Prairie books, one by one, until they owned the entire set. Bryant attended Seton Hall University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing as well as a degree in social and behavioral science. She had always enjoyed telling stories, however, and she soon decided to try her hand at writing one of the romances her mother had so enjoyed. Her first, ADMISSION OF LOVE, was published in 2000. In 2008, wanting to relate stories set in locales more like Newark--not the usual backdrop for a traditional romance--she began writing as Meesha Mink. DESPERATE HOODWIVES, the first novel published under the new pen name, is the tale of four young women longing to break free of their impoverished surroundings. "Listen, you don't have to wait for some African prince or some wealthy man to sweep you off of your feet. It's the guy standing next to you on the bus stop," Bryant has said. "I kinda prefer that women look for that romance in everyday life. Don't put yourself on hold waiting for that fantasy."