Once you open one of Winkk's novels, you won't be able to stop until you've navigated every twist, turn and tragedy in the lives of her relatable and fascinating characters. Winkk's deft storytelling and experience as a former model, actress and professional dancer for artists, including R. Kelly, Avant, and Ronald Isley made "Tour Secrets" and "Tour Secrets 2," a rousing success.
The two novels-which follow the lives and torrid love affairs of dancers and best friends, Raven and Music-flew off virtual shelves when they were published in 2009 and 2010, netting acclaim from outlets including Rolling Out, Power 92.3 FM, Parle magazine and Raw TV. She is a "Breakout Author of the Year" nominee for the 2011 African American Literary Awards, an honor also bestowed upon fellow nominees and celebrity writers Iyanla Vanzant, Tavis Smiley and CNN anchor Don Lemon.
Urban Reviews awarded "Tour Secrets 2" a 4.5 on a 5-point reviewing scale, dubbing it a "near classic." The respected APOOO Book Club, one of the top 10 online sites for African American literature, offered the following accolades: "I was emotionally exhausted when I finished reading because I could visualize the words coming to life."
There is an equal amount of anticipation for her latest work, "Misleading," in which Winkk weaves the tale of Jarvis Denttin, an ambitious, self-absorbed club owner. "The main character, Jarvis, is obsessed with money and is a womanizer," Winkk said. "He surrounds himself with people he thinks he can trust, but they are only interested in seeing him fail. He has a list of enemies and is unaware of their vengeful motives. The moral of the story is: watch your karma."
Winkk follows that credo in her own life. That is why, despite dancing for some of the biggest names in R&B and modeling for Ebony magazine among others, she opted not to go the tell-all route. Instead, Winkk focuses on fictionalized stories based on her experience and imagination, broaching topics from "down low" men to transsexual entertainers.
Winkk also is building her brand beyond writing novels. In 2011, she founded Ailam Publishing. Though she is currently publishing her own projects, she wants to assist other authors in finding their voice...just as she did while traveling the world on a tour bus with a pen and notepad.
"When I first started writing, I wanted to tell the story of the tour experience from the dancer's side...that's a side that never got out," Winkk said of the books and innovative video teasers she produced on her own. "Misleading" too will get the visual treatment, as part of Winkk's holistic literary vision. "Now, I want to tell as many stories as I can as many ways as I can in print and eventually on the small and big screen."