Since their debut in 1999 with the hilarious What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know three-book series, the husband-and-wife team of Denene Millner and Nick Chiles have established themselves as the funny, insightful voice of young African-American singles and couples who are trying to find their way to successful loving relationships in an era that seems to devour relationships at an alarming rate.
No, they are not therapists or marriage counselors--they’re two writers in love who are blessed with a keen eye for describing the angst and fears that plague every person who has ever tried to connect with another. That keen eye, cutting wit and engaging style were on full display in their bestselling and critically acclaimed book, What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know.
When the book hit stores in February of 1999, it quickly became a national phenomenon in the African-American community and in a month’s time was the top-selling black non-fiction book in the country, according to the Blackboard Bestsellers List. In the book, Millner and Chiles tackle 30 of the thorniest issues that confront African-American men and women, from the destructive effects of the baggage we all carry into new relationships to the reasons many black men think all black women are angry, from the contention of successful black women that black men are intimidated by them to the fear many brothers have of commitment. In its review, Essence Magazine said Millner and Chiles break it down with an "honest, witty dialogue format that makes reading it like getting inside your lover’s head. Readers will walk away from this kiss-and-tell survival guide with hundreds of secrets--all from a sister and brother perspective."
According to a review in Publisher’s Weekly, "Millner and Chiles probe each other’s views on dating, sex and marriage in a fast-paced, sassy dialogue that both pokes fun at and illuminates the differences between male and female perspectives on love...One of the book’s great pleasures is the chance to eavesdrop on their blunt but affectionate banter, which models just the kind of male-female honesty extolled by experts of all colors."
The Washington Post Sunday Book World called the book a "funny and frank relationship survival guide" and an "honest look at relationships from a fresh perspective."
As Millner and Chiles toured the country promoting their book and appeared on television and radio shows in more than two dozen markets--including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Indianapolis--they had a chance to speak to African-Americans all over the United States about the issues that plague them and often keep men and women apart. The conversations expanded their view of the difficulties black men and women face in trying to move past their baggage and their damaging perceptions of each other to relate to one another in fresh and truthful ways.
When Millner and Chiles talked about their book and their experiences and opened up the floor for questions, they’d soon find themselves presiding over group therapy sessions as singles and couples poured out their hearts and expressed their fears. Evidently, the presence of Chiles emboldened and encouraged many men to do something they don’t often do: talk about their relationships, their loves, their pain. The women related to the words of Millner just as passionately. Many of them were already fans of hers from her first book, The Sistahs’ Rules: Secrets for Meeting, Getting and Keeping a Good Black Man.
Millner and Chiles have appeared together on such television shows as Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus, the Roseanne (Barr) Show, Good Day New York, Eyewitness News, News 12’s Jersey’s Talking, Philly After Midnight, Good Morning Washington, Good Day Atlanta and BET’s Buy the Book.
After the follow-up, What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know About Sex and the brutally honest Money, Power, Respect: What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know, which received a 2001 Gold Pen Award nomination from the Black Writers Alliance for best finance nonfiction book, the couple jumped into the fiction market, first in January 2001 with their first novel, Love Don't Live Here Anymore. Booklist called the book "a powerful fiction debut...written with humor, compassion and honesty." And Publishers Weekly said, "in this entertaining first novel...the authors offer an insightful look at modern marriage."
Publishers Weekly said of their second novel, In Love and War, "These sharp-tongued, intelligent protagonists crackle with life...A textured portrait of the suburban community." And Kirkus Reviews called the book "a thoughtful and lively story from a husband-wife team who blend two distinctive voices into a seamless, satisfying whole." Their last novel, A Love Story, was hailed by Kirkus Reviews as "another earthy, funny, juicy winner, the third from this husband-and-wife team."
Both Millner and Chiles bring a wealth of reporting experience to their book-writing endeavors. In essence, for the past decade they have been engaged in delving into the psyche of both the mainstream and African-American communities from their perch as newspaper reporters.
As an entertainment reporter for the New York Daily News, Millner established herself as one of the country’s foremost chroniclers of African-American culture, particularly of the under-30 set widely known as the hip hop generation. Queen Latifah, Brandy, Mase, Terry McMillan, Nia Long, Don Cheadle, Spike Lee, Vivica A. Fox, Ice Cube, Brian McKnight, Mary J. Blige and Jada Pinkett Smith are just a few of the artists that she has profiled. Millner has also written for VIBE, Honey, TV Guide, Essence, Heart and Soul, Interview, BET Weekend, American Visions and Black Elegance. She was the recipient of the 1997 New York Association of Black Journalists’ Arts and Entertainment Writing Award. In March 2001, Millner left the Daily News for Honey magazine, where she was a Senior Editor and then Executive Editor. Millner left Honey in 2003 to become Articles Editor for Parenting Magazine. She is now a Contributing Editor and columnist for Parenting, one of the few African-American parenting columnists in the country.
Millner got her start in journalism with The Associated Press, with whom she began working shortly after graduating from Hofstra University in her native Long Island with a BA in Print Journalism and Graphic Arts in 1990.
Chiles spent the bulk of his 15-year journalism career as an education reporter--and he was widely acknowledged as one of the best in the nation. He has also written extensively about New York City politics, health and social services. He has won over a dozen major journalism awards, including a 1992 Pulitzer Prize as part of a New York Newsday team covering a fatal subway crash, the 1993 and 1989 National Education Reporting Award presented by the Education Writers Association, the 1992 Deadline Club Award, the 1989 Local Reporting Award of Excellence presented by the New York State Publishers’ Association, the 1994 New York Association of Black Journalists newspaper feature writing and magazine feature writing awards, and the New Jersey Press Association education reporting awards in 1996, 1997 and 1998 with The Star-Ledger of New Jersey. Chiles also ventured into the dot-com world, serving as Senior Editor for a multicultural website for women called SayShe.com until January 2001. In March 2001, he rejoined the Newsday staff, covering education and politics. In April 2003, Chiles left Newsday to become Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur, a national multicultural travel magazine that has been enthusiastically received by readers across the country.
Chiles also published a fictional short story in the landmark Ballantine anthology Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America, which won a 1996 American Book Award. Not limiting himself to the written word, Chiles co-hosted a PBS special on education in 1993 with Charlie Rose.
Chiles is a 1986 graduate of Yale University, where he received a BA in psychology. He was born in Manhattan and reared in New Jersey. He has a son named Mazi from a previous marriage.
Millner and Chiles spent a decade as writing instructors at Legal Outreach, Inc., a Harlem-based program that prepares high school students for careers in law; and they were the editorial directors for Harlem Overheard, a youth newspaper which focused on issues affecting young people in the Harlem community.
Millner and Chiles currently reside in the Atlanta metro area with their daughters Mari and Lila.