Sunny Hostin says book exec said her beach novels about Black women would fail: 'They just didn’t get it'

"The View" star tells EW she had three meetings with publishers, the first of which questioned targeting an audience of Black women.

The View cohost and legal expert Sunny Hostin is a queen of daytime TV, but when she sought to expand her royal court to the realm of romance novels, a book executive once tried to block her previously uncharted path toward a new literary throne.

As the 55-year-old prepares for the May 28 release of Summer on Highland Beach — the third in a growing line of her successful books set in historically Black "elevated beach settings" — Hostin tells Entertainment Weekly it was difficult for a particular publisher to see her vision for filling a gap in the space.

“The first two meetings I had were unsuccessful, because the people in the room didn’t get it. They just didn’t get it," Hostin recalls of the process, which she says moved quickly after she wrote a treatment for the first book on an airplane after noticing no romance novels centering on Black women at the airport bookstore. "I remember one executive saying, ‘Well, what’s the market for this?’ And I was like, ‘Black women.’ She was like, ‘Really? You think so?’"

<p>ABC/Jeff Lipsky; HarperCollins</p> Sunny Hostin on 'The View' ; Hostin's new book 'Summer on Highland Beach'

ABC/Jeff Lipsky; HarperCollins

Sunny Hostin on 'The View' ; Hostin's new book 'Summer on Highland Beach'

Hostin was stunned by the executive's words because, as she recalls explaining to the woman, "African-American women are the most educated demographic in this country. We have the most degrees."

"I was very surprised that not only did these books not exist, executives didn’t even think there was an audience for it. It was surprising and a bit disappointing," Hostin continues, adding that the woman who eventually become her editor on the Summer series, Carrie Feron, understood Hostin's mission from the start. "She not only saw the characters, she saw me and the audience. She saw three books," Hostin says.

The first executive's projections were way off, it turns out. Hostin says her first novel, Summer on the Bluffs, sold 25,000 copies in its first week. The book also courted interest from Amazon, which will adapt her work into a Prime television series with Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer on board to produce and potentially star "if her schedule allows," Hostin reveals.

Related: The View's Sunny Hostin says she's using real binoculars in courtroom to monitor Donald Trump's alleged rage

As Hostin's View cohost Joy Behar proved by live-reading a particularly raunchy passage from Summer on Highland Beach on the May 9 broadcast (which left the show's standards department "unhappy," as Hostin says Behar read more than she was supposed to), the writer doesn't skimp on spicy sex scenes, either.

As a "repressed Catholic," Hostin was "horrified" at a directive to include more sex in the first book. So she drafted steamy sequences for Bluffs, Sag Harbor, and Highland Beach by gathering both male and female friends together in a room with "a lot of wine and a lot of food," and they devised the elements together.

Now in the pilot's scripting phase, Hostin says it's vital for her and Spencer to maintain an explicit sensual tone as they translate the books to the small screen.

<p>ABC (2)</p> Joy Behar reads a sex scene from Sunny Hostin's book 'Summer on Highland Beach' on 'The View'

ABC (2)

Joy Behar reads a sex scene from Sunny Hostin's book 'Summer on Highland Beach' on 'The View'

“We don’t want to lose that,” Hostin promises. “We’re seeing Bridgerton, and these scenes are shot through a woman’s gaze. Before, you didn’t have that. We have the new movie, The Idea of You with Anne Hathaway, you’ve got this alleged cougar story, but it’s from a woman’s perspective. My books are from a female gaze, and Octavia and I want to maintain that for the series. There will be that. There’s no question, because it starts with a one-night stand and someone dumping the character."

She finishes: "It’s important, it’s normal, its’s campy, and it’s fun — as a beach read should be.”

Related: The View ladies rib Sunny Hostin over Sherri Shepherd's thirst for 'hot' son: 'You're okay if Sherri calls him?'

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Also fun for the View panelist is casting the series, which brings her back to the topic of Bridgerton, Netflix's runaway romantic hit.

“We don’t have casting lined up yet, but of course I’ve put feelers out because I would really like The Duke from the first Bridgerton to be in it. Regé-Jean Page, if you’re reading this, please reach out.”

Hostin's third novel, Summer on Highland Beach, is out May 28. The Spencer-produced TV series does not yet have a confirmed release date.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.