LOS ANGELES — Eric Jerome Dickey, a bestselling novelist whose works included “Sister, Sister” and “Walking With Enemies,” died Sunday in Los Angeles, his publicist confirmed. He was 59.
Emily Canders, Dickey’s publicist at Penguin Random House, told The Associated Press that the author died after a long illness. She did not immediately provide details beyond listing four daughters among his survivors.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm that beloved New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey passed away on Sunday, Jan. 3,” Canders said in a statement. “His work has become a cultural touchstone over the course of his multi-decade writing career, earning him millions of dedicated readers around the world.”
Dickey, whose novels mixed crime, romance and eroticism, also wrote “Milk in My Coffee,” “Cheaters,” Liar’s Game” and “Chasing Destiny.” He wrote 29 novels, some of which made The New York Times’ bestseller lists, Variety reported.
Dickey also worked on the screenplay for the 1998 movie “Cappuccino,” wrote a comic book miniseries for Marvel, and contributed to anthologies such as “Mothers and Sons” and “Black Silk: A Collection of African American Erotica,” the AP reported.
According to his website, Dickey was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 7, 1961. He attended the University of Memphis (formerly known as Memphis State), where he earned his degree in computer system technology. In 1983, he moved to Los Angeles to work in the aerospace industry as a software developer at Rockwell International, Variety reported.
After working as an actor and comedian, Dickey decided to pursue writing, publishing poetry and short stories.
“The film work gave me insight into character development, the acting classes helped me understand motivation,” Dickey said. “All of it goes hand in hand.”
Dickey’s first book, “Sister, Sister” (1996) celebrates Black sisterhood and immediately became a best-seller, Variety reported. Dickey won the 2007 fiction and author of the year award for “Sleeping with Strangers” at the African American Literary Awards Show.
Dickey also won the 2009 fiction of the year award for “Dying for Revenge,” the 2013 author of the year award for “Blackbirds,” and was the 2017 author of the year for “Finding Gideon,” Variety reported.
“I’m always trying to write a good story,” Dickey told NPR in 2007. “When I’m writing I’m always trying to write these twists and turns that, as you’re reading the book, you get to -- it’s called these ‘Oh-no-he-didn’t’ or ‘No-she-didn’t’ or ‘No-that-didn’t-happen’ moment where, you know, you want to call your friend and say, ‘Are you on Page 40? Get to Page 40.’”
Dickey’s final book, “The Son of Mr. Suleman,” will be released in April, the AP reported.
Dickey is survived by four daughters, Canders said.