Stacey Abrams was supposed to be on The Late Show Wednesday night to talk about the paperback release of her book Lead From the Outside. But Stephen Colbert had other things in mind.
After briefly discussing that book at the beginning of the interview, along with the voter-suppression forces that may have prevented Abrams from becoming the first African-American female governor in the U.S. last fall, Colbert asked his guest about her earlier writing work.
“Now, you’re also a retired romance novelist,” Colbert said, to which Abrams explained that she’s on a “prolonged hiatus.”
As Abrams explained, she wrote these books—several of which can still be purchased on Amazon—under the pseudonym “Selena Montgomery” because she thought her own name was “boring” and didn’t really want them to be the first thing that came up when people googled her.
When Colbert revealed that he had brought an excerpt from one of the novels with him, Abrams let out an, “Oh dear God.” Then, as he prepared to read the sections that CBS Standards and Practices said were acceptable, she asked, “Can I leave now?”
“If you’re going to write a romance novel, make it a bodice-ripper,” Colbert said, asking her if she had a preference as to which one he chose.
“God no, I don’t want you to read any of these,” she replied. “I want people to read them in the quiet of their home.”
But he proceeded anyway, reading aloud from the 2009 novel Reckless: “Softly, inexorably he tested the contours of her lips, the damp heat urging him inside,” he read. “Reaching for Patience, Luke sank down into the chair she’d abandoned and settled her across his lap. Her eyes fluttered open, her fingers clutched at his shoulders. When she tugged him closer, Patience fled.”
Abrams visibly blushed as the audience “ooohed” and Colbert held up her more recent book and asked, “Is there any of that in here? Because then I understand why it would be a bestseller.”
Earlier in the interview, Abrams confirmed to the host that she had no news to make in terms of her still-undecided 2020 plans. Running for president was still on the table, but, she added, “I am not willing to declare anything tonight.”