Brenda Jackson is an American novelist who writes contemporary multicultural romance novels. A graduate of William M. Raines High School, Brenda went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. Brenda Jackson has published more than 100 novels and novellas. Additionally, she has over 10 million books in print. Brenda Jackson has received numerous awards and made many trail-blazing accomplishments by being the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African-American romance author to make USA Today’s Bestseller’s List and the New York Times Bestseller’s List for the series romance genre. In 2012, Brenda received the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest literary award an author can receive in the romance genre. Following that, in 2015, Brenda was awarded the Humanitarian Award from Florida Memorial University. Additionally, in 2015, she established the Brenda Jackson Literary Scholarship Award through Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. This annual award of $2,000 is presented to a college-bound high school senior who displays outstanding writing skills. Please enjoy my interview with the inspirational Brenda Jackson.
How do you describe your occupation?
My occupation is that as an author. I love creating stories for others to enjoy reading. The stories are love stories that are meant to fulfil a reader’s belief that true love does exist. I believe that it does.
I get up usually around eight and handle social media aspect of my writing. My goal is usually 10 – 20 pages a day. I usually write for three hours, enjoy lunch and a nap and then write until early evening, taking a break around six to ten. I usually write for a couple of hours before retiring. There are days I do errands but there is not a single day that I don’t write. Writing relaxes me.
What are you reading at the moment and what made you want to read it?
Not reading anything due to writing on a deadline. However, the last book I read was The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis. The reason I read it is because that book was selected as a Passionflix movie airing in December and I wanted to read the book before the movie airs.
Can you remember the first book you read by yourself?
The first book I read was Cinderella by Charles Perrault.
Are you a page folder or a bookmarker?
When did you fall in love with reading?
When I was around 6.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was in junior high school I wrote a series of “beach” stories to entertain my classmates. They were short stories similar to the Gidget and Moon-doggie stories.
If you could gift yourself books at age 16 and age 25 – what would they be and why?
At age sixteen, it would have been Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss because it would have been nice to get an early jump on reading a romance story. At age twenty-five, it would have been The Flame and a Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I read it at 27 but would have enjoyed reading it at an earlier age as well.
Can you talk us through your writing process, from the first spark of an idea, to having your first completed draft?
Usually, when an idea comes into my head I envision it from start to finish. All I have to do is then get it out of my head. I don’t do outlines, I just begin writing. Once in a while, the story might change in my mind but usually the story is already written in my head.
For someone starting out in your career, which three books would you make required reading and why?
I wouldn’t make any book required reading, but would highly suggest you know the genre you want to write in. For me, it is romance and women fiction. So what I did was to read romance novels by some of the best selling authors and asked myself 1)What was there about the story I enjoyed? 2) What was there about the hero and heroine that had me rooting for them to get together. 3)What was there about the opening in the book that kept you reading?
If you could invite 5 authors (dead or alive) to a dinner party – who would they be and why?
1) Kathleen E. Woodiwiss 2) Nora Roberts 3) Beverly Jenkins 4)Linda Howard 5) Lori Foster
What was the last book you purchased, and why did you buy it?
What Happened by Hillary Clinton. The reason I purchased the book is that I wanted to read the Secretary of State’s feelings on what happened in the 2016 elections.
What is your favourite thing about reading?
Escaping from reality for a little while into the world of fiction.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I would love to have been a character who gave Mister a piece of my mind and a taste of his own medicine.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
1) Write from your heart and not the books you think will make you the most money. 2) Make sure your book is well-edited before putting it out there.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life? What impact did it have?
The Bible. It’s a guide as to how I can live a good life.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
I’d also include; Hard Justice by Lori Foster; Once Upon a Bridesmaid Series featuring Yours Forever by Sherelle Green; Beyond Forever by Elle Wright; Embracing Forever by Sheryl Lister; Hopelessly Forever by Angela Seals; Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins and On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins.
Which book sat on your shelf are you most excited about reading next and why?
Hard Justice by Lori Foster. The reason I am excited about reading this book is because I’ve kept up with Justice when he was first introduced in Lori’s earlier books.