05-28-2012 11:04 AM
This summer the Romance Writers of America are bestowing their Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement award on Brenda Jackson. Brenda is one of those reliable romance writers that make loving this genre that much easier. Her books are always full of character, love, family, and personal journeys.
She has dozens of books, and this summer I'm going to highlight some of her work, starting with June's Courting Justice (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series) .Brenda is not only a treasure among romance novelists, but she's gracious and approachable too. I'm so happy to be able to share some of her thoughts on her career achievement and her latest book - a Madaris family entry.
Here's a little more about Brenda, from her publisher:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Brenda Jackson lives in the city where she was born—Jacksonville, Florida. She has a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Jacksonville University.
Brenda is a retiree who worked for thirty-seven years in management at a major insurance company. She divides her time between family, writing and traveling. She loves writing connecting stories and happily admits that she is a die “heart” romantic who married her childhood sweetheart,and still wears the ring he gave her when she was fifteen. Brenda and Geraldhave been married forty years and are the proud parents of two sons, Gerald Jr.and Brandon.
Brenda has more than ninety novels in print. You can visit herat www.brendajackson.net.
05-28-2012 11:12 AM
Courting Justice (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series) is Brenda's latest book, and it's the latest in her Madaris family saga:
Two weeks in paradise has given Peyton some sizzling memories. That's all she expects—or wants—from a legendary player like Angelo. Having grown up on Chicago's South Side, she is worlds away from his life of privilege. Then a controversial case puts them on opposing sides. And as sexual tension spills over from the courtroom to the bedroom, there's no way they can ignore the undeniable attraction….
I'm posting my Q&A with Brenda below!
05-28-2012 11:18 AM
First, congratulations on being awarded the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Can you tell us a little bit about what this means to you?
I attended my first RWA convention a good 5 years before publishing my first novel in 1995. At that time I was a reader groupie. I knew my favorite authors and made sure I attended their workshops to hear what they had to say. As an aspiring author this was important to me and I made sure I listened and took in all that was said. One of the most memorable workshops was one where Nora Roberts was on the panel. After listening to her, I remembering jokingly whispering to a friend who attended the conference with me - "I want to be like her when I grow up..." Fast forward 22 years later. I have a long way to go to be like Ms. Roberts, but I am receiving an award named in her honor and to me that is the highest accomplishment I can get for all the books I have written. Nora Roberts is my shero and I feel both honored and blessed to receive such an award.
You've been working as a novelist for so long, does a moment like this make you look back on all the stories you've created? Do you have favorite book memories?
I can't help but look back and reflect, which is something I seldom allow myself to do. I prefer looking forward rather than back. But it's good to take the time to look back now and again, and recall the struggles and challenges, they make the accomplishments that much sweeter. I recall others would say, "I wouldn't write that many books", or "you shouldn't just write connecting books", or "I wouldn't get up at 3:00 am in the morning to write." Everyone is driven by some kind of passion and for me, it is writing a story readers can enjoy and connect to.
I have a number of favorite book memories—when I would have book signings and fly my cover models in to join me. The ladies would go wild with excitement. Another would be when I wrote a book that my husband would read. He didn't want just that "kissy,kissy-bed,bed stuff", he wanted a book with action. So I wrote Fire and Desire about a former marine who could kick butt. My first action-romance. He read it and liked it!
I just loved Courting Justice (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series) and want to pick your brain about it! But for those who haven't read it or who have somehow missed out on the Madaris series, what can you tell about these books and the Madaris family.
Not only do I write about the Madaris Family but on occasion, I include stories about their friends as well. This is one such novel. The hero and heroine, DeAngelo Di Meglio and Peyton Mahoney, have appeared as secondary characters in my other Madaris books and it was time for the big hookup. I've been throwing out hints about DeAngelo's interest in Peyton, so now it's time to bring them together in a steamy, passionate and romantic way. I love writing the stories where the man is already half-way there and it's the woman you have to hit over the head. Other such stories were Eternally Yours and Surrender.
De Angelo Di Meglio is about as dreamy as they come: successful, sexy, gorgeous. Have I summed him up right? What else would you say about his appeal?
You summed him up right! He's also determined. He's reached the part of his life where he has accomplished his dream. Now he wants the woman who he knows to be his perfect mate to share those accomplishments and dreams with him.
Peyton Mahoney is a heroine with a chip on her shoulder. Maybe I should rephrase: she's a woman who hasn't forgotten where she's come from. I was so taken with her; she's successful but can't fully enjoy it because of the memories of a tough situation growing up. What was your inspiration for her?
I think most successful people who have had hard or should I say humble beginnings, want to remember what it took to get them there. Then at times, we see others who didn't have to work as hard reach their goals because they had help. But what we all have to remember, whether it was done now or in the past, sacrifices were made at some point. I wanted Peyton to learn that lesson because I believe there are a lot of Peytons out there. Plus I also wanted to show that all people with money aren't snobs.
How long were you planning Peyton and Angelo's romance?
I began hinting at an interest in Mac's book - Taste of Passion (Madaris Family Series) .
What is next for the Madaris clan?
The next Madaris book returns to a Madaris family member, Lee Madaris. It comes out in 2013.
What is next for you?
Next for me are more books! I've made one of my Madaris books, Truly Everlasting, into a movie and I plan to do others. The Madarises are my most popular family and from looking at the family tree which I include in every book, there are a lot more Madarises to write about!
Thank you, Brenda, for all your amazing books!
06-26-2012 07:07 AM
SEDUCTION, WESTMORELAND STYLE
Montana horse breeder McKinnon Quinn is adamant about his "no women on my ranch" rule. So when Casey Westmoreland asks for a job training horses, he turns her down flat. Despite her innocent looks, she tempts him beyond reason. Casey vows to get McKinnon to hire her, and to make him her first and onlylover. But after every steamy encounter, he avoids her, infuriating her even more. It's as if he has a secret he is desperate to hide…making Casey just as desperate to uncover it.
SPENCER'S FORBIDDEN PASSION
Millionaire deal-maker Spencer Westmoreland agrees to bail out Chardonnay Russell's failing Napa Valley vineyard. In return, she agrees to bear his children. She doesn't dare hope Spencer will fall in love with her, so her only choice is to accept the arrogant businessman's proposal. But becoming Spencer's wife—in every way—sets her body and heart on fire. And soon, Chardonnay wants what is strictly forbidden.…
07-03-2012 08:39 AM
DREAMS OF FOREVER features two stories from your bestselling Westmoreland family series. What makes a Westmoreland hero special and memorable?
The Westmorelands are hard-working, honest, educated men who are loyal and dedicated to their country, their family and the women they choose as their mates. They are also handsome-as-sin, fine African American brothers, with the various personalities you would find within a family.
With that said – The Westmoreland family claims both Atlanta and Denver as their home. The Atlanta Westmorelands have that southern upbringing, and believe that chivalry isn't dead. They are perfect gentlemen most of the time, but they don't have a problem being bad boys when it suits them. The Denver Westmorelands are mixed with ranchers, horse trainers and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. They are billionaires. They are fun-loving and are all convinced that if there is a woman out there for them, they are in no hurry to find her, since they are having so much fun as single men. And most of the time when they do meet the woman destined to share their future, it's hard for them to accept their fate. Once they do--they’ll fall in love, love hard and believe that love is forever. They become the woman's husband, lover and protector. When they marry, it’s infinite and the woman becomes their best friend and their soul mate.