Beverly Jenkins is a bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance novels, most often focusing on 19th Century African American life. She has received multiple awards including the 2017 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from Romance Writers of America – her moving and inspiring acceptance speech can be found on her website. Beverly was also featured in the documentary Love Between the Covers, a look into the billion-dollar romance fiction industry, which you can watch on Hoopla.
Orange County Library System is honored to welcome Beverly Jenkins as the opening keynote speaker for this year’s African American Read-In.
Why did you decide to participate in the African American Read-In?
I decided to participate in the OCLS’s 2021 African American Read-In because I wouldn’t be the author I am today were it not for the Mark Twain Library on Detroit’s eastside. It fed my love for reading.
For readers who might be new to your writing, which book would you recommend starting with and why?
If I were to recommend a book to begin with, I’d pick Topaz for those who like historical romance, because there are very few African American centered westerns and it’s fun! For a more modern day read, I’d choose Bring on the Blessings. It deals with found families, adoption and second chances in a small historic African American town on the plains of Kansas, and has been embraced by readers of all races, ages and genders.
In your historical fiction, you include a bibliography; what inspired you to include these lists?
I include the bibliography so readers wanting to dig deeper into the subject matter have a place to begin their search.
If you were giving advice to a novice romance writer, what is one thing you would advise them not to do?
I’d advise a new romance writer not to go into the writing with the thought that one, it’s easy to write a romance, and two, that all the author has to include are love scenes.
Libraries have played a significant role in your life, starting with your mom, an avid reader. And you were a librarian at one time. What would you say to a young person who hasn’t discovered their library yet?
To a young person who has yet to discover the library, I’d tell them to think of their card as a free ticket to travel to far off places, meet fascinating people and go on amazing adventures, all without leaving home.
To learn more about Beverly Jenkins, visit her website at beverlyjenkins.net.