Beverly Jenkins

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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins.jpg
Born1951 (age 67–68)
Detroit, United States
OccupationNovelist
NationalityAmerican
Period1994–present
GenreHistorical romance, Contemporary romance
Website
www.beverlyjenkins.net

Beverly Jenkins (born 1951, Detroit) is an American author of historical and contemporary romance novels with a particular focus on 19th century African-American life.[1] Jenkins was a 2013 NAACP Image Award nominee and, in 1999, was voted one of the Top 50 Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by the African American Literature Book Club.[2] Jenkins's historical romances are set during a period of African-American history that she believes is often overlooked. This made it difficult to break into publishing because publishers weren't sure what to do with stories that involved African-Americans but not slavery.[3]

Jenkins studied at Michigan State University as a Journalism and English Literature major. She lives in Southeastern Michigan.[4]

Early life[edit]

Jenkins was born Brenda Hunter in Detroit in 1951 to her parents, a high school teacher and an administrative aide.[5] Jenkins grew up surrounded by words. Her mother read to Jenkins while she was in the womb and bought her cloth books when she was a baby. Jenkins would chew on the cloth books while her mother encouraged her to "Eat those words, baby. Eat those words."[6] Jenkins read widely at her local library, everything from Alice in Wonderland to Dune to Zane Gray to early romance writers like Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart & Phyllis Whitney.[6][5] Her early writing began when she became the editor of her elementary school newspaper.[5] Jenkins attended Michigan State University in the Spring of 1969.[7]

Career[edit]

Jenkins worked full-time in the Michigan State University library's circulation department. Each lunch hour, she would read articles from The Journal of Negro History (now called The Journal of African American History). Eventually, Jenkins and her husband moved to Ypsilanti, where she worked at the Parke Davis Pharmaceuticals' reference desk and began writing romance novels for fun. At the suggestion of a colleague, Jenkins looked for an agent and publisher. Avon published her first novel, Night Song, in 1994.[7]

Though Jenkins has published books in many romance sub-genres, the majority of her books are historical romances. Jenkins calls herself a "kitchen table historian."[3] She likens American history to a quilt with some pieces ripped out—the pieces belonging to minority history. Jenkins uses her books to weave the quilt back together by revealing patches of black history that are rarely taught in school.[6] Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement are important pieces of African American history, but they aren't the only pieces. For example, her first three novels, Night Song, Vivid and Indigo, feature characters such as a schoolteacher, a cavalry officer, a female doctor and Underground Railroad heroes. They were all inspired by true history.[6]

Jenkins found inspiration for Forbidden from two interesting bits of history. First, she read a news article about a high-end African American-run hotel that was uncovered during an archaeological dig in Virginia City.[6] She also heard a story about a man seeing a black woman walking through the desert with a cook stove balanced on her head.[8] Jenkins includes bibliographies with her historical romances so readers can read further, if they choose.[1]

Bibliography[edit]

Title Series Publication Year ISBN
Night Song 1994 9780380776580
Vivid Grayson Family #1 1995 9780595162024
Indigo 1996 9780595002023
Topaz 1997 9780380786602
Through the Storm LeVeq Family #1 1998 9780380798643
Taming of Jessi Rose, The 1999 9780380798650
Always and Forever 2000 9780380813742
Before the Dawn 2001 9780380813759
Chance at Love, A 2002 9780060502294
Belle and the Beau 2002 9780064473422
"Homecoming"
short story in Gettin' Merry anthology
2002 9780312982195
The Edge of Midnight 2004 9780060540661
Winds of the Storm LeVeq Family #2 2004 9780060575311
The Edge of Dawn 2004 9780060540678
Something Like Love 2005 9780060575328
Black Lace 2005 9780060815936
Sexy/Dangerous 2006 9780060818999
Prisoner of Love 2007 9781625172761
Deadly Sexy 2007 9780061246395
"Prisoner"
short story in Cuffed by Candlelight anthology
2007 9781600430077
Wild Sweet Love 2007 9780061161308
Jewel Grayson Family #2 2008 9780061161353
Josephine and the Soldier 2009 9780060012205
Bring on the Blessings Blessings #1 2009 9780061688409
Captured LeVeq Family #3 2009 9780061547799
Second Helping, A Blessings #2 2009 9780061547812
"You Sang To Me"
short story in Rhythms of Love anthology
2010 9780373861606
"Holiday Heat"
short story in Once Upon a Holiday anthology
2010 9780373831913
Midnight 2010 9780061547805
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
short story in Baby, Let It Snow anthology
2011 9780373862337
Something Old, Something New Blessings #3 2011 9780061990793
Night Hawk 2011 9780062032645
"Hawaii Magic"
short story in Island for Two anthology
2012 9780373862610
"Overtime Love"
short story in Merry Sexy Christmas anthology
2012 9780373534876
Wish and a Prayer, A Blessings #4 2012 9780061990809
Destiny's Embrace Destiny #1 2013 9780062032652
Destiny's Surrender Destiny #2 2013 9780062231116
Heart of Gold Blessings #5 2014 9780062207975
Destiny's Captive Destiny #3 2014 9780062231130
For Your Love Blessings #6 2015 9780062207999
Forbidden Old West #1 2016 9780062389008
Stepping to a New Day Blessings #7 2016 9780062412638
Breathless Old West #2 2017 9780062389039
Chasing Down a Dream Blessings #8 2017 9780062412652
Tempest Old West #3 2018 9780062389053
Second Time Sweeter Blessings #9 2018 9780062846174

Awards[edit]

  • 1996 - Romantic Times Historical Love and Laughter Nominee[9]
  • 1999 - Romantic Times Western Historical Romance Winner[9]
  • 2000 - Romantic Times Multicultural Romance Winner[9]
  • 2007 - Romantic Times Historical Storyteller of the Year Nominee[9]
  • 2010 - A Second Helping - Romantic Times Multicultural Fiction Novel Winner[9]
  • 2011 - Something Old, Something New - Romantic Times Multicultural Romance Winner[9]
  • 2013 - Destiny's Embrace - Romantic Times American-Set Historical Romance Winner[9]
  • 2013 - A Wish and a Prayer - NAACP Image Award for Literature Nominee[10]
  • 2016 - Forbidden - Romantic Times Historical Romance Winner[9]
  • 2017 - RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award [11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Author Beverly Jenkins' Romance With the Past". Huffington Post. May 8, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "Beverly Jenkins, Author". aalbc.com.
  3. ^ a b "Beverly Jenkins Wraps Bitter History in Sweet Romance". npr.org.
  4. ^ "Author Beverly Jenkins biography and book list". freshfiction.com.
  5. ^ a b c Drew, Bernard A. 100 Most Popular African American Authors, p. 176. Unlimited, Westport, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Talking Black History and Love Stories with Romance Writing Pioneer Beverly Jenkins". Jezebel. January 26, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Beverly Jenkins: A Romance With Writing". Lansing State Journal. October 20, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "An Interview with Beverly Jenkins". Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. April 24, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h RT Book Reviews
  10. ^ "NAACP Image Awards: Winners Announced". Hollywood Reporter. February 1, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  11. ^ Romance Writers of America

Further reading[edit]