Brenda Jackson (b abt 1953) is an American novelist who writes contemporary multicultural romance novels. She was the first African-American author to have a novel published as part of the Silhouette Desire line, and has seen many of her novels reach the USAToday Bestseller list.
Brenda Jackson was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She got married to Gerald, her high school sweetheart, in 1972 after graduating from high school. She went on to earn a degree in business administration from Jacksonville University, and to expand their family by having two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon.
To relieve job-related stress in the early 1990s, Jackson began reading romance novels. Although she enjoyed the novels, she was dissatisfied with the lack of cultural and ethnic diversity in the characters. After complaining to her husband that she could do better, he registered her for a romance writers conference and encouraged her to try her hand at writing. At the conference, Jackson met then-unpublished authors Francis Ray and Rochelle Alers and became inspired to write.
Jackson was determined to write novels that are multicultural romances, featuring African-American characters, that "convey the belief that love is every[where]." Her first novel, Tonight and Forever was published in 1995. This and the next few books followed the fictional Madaris brothers, giving Jackson an opportunity to portray professional African-American men who were both "appreciative and respectful of women." Her heroes are in many ways inspired by her husband, whom she considers to be "a very strong African-American male [who] is supportive and centers his life around his family."
In 2001, Jackson released her first mainstream women's fiction novel, A Family Reunion. As with her previous romance novels, this book contains a "sexy spark,"as well as Jackson's familiar "polished and confident" writing style, which allows her "characters [to] burst with color right off the page." The following year, in 2002, she became the first African-American author to have a novel published as part of the Silhouette Desire line.
Despite publishing 11 books in the first ten years of her writing career, as of 2005, Jackson considers writing to be her hobby, and she continues to work full-time as a manager at State Farm Insurance.
Throughout her writing career, Jackson has written for several publishers, including St.Martins Press, BET, Kensington, NAL, Harlequin/Silhouette and Harlequin Kimani Romance.
Jackson has received awards and made 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 to make the New York Times.
Jackson has won the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and four of her books have been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice. One of her novels, One Special Moment, won the Reviewer's Choice Award in 1998 for Best Multicultural Romance. She received twelve nominations at the Romance Slam Jam 2001's first annual Emma Awards, which recognize excellence in African-American literature. Jackson won in six of her categories, Favorite Hero, Favorite Author, Favorite Book of the Year, Favorite Sequel COntinuing Book Series, Favorite Anthologies, and Favorite All-Nighter. The same year she also won the Romance In Color Award of Excellence for her novel Secret Love.
Jackson is a member of the First Coast Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She currently works in management for a major insurance company.
Jackson is currently in the pre-production stages of the first film based on one of her books- "Truly Everlasting". The film goes into production in the fall of 2010 and will be shot in her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.