A Chat with Brenda Jackson, 2012 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Congratulations on being selected as the 2012 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award recipient! What does it mean to you to receive this award from RWA?
It means that all my hard work and efforts to constantly achieve as a romance writer is being recognized and this is such a rewarding feeling. I didn’t set out on this journey to obtain any accolades. All I wanted to do was to write love stories that would make other smile the way stories I’d read over the years had done for me. But to receive an award named after the person who I consider as the “Queen of Romance” is truly an honor.
Your first book, Tonight and Forever, was published in 1995 by Kensington Arabesque. Since then, you’ve written more than 90 novels and novellas and have more than 3 million books in print. What’s inspired you to keep writing throughout the past 17-plus years?
I was inspired by the people who read my novels and wanted more and by all the emails and letters I received telling me how my stories had touched their lives in some way. That made all the long hours, early hours, and dedicated hours that I spend at my computer worth it.
You’re rightly called a trailblazer in the romance genre (the first African American author to be published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line, the first African American romance author to make the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists, a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee, etc.). What do you think has helped contribute to your success?
My mind set. Specifically, my belief that if you can conceive it then you can achieve it. I don’t believe in doing anything half-way. I believe you should give it all you have. That’s what I did in deciding on a career as a writer. I was bold enough to make an attempt to go those places no writer had gone before and to believe I could do it if I tried hard enough. And I also buy into the philosophy that good things come to those who wait…but continue to be patient, productive and positive.
Do you have any advice for writers or any tips you’ve learned along the way?
Don’t try making it in this business by taking short cuts. Trailblazers have paved the way, open doors and created opportunities. But that doesn’t mean your expectations are to breeze through those doors without hard work and dedication or to assume something should be given to you. There has to be sacrifices you’re willing to make. Trailblazers have made their mark. Now it’s time to make yours.