How did you celebrate International Women’s Day?
By working on another novel centered on the forces of nature that were 19th century African-American women.
Was there a woman who helped you get where you are today?
The women who helped me were my mom, aunts, teachers, church ladies, employers, editors, agents.
What are your thoughts on the role of the media in shaping young female minds? As a creator, how do you combat some of these reductive and negative stereotypes that can lead to low self-esteem?
I combat them by creating women who look like me. That can go a long way in raising the self-esteem of young women of colour whose beauty is not considered “standard” by western society. Being able to see themselves in a positive light and knowing women like themselves have made remarkable contributions helps as well.
Tell us about your newest book.
Newest book – Breathless. It’s about a 19th century young woman who has no desire to marry. All she wants out of life is to open her own accounting business.
Do you share any traits with any of your characters? Are there any of your characters that you admire or deplore?
I do share some traits. My physician heroine from Vivid has trouble getting from place to place. I used to get lost a lot before GPS. Another heroine, Kate Wildhorse from Topaz, snores. Me! I deplore the slavecatcher, Shoe, from Indigo. Pleased with the unique way I brought him down though.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
My advice to my younger self: don’t change anything and keep reading
What book do you go back to again and again for inspiration?
What would you say to a young woman questioning her worth, value, or place in the world?
To young women I say: surround yourself with good friends – friends who have goals and dreams. Read. Everything. Especially books that feature strong women – be it sci-fi, fantasy or romance. When you read – you grow.
In the spirit of the ever popular Instagram hashtag #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) – who’s your #1 woman crush right now? And why?
#WCW. Michelle Obama and Detroit quilter April Shipp. Both women are amazing.
Ms. Jenkins is a USA TODAY bestselling author and the nation’s premier writer of African – American historical romance fiction. She specializes in 19th century African American life and has over thirty published novels to date.
She has received numerous awards, including: five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards; two Career Achievement Awards and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild, and in 1999 was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club.