Jenkins on history


Beverly Jenkins has written 30 novels and she is much beloved by her readers. Most of her romantic fiction is set in the 19th century, and some of her contemporary romances (she writes romantic suspense and faith-based romances) are about characters who are the descendants of her 19th-century characters. Her historical books all have bibliographies in the back—and it’s clear that her fans know their history. When they meet up in person or talk online, their conversations about Beverly’s books and about African American history are passionate and well informed. They share information about books and history, but they also talk about their kids, their husbands, their favorite sports teams (Beverly is a huge football fan), the milestones in their lives, and their everyday trials and triumphs.

I interviewed Beverly on a trip she took with her fans to Charleston, SC, and St. Helena Island, where events in her books took place before and during the Civil War.

I asked her, “What shapes your characters? How do you interpret history in the books you write?”

In an earlier phone interview, Beverly had told me, “My characters come through me; they’re not from me.” So I asked her, “Where do your characters come from?”

I asked Beverly, “What kinds of heroines and heroes do you most like to write?”—and this is what she replied:

Download a transcript.

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Laurie Kahn is the executive producer of the Popular Romance Project.

If you enjoyed this interview, you can find more information at Beverly Jenkins’ website.

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