Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Coastal Magic Author Spotlight - - Beverly Jenkins

Morning, Everyone! As I told you in July, I'll be attending the Coastal Magic Convention 2020 next February in Daytona Beach, Florida. As part of my role as a featured blogger at the convention, I'm highlighting seven Coastal Magic Featured Authors between July 2019 and January 2020. The second author in our spotlight is the highly regarded and much loved Beverly Jenkins. I've been a fan of Ms. Jenkins for many years and had the pleasure of meeting her several times at conferences but it wasn't until about a year ago that I discovered we shared a connection. We're the same age, both love sports, especially football, both attended Michigan State University, and were actually students there at the same time. We didn't know each other back then but I am so happy, and honored, to know this remarkable woman now. She has given so much of herself to the romance industry and to those writers within, especially to women of color striving to bring their words to readers everywhere. She is, in her own words, a "slayer of words," as evidenced by the Romance Writers of America® honoring her in 2017 with the organization's Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award and the legion of fans who eagerly anticipate each new story that flows from her heart and mind. Her published books focus on African-American life in historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense and young adult/teen romance. She's been featured in the documentary "Love Between the Covers" and in a special feature on CBS Sunday Morning. 

If you haven't read any of Ms. Bev's books yet, I recommend you begin with her most recent release, REBEL. This first book in her new Women Who Dare historical romance series takes readers back to the Reconstruction era of New Orleans. It's there that we meet Valinda Lacy, a young woman from New York who dares to defy the expectations of both society and her family in her quest to teach freed slaves of all ages reading, writing, and other subjects that had previously been denied them. It's there that we also meet the charming and tenderhearted Captain Drake LeVeq, an architect from a well-known and successful New Orleans family who frees the suppressed hellion lurking inside straight-laced Valinda and captures her heart in the process. It's an emotional journey, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, that brings the joy and the pain of 1867 New Orleans to life. Jenkins' paints a vivid picture of the lives of people of color in that era that I was never taught in school and delivers it in such a way that the story immerses me into their lives and the world in which they lived. It's a history lesson that doesn't feel like a lesson. When I finish one of her books, I'm not left with the feeling that I've read about her characters but, rather, that I've taken a journey with them and experienced the same emotions; the fear, anger, and frustration with the injustices they face but also, the humor and love that fill them with joy. I have fallen in love with the passion, bravery, and heart of the LeVeq family. I have great admiration for Drake's mother, love the dynamic among the brothers, and fell hard for Drake.  I love the passion and tenderness between him and Valinda. I love how he supports her dreams and the way their relationship evolves from friendship to more. I love how she finally discovers the strength within her, takes control of her life, and realizes her dreams. I was in their corner the entire way, hoping the obstacles between them could be overcome and lead to a life of love and happiness together. If you have yet to discover Beverly Jenkins' novels, it's a great place to jump in. 

For more information about Ms. Bev and her novels, visit her website. Connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter

Q&A with Ms. Bev

Tell us about your favorite childhood or young adult memory?

I had such a great childhood that trying to narrow it down to a single memory is difficult. Do I pick my first Detroit TIGERS baseball game at aged ten, or my first Detroit LIONS football game at age nine? What about the memories of growing up directly across the street from a city park and all the fun tied to that? Or should I share what it was like growing up with six siblings in a house filled with laughter and love? Let's just say I had a great time growing up on the east side of Detroit. 

What's your favorite comfort food and why?

I love old fashioned, made from scratch banana pudding. I also love yeast breads.

Who is your favorite author who more people need to be reading? What makes her/his books special? (Feel free to list a few if narrowing it to one is impossible.) 

Authors I believe should be better known: Vivien Jackson - her fantasy romance Wanted and Wired, was one of my best picks for 2018; Cheris Hodges and Deb Mello both write amazing contemporary romance featuring strong female characters; and A.C. Arthur because she writes everything from contemporary to shapeshifters and does it well. Readers should check them out. 

What's your favorite non-writing activity?

My favorite non writing activities: gardening and baking.

What's your favorite music/group/artist to get your groove on?
I grew up in Detroit during the height of MOTOWN, so put all those old groups and singers on my list. I also love Sade, Jill Scott, and Anthony Hamilton. 

Thank you so much for visiting with us today!

Readers, Ms. Bev would like to know: In your reading world, what elements make for a good romance? 

Two people who comment before 11:00 PM, September 20, will each receive a copy of REBEL. (U.S. only)  

Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of the 2018 Michigan Author Award by the Michigan Library Association, the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for historical romance. She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured in both the documentary Love Between the Covers and on CBS Sunday Morning. Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for inclusive romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR. If you would like to be notified when Beverly Jenkins has new releases, events, and other news, sign up for her newsletter at

The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins’s compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War . . .
Valinda Lacy’s mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.
As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda’s father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn’t love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.




  1. Mainly compelling characters--when I care about the characters and what happens to them, I'm fully invested in their romance!

  2. Most definitely the main characters, and an interesting plot. I also love an epilogue to wrap up the happily ever after.

  3. Great plot , fearless characters and unconditional love

  4. Enjoyed reading Bev's interview and the review of her latest book. I've heard of her work but I've never picked up one of her books. This sounds like a good place to start. BTW, I was looking at your website and noticed you write in other genres besides Historical Romance and also have a book to movie as well. The film sounds good and I've placed it on my watch list at Amazon.

  5. Captivating story and characters with depth make the romance wonderful.

  6. Great interview. The main component should have a memorable plot with characters whose story is meaningful and gives me hope.

  7. REBEL was such an excellent book!! I came late to the scene for Bev's excellent works, so I've basically been kicking myself ever since. I love the historical tidbits woven into the stories, and I always want to research more about the aspects Bev puts in her books. It never fails to remind me how much history I don't know because so much that is taught is focused on white and male history. And it's usually focused on battles/military, but rarely on the underground history that contributed to the whole.

    My favorite elements of a great story are the characters. For me, great plot comes from great characters. The most complicated, "original" plot is nothing without the right characters to drive the arc. And in characters, I need people I can root for, so I usually like an underdog. Someone "feisty" who wants something and nevertheless persists to make it happen when all the people around them are saying, "You can't do that." And I prefer a happy ending, but one that's still plausible in feel, especially if women aren't allowed to do XYZ, I don't think the ending would be "and then they got to do it all" when we all knew it's probably decades later (or still waiting) for it to happen...but definitely, someone who takes and empowers themselves...and lives to tell the tale. I love that. We need to see more of that.

  8. I second everyone who said characters. Give me characters who engage both my heart and my mind and I can forgive a lot.

  9. I am a fan of character driven stories. For me to really get into a book, I have to become invested in the lives of the characters. I do not expect perfect people, but I need intelligence and a great sense of humor. Those two qualities help me forgive the flaws.

  10. A well-written story with a compelling couple on the journey to their happily ever after.


  11. Characters who steal my heart!! Thanks to your lovely review I just realized how much I need to read this wonderful author!💜 Thank you PJ!! Enjoy the cooler weather while we have it!😲

  12. Strong female leads and a story that just draws you in. I've enjoyed reading so many of your books and still have many more to read.

  13. Characters who enter my soul. They draw me in and don't let go until after I finish reading their story; sometimes weeks after before I can let them go. I do own a few of Beverly's books.

  14. I like well drawn characters and a good, interesting story line. I am not into Alpha heroes that are overbearing and think they know best in every situation. Being understanding, considerate, and giving a woman credit for her capabilities does not make a man weak. It takes strength and self-assurance for a man to do that. As for the heroine, she needs a strength that will carry her through situations. She doesn't need to be bold and forceful. She will stick to her convictions and work hard to make what she wants happen. Quiet persistence is often more effective than brash showiness. She will strive on her own, but not resist assistance when offered. I like relationships to grow slowly with respect and understanding being the basis for their friendship as it develops to more.

  15. I have to be able to care about the characters and become emotionally invested in their relationship. It helps immensely when they do mature and grow throughout the story.

  16. Definitely a historical romance with a conceivable plot and smart characterization. I also love learning along the way.