Message From The Author

Author's Message

BEVERLY JENKINS' CONTEMPORARY EDGE

TWENTY YEARS IN THE MAKING...

"Don't throw the past away/You might need it some rainy day… " Multicultural historical author Beverly Jenkins can attest to the truth of that lyric, from the song "Everything Old Is New Again." Her debut contemporary romance, THE EDGE OF MIDNIGHT, is actually the first book she ever wrote. And 20 years after it was rejected by Avon, the publisher will be releasing the romantic suspense novel through its HarperTorch imprint this month. The fledgling manuscript was excavated when Jenkins' editor asked if she had any contemporaries. Of course some rewriting was necessary. "I didn't have the voice and the skill I do now, so we cleaned it up, brought it up to date and she loved it."

As she does with her historicals, Jenkins sprinkles social issues into the romance. Her heroine, Sarita Grayson, risks her life to retrieve some diamonds for a gang lord. She's only getting involved because her neighborhood center and its kids are at stake. But along the way Sarita encounters Mykal Chandler, head of a covert government agency, and inadvertently gets him shot. Soon he helps to get her out of danger—and both find more than they expected.

"I like to give you a little bit of meat with the story," says Jenkins, who grew up in Detroit and still lives in Michigan, with her family. "I try to center them in a believable African-American world, so I decided to do an inner-city story, as opposed to some of the romances where you have people living very high on the hog." And fortunately for the heroines of her next two contemporary novels, Mykal's brothers play leading roles. (The second is called Diamond Edge.)

While the multicultural romance industry has blossomed in the last decade, Jenkins, surprisingly, remains the only prominent multicultural romance author on the historical front, a decade after the publication of her first novel, Night Song. Readers, she says, are usually eager to talk to her about the historical elements of her books, which are set in the United States between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the civil rights movement—not an era about which much has been written on the black experience. "It's like we were taken up by the Borg," Jenkins says with a laugh, using a Star Trek analogy.

And it's a history she plans on getting back to, with books that bring back
the outlaw Terrible Twins from The Taming of Jessi Rose and the fictional all-black town of Henry Adams, Kansas, where Night Falls was set. "There's
an awful lot of history out there for me still," Jenkins confirms.


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