Day 8: Brenda Jackson – Keep Romance Alive


I am a romantic and I love every minute of being one. I love watching movies with happy endings that also shows a Brenda Jackson - A Mans Promiseblossoming romance between the characters, and I love reading books that depict strong heroes and heroines who fall in love and have a happy ending as well. For that reason I am so proud to be a part of the August Celebrate Romance event.

I began entertaining my classmates with innocent and sweet love stories at fourteen because I felt there were not enough of them out there to read for teens my age. There were Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but their emphasis was on solving a mystery not on showing a blooming adolescent love affair. I got hooked watching the Gidgit and Moon Doggie movies and decided to write my own love stories for classmates to read. My short stories became a big hit around school, thus launching what I consider as my first career as an author, entertaining my first readers. Many of whom still read my stories today.

I think one of the reasons I am such a die-hard romantic is that I was blessed enough the same year I wrote my first love story at fourteen, to meet my own “Moon Doggie”, a boy by the name of Gerald. I knew the moment I saw him that he was the one. We dated all through high school and got married a year after I graduated. After five years of courtship and forty-one years of marriage I know what true love is about. You will have ups and you will have downs, but the main thing is to always remember you’re in the relationship together and never forget the vows you exchanged. Another thing I will definitely add to the list is to always keep the romance alive in your marriage or relationship.

While recently attending RWA in San Antonio, I took time out to go to a movie and saw Sex Tapes, which starred Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. I really enjoyed the movie because it showed all the things that can happen in a marriage when you GERALD AND BRENDA - KISSput the romance on the back burner. There are days you get caught up with work, kids, family, community activities and such, and forget how important it is to continue building a loving and romantic relationship with your spouse.

Gerald and I would often have date nights, long before the President and First Lady made it fashionable. The two of you deserve to steal away (without kids) and watch a movie while holding hands and eating popcorn; look into each other eyes over a candle light dinner; or just hold hands while taking a walk in the park. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with going away for a romantic weekend, just the two of you. A change of scenery can make a world of difference. On occasion Gerald and I would take off and spend the weekend at a hotel on the other side of town. The important thing was that it was a different place and we were together. It was “our” time. Not only did we believe we deserved it, we were convinced we owed it to ourselves to have it.

No matter how busy my schedule got, I thought it was important for my husband to always know he was number one. I told him often and I showed it. Let’s face it, when doing the romantic things most women take the lead before the man. That’s fine. Doesn’t matter who makes the first move, as long as a move is made. I would buy him “thinking of you cards” just because…I was thinking about him. I would plan romantic weekends without him knowing about it because I liked the element of surprise. I would hide things around the house with promises of what he would get when he found them.

I believed it was important to keep the romance alive in my marriage and I encourage everyone to do the same in theirs. There was a reason you married your mate. The two of you were in love. You still are. But we often get caught up in our day to day lives that we forget how important we meant to each other. I often hear couples say, “we’re getting a divorce because we’ve grown apart.” I’m eager to ask them why. Why grow apart when you can grow together? You are two different people. Always have been and always will be. The key is to embrace those differences, grow with them, love them and respect them. And never forget how you fell in love despite those differences.

I lost Gerald nearly eight months ago to cancer. Although there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him and wish he Brenda-Jacksonwas still here, I have tons of romantic memories to sustain me. I was blessed to experience forty-six years of true love and a romantic relationship. I can write my love stories with a smile knowing I’ve been there and done that. If I had to do it over, I wouldn’t change a thing…except for maybe squeezing in more romantic weekends.

You never need an excuse for romance, but if you think you do, then here – August is a month to celebrate romance. Do a date night, a hot romantic weekend or both. Or simply send him or her an “I am thinking of you card”. Remind the person that you love that he or she still has your heart. Because you and I both know that they still do. So let them know in the most romantic ways possible.

(Bobbi here ~ Brenda loved the idea of questions so much that she did some bonus ones about romance in general. Don’t you love these?)

Some General Questions on Romance for Brenda:

What is your favorite romantic movie?

I have several but at the top of my list would be Sooner or Later. That would be followed by an An Officer and A Gentleman

What do you think is the most romantic book you’ve written?

I think all my books are romantic, but the one I think is probably the most romantic is Delaney’s Desert Sheikh.

What is the most romantic book you’ve read?”

I would have to say Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

What is the most romantic place you went with Gerald?

For our 40th anniversary we spent a week at a resort in Las Vegas. In addition to seeing the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon, the best part was celebrating our anniversary night with dinner at a restaurant in Caesars Palace followed by a Celine Dion concert. That week was wonderful.

After such a long and success marriage, what advice would you give newly married couples?

Keep the romance alive.

Questions For the Author (though more details are integrated into the above text)

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I went on a safari in South Africa a few months ago.  I loved it and would do it again.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I enjoyed entertaining my classmates in high school but my dream in life was to become part of corporate America.  I succeeded and began writing again as a way to relax.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

I read Shanna and it made me want to write a love story of my own.  It was such a beautifully written love story. Reading Bridges of Madison County changed my life in that it reinforced my desire to write love stories with happy endings, something I felt that book lacked.  In fact, I found myself rewriting the ending.

Brenda is generously offering a surprise giveaway to be sent to one lucky winner. Entry form below. (Domestic only, apologies to international friends.)

BRENDA IN TURQUOISHaving sold over 3 million copies of her romance novels, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Brenda Jackson continues to garner trailblazing recognition. She was the first African American to publish a book under the Harlequin Desire line and the first to make the New York Times Bestsellers List under the romantic genre. She was also the first African American to have a romance novel appear on the USA Today Bestsellers List. She is a NAACP Image Award nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her novel A Silken Thread. She has written over 100 novels and all are currently in print. Her books are translated in over 34 languages and constantly appear on the USA Today Bestsellers List. Two of her novels have been made into movies and a third, Silken Thread is planned for 2015 with Debbie Allen directing. She is known for writing the popular Madaris Family and the Westmoreland Family Series and credits Gerald for being the kind of hero every woman should have, which is why she write her romance stories. In 2012 she received Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award and is proud to say Nora Roberts is her hero.

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  • Kristan Higgins

    Brenda, what a great essay! Excellent advice. McIrish and I always had date nights, too. Still do!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    What a fantastic essay!!! I have always loved your books and now I have a little more insight into what makes them so fantastic. I’ve only been married a little over 8 years and together for a total of 12 but I have to say that keeping the romance alive is such a key part of our relationship. I’ve seen several friends divorce and remarry and divorce again just during the last decade and it makes me so sad. I fell in love with my husband and continue to do so year after year, snoring and all 🙂 We have always had date nights, weekend getaways and even just quick day trips and its always so much fun! I love my romance novels and their happy endings but I have to say real life can be pretty great too as long as you’re willing to keep making each other a priority! Thanks for all of your hard work and I look forward to reading more of your books in the future.

  • Sue G.

    I’ve been with my hubby 32 years, although married for only 25. We met when I was 17 and he was 18. When the kids were little, life was crazy and we tried at least once a week for “our” time. Now that the girls are older (21, 19 and 17) we have a lot of “our” time. He’s my best friend and I truly believe the best is yet to come.

    So sorry for your loss. That cancer is a horrible thing. Lost my dad, who was 59 and my brother, who was 38 to cancer. *hugs* to you.

  • Martha B

    Your essay was a wonderful tutorial on marriage. Thank you. I totally concur that you are both different people. If both of you agree on everything – – – one of you is not necessary! That said, I agree that alone time for the just the two of you is essential. We used to perform pre-marital mentoring to engaged couples. No matter how limited your resources (income,) we encouraged couples to set aside one night/week as a date-night. Establish that pattern early and continue it throughout the marriage. When kids come along, we helped them brain storm forming a neighborhood exchange to watch each others children. Even it it’s only walking around the block in the neighborhood (NO cost activity) it makes the relationship the focus. The best thing you give your kids is loving your partner. That will (help) enable you to cope with life’s ups and downs. Time it leave my soapbox! LOL.

  • Tammy H

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 9 and my Mom a year ago. I enjoyed your interview.

  • Mj

    Moon Doggie and Gidget two of my favorite, the fact that you were able to actually find a romance like that is incredible. Then to have the chance to spend the next forty some years together and appreciate all the time you have shows that there is always a chance to find true love. I am sorry to hear that he is no longer by your side, but he is always in your heart and definitely in your words when you write.

  • Jen C

    I’m sorry for your loss, but so happy you had such a long time with someone so special. I’ve known my husband since high school (almost 20 years now), and I treasure every moment I have with him.

  • rebecca moe

    What an inspiring essay! Thank you for sharing.

  • Erica H

    Great advice! I love reading your true romance story

  • Patty Vasquez

    I appreciate the positive tone and the practical advice of your essay. I’ve always wanted to read your books, but you’ve written so many, I never know where to start! Where would you suggest I begin? Thank you!

  • Toni Linenberger

    I love the extra questions. How fun. Your romance was very touching. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  • Narda Seaberry

    I have been reading you for years, and my favorite book of yours is always the one I’m reading now. lol I also love that you always dedicate your books to Gerald and I am so sorry you lost his physical person but his spirit loves in your heart and mind. Keep writing the great stories.

  • M Kuxhaus

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! I really enjoyed reading your essay.

  • Crystal Horton

    Ms. Brenda I started reading your books less than a year ago and have read them all. I read them over and over again. Enjoy your story every time I hear it. You are truly blessed to have experienced your love. May God continue to bless you! Waiting patiently for your next book.

  • Monique Lawrence

    Ms Brenda i love your book and i enjoy reading your essay and i am sorry for your loss

  • Joyce Brown-Arbaugh

    Ms. Brenda meeting you on July 23rd was one of the most amazing days of my life. I can now cross that off my bucket list. I LOVE all of your books. Please keep them coming.

  • Ann Mettert

    I am so sorry you’ve lost Gerald, but so glad you have so many wonderful memories.

  • LisaVH

    That is a fantastic message. Never forget how you fell in love. This is something that my husband and I are rediscovering. Thank you for a great essay.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Your story is amazing!!! Your message is wonderful!! Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry about losing your husband. My husband & I had date nights, even if it was only dinner together with our four kids.

  • Sharon Forbes

    Thank you for sharing about your fantastic marriage with your husband. I am so sorry you recently lost him to cancer. I was diagnosed this May with breast cancer, and had my left breast removed, and am now going through chemo. It is hard, I know, but I have faith and love through God andknow it will all be worth it in the long run. You are a wonderful woman, and I look forward to reading more of your great romances.

  • Kathryn Albright

    What an amazing, inspirational journey you have been on! Thank you for sharing your road to publication and the wonderful relationship you had with your husband who is still alive in your heart. I’ve never read your books, but I am definitely going to after reading this.


    thank you for sharing your life story. I am a big fan of yours.

  • Emmel

    So true that marriage is growing together. You and Gerald were blessed, and thank you for sharing that!

  • Brenda E

    Congratulations on such a long and romantic union with Gerald. He’s a lucky man. Love it that you said we should keep the romance alive; I really believe that is true as well. I’ve not read any of your books but will definitely be looking for them now.

  • Marcy Shuler

    It was wonderful reading about your long and happy marriage. I think that is part of the reason for your writing success. You lived romance every day.

  • Glenda

    My hubby and I try to do date nights. They’ve been few and far between in the past, but now that the kids are older it is so much easier to find the time.

    My condolences on your loss.

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for sharing your story. I can see where you get your inspiration.

  • Pamby50

    I am just catching up on read-a-romance month. I had a migraine for the past 2 days & my hubby took excellent care of me. Listening to you tell us your love story with your own Moon Doggie was amazing. I am sorry for your loss. I look forward to reading Shanna again.

  • Gretchen Miller

    Such true romance. So lovely. Thank you.

  • Linnea Bassin

    I love how you have kept your marriage going and a writing career. I know how hard it is to keep the romance in a marriage and maintain a career.

  • mariannewestrich

    I’m a huge fan of your work!

  • Michelle Jones

    Its nice getting to know the authors on a more personal note. Reading Brenda Jackson books has always been a favorite pastime of mine. And I enjoy reading that her love life was just as fulfilling as her stories. And thank goodness for happy endings. They really do make the difference.

  • Stephsco

    I’m so sorry to hear you lost your husband. How incredible that you’ve been inspired by him and your over 40 year marriage.

  • Paula M. Odume

    Ms. Jackson, I am such a fan of your books. And so in love with the Westmorland men. I’ve read most if not all of them and waiting on more of them. I’m also in the process of reading every book you wrote. Now I’m reading about the Madaris Family. Thank you for all the wonderful books. And may God continue to bless you and your family. 🙂

  • Ruth

    Thank you for sharing your love story.

  • Judy Goodnight

    Great wisdom about couples making the effort to grow together rather than apart.