College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > Center for Black Diaspora > Series and Events > Black Romance Podcast Series > Season One
August 18, 2020 | 1:06:26 | In my conversation with Kitt, she talks about publishing romance fiction in the 1980’s, the path she took to becoming one of the first published writer for Kensington’s Arabesque series in 1994, about working with Black editors Vivian Stephens and Monica Harris, and she provides a sneak peek into her upcoming releases.
Sandra Kitt has appeared on the Black Board best seller list in ESSENCE Magazine. Amazon.com has named SIGNIFICANT OTHERS among the Top 25 Romances for the 20th Century, and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS as one of the Top Ten Contemporaries for 2000. GIRLFRIENDS, an anthology from HarperCollins, was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Fiction. Sandra's 2007 release, CELLULOID MEMORIES, earned a starred review in Library Journal, and was selected by the publication as one of the Top Five women's fiction novels for the same year. The first black writer to publish with Harlequin, Sandra also launched the Arabesque line from Kensington. She is the recipient of two Lifetime Achievement Awards, the 2002 service Aware from Romance Writers of America, and the 2010 Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award.
August 18, 2020 | 00:28:41 |New York Times best-selling writer Brenda Jackson recounts the challenges she faced publishing romance fiction with black characters in the 1980’s and why she negotiated her own contract to publish her first novel in 1995.
Brenda Jackson has published more than 125 novels and novellas. Additionally, she has over 15 million books in print. She has received numerous awards and made many trail-blazing accomplishments by being: the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books; the first African-American romance author to make USA Today’s Bestseller’s List; and the New York Times Bestseller’s List for the series romance genre.
August 18, 2020 | 00:29:34 | Having published over one hundred and twenty-five novels, Jackson talks about the importance of how Blackness is represented in media and popular culture and about how this led her into film making.
September 1, 2020 | 00:50:32 | In this conversation, Jenkins and I talk about her early experiences as a Black woman writing and trying to publish her historical romance featuring Black characters. We also discuss
Night Song, her debut novel,
Forbidden, her historical novels set in the late 1800’s.
Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of 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 both in 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 multicultural 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.
September 8, 2020 | 00:55:20 | In part one of my interview with Vivian Stephens, she discusses her experiences as an editor at Dell Publishing, and she talks about her role in the founding of the Romance Writers of America.
Vivian Stephens was a trail blazing editor and founder of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). She was one of the first Black editors at Dell Candlelight in the seventies and eighties. At Dell she developed guidelines for writing best-selling romance fiction and developed a line of multicultural romance, unheard of at the time. This resulted in the publication of Entwined Destinies, one of the first popular romance fiction with Black characters. Stephens went on to become editor at Harlequin and then to represent writers. She has written and published two popular romance fiction, Final Summer and Second Act written as part of the Sedema Group.
September 15, 2020 | 00:46:22 | In this second installment of my interview with her, we discuss her experiences at Harlequin, about marketing her own Vivian Stephens line of African American romance, and we conclude with a discussion of her own romance publications Final Summer and Second Act, which was written as part of the Sedema Group.
September 22, 2020 | 01:16:59 | This week Alyssa Cole and I discuss how her precocious childhood reading habits may have influenced her current romance publications. Cole also reveals how her historical and contemporary romance like
Let it Shine, An Extraordinary Union, An Unconditional Freedom, A Princess in Theory, and
A Duke by Default work through, try to understand, and trouble particular aspects of culture, history, and politics.
Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018. A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. Her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets.
September 29, 2020 | 00:27:15 | Weatherspoon discusses a range of topics: her experiences self-publishing and publishing with Dafina, a traditional press; writing inclusive novels that feature queer love stories, interracial relationships, and plus-sized women in loving relationships.
Rebekah Weatherspoon is an award winning writer. Since her debut in 2012, she has published twenty novels. Her 2018 romantic comedy RAFE: A Buff Male Nanny received praise from both Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times. Her books have garnered several awards and nominations, including the Golden Crown Literary Award, the Romantic Times Book Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Lambda Literary Award.
October 6, 2020 | 00:46:17 | In this conversation, Pough and I discuss how her academic publications, which are shaped by Black feminism and Hip-Hop feminism, influence her popular romance fiction like
Make It Last Forever and
Gwendolyn D. Pough is Professor and Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and aliate faculty in the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric Program at Syracuse University. Her research interests include African-American rhetorics and literacies, feminist rhetorics, hip-hop studies, public sphere theories, and popular culture. She is the author of numerous articles, book chapters and the single-authored book Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture and the Public Sphere. She has also co-edited two special journal issues and the critically acclaimed anthology, Home Girls Make Some Noise: A Hip-Hop Feminism Anthology. She is currently nishing a book on black women’s book clubs and reading groups titled, Sistah-Girl Literacies: Black Women Reading and Writing.
Rochelle Alers has written more than eighty titles and has nearly two million copies of her novels in print. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Gold Pen Award; the Emma Award; the Vivian Stephens Award for Excellence in Romance Writing; the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award; and the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award.
October 20, 2020 | 00:46:08 | Elysabeth Grace closes out Season one of the Black Romance Podcast. She discusses her contemporary and paranormal romance novels as well as a forthcoming editorial collaboration with Julie E. Moody-Freeman on a special issue of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, which will focus on Black Romance.
Elysabeth Grace writes paranormal, contemporary, and historical romances where love and HEAs accept no impediments. Her stories and characters are diverse, sensual, and occasionally wicked. A native Californian and Professor Emerita of English literature, she remains an unrepentant scholar of Shakespeare and other academic things. In addition to her four-book paranormal series Daughters of Saria, she is working on a contemporary series, Midsummer Sisters, and a spy romance set in the age of Elizabeth I
Rebekah Weatherspoon is an award winning writer. Since her debut in 2012, she has published twenty novels. Her 2018 romantic comedy RAFE: A Buff Male Nanny received praise from both Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times. Her books have garnered several awards and nominations, including the Golden Crown Literary Award, the Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Lambda Literary Award.