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I'm Kelly - the founder of She Is Fierce! and your host on our blog featuring stories and wisdom from fierce women all over the world! 

She Is Fierce! Talks

Featured Interview: Brenda Jackson

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Brenda Jackson


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Read the Interview Transcript:


Brenda Jackson: When she invited me, I was pondering, “What would I say to you?” I thought about my beginning, and what it took me to get where I am. I’m working on my 114th novel. I retired in 2008 after 37 years with State Farm Insurance Company, in management. While I was working at State Farm, I wrote over 50 books. I had made The New York Times and BET had made a movie of one of my books. People would ask me, “Why are you still here?” The President of the company said, “You’re still with us?” I’m like, “Yes, I’m still here.” Because, I was Miss. Corporate America. 

Brenda Jackson: I knew there was something more for me to do, and I wanted to write more books, even though my husband didn’t understand, “How could you write more?” Because even working full time, I was publishing at least six books a year. Yes, six books a year. I know, a lot of people say, “I’m just writing one.” That’s good if you write that one, but I was inspired. To tell you why I was inspired, let me tell you some more about me. I write stories that I enjoy writing. They say you like to read a certain type of book, well I love romance. I love romance. From the time I was a little girl, I enjoyed reading Cinderella, Snow White, any book that had, “… and they lived happily ever after.” That was the key for me. It had to have a happy ending. 

Brenda Jackson: How many of you read Bridges of Madison County? I’ve re-written that book, the ending, because if you read it, you know it didn’t have a happy ending. So, I’m like, “No. It has to have a happy ending.” No way I would have left them hanging all these years without a happy ending. I only watch movies, I only wanted to watch movies and read books that had happy endings. So, to escape into a world that’s not how it is. If I wanted to see how it is, I could cut on the television and I could hear all the things that’s happening. People read books to escape. They read a good mystery. They read a good sci-fi. They know, “Okay, this is not really how it is.” A car is not going to come back from the dead just like it did in a Stephen King novel. I don’t have to worry about zombies whenever I walk the street, but you read to escape. 

Brenda Jackson: It’s not different than a writer who wants to write. You pick a topic that you want to write about and you write. With me, tell you a little bit of background of what happened. When I was in the eighth grade, I always wanted to write and I had a fixation with Gidget and Moondoggie. How many of you remember Gidget and Moon I know, we’re telling our ages, I know, I know, I know. Okay. I could just imagine Gidget and Moondoggie. I loved their story. Sandra Dee, Bobby Darren, Gidget, and Moondoggie. So, to entertain my classmates when I was in the eighth grade, I wrote my own Gidget and Moondoggie. I would get to school, and I would pass out this is notebook paper, longhand. I would pass them out to my classmates. I have one in the audience who can attest to reading my stories when we were in eighth grade. 

Brenda Jackson: We both got in trouble. I got in trouble, she got in trouble for reading it. Not only her, but a lot of the members of my class. It showed me that I have an imagination. I could think of a lot of stuff, but that wasn’t really what I felt like I wanted to do. I went to college, graduate of JU, and I got a degree in Business Administration. There was always something within me that said, “You need to write a book. What could be more perfect for you than a romance book?” The reason being, I met the young man that I subsequently married, when I was 14. Yes. I still proudly wear the going steady ring he gave me when I was 15. We got married a year out of me graduating from high school when I was only 19. Until he passed away two years ago, we were together 47 years. 

Brenda Jackson: During those times when we got married, I set some ground rules. I was the oldest of six kids. I was the live in babysitter at my family’s home. So, I said, “No kids right away. I don’t care how many times the family asks, ‘When are you having a child?’ I want to wait at least six to seven years.” We waited six years before we had any children. So, we got to know the two of us before there became the three of us. We became the very best of friends. He inspired me, and he became my very best friend. When I worked at State Farm Insurance Company and I was moving up the corporate ladder, I had to take all these exams for different designation. I have my IIA, my COU, my CPCU. All of those types of designations, and you have to study all these exams. So, I needed something to break the monotony of reading so much academia books. 

Brenda Jackson: So, a friend invited me to go with her to writer’s conference. There I met the woman that will always be a treasure in my life. Some of you I’m sure have read her books, by the name of Nora Roberts. I don’t know what Nora saw in me, but we had to do a assignment in class where she gave us a word and we had to write a paragraph. When she got to my table, I had written three pages. She said, “This is good.” I said, “Thank you.” She said, “Have you ever thought of writing?” I said, “I did it when I was in school, but that was years ago.” She said, “It may be something you want to take back up.” Those words inspired me so much, when I returned home I told my husband, “I need to write.” First, I want to see what’s out there, what everyone is reading. This is before Fifty Shades of Grey, mind you. This is back in the ’90s. 

Brenda Jackson: A friend gave me a book called, Shanna. Anyone has ever read Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss? It’s an historical novel set in England. I read book, but like, “Yeah, but I don’t want to go way back in England. I want something modern day.” So, I start reading Nora Robert books. I read other books, Nora Roberts. I read [inaudible 00:08:27] Gregory series. She had a series of books. That’s one thing Nora said, that when you start writing, do a family saga. When you do a family saga, people want to know the family. If you write 10 books into that family saga and someone come along and pick up book number nine, if they really want to know the family, they’re going to go back and get the other eight books. I’m like, “Okay, yeah that’s good in sales.” So, that was really good advice. 

Brenda Jackson: So, when I started writing, I came up with a family saga and I named the family the Madaris’ and they were brothers, cousins, set in Texas. I have this thing for cowboys. I know, yes. I go way back. Gun smoke, the rifle man, high chaparral, yes. Earlier we were talking about Clint Eastwood, and everyone was saying their favorite Clint Eastwood movie In fact, I can go back farther than that. I can go back to the days of Gil Favor and Rawhide. When Clint Eastwood was Rowdy Yates, before he became whatever he was, Josie Wells Before those days. So, I enjoyed writing about men who were cowboys, or from the west. 

Brenda Jackson: I started my series of books. I wrote them really just to entertain my friends. Not think that they would get published, and whenever I would go to my class reunion, my friends would ask me, “Did you ever write a book?” I’d say “Yes, but I wrote it and I was through with it.” They said, “No, you should try to get that book published.” So, I said, “Let me finish at least three of them before I submit them.” I got rejected just like anybody else that say they have submitted a book. I knew nothing about writing other than there was a story within me. So, when I started writing, I knew I was serious about writing as a way to escape. When I got home, after I started having the kids, I would sit on the bleachers at their games and I was never a sports person. So, I would always have some type of book with me. 

Brenda Jackson: I started reading. I started studying. Then I started going to conventions, and I hooked back up with Nora and others who were authors. They taught us the craft, do workshops. By the time I resubmitted my book, Kensington Publishing, which is a major publisher in New York, offered me a three book contract. I will never forget, I was in New York for the event and I called my husband and I said, “They bought my book.” He said, “You’ve got to be kidding. Really?” I’m like, “Yeah! They bought all three of them. Cha ching! Extra money.” I think I said that too loud, because my sons overheard. By this time, they were in high school about to go off to college, and in college you know how the kids call you and they say, “Mom, I need this. Dad, I need this.” I told them the same line my mom would tell me when I would ask her this question. Do you think money grow on trees? My son, the youngest one say, “Mom, all you got to do is write another book.” 

Brenda Jackson: Evidently, he thought I was writing to educate him. So, in a way I was, because they were blessed to both go to Ivy League colleges. One graduated from Columbia University and the other from Cornell. So, writing to me then became thank you Writing then, became a way for us to have extra money, because I had a full time job that I enjoy and then writing relaxed me. I think one reason it relaxed me so much was because at work I was in management, and if anyone has ever been in management you can only get your people to do so much. I could go home. I could relax. I could get to my computer, and I could create people who would listen to me. They did what I wanted them to do. They only liked what I wanted them to like. 

Brenda Jackson: As far as men, the ones that thought they would never, ever, ever fall in love? Oh, they fell in love and they fell hard. Once in awhile I would ask my husband’s opinion, because he was a man and I have to say that a lot of my books, he represents what good As far as what I see as a big strong man, loving, kind and how I felt a woman should be treated. Then I had these guys writing me and said, “My wife reads your book. I don’t have a problem with that, but you are setting up unrealistic expectations. Wh en I kiss her, she expects the faint, and that’s not …” I said, “Yes it is. You just have to work hard at it. It’s possible.” 

Brenda Jackson: So, I enjoy reading and writing. I enjoy creating my characters, and because they were families, they were connecting books. The next thing you know, I was connecting books, I was connecting families, and BET made one of my first books into a movie, One Special Moment. I’m still working. I’m still Miss. State Farm, because I really believe I was meant to be Miss. Corporate America. You know, God has a way of letting you know what your calling is, and he did. I finally got a call from a publisher. One of the ones that never, ever that always rejected my books, Harlequin. They were the first one. “You can’t sell to Harlequin. My goodness, that’s the romance giant.” Every book I would send to them, it was rejected. 

Brenda Jackson: So, basically when they called me I was like, wait a minute, when I wanted to write for them, they didn’t want me. Now, I’ve gotten a couple of books out there. They can’t keep them on the shelves. Now they’re wanting me to write for them. Should I, or shouldn’t I? My agent said, “Yes, you should and we’re going to make it worth your while by taking them to the bank. They did, and I was able to retire after 37 years at the age of 55, with State Farm Insurance, but I had to come home and really get serious about writing everyday. I’m a very structured person, because I was used to going into a professional atmosphere. 

Brenda Jackson: The first couple of months, even when I worked at home, I would dress up, just to go to another room and write. My husband said, “Can you just go in your pajamas?” I’m like, “No. I have to …” It was that mentality that in order to be successful at whatever I was doing, I had to basically have a certain persona. After awhile, the stockings came off, the panty hose. Then the flip flops replaced the pumps. Then it was like, the idea is just writing the book, being relaxed. Something that stayed with me was, if you can conceive it, you can achieve it. If anyone would have told me years ago that I would be standing before you, working on my 114th novel, that I would be the first African American author to make The New York Times, and The USA Today, and Publisher Weekly Best Seller’s list, I would not have believed them. 

Brenda Jackson: My greatest joy came in 2012 when I received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, because that is the highest honor any romance author can achieve. In that year, I became the recipient of that award. People ask, “Why do you write romance?” My answer to them is, “Why not?” Love stories, knight in shining armor, every woman dream of a fantasy of being saved by some rich guy. Even though we know it’s fantasy, but so is I have this conversation with men, I say, “Why do y’all like Star Trek? That’s not real.” We all have what we want in way of our fantasies. Someone asked me what did I think was the biggest appeal of Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m like, “It’s a individual thing.” Ask one woman, she would tell you one reason. Another woman would tell you another reason. 

Brenda Jackson: With me, I love happy endings. I love when a fierce woman takes the most untamed beast, the male, and can bring him to his knees. I do that in my book. Men who swear they would never, ever, ever, ever, ever get married end up living happily ever after with the woman that they meet and fall in love with. I’m hoping that I inspire you, if that’s your dream. Whether it’s to write a book, whatever it is, to follow your dream. To believe in yourself. I had to believe in myself and the times that I didn’t, I had someone, a very strong man behind me saying, “You can do it.” Who was the wind beneath my wings. If you don’t have that wind, then you have to propel yourself, just to move up, to do the things that you want to do. I’m proud to say that after BET, another movie was made, a second movie. We had sent my oldest son to college for eight years. He graduated after Columbia. Then he went on to Florida State and got a Masters in film. 

Brenda Jackson: After you send your kids to college, you want to say, okay you put your money in your kids. You want to see whether they got anything out of the eight years. So, I went to my husband. I said, “You know what? I got all these books. We need to invest in him one more time.” My husband’s like, “I think we’ve invested in him enough.” I’m like, “One more time. Let me pick a book out and let him see whether or not he can make a movie out of it, and whether he could do a good job.” He said, “Where he’s going to get the money?” I’m like, “We’re going to use your money, your 401K. You’ll get yours before I get mine. So, it’ll be yours.” So, to the tune of a half a million, we invested in the movie. One thing my husband made me promise that I would be on that set everyday to supervise. He knew when it came to business, I knew business. He said, “You’re going to be on there everyday, because I will not lose my money.” 

Brenda Jackson: I said, “Okay. We’ll do this.” At the time, I was not aware that I was going to have a crew of 20, 20 year olds, because one of the things that we decided to do was to reach out to all the top film schools in the country and ask them to send their top and brightest students to work on a film, and they did. They didn’t have to draft anybody. You’re talking about schools mostly up north, during the summer kids wanted to come to Florida. The first thing they thought about, “Oh the beach!” So, I had to get instilled in them, you’re not here for the beach. You’re here to work on a movie. So, once we got that understanding then the movie took off. 

Brenda Jackson: It was a Christmas movie and we was filming in August. That posed some problems, because I needed some people to decorate their houses for Christmas. We bought two houses in the Springfield area of Jacksonville to film in. We actually got the neighbors, just so their name could be in the credits, to actually decorate their houses. At night, the lights came on, so you were seeing Christmas in August. Everything worked out fine. I never meant to send that movie to the big screen. It was going straight to DVD, but something miraculously happened. I knew it was for my readers, and I knew I was only going to make enough copies it was a lot of copies of DVDs, in order to get my husband’s money back. 

Brenda Jackson: So, after the movie, we went straight to DVD. In order to do that, I had to charge $25.00 a DVD. So, my husband thought that was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard, because his favorite movie of all time was Avatar and he only paid $19.99 for Avatar. So, how could I expect anyone to pay $25.00 for an independent movie? My readers bought so many copies of that movie, it got the attention of Warner Bros., and the next thing you know, Warner Bros. called and we was working out a contract with Warner Bros. to put that movie that was just supposed to be going to my readers, in Walmart, Best Buy, any place movies were sold. Netflix called. We worked out a deal with Netflix. So, not only did my son prove what he could do as a Director, I got my husband’s money back, and more. So, he was happy about that. 

Brenda Jackson: I got a call this week, Debbie Allen will be directing my next movie. It’s called, A Silken Thread. The movie based on the book, A Silken Thread and they’re going to start casting for it in January. So, you’ll be hearing more about that soon, but I bought everyone a copy of that movie that I made, Truly Everlasting. So, you have a complimentary copy of the movie, so you could see what my son did. What I did, what my husband did, and to show that what you can do when you believe in yourself. My question to you is, you got it. You’re fierce. You got it. Now that you got it, what are you going to do with it? You have to decide what your gift is, what do you want to do and don’t waste any time. Go for it. Thank you. 

Interviewer: So, I just want to tell you guys very briefly that when I first was trying to find speakers for this series, I was asking everybody I knew, all the people in media and everybody. Who do you know, who’s the most amazing speaker you know. So many people recommended Brenda, but I had never met her. So, I kind of thought, “She’s not going to know what I’m doing. She’s not going to want to do it.” I called you up on the phone from my car thinking, “I’m just going to call her and get rejected and then I’ll move on.” She was like, “Sure! Why not!” I was like, “Oh, okay great.” So then we put her on the poster. We had never me and I was just ecstatic that she was one of our speakers. Then I realized that I had put a poster out there with her face on it and we had never actually met, and I had no idea what she was going to say. 

Interviewer: I had a little moment where I was like, “Oh, what have I done.” So, I called Brenda and I said, “Brenda, can we go out to lunch? I’d love to meet you.” We had the loveliest lunch, at least for me, I don’t know if it was for you, but for me it was amazing. I became your biggest fan, although I’m sure there are other people in the audience that will dispute that. The thing that struck me the most in our conversation and in your talk was that you were pushing those boundaries. You were working. You were getting rejected as you first tried to publish. You then got some success. You continued to work. You persevered through and all of the things that we can look at now, and say, “Oh my gosh, she’s having a movie. She’s published so many books. She has all this success.” But you, over time continually built on your success and kept pushing forward. So, how did you do that? 

Brenda Jackson: I think because I had so many people behind me. I had readers who wanted more books. Even when I was writing six books a year, I would get this letter from a reader saying, “You’re not writing fast enough.” I’m like, “Really?” I think that helped me. I believed in my characters, because I wanted to convey good men out there that were treating their women right, and I think that’s what made me keep going. 

Interviewer: I want to open it up, because I know we have some people with questions in the audience. I think Brandy has a mic, so let’s take our first question. I know it always takes a moment. All right, we’ve got one right over here. Can you see her Brandy? 

Brandy: Nope. 

Interviewer: Oh, sorry. We’re going to the back first. 

JB: Hi Brenda. 

Brenda Jackson: Hi. 

JB: My name is JB, and I’m from Jacksonville and you know me very well. Anyway, you always mention the fact that this kiss makes a woman pass out. 

Brenda Jackson: I’m sorry, could you say that again? 

JB: Talking about the kiss. 

Brenda Jackson: Oh yeah. 

JB: The kiss that makes the woman faint. Can we hear about that? 

Brenda Jackson: Okay. I was due to write a book called, Delaney’s Desert Sheikh, and while I was on a cruise right before I wrote this book, I was on the cruise writing the book. Taking notes and everything. This couple came up to me and they were from Greece, and they were just wanting to know what I was doing, because I was observing people and I told them I was writing about a romance story. So, they asked me, “Do you know about [Ariss 00:30:20]?” I’m like, “No. What is that?” They said, “That’s the kiss from Greek. It’s a type of French kiss that will make a woman pass out when she’s the recipient of this kiss.” So, I’m like, “Do tell.” 

Brenda Jackson: After our conversation, I wasn’t sure whether the lady was for real or not, but she took my address. She said, “I’m going to send you information on the kiss.” When she sent it, it was in Greek. So, I had to go to restaurant after restaurant and say, “Could you translate this for me?” I finally found one that said, “Sure. What is it?” I told him, and while he was reading it, he would look at me. I’m like, “What’s going on?” He said, “You really want to know what this says?” I’m like, “Yes.” He said, I’ll have my wife tell you. Anyways, she explained to me again about the kiss, and so I put it in the book. 

Brenda Jackson: It was such a beautiful scene in the book, but I got a lot of backlash because I had all these men writing to me and said, “My wife read your book. Now they want me to kiss them and make them pass out. Tell them this is not for real.” I’m like, “Yes, it’s for real. You just got to work at it. You got to learn how to do it.” The kiss is out there. A lot of people have since researched it, and that book became one of the top sellers for Harlequin. 

Interviewer: All right, let’s take our second question. I don’t know where we’re going now. Clarissa. Oh, right up here. Sorry. 

Speaker 1: this kiss, what would we Google? 

Interviewer: So, how do you research to find out about the kiss? 

Brenda Jackson: Aries. 

Interviewer: All right, I think she’s coming to you Clarissa. 

Speaker 2: Hi. 

Brenda Jackson: Hi. 

Speaker 2: I’d like to know if your books are going to be available in audio? 

Brenda Jackson: Yes, I have over 20 some books in audio. There will be more. Harlequin just signed on Delaney is an audio the one about the kiss, it’s in audio under If you go in and put Brenda Jackson, you have a good 20 or 30 of my novels- 

Speaker 2: Are you the narrator? 

Brenda Jackson: I beg your pardon? 

Speaker 2: Are you the narrator? 

Interviewer: Are you the narrator? 

Brenda Jackson: No. I’m not the narrator. They hire someone to be the narrator. 

Interviewer: I just listened to Bane on 

Brenda Jackson: Oh. 

Interviewer: I did, and it’s a little hot and steamy. I’m not going to lie. 

Brenda Jackson: Yeah, it is. Yes it is. Bane is, yeah. What was special about Bane, he’s a Westmorland, and when I first originally introduced Bane, he was only 17. Hot headed, and he had to go and become a Navy Seal. So, Bane is about him coming back home looking for his long lost love. So, yeah. It is hot and heavy, and steamy and all that good stuff. 

Interviewer: Okay. Go ahead. 

Speaker 3: Hi, can you tell me how old you were when you had your first book published? 

Brenda Jackson:My first book came out in 1995. So, last year I celebrated my 20th anniversary as a author. In the year 2013 I was celebrating my 100th novel. So, from 2013 until now, I’ve written 13 new novels. 

Interviewer: All right, I saw another hand up. Yup, right here. 

Speaker 4: Thanks for coming. I really enjoyed it. 

Brenda Jackson: Thank you. 

Speaker 4: I have a book in my heart, but I don’t know how to start. 

Brenda Jackson: You have a book in your heart, and you don’t know how to start. Okay. You determine is it fiction, non-fiction. 

Speaker 4: [inaudible 00:34:41] 

Brenda Jackson: So, it’s non-fiction. It’s a true story, your biography. No one can write that book, but you. So, what I would suggest is decide what information you want to put in that book about you. Do you want to start from your early years, from childhood up to now? Are you just going to talk about a certain aspect of your life? 

Speaker 4: [inaudible 00:35:10] 

Brenda Jackson: Okay, the timeframe. Then, what you do is you make notes and then you decide how you want to put it in the chapters. How are you going to break up the chapters, and then you sit down to the computer and write. As Nora would say, the hardest part of writing is sitting your butt in the chair and doing it. Once you do it, then your thoughts will flow. It may not be right, but you can always go back. That’s why we have a edit, and you edit. You write from your heart, and then I would say now it’s so much easier to publish than when it was it 1995, where you had to be rejected. 

Brenda Jackson: Now, because of Amazon, you can get a book out in minutes, after you write the book of course. As far as getting it out there, you could get a book out there. Amazon now cater to independent authors where you really don’t need a publisher. There’s only six major publishers in this country, but now more authors are riding independently through Amazon, and Barns and Nobles, where you don’t have to do it. So, you don’t have to worry about, “Okay, once I finish this book, am I going to be accepted or rejected?” You can’t be. You just have to write the book. 

Interviewer: All right. I think we have time for about one more. 

Speaker 5: Hi there. Thank you. 

Brenda Jackson: Hi. 

Speaker 5: Question. Do you recommend just writing from the heart, or writing an outline and then going from there? 

Brenda Jackson: Whether write straight in the book, or do an outline? I have never done an outline for a book. I have never done an outline. Not saying it’s wrong, but I have author friends who have to write an outline, have to know what’s going to happen in every chapter. You probably heard what they call the dreaded synopsis. When I send a synopsis in, my publisher know that might not be the book when I finish with it, because I’m just giving them something just to say I’m writing this book. Whichever one that you’re comfortable with. If you think that you have to collect your details in a outline, then you do it. Case in point, I just finished a series that came out last year. This book made the highest mark on New York Times made number 11 on New York Times. I was part of the series called, The Granger Series, and the book was A Lover’s Vow. It was a murder mystery. I did not know who the killer was myself, until I almost ended the book. I’m like, “You were the killer?” 

Brend People would write me, and ask me and I had fun with them guessing. I would tell them, I don’t even know who the killer is yet, so how can y’all know who the killer is yet? Any Brenda Jackson readers in here can correct me, so far, no one has written me and said they figured out who the killer was. This book was selected by Essence Magazine as one of the best books of 2015, because so far no one has read that book, figured out who the killer was. 

Interviewer: That’s awesome. 

Speaker 5: Even the author. 

Brenda Jackson: Huh? At the end, I knew who it was, but if you read it you would say, “Oh yeah, it’s going to be this person. It’s going to be that person.” In the end, I fooled you, it was nobody that you thought. It was the person that you least expected, which is typically how it is, but I had it where it was the person you really least expected. 

Interviewer: I know I saw a lot of hands up, do you want to just take one or two more? 

Brenda Jackson: Yes. 

Interviewer: Okay, let’s go for it. I saw a bunch up before. Here we go, [inaudible 00:39:31] has one in the front. 

Speaker 6: Can you hear me? Am I talking loud enough? 

Brenda Jackson: Yes. 

Speaker 6: So I think I’ve been building this question the whole time, and I knew now that I’ve listen to her speak, but I waited because [inaudible 00:39:57] the women that would be speaking about success, in a venue like this would maybe have a negative experience with a man, that might propel them into being driven. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that every single speaker we’ve had for these four weeks have commented early in their presentation that they had a phenomenal relationship with an amazing man who supported them. 

Speaker 6: So that being said, my question is, how do you balance driven woman and successful relationship? How do you balance it? 

Brenda Jackson: I think for me, I always let my husband know that he was the man. I even teased him. I said, “In the middle of the night, if I call out for Justin, he’s just a character in the book. I’m having a Justin moment.” I always made sure, even though I was working full time, I always made what I call our time. I never wanted my success whether it was professional, or as a writer, to interfere with what I had. So, I was romantic. Men, they don’t start out being romantic. I remember for Valentine’s and I told my husband, my birthday is February 14th. February 2nd I said, “Now, don’t think you could give me one card and say this is going to suffice for birthday and Valentine’s day because it doesn’t work that way. I want a birthday card, and I want a Valentine card. Don’t bring me no Valentine card in a paper bag that you forget to sign, just satisfying that I need a Valentine card.” 

 Brenda Jackson: So, it’s a learning process with both of you. Then, what you have to do is still be able to do what you want to do, but still make sure you have time for them. St. Augustine used to be our getaway and sometimes he didn’t know when we would get away, because when he came home from work I would have bags packed. I’m like, we need me time. I think a lot of women, they are so driven they forget that there’s another part of them. You’re going to always be two different people, because you think differently and that’s when you have to basically do the art of compromise to know when you can talk things out. We had two teenage boys, and we was a team. Kids will try to play you. If you say no, they’ll go to daddy thinking they say yes. So, we had to get together every so often say, “Yeah. We a team. Us against them.” That’s how they knew, don’t even bother. Mama say no, dad going to say no too. 

Brenda Jackson: So, we built that firm relationship, and I knew that no matter how busy my day got that I had a loving supportive husband. Then, I let him know that he had a loving and supportive wife as well. 

Interviewer: All right. We have time for one more in the back, and then we’re going to wrap up. 

Speaker 7: Hi, I was wondering if you have chosen a location for the forth coming film, and how you connected with Debbie Allen? 

Interviewer: Oh gosh. Debbie Allen connected with me. I was surprised. Debbie has a dance group and she was on her way to Australia. They were performing The Nutcracker in Australia. Someone gave her my book, because it was a long flight and someone gave her my book to read. When she got back to the States, she contacted my agent and my agent wanted to know was I interested in having Debbie Allen do the movie. I had what I call a bad experience with BET in that the movie was nothing like the book. Very little stayed in the book, and I was told, “But, that’s how it is. They take your book and then they change it so much that you may not recognize the book, the movie.” My readers were very upset because that book, One Special Moment, was a beautiful well-written book, and they made it something different. So, that’s why I would never ever let anyone else make a movie of my book, unless it was me. 

Interviewer: That’s why I grabbed at the chance when my son wanted to do it when I wanted him to do it, but that was the stipulation that I would have to read and approve the script. He had to go back and forth before I approved the script because it had to be by the book. If you see the movie and if you ever buy the book, you could literally open the book and follow the movie. It was just that much by the book. I felt like I owed it to my readers who were disappointed in my first movie. So, when I talked to Debbie Allen I told her that, that was the one stipulation that the movie had to be by the book. 

Interviewer: I know what artistic liberties are. I know that there’s no way, because of introspection you can have 100%, but I want it at least 75% to 90%, and she said, “We’ll work on the script together.” She hired someone to write the script and any time there was a deviation, she would call and say, “This is what I think we need to do. Will you be in agreement?” Because it was nothing that drastically changed the book In fact, I like some of her ideas, honestly. So, that’s how we got started. The script has been written. Dave Larsen was the script writer, and so we’re on our way. 


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