Brenda Jackson, author of 91 books, is the first black romance author to make The New York Times Best Sellers list. Her book A Silken Thread(Kimani; $14.95) is nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
The Beginning: Jackson started re-writing endings to Harlequin books for fun. Early in her career, her books were rejected because publishers didn't believe black romance novels were needed. Eventually, she'd land a deal for her romance novels tailored for black audiences.
â€œMy first advance in 1995 was awful," Jackson says. "I was making over $80,000 at my job in the insurance industry, so I wasnâ€™t dependent on income from my books. "Eventually, the publisher offered me six figures to write full time, so I decided to quit my day job."