Author Brenda Jackson talks love, libraries in Orlando

Brenda Jackson doesn’t just write romance; she’s lived it. “At 14, I fell in love,” said the author of her schoolyard sweetheart who became her husband.

The Jacksonville native is at the Romance Writers of America convention, which continues through Saturday at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. On Saturday, July 29, Jackson and more than 400 romance authors will sign novels and chat with fans of the popular genre at the Readers for Life Literacy Autographing. (The free event begins at 3 p.m. Visit for details.)

Jackson’s husband, Gerald, died three years ago, but his impact on her work is still present. “My husband always said my books were kissy-kissy, bed-bed books,” she said. “In order for him to read one, he wanted me to put action in it. If there wasn’t a fight scene, it wasn’t worth him reading it.”

To bring Gerald into the fold, she created the character of ex-Marine Trevor Grant in her 1999 book “Fire & Desire.” “These were my first action-romance books,” says Jackson. “My husband loved the book.”

Action is one way Jackson attracts male readers, but she thinks more men should read romance of all kinds. “Love in all its forms is beautiful,” she said. “To read a love story, all it does is to give you a better understanding of how to treat someone of the opposite sex.

“If you’re dating, you want to know how to treat a woman. The best source is a romance book.”

Jackson, who is in her 60s, has written more than 100 novels since her debut in 1995. Before the signing on Saturday, she will be the keynote speaker at the Librarians Day Luncheon at the convention. “Libraries and librarians are the cornerstone of education,” she said.

“I think there’s a myth that the internet is replacing libraries,” said Jackson. “Not everything is on the internet.”

Jackson recalled the first time she saw one of her books in a library. “It…

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