by Jessica Pryde
We all know that romance authors are heroes. They have made it their life’s mission to tell stories that refresh and uplift and give us a temporary shelter from life’s worries when we need one. But there are also those who do heroic work beyond the pages of their novels.
We bet you’ll feel great knowing that the authors who uplift our spirits with their stories are also working to uplift communities and worthy causes, so we invite you take a look at our first spotlight of a few romance authors making a difference in the world.
Brenda Jackson has authored over 100 contemporary romance books. Her compelling, heartrending stories of romantic and familial love include several western romances featuring the dynastic Westmoreland family. She has also supported the academic endeavors of Black students for years. The President and founder of the Josiephine Streater Threatt Foundation (named for her grandmother), she has supported academic scholarships particularly to students at Florida Memorial University, a Historically Black College in St. Augustine, Florida. She also supports the Brenda Jackson Literary Scholarship through the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and the Madaris Leadership Award for youth from the Jacksonville, Florida area.
And then there are authors like Adriana Herrera, whose books reflect their heroic actions. She has spent her days working with the underserved for well over a decade, including as a social worker and trauma therapist, working with people who have dealt with abuse and trauma in ways many of us could never imagine. We see a reflection of her experience in her work, where the protagonists in AMERICAN FAIRYTALE and AMERICAN LOVE STORY do the work to move lives forward, whether individually or in greater numbers.
Other authors work in different ways to help and support others. Contemporary and paranormal romance author Heather Graham is a passionate supporter of Authors United for Veterans, a group of authors who directly support USA Cares. This organization helps military veterans and their families reach financial stability. She has historically sponsored or participated in several benefit events that offered proceeds to charity organizations like the Pediatric AIDS Foundation and organizations supporting the protection and rebuilding of the Gulf Region.
Contemporary, historical, and romantic suspense author Brenda Novak has a personal connection to Type I Diabetes, and has worked to raise over two million dollars to support research. While she’s put her annual online fundraising auction on hold, she is still supporting and directing others to support the work of scientists doing life-saving research into both treating and curing Diabetes.
Beverly Jenkins, the untiring author of historical romance and women’s fiction whose name is attached to an Avon-sponsored scholarship for attendance at RWA, is a strong proponent of diversity in publishing and is vocal on social media about many issues inside and outside of the industry. She uses her platform to boost the names and work of other authors in the field—especially authors of color. She is a prime example of continuing to lift as she climbs, and has done so for the twenty-five years she’s been publishing.
Whether they have scholarships named for themselves or family members, or they are quietly contributing to their community through local community service, or they make charitable donations to causes near and dear to their hearts, there are more romance and women’s fiction authors practicing everyday heroism than can be named in one article, so we look forward to sharing more in the future! As the number of romance authors continues to grow, we can watch the work they do across the world grow as well. In trying times, it’s good to know our personal heroes are setting an example and doing the work.