Angela Jackson-Brown combines politics and star-crossed lovers in her latest release. I recently spoke with her about The Light Always Breaks.
Tell me about your latest book.
The Light Always Breaks is set in 1947–48, and it is a story about two people from two very different worlds—she is African-American, and he is white—and yet, they find themselves falling in love with each other. Eva is twenty-four and the owner of an upscale restaurant in Washington, DC. And he is a war hero and one of Georgia’s native sons who is on the political trajectory to rise from being a junior senator to the highest position in the land. The novel focuses on the choices individuals must make when their individual aspirations mean they must make the ultimate sacrifice when it comes to their private lives.
What inspired you to write it?
I have always been interested in politics and the proverbial “star-crossed lovers” romantic trope. The idea of combining them into one novel made the research and writing of The Light Always Breaks even more entertaining for me. When I write, I have to be interested in the topic, or otherwise, I lose steam halfway through. I never got tired of showing up for these characters and this plot.
When did you fall in love with the written word?
I fell in love with the written word before I even knew how to read. My daddy always made sure he read books to me, and he supplied me with pens, pencils and crayons and encouraged me to “write” my own stories. By the time I started first grade, I was already writing, and I credit him for that. Plus, he fed into me the message, “You are going to be a writer someday.” I heard that message, and it never wavered in my mind that I would become a published author one day.
What’s the best part of being an author?
Sharing my stories with others is the best part of being an author. It is always nice hearing from my readers. Whether they liked my stories or not, I appreciate the fact that they took the time out of their busy schedules to read something I had labored over. I also try to pay attention when they don’t like something I wrote. I don’t take it personal; I just file their comment away, and if it feels like a reasonable critique, I apply it to my next work.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
WRITING is the hardest part of being an author. LOL So often, people look at what we do as glamourous or fun, and I guess it can be, but for the most part, the writing life is not easy. When my friends and family are hanging out, I’m often writing or revising. I’m up at the crack of dawn when my family is sleeping because I’m not just an author, I am also a college professor.
What books have you read lately and loved?
What book(s) are you most excited to read next?
I love YA fantasy, so I am really looking forward to the sequel to The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna called The Merciless Ones and the sequel to This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron called This Wicked Fate.
Who would you cast in a movie to play your main characters?
Every time I would write a story that had an elderly Black woman, I always envisioned Cicely Tyson playing that role. But, when it comes to younger actors, I would love to create a part for Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, John David Washington, Nicole Beharie or Michael B. Jordan.
What’s next for you?
I am currently finishing a continuation of Opal Pruitt’s family’s story that will come out next year. I fell in love with Opal when I wrote When Stars Rain Down, and I knew I would eventually come back to her family. I have moved over 25 years into the future, and the story is told from her daughters POV. I also have enjoyed researching and writing about parts of the Civil Rights Movement we often don’t hear about.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
Thank you for this interview. I appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to ask me these thought-provoking questions.
Use the Black Fiction Addiction affiliate link to purchase your copy of The Light Always Breaks by Angela Jackson-Brown.
To learn more about Angela Jackson-Brown, associate professor of English, Indiana University, Bloomington, visit her website or connect with her on social media: